This week I devoured Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household in a two evening burst after a recommendation from a friend. I am very happy to now recommend the same book to anyone who happens to stumble upon this sentence. It is a short thriller set shortly before the second world war, featuring an unnamed, upper middle class, big-game hunter who decides to have a go at bagging Hitler. His attempt at assassination fails, in fact, had already failed before the novel started, and the story told is that of his attempt to escape Nazi justice. It was a compulsive read, and put me very much into an outdoors spirit.
Which was fortunate as I was out hill walking on the following Sunday. Unlike the unnamed assassin, I was never in any danger of having to kill and eat a raw sheep. In fact, the weather around Ben Ledi was better than forecast, and we even enjoyed a view at the top, which was a shame as we looked forward to making a joke along the lines of ‘missed the view / viewed the mist’. A particular highlight was the discovery of an amphibious frog (pictured); it showcased its unique ability by leaping through air and water, resting momentarily on grass.
On Saturday I finally got round to trying out the Co-Wheels car scheme, in order to collect a bench that I bought via Gumtree. The car was unexpectedly an automatic. It took me about ten minutes to work out how to turn the engine on, but once I had cracked that code the rest of the journey was straightforward enough. The purchased bench was satisfactory, and just about fitted into the Toyota Yaris. After leaving the bench at the flat we drove to Giffnock and went to Wholefoods where we bought some bread, which, even as fully paid up members of the metropolitan liberal elite, was about all we could afford.
Other than that, this week I have been listening to the new album by Vitalic and finding it very pleasurable. It is largely in the genre of glum techno, ideal for listening to on headphones while walking in the rain. I think this is the main kind of music and activity that I like. I have been reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, but I can’t say I’ve really got into it. I have also been redrafting my novel and working on a new short story, which is maybe just an emotional response to the world goose-stepping away over the horizon, leaving me and my liberal metropolitan brethren to uneasily await our fate.
Which brings me to Theresa May, who says there will be no new referendum on Scottish independence – for now is not the time. As much as I oppose her politically, morally and philosophically, I tend to agree with her. If there must be one, it should be in a decade or so once things have calmed down. I hear a lot of one particular argument recently: we should have an independent Scotland because the alternative is perpetual Conservative rule. It may seem like that now, but if the current political situation can teach us anything, it is that no political situation is permanent. However, it is bewildering that the Conservatives somehow command the support of 45% of the electorate considering the mess they have made of the economy, and in the wake of the budget U-turn on national insurance. Surely, surely, it can’t last forever.
Incidentally, I decided this week to formalize my membership of the metropolitan liberal elite by subscribing to the Guardian. For only £5 a month, I now have access to everything that you can access for no money at all. Which is a shame, as I thought that by subscribing I would get it both advert and comment free. Unfortunately, will power alone is not enough to stop me from reading the brain-dead fascism below the line. On the plus side, if the Guardian goes bust I’ll be able to claim that it wasn’t my fault.