There is a dirty mark smack in the middle of my screen as I type but, as you know, computers terrify the living daylights out of me, let alone the screen itself, so I shall leave well alone and fight on – as Pop would say.  Irrelevant?  Perhaps but nothing wrong with setting the scene.  Sitting in a quirky café in Marchmont having just partaken of Sunday Brunch – done wonders for the recovery process following last night’s party – I actually feel like a real writer; or, rather, my ten year-old self pretending!  There is a lady sitting at another table diagonally across from me.  In her running gear and wearing headphones she, too, is sitting on her laptop typing away.  I wonder what?  Is she writing a column, a novel or just a long ‘to do’ list?  Perhaps she is a mature student?  Bemoaning many things in this modern, mixed up world, this trend for ensconcing oneself in one’s favourite café with one’s laptop is inspired – and inspiring.  The Red Box is not a café for passers-by; rather, it seems a chosen place frequented by regulars who appreciate the relaxed atmosphere, the mis-matched wooden tables and chairs and the eclectic artwork on the walls.  I look around me and most are sitting on their own but that is just fine.  There was a time when I would never have dreamnt of going into a café flying solo fearing the inevitable stigma but it is a different world now. Understatement of the year.

Three hours on, I am now continuing my study on the most suitable public places in which to write … in a West End bar!  Glass of Viognier to my left, my reply to the question, “Would you like something to drink?” is a sad reflection on my total lack of resolve: “Emily’s right.  You feel so much better when you don’t drink.”  Becca: “So, a large glass, then?”  Me: “Yes!”  Pathetic.

As Edinburgh prepares itself for the Festival, I am beginning to realise how much I miss.  The Fringe posters are everywhere, miraculously appearing overnight as though by magic; much of George Street is closed off as the flooring goes down for the bars soon to be spilling over with people from all walks of life and all corners of the globe.  My favourite, Charlotte Square, is once more dressed in white ready for the literary world to descend …  There is a buzz which is calling me back.  Proof, once more, that the grass is always greener on the other side; that one never realises what one has until it has gone.

A week of highs and lows, it saw me visit Halbeath Park & Ride for the first time – and, hopefully the last – while Boris Johnson wormed his way into Number 10 proving, once again, that in this crazy world there is everything to be gained courtesy of a rampant ego and a complete lack of moral compass.  What of the highs?  As I adjust to a different pace of life, I made the most of my new-found proximity to the West Sands spending balmy summer evenings paddling in the sea or just sitting on the sand soaking in a view which remains steadfast and unchanging.  More than fifty years have passed since that August evening in 1964 when, as a family having just moved from Glasgow, we stood in exactly the same spot and thought how lucky we were.  Paradise, as Pop called it.  Still is.

The sands of time and a humbling reminder of one’s own insignificance.  Being back in the familiar surroundings of my childhood, it is as though nothing has changed and yet everything has …  A week of nostalgia, I met an old friend with whom I shared most of my formative years on Friday.  Growing up across the road from each other, our families were intertwined and thus I jumped at the chance to meet her and her mother for coffee.  One needs constants in one’s life and Mrs I hadn’t changed one iota.  Rolling back the years, we laughed as we reminisced, sad only at the loss of the loved ones who played such prominent parts but ever grateful for the cherished memories.

The same, too, could be said of last night and my first 60th Birthday party!  Spending time with one of my dearest friends going back to university days, the band played the soundtrack to years gone by as we were faced with the reality that our twenties are long gone.  To add salt to the wound, I was actually staying in the building which, once a hotel, was the venue for my 21st!  Something which hasn’t changed?  I didn’t get to bed until 3am, 60th or no 60th!

As is becoming increasingly apparent, the stress of moving and adjustment to life in the country has served also to detach me from the outside world!  I catch snippets of news but Brexit has saturated my soul and I have no desire to listen to the world according to Boris.  Struggling to regain any semblance of structure, I remind myself that I have been through a trauma of sorts and breathing space is required to take stock.  By nature reflective, however, I am aware how easy it would be to step right back.  Good job, then, that I invested in a phone of the landline variety which I discovered, tonight, not only lights up in full technicolour when it rings but, as an added bonus, some robotic voice announces the number of the caller, too!  Beside my bed, talk about a sure-fire way to a self-inflicted heart attack!  Actually, on the subject of the phone, I promised that I would mention the name of the guy from whom I bought said device – Philip – in appreciation of his referring to me as ‘technically challenged’!  Quick to tell him of my dislike for the word ‘challenged’, he smiled and then pondered as I told him I wrote a blog.  Omitted to mention that I still have no idea what a blog actually is!!

I am now very aware that a disorganised environment is prohibitive to an organised mind.  Becca!  Tired of being surrounded by clutter, it is all-consuming and very hard to see beyond hence this very reflective post lacking in any constructive critique on life.  So much to say about the weather and the very real effects of global warming resulting in temperatures, humidity and tropical rainfall I would never choose to endure.  Driving home from Edinburgh late the other night, it was eerily quiet as the sky was repeatedly lit by flashes of lightning – then nothing?  Added to this, we couldn’t fail to notice a huge illumination of green light rising from the fields to our left, en route, seemingly with no practical explanation.  Could it be that the little green men have finally escaped Tiger Lily in their quest for intelligent life?  Who knows, this could well be my last post!

It would be uncharacteristic of me to end without bemoaning anything of note – other than Boris.  So …  One of my greatest sources of irritation this week has been that of accents in the media.  Nothing new but perhaps exacerbated as, lacking signal, my choice of television channels is limited.  I, inadvertently, flicked to Celebrity Goggle Box the other night and was enraged, not only by the ridiculous format of the programme seemingly requiring enforced lounging on giant ‘leather’ black or grey sofas and the wearing of ‘leisure’ attire, but by the narrator whose accent has to be one of the most irritating I have ever heard!  Why?  What happened to the Queen’s English?  Why this propensity for regional accents, the thicker the better?  Of course, a rhetorical question in a world which seems hellbent on debasing to the lowest denominator in a bid not to offend.  The same could be said of Radio as, more and more, the newsreaders and unnecessary ‘extras’ diverge from the customary neutral commentary of the past.  Even infiltrating Radio 2, I cling to the bastions of Ken Bruce, Jeremy Vine and even Zoe Ball who should never be allowed to take holidays.  Amazing the little things one takes for granted but which can greatly affect one’s day!  Have I mentioned I don’t like change?

Succeeding in boring myself to tears, I must sign off and continue my quest to restore structure into my life.  So much more than just ‘technically challenged’, believe me!

‘I screwed my eyes tight and walked up the track to the farm, ran my hands over the stone walls, felt the heat of the fire.  I couldn’t lose that feeling, had to carry it with me always, the feeling of safety and home.’

The Salt Path, Raynor Winn.

This is Trish, signing off.