Sunrise on a run

Sunrise on a run

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


So I have just finished Skagboys by Irvine Welsh. It's a precursor, I'm not sure I'd call it a prequel, to Trainspotting. I haven't read Trainspotting for years, probably not since before the film came out but it follows a similar narrative style and uses a Scottish dialect,although there was some language which reminded me of a Clockwork Orange. The characters all tend to tell their story which means that the jump from different characters between chapters can take a bit of working out to determine who is narrating the chapter.

One review I read commented on Welsh's tendency to to rework the same characters and the same story.

It charts Renton's descent into heroin addiction, from promising student at Aberdeen accompanying his father on Miner's Strike rallies, to it taking over his entire life, to the extent that he ditches his girlfriend to spend more time with it.

Familiar characters such as Sick Boy, Spud and Begbie are also introduced. Other characters are also brought into the picture and their lives all connect, all seemingly to ultimately connect to the two individuals who work in the pharmaceutical factory which is the source of all their woe.

Although the book is set within Thatcher's 80s, the story never quite goes so far to fully pin the blame for Scotland's heroin epidemic on Thatcherite Britain and the closing of the docks, mines and other sources of employment for the working class man. It's there as a theme and touched upon but it doesn't go so far as to say it outright.

Similarly, the story never quite deals with the question of individual responsibility. No-one forced Renton to have his first hit and his spiral into addiction takes time, there's a significant period during which he is not an addict.

Towards the end of the book a few of the characters are in Rehab and one of the people running the rehab programme observes that so long as he doesn't catch aids or overdose, Renton will grow out of his addiction. This basically indicates that Renton is an angry young man full of angst and hormones and he'll get over it all.

Sex, but not love, feature strongly in the book. It's a fine line Welsh treads and perhaps strays over, between gratuitous and simply reflecting that it is regarded as both commodity and means of escapism as much as it becomes a trap. I don't know that I would call the book misogynous but the female characters are really bit players, becoming victims of their own circumstances rather than taking control of their own destiny. Perhaps that is true of the male characters too.

So overall, worth a read. I plan to re-read it, once I've finished Trainspotting.

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Friday, June 08, 2012

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

Tuesday was a rainy day so an ideal day for hiding indoors, reading and playing on the Wii. I recently downloaded Irvine Welsh's "Skagboys" - precursor to Trainspotting so I've started that.

After lunch we headed onto the beach for a stroll, rewarded by views of a rainbow. The picture below shows the Harbour later in the day.

The evening saw a trip to the local curry house, girls enjoyed an egg curry, accompanied by the school bears :)

Wednesday was much more sunny so we decided to take the steam train to Dunster. On Wednesday there is a coach connection from the station to he castle so we took advantage of this. We arrived in Dunster just in time for lunch. There is no shortage of tea rooms and we headed for the Chocolatieria for sandwiches, milkshakes and hot chocolate. My hot chocolate comprised warm milk and a chunk of chocolate to mix in - delicious!

We spent the afternoon exploring the castle accompanied by Boo reading the guide, and enjoying the outdoor climbing and play area.

Thursday was another rainy day so we headed to Quince Honey Farm. The girls enjoyed the indoor play area there. Once we dragged them away, we could look around the beekeeping area: very impressive collection of hives which you could look at without any risk of agitating the bees of getting stung! Definitely worth a visit.

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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Fossil Hunting

I mentioned in my earlier post that the tide goes out a long way to reveal rocks to clamber, pools to splash in and seaweed to soften your fall when you slip!

The Watchett area is known for its fossils, and we have been keeping eyes peeled looking out for ammonites. Boo and I went clambering over the rocks on our first day here and found a couple. On our next day all four of us went clambering, this time with shoes on: my toe shoes (aka Vibram fivefingers) have been v handy for climbing!

Our previous day's exploring meant we knew which types of rock to look on for the ammonites. We found lots of great examples:

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Our Jubilee Holiday

So here we are in Watchett on the North Somerset coast. After a very busy Friday helping out at the school Jubilee celebrations and packing, we drove down to the South West with much of the rest of the country.

Despite all the traffic, we still arrived on schedule, just in time for high tide and lots of clambering on the rocks.

Our cottage is upside down with the bedrooms on the ground floor and living area on the first floor so we can enjoy the views from the decking.

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