The 2020-21 academic year has been buggered about with, and broken, and (for me) unusually extended — but as of this afternoon, at about 3pm, it is OVER. I am on holiday. Could say ‘feels good’. The reality — more like this.
If you ask me, one of the most damaging consequences of The Great Fear is that it has driven a bulldozer through our close social bonds. It’s ripped apart international solidarity as well, taught us to fear the foreigner again, and that will ultimately kill far more than the virus, but I can’t do much about that right now. I can try to get together with mates more, though — and so today, Steve and Geri, both once regulars on here, make their first appearances on here for (shockingly) nearly three years. We’re all still here, at least.
The Railway pub has featured very regularly on here down the years, but it’s had its long bouts of closure in the last decade; two flood-related and last year’s thanks to the Great Fear, with it not even reopening during the relatively Fear-free summer of 2020. And because of that, I drifted away…. until this afternoon, anyway. There was still not much happening on the picnic tables now set up round the back, but it’s an excuse to present a study of shapes and colours, at least.
Marley is the latest candidate for ‘honorary pub dog’ at the Railway, and here takes a brief rest while eyeing up the humans, making his strategic decisions as to which might be amenable to the offering of treats and affection.
Not the greatest photograph I know, but the year isn’t ending very excitingly. Nor can I raise a great deal of enthusiasm for the prospect of 2020, a year whose number bounces pleasantly off the tongue and once seemed fabulous and futuristic in the anticipation, but now promises stagnancy and a sort of darkness. I will do my best to keep documenting it (or my little part of it anyway) but there wasn’t much to see today.
Gaz is a Railway regular, and given enough time and my patience probably all who drink in there regularly have been, or will get, on here at some point. I like this shot, with the glasses behind. It does him justice I think; he’s a nice chap.
I first met Mariam at the i3 conference in Aberdeen in June 2015. She is Tunisian by birth, but at the time was studying in Japan, so the second time we met was when she served as my guide round Tokyo on a (very wet and cold) day in March 2017. And as she has recently moved to Australia, I met her in Melbourne this April; it was her I was waiting for ‘under the clocks‘ — though that picture is of someone else, which also indicates that despite these different meetings each on different continents, this friend has yet to appear on the blog herself.
Let’s rectify that. Mariam speaks seven languages by the way and is a living example of why internationalism is the way to go. It was great today to finally introduce her to the home town.