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The HF outing I was supposed to be going on didn't quite happen as planned. We were meant to be traveling three hours to walk up Beinn a'Bheithir on the west coast. Whether it was the heat, or the prospect of a the prospect of a three hour drive, no one with a car showed up, so four of us were stuck in Edinburgh with a desire for some walking and nowhere to go.

The walk organizer, Vince, suggested as an alternative that we catch a bus to the Pentlands. We all agreed that this represented the best idea under the circumstances. An hour later, we were in the hills.

The walk took us over seven hills, starting with West Kip outside Penicuik at around 9 o'clock, and arriving in Hill End at 5 in the afternoon. The itinerary included Scald Law, the tallest peak in the Pentlands; Castlelaw Hill, half of which is taken up by a military firing range; and a brief detour to a bronze age hill fort.

Despite none of the hills exceeding six hundred metres, the long day and the soaring temperatures still made for a fair challenge. It was worth it. I felt kind of sad before that I have frequented Edinburgh for so long, yet seen so little of the surrounding country. Sunday went a good way to remedying this. The scenery there is beautiful, and distinct from Fife and the highlands. The whole of Edinburgh laid out before me was, too, a sight worth seeing.


If you want to see a good film at the cinema right now that doesn't involve pirates or supermen, then I urge you to take a look at Offside. It's a story about a group of young women in Tehran who try to sneak into a football match and see their country qualify for the World Cup. I haven't felt this happy after watching a film in ages.

The fear and dread of getting caught in the early moments of the film feel almost too real. It seems like things will only go down hill, but it's the beginning of an emotional roller coaster whose payoff is well earned.

Apparently, it was filmed at the actual match depicted, and given how thickly the atmosphere hangs, I could quite believe that. Jahar Panahi's last two films were pretty damn heavy stuff, so this lighthearted outing surprises and demonstrates that he is capable of more than just grim drama. All the while, it is still very much a film with a conscience, but one that entertains as much as it makes you care.

Not that there's anything wrong with pirates, of course.


I've packed my PS2 and the new Gamecube games for Thursday's games night. We're gonna have 4 player Puzzle Bobble, Wario Ware and of course, Virtua Tennis 2. I'll hopefully be along around 7:40.
leynos: (Default)
My search for a new hill walking group took me to HF Edinburgh. Having found my enquiries met with helpful replies, I decided to join them on their Sunday outing to Ben Cleuch in the Ochils.

The planned walk started in Tillicoultry and followed cut paths and landrover tracks up into the overlooking hills. Ben Cleuch is a peak of 721 metres, a bit of a change from the Munro walks I went on with the Bank's hill walking club. Still sufficient enough of a climb to give the legs a good stretch, but gentle enough to afford plenty of opportunity to get to know the club members. And what a varied and well travelled bunch they are.

Just outside of town, the path took us alongside a series of waterfalls amongst a good canopy of trees. The walk leader assured us that this would be the toughest part, and surprisingly this proved to be correct. Steep carved steps gave way to rolling hills and some gorgeous views. As if on cue, the clouds cleared and we were treated to a pleasantly warm sun to see us to our destination.

Everything went at a leisurely pace, with plenty of stops to rest and admire the scenery. There was certainly plenty to see, with beautiful sun-drenched valleys, Fife laid out in one direction and a clear view across the Forth at Kincardine in the other. We crossed a couple of smaller peaks getting to Ben Cleuch, then the final ascent followed a gentle and well walked path. At the top, we enjoyed afternoon tea and dodged flies before heading back.

Although we saw plenty of other walkers out and a few other groups, the day didn't feel crowded. I felt grateful for the opportunity to spend some time out of the city once again, especially in such lovely weather.

I was hoping for a similar atmosphere to the Bank's hill walking club, and it would seem that HF is that kind of group. I enjoyed the walk and the company, and I'm looking forward to going on further outings with them.
leynos: (Default)
I may or may not be finishing my work for the bank on 9th June. I'll know for certain next week. The one agency I called today said it was too soon anyway.


Todays PSC meeting opened with a very informative talk looking at the Israeli peace movement. Cut for politics... )

This Saturday, a national day of action against Disney is being organized throughout Scotland. This is being done as part of the boycott philosophy on account of Disney's support of and investment in Israel. From noon, there will be a stall, lots of leafletting and hopefully speakers. It should be a good laugh.

This and other upcoming events received much planning to everyone's satisfaction. Then for some unknown reason they nominated me as secretary.

This will be fun. A fair bit of work too, I imagine. But given my forthcoming unemployed status, I think having stuff like this to keep me busy is a good idea. I also finally get to learn what this kind of job actually entails.

Outdoorsy Stuff

I shall hopefully get to go on one final outing with the bank's hill walking club. This is the one aspect of my current job that I really will miss. So I will need to find a hillwalking club in the outside world. Looking at the options, there are several clubs geared towards Edinburgh residents. Either that, or I can continue pretending to be a student and join the EUHWC.

Much as I don't mind the pretending part, or students for that matter, I feel that I should really be trying to join life outside of the university. This is a risky option however. On one hand, I found the bank's hillwalking club to be full of people I get on well with. On the other, it was a long time before I met anyone at kendo who seemed really approachable.

Still, since University term has just finished and there is a long summer ahead, it makes most sense to try one or two of these clubs and see how it goes.


Apr. 19th, 2006 11:36 pm
leynos: (Default)
Tonight I saw Pavee Lackeen at the Filmhouse with Ansgar, Ho-il's flatmate. Pavee Lackeen depicts a Traveller family in Dublin, with particular emphasis upon a girl of ten and the difficulties she faces at school and in life. The observational and non-judgemental way the film is presented impressed me. Situations from her life are explored in a way that I found engaging, without being played for drama or emotional manipulation.

Aside from that, I am skint and knackered. I really must try to be asleep before midnight. Pay day on Friday. An email arrived today informing me that the Hill Walking Club trip to Ben Lui on Saturday will most likely require crampons and ice axe (as has every other trip I've been on so far). I fired an email back asking if I should still be going, given my lack of experience. The organizer's answer was "no."

So now I have Saturday free. I'll most likely help out with leafletting on Princes Street again. I will also try and make it to the National Portrait Gallery, if I can get up early enough. Either that, or I could go to the farmers market and sample the ostrich burgers.

I'll definitely be going to Neon this Sunday. And suffering for it on Monday again.
leynos: (Default)
Neon went well. Although the music was of a very metal bent, but the DJs played enough industrial to keep me happy. They also laid on a fair bit of 80s synthpop cheese, which was a good laugh. So there was plenty for me to be dancing around like a loon to. Amusingly, a couple of girls would start dancing with me for a few minutes every so often, before running off again. Yeah, I know what that means, but I was having fun anyway.

[livejournal.com profile] spacelem and [livejournal.com profile] figg looked like they were having fun too.

Most of the Neon regulars I know were in attendance, so I didn't feel lonely. Mostly I talked about music, and I was happy to receive an ongoing education in industrial. On the other hand, I didn't really make any attempt at talking to strangers, except, bizarrely, the two invader women who no one had told not to expect top 40 on a Sunday. I like the feeling of familiarity that comes with regular attendance. Three times isn't regular, but becoming a regular is a nice goal to work towards.

It's a constant worry of mine that I am being an unwelcome intrusion into these people's lives. I really hope that this isn't true, as I find I get a lot out of Neon. The last thing I want is to be a nuisance to the denizens a place that means so much to me right now. It's the only opportunity I feel right now to truly escape from the concerns of life.

Daily Life

At work today, I learned of the US government's consideration of a tactical nuclear strike on Iran. Cut for politics... )

Back to Life

I used Windows XP for the first time today. In practical terms, for the work I do, there is little difference to NT4. The interface is slightly flashier, slightly sharper. There is drag and drop in more places where it should be. It tries to be clever, and sometimes succeeds. The giant Start menu makes sense in a Windows way. I do like that the IT staff didn't disable the Windows-D shortcut. Not that I browse porn at work. As soon as I could, I reverted to the Windows 2000 appearance. I wonder if that will confuse my workmates.

In a fortnight's time, I will be accompanying the hill walking club for a climb of a double Munro. I'm really looking forward to the challenge that this entails, although I was a little put off by the fact that we will have to wade across a river to get there. First bikes, now paddling. What next, camels?


Although the speaker for the evening did not materialize, the meeting, as you might expect, had a rather full agenda. Cut for politics and naive idealism on my part... )
leynos: (Default)
One of the few benefits of working where I do is the opportunity to join various sports and social clubs subsidized by the company. Last night, I attended the annual dinner for my employer's Hill Walking Club, taking place at the Bruntsfield Hotel. This made a nice change from the usual work nights out, which invariably boil down to an evening at the pub. The evening also afforded me an opportunity to meet more people from outside of my own department, and to become better acquainted with the other walkers I had met on the four club outings I've attended so far. That, and I never turn down the offer of a good meal.

The food was very well prepared and very much to my liking. The company was most certainly interesting too. I did feel a little out of place there, being both one of the youngest people there (pretty much everyone at my table was in their thirties), and also in a far lower position within the bank than most. In some ways, it was a glimpse into a world I fear I may never be a part of. Even so, I felt more comfortable here than I do on the evenings spent in pubs with my workmates. Everyone was friendly, and it was great to hear tales of peoples adventures in the highlands, of walks in Spain and Germany, and of volunteer work done in Sri Lanka.

Along with the high brow stuff came bizarre conversations about pole dancing classes and subscription chocolate clubs. Definitely not like my typical work night out. I'm maybe looking in the wrong place of I want to make new friends, but I did enjoy the evening as I'd hoped. Strangely, an interest in hill walking and a taste for malt whisky seem to go hand in hand, so for a change I wasn't the only ordering the stuff, as round after round of Laphroaig and Highland Park were brought to the table. (Okay, the consuming lots of alcohol aspect never seems to change, but it's not like I'm complaining.)

After I bade my farewell, I made my way to [livejournal.com profile] scotm's house for a late arrival at his filmnight. Only Stephen was there. We watched Sympathy for Lady Vengeance , which I enjoyed even more on the second viewing. My first was tainted by expectations from Park's earlier film, Oldboy. This time, I was able to appreciate the inventive storytelling more fully. Sadly, I had to leave after that, being in danger of falling asleep, and made my way home among the early leavers from the nearby club night.

Today, I'm heading home to Kinross for my Dad's birthday tomorrow. My sister is up from London as well, so I can give her her birthday present too.


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