Saturday, 17 April 2010

Floods, no flights and volcanic ash

On my latest escape attempt I managed to book my flights and then – like many other people – found that the volcano had grounded us all. While my daughter languishes in Barcelona unable to get home, I am still here, so took myself off to Edinburgh with my camera.

I always like abandoned or derelict buildings or patches of waste or empty ground that used to have buildings and probably will again. I found these buildings in a part of town I haven't explored before, behind Leith Walk. They are also close to a railway track. I was on the bridge over the railway when someone appeared around the corner on a bike and said my name - is that you he said, then, I'm not stopping, and as he went past said why are you taking photographs? Because I was supposed to be flying away to somewhere warm and now I can't I wanted to say. But didn't.

The night before I decided to book a week away in sunny Cyprus I had this dream. I was on my own in the back of a camper van. It's roomy, like a kitchen, I turn on – or light – the gas, to make tea, the gear controls are in a different place and I think to myself, this is just what I need, a travelling home. Only, I suddenly realise that the van is moving, the road has started to slope downhill and it's picking up speed. And that I need to be in the driver's seat, at the controls. I try to reach the driving compartment and find that it's inaccessible – there's floor to ceiling cupboards of what seem to be kitchen utensils, cutlery etc. I cannot find any way through to the driving area. I know I need to put my foot on the brake but I can't reach it. I desperately try to think of what I can do with the gears [which are in this area] but I don't seem to be able to work out what to do there either. And why are the gears in another place, so one has to rush around to different areas, doing different things? A light blinks somewhere which I think means that the power has cut out or is running down which I interpret as a good thing as, if the van has run out of power, it will slow down. Or perhaps the road becomes level. At any rate, it comes to a stop and all is well. Then I wake up.

I thought it was a clear danger sign that I was spending too much time on domestic issues and needed to get up front, get into the driver's seat and control where I was going. Take the initiative. Clearly. But that does not seem to have worked. Not yet.

That evening the washing machine flooded the kitchen once again when I tried to untangle the
hose at the back, thinking – well, imagining - that would be perfectly possible while I was waiting for the parsnips to grill. There's a lot of things I need to learn, clearly, one of them being that you turn the water off before you unscrew the washing machine hose pipe. Kitchen floor and self got soaked before I managed to aim the hose of forceful water out of the back door, leave it for a while [at which point it promptly turned around and pointed back inside] to turn off the grill, point it outside again while I worked out that I needed to turn the water off, and then reach the mains water tap.

But, after the water had been swept out the back door again, the hose untangled and reconnected, so there is now no leak, all was well. Come to think of it, the actual scenario was not unlike the dream, in that there were different things I had to do, in different places, until I worked out the solution. Not nearly as dangerous as the dream of course, but still, alarming enough.

And, according to the billboard, the Scots are keeping the world flying. This is clearly one of the brave flyers I encountered near the top of Leith Walk, you can tell by the way he's dressed. The sun had come out briefly, but I felt he must surely be cold.

Clearly I am going to say nothing about going anywhere until I actually get there, but I don't know when that will be, as this week was the only possible one for a while.

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