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Moon over Prestwood

This has seemed like a month of transitions. And since life has been full of change and activity, all of my blog posts seem to have been catch-ups lately. But hopefully this is ok – there are new and exciting and creative things to come in 2013 which will be much more interesting and blog-worthy! This is my promise!

So I hope everyone’s Christmases were exactly what they needed. Mine was totally manic, each day leading up to Christmas was filled with activity and travelling and shopping and working through lists, and then the day itself as busy and hectic as the preceding days. My sister’s twin boys ripped open everyone’s presents for them in the quickest present-opening ever! Not caring what was inside the wrapping of course, even if it was theirs. We drank too much, we ate too much, we recorded all the brilliant Christmas day telly and have spent the last three days lazing around watching it, eating leftovers and going on the occasional muddy walk, working our way through my new New Girl boxset, drinking more, listening to Seasick Steve, playing Cluedo, laughing till we almost peed at the new season of Miranda, catching up with friends over the phone and Skype and having good conversations with family about the things that matter.

So, transitions. The acts of a theatre performance are separated by intervals, which allow the audience to relax, the actors to rest, and the settings to change. This Christmas has been an interval for me – when I return back to chilly Edinburgh my settings will be changing and my life will be different. Hopefully better. I am looking forward to the new year and all the possibilities 2013 brings. #reverb12 has provided some brilliant inspiration for this, with daily prompts such as “what will you let go of” and “how will you make time?” encouraging some active thought about what kind of life I choose to live. I don’t think these kinds of decisions necessarily happen automatically.

So for now, enjoy this middly-bit between Christmas and New Year! I think this period really needs a name of its own…. Boxing Week? New Year’s Eve Eve Eve…? Answers on a postcard!

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Continuing in the ‘all about me’ vein, I return from a week taken up by a weekend away and evenings of German markets and mulled wine with rum to share something totally me-focussed… and you thought this blog was about creativity, and life in Edinburgh, and other interesting things? Oh, you. Now, back to me…

I Saw You Dancing’s Kat recently shared a lovely photo of her lovely self for #reverb12 with a prompt asking bloggers to select their favourite photo of themselves from 2012. Right now, that choice is easy. Here I am, less than a week ago, admiring a sunset over Tenerife with my great friend Sam. Life post-break-up is still not exactly back to normal (and won’t be until I am living in my new place at the beginning of next month, which I am OH SO excited about), but for now it is totally do-able. I had the best long weekend away; I read three and a half books in four days, got a vague hint of tan that could at first glance have been mistaken for just a thin layer of dirt, ate some (= too much) great paella and tapas and drank jugs of cold sangria.

Doing nothing in Tenerife

Here is what I have discovered in the last week of adventures, home and away:

  • Spanish playing cards only consist of 48 cards. There’s no queen, and the suits are clubs, coins, cups and swords. Patience and Rummy work just as well, but Hide the Queen would be never ending.
  • A drunk and easily led Debbie will ignore all warnings otherwise and happily take the coastal path back to the remote hotel resort in the dark in a foreign country, with only a camera’s flash to ward off the ‘ass banditos’ sure to be prowling.
  • A drunk and easily led Debbie will find that nicknaming potential attackers ‘ass banditos’ makes them infinitely more endearing.
  • In the south part of Tenerife, the sand is black. But hard. And will leave little marks all over your face if you fall asleep on it.
  • ‘No Diggity’ is probably the most addictive song in the world and therefore is sure to make a well deserved comeback just as soon as everyone watches Pitch Perfect and starts their own battling a cappella groups.
  • Mulled wine with rum is nicknamed ‘Heisse Liebe’ in German which translates to ‘hot love’. Which totally works, because it’s hot, and I love it.
  • ‘cz’ in Polish is pronounced like the ‘ch’ in ‘cheese’
  • Nobody knows where the Basque language came from.
  • One day in the distant future, we may replace food with New Hair, and that would be a shame.
  • There is a real life reindeer in St Andrew’s square right now, which I intend to visit tomorrow.

Guess where I am right now?!

Holiday in Tenerife

TENERIFE BABY!

Last week I was just feeling very ‘meh’ and spoke to a friend down in London (Samantha, of Rain Room fun) when we figured out we both had two days of annual leave for 2012 left over… and a great desire to see some sunshine! So we found somewhere warm, easy to fly to, with connections from both Edinburgh and London over one of the few weekends we were both free. At this time of year hotels are ludicrously cheap, and while it won’t be totally scorchio it’ll be so lovely just to feel a little heat, lounge all day reading books, and maybe even swim in the sea. Great girlie chats are guaranteed and a vague hint of a tan may even be gained.

So if you’ll excuse my absence, I’m just oh so busy lapping up the sun as I lie on a beach in the Canary Islands. Hasta la vista!

Shock, shock, horror, horror – two posts in one day, but I had to get this one out.

Earlier this week I mentioned in vague terms some recent eventfulness in my life. In hindsight, ‘eventful’ doesn’t quite sum it up. The last week was more than eventful, it was life-changing, intense, gut wrenching heartbreak. I’ve been thinking of how to write this post for almost a week, and I couldn’t decide between the different things I wanted to say, and how I wanted to say them. I did know that I wanted to say them though. I needed to acknowledge this huge shift in my life, and the removal of a person who has always been there in the background of blog posts, and won’t be any more. Carrying on blogging without saying anything has felt strangely empty, like I’m somehow lying to myself and anyone reading.

So, these are the different posts that have been fighting it out in my mind and my dashboard. These are the posts I wanted to write, and instead I wrote a post about those posts. It seemed logical at the time.

The simple approach
The no jokes, no ‘angle’, no photos post. Just the straight forward facts, for those who read this blog regularly to know why I might have been less creative and responsive to their kind comments than usual, and why my life is changing. And so, in brief: Last weekend, I was cheated on and I was heartbroken. After the anger and the tears, I gave him the option of working through it, of trying to rebuild our relationship and my trust in him, but he didn’t want that option, he didn’t want that relationship. And just like that, my life changed.

The dirty laundry
Is it fair to write about this topic online? My blog is not anonymous, I’ve posted about him before, by name and profession and with photos. But I don’t Facebook or tweet my blog posts, and I’ve never even revealed that I blog to any friends – mine or his. This blog was still in its early, online pals only phase. It hadn’t broken free into the real world. I was still a little shy about it. Even so, I won’t be posting any of the nasty details, the who and the where and the when. But it’s a subject that’s worth exploring – what we do and do not post, what content is too personal or uncomfortable. For most, blogs are extremely personal things, and for many it seems they are an outlet to express thoughts and feelings difficult to share elsewhere – they’re a place to vent. Like I mused earlier in the week, I’m not used to blogging about how I feel. Writing down a few of my thoughts has been extremely cathartic, but it may take some practise. It’s still just skimming the surface.

ioanna likes

lots of likes

The impact of strangers
Right after writing and scheduling that post a few days ago hinting to the ‘eventfulness’ as I had called it, my inbox suddenly became a hubbub of activity, and the WordPress app on my phone had a little freak out. It was the result of one person looking back through my archive and liking and commenting on a whole bunch of blog posts. It was Ioanna Aggelidaki, she of the brilliant name, bright, happy avatar and entertaining blog featuring blue fluffy monsters and whatnot. This flurry of new notifications was just coincidentally timed as to give me a pick-me-up right when I needed it. Someone that I loved very much had stripped me of self-confidence, and a total stranger was helping rebuild it.

The symbolism of craft

I’ve been intending to post a picture of these woollen letters for ages – a very simple craft project where I covered standard Hobbycraft cardboard letters with double sided sticky tape and wrapped wool around them until they were completely encased and soft to stroke. Now though, this D & J represent more than a simple craft project. They’ve never been used as bookends and they’ve never been out on display – the ampersand needs a few more loops of white wool up top there. The D and the J are complete, it’s just the ‘and’ that needs some work. See, so symbolic.

woollen letter bookends

What do you do with something so personal? When I look at them now I realise that the J is my favourite – it was easiest to wrap, the wool is softest, the colour most bold. But it’s the reminder I want the least. And the D? Do I really want a lonesome D?

Seriously though, I’m going to have enough trouble squeezing all my stuff into one bedroom again, and that lonesome D is unlikely to make the cut.

Speaking of which: the thing with things
At the beginning of this year I was living in a shared flat with a bunch of men. I had a furnished bedroom into which I’d brought a couple of bits of furniture and a fair amount of stuff. But everything had its own place and it all fit easily. Cut to today, and I have a lot more things. A lot more. My possessions have been allowed to sprawl over a bedroom, a living room, a kitchen, two bathrooms and a spare room, which had been in the process of transforming into a cluttered craft space. Things have multiplied. Things that had been stored at my parents’ house from old university flats and childhood have made the long journey up to Edinburgh. Things have been bought.

These things were lovely when I had a home, and places to put them. When space wasn’t much of an issue, I was settled and intending to stay for a while. In bird terms I was nesting.

Now though, I am flat hunting for a bedroom in a shared flat again. So far, no luck. My things have to be minimised, space is at a premium. There is no spare room. This loss of my home is one of the hardest parts of breaking up. I have to move into a new flat with new people for the new start that I need, but that means losing some of the physical possessions that have made my flat my home. It means giving up the option to rearrange the furniture as it suits you, to paint something large and unwieldy as you watch TV in the living room, to be inconsiderate not do the washing up because you’re having a lazy pyjama day.

The silver lining
Being optimistic can be really hard when everything feels like DOOM in big capital letters. But I am thankful that these problems and characteristics surfaced now and not in five, ten or fifteen years’ time. That we rent a flat and are almost out of our lease period. I am extremely thankful to have such loving parents and sisters, and amazing friends who I know I could call day or night, even if those friends may be far away in other cities or countries. I am so, so thankful for the kind workmate who offered her spare room at the drop of a hat, gave me keys and told me to stay for as long as I need to. And all the others who have made tea, offered hugs and promised their transport and time to help with the most depressing move-out I’ll have done so far.

The DP Challenge
This weeks’ WordPress Writing Challenge to use the subjunctive “I wish I were” as the theme for a blog post is just calling for an emotionally charged and totally depressing list. Ordinarily, I would wish I were a superhero or a time traveller. Or some other character in a science fiction novel. I would wish I were more musical, I would wish I were more active, I would wish I were more ambitious. Right now of course I just wish I were happy, I wish I were someone’s other half, I wish I were enough. To say everything I really wish for, the subjunctive won’t suffice. I wish I hadn’t relied on mutual friends so much, and been more independent in forging my own after my closest friends moved away from Edinburgh. I wish I’d gone out that night instead of staying home on the sofa. I wish I had a future to look forward to which included a family and a home instead of flatmates and nights out and potentially one day, dating. I wish all this and much, much more. I still love him so, so much.

See, that blog post would have been totally depressing. So we should all be glad that one never happened. Eeesh.

The reality check

Anyone who has ever been in love or betrayed or hurt will hopefully understand why I’m now wallowing in my own misery and waking up crying, and feeling sad, angry and self-obsessed all the time. Hopefully this is understandable. But I am well aware that my current heartache pales in comparison to so many people out there, with sickness or tragedy or scarcity in their life. Some people are struggling just to survive. This is a First World Problem, even if it’s my own.

TV test

The placeholder
I need to focus on finding a place, and moving house, and forging new friendships. And after all that momentum of blogging each day for Blogtoberfest – seriously, that was such a marathon of a challenge for me that one – it’ll be strange having such an abrupt break. So this was to be a ‘do not adjust your set’ post, or a ‘radio silence’ warning. I’ll return at some point, and I’ll probably have a lot more to say. Stay tuned, dear reader, for as Arnie once so eloquently stated: I’ll be back. And fingers crossed that next time, I’ll be in a sunnier disposition, and my life will feel like it’s all in one piece again.

Debbie x

This gallery contains 8 photos.

For the last few days I’ve been in Dublin for a work conference, and relished the opportunity to explore the city during the few spare hours of the trip. It’s a beautiful city with gorgeous architecture and is bustling with people and character. Every taxi driver we met had us in fits of laughter and …

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I’m in Dublin right now! This is my first trip to Ireland ever and I’m seriously excited about it. Unfortunately since I’m here for work there’ll be minimal sight-seeing and lots of conferencing, but on the plus side I’m not paying!

Ordinarily in times of travel I would likely leave the blog to gather dust while I gallivanted across the country/continent/globe, but since my pledge for Blogtoberfest was to blog every single day throughout October, I’ve scheduled a few Irish-themed posts to satisfy that requirement. I’m a big fan of scheduling anyway since it allows me to work a 9-5 job while maintaining the illusion of blog dedication and organisation!

ten facts about dublin
So here are ten fun facts about Dublin:

1. The name: The Irish Gaelic name for the city is Baile Átha Cliath, meaning “town of the hurdled ford” (Baile = Town, Átha = Ford, Cliath = Hurdle). The English name for the city is derived from the Irish name Dubhlinn, meaning “black pool”.

2. The region: So great they named it twice! Dublin is a bit like New York, in that the city and its surrounding region have the same name. So there’s the county of Dublin, and then Dublin City.

3. The river: The river Liffey divides the city geographically between the Northside and the Southside. It’s not easy to do ‘Northside’ and ‘Southside’ gang signs without looking like you’re trying to create shadow puppets, but apparently there is also a cultural divide on the different sides of the river. The Northside (where I’ll be staying and working) is typically working class, while the Southside (home of the University and Guinness) is more middle to upper-middle class.

4. The friends: Dublin has five twins cities. I would have thought this greedy until discovering that Edinburgh has nine twin cities, a partner city, and a “friendship link”. So really, fairly restrained there Dublin.

Dublin twin cities
5. The writers: William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, Bram Stoker, Maeve Binchy and Roddy Doyle all hail from Dublin. No wonder it’s a UNESCO City of Literature.

6. The drinkers: Dublin has been home of Guinness since 1759 and the Storehouse is now a major tourist attraction.

7. The youngsters: Wikipedia suggest that Dublin is one of Europe’s most youthful cities, with an estimate of 50% of citizens being younger than 25. I’m always suspect of Wiki statistics and a quick check suggested that the figure is from some fairly unofficial websites, and actually isn’t true. But I did find stats here suggesting that in Dublin City 33% of the population are in the 20-34 age group. Combining that with the under 25s reveals that 64.9% are younger than 35. SO since I wouldn’t appear in that pre-25 category, but am under 35, I’m happy to interpret that figure as being representative of a youthful city!

8. The pedal pushers: The city has over 120 miles of cycle tracks, a public bike scheme with 450 bikes for general public use and 40 bike stations around the city.

Dublin coat of arms
Image by Kanchelskis via Wikimedia Commons.

9. The crest: Dublin’s coat of arms has been used for about 400 years and shows three burning castles. Since a fiery fortress is not exactly typical for a coat of arms, I had a Google to see where this came from and discovered that it’s a mystery! There are loads of different theories out there, but ultimately nobody, not even Dubliners themselves, can be sure.

10. The currency: Being in Ireland and all, Dubliners use the Euro. This is not a ground-breaking or noteworthy fact, but adding it to this list might increase the likelihood that I remember to pack my Euros, and not arrive in Dublin waving a tatty tenner from the Clydesdale Bank.

>>> This is post 17 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

For a while now I’ve been describing my home as a “cluttered, circular flat”, and the reason I don’t post more photos of things I make as they appear around my home is simply because it’s such a mess. My name is Debbie, and I am untidy.

Sadly there is only so much space in the drawers of the ‘spare room’. The ‘junk drawer’ is overflowing and the ‘drums cupboard’ is full of recycling. Thankfully the drums have gone to live somewhere else out of fear for their own safety. The extra table is in the garage and clean clothes are piled so high on the spare bed that if a friend ever wants to stay they will have to sleep amongst them like some kind of hibernating bed monster. I feel certain Wall-E will soon move in to my flat and start transforming the heaped piles of my possessions into neat sky-scraper-esque cubes.

A huge part of this problem lies in the fact that I hate chores. I am lazy and easily distracted. I would rather do some sketching, watch a film, surf the net or read a book than fold clothes or sort out paperwork. But a second problem exists: I have too much stuff. In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Philip K Dick coined the word ‘kibble’ to describe those useless items that build up and multiply, like today’s newspaper that becomes worthless tomorrow. That’s true of so much stuff; the online purchase that you maybe didn’t need but really definitely wanted arrives with its pals Packaging and Invoice which never quite make it to the land of Recycling but do love to hang out in Pile with all the other undesirables.

So I am tackling this mess by sorting and selling. If I’m going to keep it, I need to be able to use it, and if I’m not going to use it, why keep it? Some things are only good enough for the charity shop or even the bin, but quite a few of my unwanted bits and bobs will be going up on everyone’s favourite online auction site. For now this only includes some phrasebooks left over from my previous life in publishing, but fingers crossed that hopefully I’ll be selling off all the catalogue clothing purchased over the years and never returned out of sheer laziness, unwanted gifts that I felt too rude to get rid of, some of the Jane Street lane sale £1 ‘box of crap’, and who knows what else once I get into the swing of this.

I am determined to see my surfaces again. I will wear clothes from my wardrobe, and not from ‘the pile’. I do not need more than one copy of the same book. I cannot afford a robotic junk-sorter. Plus, as they say, one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. Here’s hoping there are some treasure-hunters out there.

one mans junk is another mans treasure

>>> This is post 16 of the 31 I’ll be writing for Blogtoberfest 2012 <<<

The Paralympics are coming. This afternoon the four flames from the four capital cities of the UK will be combining in Stoke Mandeville, and beginning the journey into London for the opening of the Paralympic Games tomorrow. I’ll be watching eagerly, and not just because my mum is volunteering as a steward at Stoke Mandeville and I’m hoping to catch her on the telly (isn’t it supposed to be ‘Hello Mum’ and not the other way around?!).

Before the Olympics I had a feeling of reluctant enthusiasm. I felt that I should be more excited about it than I actually was. I think it was partly the uncertainty of whether the UK could pull off such a huge event of worldwide interest. It was almost stage nerves, on the country’s behalf. But then the Opening Ceremony totally got to me. Our athletes showed what great competitors they were, and what a passionate and likeable bunch they turned out to be.

The Paralympics don’t hold the same uncertainty for me. The excitement of the Olympics has carried through. And that excitement has been so well corralled by Channel 4, official broadcasters of the Paralympic Games. Their billboard says it all: thanks for the warm-up.

David Abraham, Channel 4 chief exec, has stated that rather than an opportunity for political correctness, “We saw it is an opportunity to change attitudes and minds about disability.” There’s also been some interesting interviews regarding the commercial reasons – or lack of them – for Channel 4 to broadcast the Paralympics, suggesting that they are expecting a “commercially neutral” end result.

One of the major strengths of the Channel 4 approach to the Games is to focus on the individuals. The UK has some top class athletes competing in these Paralympics, highlighted through the ‘Meet the Paralympians‘ spots and in the brilliantly paced, adrenaline raising TV advert, ‘Meet the Superhumans’. The promo presents the Games as exciting, action-packed and totally brutal, with Public Enemy’s ‘Harder Than You Think’ (with spot-on timing of the line “thank you for lettin’ us be ourself”) the perfect blood-thumping accompaniment. But the whole campaign isn’t just focussing on the athletes, it features the disabilities themselves. By including scenes of a car accident, military action and a pregnant mother receiving news of a complication, the promo speaks to me about both dimensions: these are disabled athletes, and these athletes are disabled.

There’s been some chat about the use of that word ‘disabled’ lately. The President of the International Paralympic Committee Sir Philip Craven has demanded that we should stop using it to describe Paralympians altogether, saying “You know what the word ‘disabled’ means. It means something that doesn’t work, doesn’t function.” I see his problem, but I think it’s a problem of context, rather than vocabulary. I have no personal experience of being disabled, but I do understand the power of words. As a former lexicographer I once considered assessing the meaning behind a word a speciality.

Words come loaded with meaning and connotations. And so for some, describing an athlete or a sport as disabled may seem to diminish its importance. Craven is certainly suggesting that it is in some way demeaning. But is that really the case? My big red Chambers describes disability as “lack of power; lack of legal power or qualification; a disqualification; a difficulty, esp physical”. So, “a difficulty”. Isn’t that fair? Isn’t it fair to say that swimming the 400m freestyle is more difficult for Ellie Simmonds than Becky Adlington? As long as both are recognised as the phenomenal competitors and athletes that they are, is there a problem in recognising a difference? I don’t think so, but I’m looking forward to watching the Paralympics coverage where I’m sure every competitor, commentator and expert will have their own view on it. I’m prepared to have my mind changed. For me, it comes down to respect – for each athlete and for the sport they compete in.

What’s clear is that there are sensitivities and uncertainties around the description and treatment of the athletes competing in the Paralympics, and the wider community of people with disabilities. And if the Paralympics garners as much public interest as it’s shaping up to do, these issues will be considered and debated on a national scale. #Paralympics is trending. Disabilities are being demystified. Comedian Adam Hills is hosting an evening talk show on Channel 4 to talk about, and even make jokes about, these subjects. There’s a Lexicon Decoder to help viewers understand type and level of impairment within sporting classes. And in a move towards the equal recognition of Paralympians as that of Olympic medallists, the Royal Mail will now be issuing stamps for every gold winning Paralympian.

So it all kicks off this evening! Maybe Team GB’s Paralympians will bring home some golds. Maybe it’ll change the way we talk about disabilities. Maybe my mum will be on telly. Only time will tell…

Some interesting items have popped up in the last few days regarding typography and design. So here’s a quick round-up…

On Wired last week: A computer virus named Gauss that has been infecting Middle Eastern banks and businesses has been discovered to install a font named Palida Narrow on infected computers. It’s possible this is used to flag to the virus’s creators whether Gauss has been successfully deployed. I’m not a Middle Eastern bank, but this immediately made me check my installed fonts to see if Palida Narrow was among them! Found some nice ones I’d forgotten about too…

Via Fast Company: FF Chartwell is a ‘font’ that allows you to create graphs without spreadsheets – just by typing values separated by plus signs, and converting them to the font. Except it’s not really a font, and more of an ingenious manipulation of font technology. Click through for the explanation of how this actually works and some more striking graphs.

From the CR blog: As a testament to the easy recognition of their logos, Coca-Cola have confirmed they will be permanently using a cropped logo on cans of Diet Coke.

Another Fast Company pick: A small, but ‘statistically significant’ number of participants in an experiment conducted on nytimes.com found Baskerville to be a more trustable typeface than others, a phenomenon now nicknamed the ‘Baskerville Effect’.

And as a bonus link: Designer Jessica Jones over at How About Orange occasionally posts links to interesting free fonts – the latest for inspiration are Hagin Caps, Florence, and Mountain Retreat. It’s definitely worth perusing her back catalogue of font selections too – some of these leave me yearning for a design project, and are a great prompt to get on with the blog redesign!

Before the Olympics began I’d been really quite sceptical – all the media stories pre-Olympics tended to focus on what hadn’t gone right rather than what had. It all seemed a little Twenty Twelve.

And then the Opening Ceremony happened, and I was totally won over. The industrial revolution was momentous, the illuminated cyclists magical. I wasn’t so keen on the wow we have an NHS bit (don’t get me wrong though, I am grateful for the NHS, just found that section a bit bizarre) and some of the love story was a tad cheesy. But it was so very British. It had the Queen in it – the actual Queen! And including Bean, internationally known and loved, was a touch of genius. It was eccentric and musical, I loved it. The tribute to 7/7 victims was touchingly performed, and an appropriate reminder that the Olympic announcement is so tied to the memory of that event (even if the US edited it out). And Tim Berners-Lee! I can’t believe I almost forgot him. Brilliant.


Opening Ceremony cyclists: magical and transcendental

And then the actual Olympics happened, and they were even better than any Brit had hoped. Who knew we had so many phenomenal athletes. Tuning in to watch over lunch and catching up in the evenings was more exciting than I’d ever expected. I raced home from work last Tuesday lunchtime to see if the Brownlees could pull it out of the bag (and was overjoyed with their Gold & Bronze) and I jumped involuntarily every time Holly Bleasdale approached the bar the evening before that. Every breakfast news show featured a series of excited athletes clutching well-earned medals.

It wasn’t without its problems – as anticipated, London roads became trecherous for other road users, and that resulted in the unnecessary kettling and arrest of many cyclists, and the tragic death of another. It is hard to imagine just how difficult the last couple of weeks have been for that family. No words or gold medals will undo that tragedy for them.

I finally watched the Olympics closing ceremony last night on iPlayer and was a bit disappointed. It had some highlights; the newspaper-clad London skyline, the military brass band playing Parklife, the red bus made of acrobats, John Lennon’s head, Eric Idle leading a grand Monty Python sing-a-long… but was it quite so necessary to invite every British rocker who’s ever had a top 10 to strain their vocal chords in an effort to prove they’re still relevant? And to let George Michael sing a song nobody’s ever heard before? This write-up in the Guardian put it nicely, “You were left with the feeling that someone had left Now 38 playing on the stadium PA.”

Closing Ceremony cyclists: genuinely terrifying, will give me nightmares

And so now it is back to normal. Well, as normal as Edinburgh can be during festival time. Ordinarily it’s said that August is the one month of the year that Edinburgh locals get to feel what life is like for Londoners.  Well, excepting that whole Olympics thing. Because that was like nothing else on earth.