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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Going to England for Christmas

So so at Copenhagen [7 Jan 2010 Pew Centre assessment]. Last night at her suggestion Amy had Guy drive us up the Garbole Road. The polluting light of Inverness stole darkness from the sky reflecting light far beyond its need upon the surrounding slopes, as we coasted up the narrow road, seeing a young red deer hind slipping from our headlights, then a white winter hare came hurrying towards them skipping abruptly into the dark. A startled tawny owl on a post rose and flapped across our path. A cock grouse appeared abruptly below us on the iced road, only moving when Guy opened his door, where Amy spotted icicles and drops of ice piled like gems beneath the snow strewn heather; on the road, tracks of hare and deer. At the sheepcotes we parked and walked on along the road letting the dogs romp in the quiet. Above us a window through misty haze to our galaxy - the Milky Way - shooting stars, the familiar constellations. "There's Orion's belt" "The Plough. The North Star!" I've steered by it. We remembered other times, lying in the August dark, to watch the Perseid Showers.
This morning we saw my mother off to London, flying to Gatwick. I used Flightstats Messenger to stay in touch with her journey - delayed half an hour - and liaise with my sister in London nervous about snowed roads in the capital. Having such efficient briefing (you sign up, enter the flight number and receive e-mail or text alerts) only gears up chagrin when systems fail, as they will. The quote coming to mind is William McNeil's from Governmentality, written some years ago:
If we imagine a world in which the entire human race were somehow organized so as to banish war and avert economic crisis; it seems likely that other kinds of catastrophe - perhaps greater than ever - might arise because of collisions between a newly organized humanity and the rest of the ecosystem of the planet.' McNeil, W.H. (1992) The Global Condition: Conquerors, Catastrophes, and Community, Princeton U. Press, p.148
As Sharon left with Mum for the airport the snow came flurrying around the house - beautiful. We had lunch and then searched around for trays to slide on. The sky cleared. We trudged through a layer of fresh snow to the slope in the field behind Brin Croft, and throwing snowballs at each other, we spent an hour sledging before early dusk sent us home to tidy up and prepare for the long journey south.
Sledging Strathnairn ~ Richard, dog Lulu, Amy, dog Cookie, and Guy
* * * And looking at the forecasts Guy decided it made sense to drive south after supper on Saturday, so we set out at nine thirty pm through light swirls of snow, warm and comfortable in a Ford Mondeo Titanium with anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), an electronic stability programme (ESP) with emergency brake assist (EBA), sat-nav in its array of car gadgetary. The roads south were icy but mosty salted, temperatures down to -9ºC around the Scottish border. Guy drove the whole way, with two stops. What dispiriting places are motorway service stations. At this one with its noisy musak I thought of R.Mutt. No-one creates a place so doleful. It's just allowed to happen. We were safely home by six in the morning. Before we went to bed I salted the drive.
Euro-trance at Abington Services on the M74

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Simon Baddeley