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Haar is what we call the sea fog here in the north east of Scotland. There are other places that have similar banks of dense, white cloud rolling in from the sea, of course; the phenomenon is not limited to this part of the world. I’ve seen something similar in San Francisco. It plays a big part in She Gave Her Heart, He Took Her Marrow, which will be published in Apex Magazine next month, and is as much a part of the land here as the ever-shifting dunes, the tank traps and pillboxes, and the extinct volcanoes. It was …

The Spotty Raptors – Mad Max causes a difference of opinion

SPOILER WARNING! “So, um, Mad Max, what did you think?” “Mumble-mmmf?” “Mad Max. The new one. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron.” “Mmmm mmmf mmmf mumble mmf.” “Yeah, I know you went to see it last Thursday. That’s why I was asking.” “Mmmf gnnnngh mmhgnn mmf.” “It’s just, you know. I didn’t like it.” “Mmble?” “Everyone says it’s fantastic, euphoric, the best thing ever, and Furiosa might as well have been driving around a War Rig loaded with salty man tears, but it was stupid.” “Mmmf mmmble gnngh mmfngle!” “Really! They only take the thin, pretty girls, no water or food, …

Bathtime chat

“Do you think Hannibal uses TP or a bidet?” “Excuse me?” “He’s a serial killer, I know, ‘Don’t eat the rude’ and all that. But he’s, what, an aesthete, right?” “I really don’t know what you’re talking about.” “Hannibal Lecter. I just can’t imagine Hannibal Lecter using toilet paper. I mean, what brand would he buy? I don’t think he’d be won over by puppies. Does Claire Fontaine make toilet paper?” “Is this—” “Seriously. What’s the most expensive toilet paper you can buy? Also, do you think eating people makes a difference to the consistency of your poop? I can …

Autumn’s here

It’s that time of year again. I was moving wood from a delivery into the shed earlier, trug by painful trug (the weekend’s sea kayaking has broken me), and a long V of geese flew in overhead. I sometimes wonder why they talk to each other incessantly as they fly. It looks like so much effort to keep those big bodies up, wings incessantly flapping. There was a second, smaller V, and a couple of geese broke free from this as I watched, trying to join the larger one. I imagined them worrying about directions — they’re all following Jemima, …

International Book Day Shelfie

It was International Book Day yesterday, and I kind of missed it. I wish I had some writerly excuse, such as being too busy working on a story to guddle about on the interwebs, but the fact is I was engaged in rescuing my beloved from a collapsed freewheel, and then we both conked out on the sofa. We had a long day of whitewater survival training on Wednesday, and are both very tired and covered in bruises. Apparently the thing to do is to post a “shelfie” – rather than a badly focused, awkwardly-angled picture of one’s own mug, …

Synaesthesia

I have synaesthesia – not one of the easily explainable ones, like numbers have colours, but more of a whole-body topological sort of affair. It’s hard to explain, so I rarely bother trying. There are experiences, though, that are so overwhelming I occasionally attempt to share them. This evening, coming back from an afternoon out to Haddo House and Formartine’s, I noticed the sky as I parked the car. When I got out, the combination of the air temperature, the smell, the slight breeze and the distant sound of traffic on the A90 combined to give a synaesthetic overlay. Coincidentally, …