Symbolic Forest

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More from the archives

Or, a nice photo

Recently, I finished editing the second month of posts from The Old Blog and published them on here. One of them included this line:

I had half an hour spare this afternoon, so I reordered all my CDs. By colour, the colour of the spine of the CD case. The plain-white and plain-black shelves don’t look that nice, but there’s a lovely graduation of the rest from dark red through orange to green and then blue.

It really was the worst way to file your CDs when you actually want to find something, but the coloured ones did look pretty. And—I thought—I’d also found a photo to prove it! I’d taken a picture, back then, of The Cat sleeping precariously balanced on top of them, showing the filing-by-colour. Or, at least I thought I had. I found the photo, and it must have been from before then. It’s still a cute photo, though.

The Cat

And as it’s a cute photo, I thought I’d show it anyway. It was probably taken on a Pentax ME film SLR originally; I do still have the negatives too.

A blast from the past

Or, digging out some old words

As it’s New Years Day, time for a new start and all that, I’ve … er … done what I said I was going to do back in November, and started to pull out posts from my previous blog, of twenty years ago, edit them and post them on here.

In my mind, this blog and that blog are effectively equivalent, so it’s strange to realise that I only kept that site going for two or three years or so. Compared to the not-quite-one-thousand posts on here, the old blog was hardly anything. Nevertheless, I still think it’s worth copying over some of the highlights, not that any of the handful of posts moved so far count as highlights. So far I’ve done March 2002, starting from the start, but starting a project is half the battle if you ask me.*

In the meantime, while I do more editing, there haven’t been many photos posted on here lately. So here’s one I uncovered on the old hard drive, from the Edinburgh period of my life. Going by the filename, this was taken in the Holyrood Tavern, which dates it to around 2003, before it changed hands and most of the regular clientele moved over to the Auld Hoose instead. I hope none of the people in the photo mind; but they’re probably a bit too blurry for a stranger to recognise them anyway.

Inside the Holyrood Tavern

Happy New Year!

* The Plain People Of The Internet: Is that why you never finish any?

A prelude

Or, some prehistory

A couple of times recently, I’ve mentioned that I’ve been pulling data off the hard drive of my old desktop computer, nested inside which was the home folders from the previous desktop computer, and nested inside those, those from the one before that. So, lots of rather old files to go through, and there will be more photos to post I promise. One thing I’ve uncovered that I didn’t think I had, though, was a text-only archive of the posts from my old blog.

Back in August I noted that this blog had turned sixteen. This was, in a way, a slight piece of misdirection. I had another blog before that, hosted by an online friend, which had run for a few years prior. Next spring, it will be twenty years since I started writing that site; it lasted just over three before, due to one reason and another, I dropped it and began this one.

Looking back at some of the posts, for the first time in a very long time, I’m slightly surprised by the tone of some of the writing. I had essentially no filter, and openly talked about exactly what I’d been doing, where I would be, visits to the doctor, what clubs and gigs I would be at, things I would never think of mentioning now. I refer to myself by name, which I never do now.

This blog, since its restart, has tended towards fairly long, rambling, in-depth posts in which I can go into a single topic in detail; and partly that’s down to its publish process, which makes it straightforward and simple* to host and manage, at a cost of being slightly clunky to add a new article. Every new post, essentially, requires the whole site to be re-uploaded so that the menus on every page are still correct, and that takes time to do. So, I don’t tend to write small posts. The old blog, managed using Movable Type, was full of one-liner diary entries about what I’d had for my tea, or what clothes I’d just bought.

Not all of the posts are like that, though; aside from some of the very personal things, there is for example a very fun and cheery account of my first proper trip abroad. I think I might actually get around to doing something I’ve been threatening to do ever since this blog first started. The first post on this site is itself a piece of misdirection, claiming to be a clean fresh start whilst at the same time saying that earlier writing might at some point make an appearance. If I can edit them into a format that fits this blog—changing people’s names to make them all consistent, bringing in The Plain People Of The Internet to handle the “fake outside reader” voice which was already occasionally present—without actually losing their style and flavour, I might some time soon get around to doing it.

* Not to mention cheap.

...so I jumped up and down a bit

Work and relaxation

Sunday, about 12. I’m relaxing in the bath, thinking vaguely about shaving my legs, when the phone rings. Arrrgh.

It is, of course, Work, asking why website xxx is no longer working and can I do something about it. Yesterday, I went into the office to fix things which I shouldn’t have messed up—I should have spotted that changing Z would break innumerable other things, and I should have warned the boss not to go ahead with it. But I didn’t, because I hadn’t bothered to fully investigate the way the servers had been set up, so I didn’t realise it would happen. I feel like the extra in Dilbert who won an award for spending days of overtime fixing her own mistakes.

In other news, i went to the Belle and Sebastian gig in Glasgow on Thursday and had a damn good time. It wasn’t their best gig, but it was a lot better than the last one I saw them at, in Edinburgh. Nobody was dancing much, so I jumped up and down a bit.

Blast from the past

Or, time for some music

Hunting around for stuff this morning, I managed to find an old Auteurs album, on tape, that I hadn’t listened to for years. I put it on whilst walking to work. Ooh, it’s just like being a teenager again.

Ring (not the movie)

Trying to look pretty

I don’t wear much jewellery. Never have. I take after my mother, who who only wears her wedding ring and has never even had her ears pierced.

The other week—after wandering round the city with The Friend From The Suburbs looking for presents for The Australian because he’s going back to Australia—I bought a ring. Nothing special, just a polished stone ring from the National Museum shop. I’ve been wearing it most of the time since I bought it.

I’ve noticed—when I wake up in the morning now, without it on—that I’ve started to realise more when it’s missing that when it’s there. It’s becoming a part of my body-image. When I wake up in the morning, hand underneath my pillows, I have a negative spot on my left middle finger, where there is something missing. I didn’t think a change like that to my mental maps could happen so fast.

In other body-image news: walking through my local shopping centre today, I suddenly realised just how mirrored its interior is. And I hate it. I don’t want to have to see myself all the time.

Holyrood Park

Oh, last night’s dream: a race of space aliens were living in Holyrood Park, which is just by my flat (see above). They were silver-coloured, a bit like Cybermen but fatter and more organic. I would look up at the cliffs, and they would be stood on the edge (see below) waving at me. They wanted me to go back to their home planet with them; they said I would be worshipped or something; but it was all a big plot and I managed to run away.

The crags of Holyrood Park

And suddenly ... darkness

How many Caitlins does it take to change a lightbulb

Wake up in the morning, gulp down a cup of tea, stumble towards the shower. I flick the bathroom light switch.


With a flash, the bathroom light has burned out.

This is a bit of a problem, because my bathroom is basically underground. The flat is all on the one level, but it’s built into the side of a slope, so the bathroom is below street level. No windows at all. I hunted round for lightbulbs. I was sure I had a couple of spare lightbulbs kicking around. They weren’t anywhere.

I hate having to change the bathroom lightbulb, too, because it means balancing carefully on the edge of the bath and unscrewing a heavy glass cover to get at the bulb. I’m always thinking it’s going to drop to the floor and smash, probably taking me over with it.

Showering in the dark isn’t much fun either.


On keeping things from The Mother

The other week I was struck with a sudden spurt of enthusiasm for handicraft-type stuff, and I decided I should make myself a bag. I need a new handbag—the strap on the last one got worn through by a slightly-rusted metal loop—and making one would be fun and an ideal way to have something a bit different. It surely can’t be that hard to knock up a basic shopping-bag style thing, out of some decent thickness canvas or hessian or something, which i can sling over my shoulder. To decorate it, I decided I would get The Mother to hunt out some of my old swimming badges (the oval-pointy shaped ones) and sew them on, a vertical line on either side.

I knew this would be a good idea when, a couple of days after I thought of it, I saw a girl with swimming badges sewed onto the seat of her trousers. I mean, nowadays, two people can be a fashion movement. So, I phoned The Mother and asked her to find them, if she hadn’t chucked them out.

“Why do you want them?” she asked.

“To sew them on things, of course. What else are they for?”

“I’ll send them to you,” she said, “if you tell me the address of your website.”

So, it looks like the handbag might be off the menu for a while. I really don’t want The Mother coming here and lookin round every page on the website. And I know that if she did find it, she would look round every page and read every bit of information. I know she would. I don’t want her knowing that much about me.

More overuse of the word "Gah!"

Or a day in town when nothing seems to go right

So, on Sunday, I was sat around at home idly playing with Movable Type and seeing what some of the more obscure options do when A Friend In The Suburbs phoned. “I’m having a crap weekend,” she said, “want to come round some art galleries?”

So, I went out and we wandered down to Queen Street, to the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, because they have three rather good exhibitions on at the moment. We got there. And it was shut.


So, we walked back the way we came—in the rain, of course—and said “I know, let’s go to the Fruitmarket Gallery, they’ll be open even though it’s Sunday.” So we did. And they were open. But they didn’t have any exhibitions on.


So, we wandered round their wee shop and ooh’d and aah’d all the books and postcards, and Friend In The Suburbs said: “Why don’t we go to the City Café and get some food?” So we did. We looked at the menu, and thought “mmm, desserts.” We tried to order pancakes.

“Sorry, we’re halfway through changing the menu. No pancakes.”

“Ummm … do you have any desserts?”

“Sorry, no. We’ve got rid of them all. We still have milkshakes, though.”

OK, I’ll have a chocolate mint milkshake.”

“Sorry, we only have chocolate, strawberry or vanilla. No mint.”


So, in the end we went to Favorit and had lots of cake there, whilst spying on all the other cafe-users and saying we wished we’d had our camera with us so we could photograph them all.