Friday, 28 November 2014

A town called Nairn

I woke up this morning to discover that almost every leaf had fallen off the tree outside our kitchen window in the night. It was the most surreal sight. Yesterday, it was a playground for little birds, today it looked like a giant piece of tumbleweed! A sad-looking magpie sat on one of its branches, no doubt wondering where his supper had gone!

I was like a machine today. I had a twenty-point list of things to do, which included a large amount of admin, booking studios, tidying the house, paying in cheques, writing thank you emails and a visit to the gym. And I ticked them all off one by one. I felt an enormous sense of achievement. Once an hour, I stopped to run through tomorrow's lecture. I'm afraid I'm one of those people who can leave nothing to chance. If I'm unprepared, and there's any elements of performance involved, I will instantly and completely fall apart when confronted with an audience. I don't know what it is that makes me entirely freak out in front of large groups of people. I often have to pretend to be someone else to overcome my acute shyness. No one ever believes me when I say that!

I stood waiting for Nathan at Victoria Station in the middle of rush hour. Trains were coming in and out of the station like a badly written fugue. At one stage two electronic announcements sounded simultaneously - and I was standing directly in the middle - they were advertising different trains, but the information was otherwise the same. They phased like an early Reich composition.

I'm currently in Scotland, in a taxi heading on the A96 from the minuscule Inverness Airport through the moors to Gordonstoun School. At least, I assume we're heading through moors, largely because we're in Scotland. It's pitch black outside but for the odd transport cafe and an eerily-lit bus shelter or hay barn.

We've just passed through a town called Nairn, which seemed to be a giant council estate with a garage in the middle, and, of course a ubiquitous Co-op. There's always a Co-op in a council estate, and it never seems to stock fresh fruit or vegetables!

The flight here felt completely unnecessary. I hate flying, and to make matters worse, the woman sitting behind me was totally freaking out whilst smoking an electronic cigarette! It was all a bit random, particularly when we realised it was actually her children who were trying to calm her down.

To make things more surreal, because we've just got off a plane, my subconscious is telling me I'm in a foreign country, which, in a funny sort of way, I guess I am. The very North of Scotland is so remote that it feels unlike the rest of the UK, somehow. Quite how, I've not yet worked out. Perhaps when it's light tomorrow, I'll have a better idea.

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