Sunday, June 18, 2006

Holding my breath ...

No. I'm not. I think I'd turn blue in the face if I did. But I'd like to think that this will be my last post from a hijacked PC: theoretically BT will take over our line from tomorrow and we should be able to get online on Tuesday. I've reached the stage of not believing any more - a cyber atheist - but am ready to be proved wrong.

I'm sitting in a house on the East Bay promenade. The sea is dark grey and gurly looking, and the high tide makes it look as if I'm on a boat with the water surging past the railing - I can only see the road in between if a car passes. My feet are damply clammy after ploughing through the wet grass at the neolithic site at Ardnadam.

But church this morning was lovely. Hugh's prayers for his last Sunday with us were totally apposite. We wish him well, in spades.

The midges were there too. Millions of them. Best to hold my breath after all ...


  1. Anonymous7:48 PM

    We have a small town in Madison Cnty., AL. which has been variously named over the years, Gurley's, Gurley's Tank, Gurleysville, and now Gurley. (The “tank” part was because there was once a watering station for steam locomotives there.) One of my granddaughters is very much a “gurly girl” over whom many 12 year old boys apparently swoon. Of course, I have heard the term “gurly man.”

    So, my point is, Walter knows gurly, girly, and gurley. But, neither I nor the search engine I used can figure out what a “gurly looking” sea is. This poor colonial is at wit’s end. Do waves with curling tops look gurly? Is a gurly sea one which is hoary with foam? My stomach is becoming gurly (I think) with agitation. To paraphrase a group of frightened men who were faced with what must have looked like a gurly sea, “Teacher, don’t you care that I am drowning?”

    (Later) Finally, in the Dictionary of the Scots Language under “gurlie” I found “Of the weather: stormy, threatening, blustery, bleak, bitter.” Gurly is given as an alternative spelling. So, though I remain your linguistic admirer, I don’t, this time at least, have to throw myself upon your mercy for a definition. I must find an opportunity to give a talk soon at church on the calming of the sea. You can be sure I will describe it as gurly and see if anyone asks what that means.

  2. I experienced Midges the other day for the first time in ages. Don't think you get them in Glasgow! I have never understood the need for them - only to ruin people's walks and evenings in the summer.

  3. Walter - are we talking Madison County as in Clint Eastwood? Anywhere near B'ham?
    The sea in question was slate grey, with randomly lumpy waves, not big but with little breaking tips. No foam on the surface, as it was too broken up for that. If you were in a small boat, you would be tossed sick-makingly about. And your oars would keep missing a stroke. That's what I mean by "gurly". You can find it thus in The Ballad of Sir Patrick Spens: "They hadna sailed a league, a league,
    A league but barely three,
    When the lift grew dark, and the wind blew loud
    And gurly grew the sea."
    (You can find the whole piece at Why "sacred" I don't know)

    Duffy - life has just improved, midges or no midges. I'm back online!

  4. Great! It's been awful quiet these past few weeks! Time to get back to normal - ha!

  5. Anonymous7:34 PM

    Welcome back to the internet :) - I got your new email adress ta (and welcome to the wonder of gmail :D)

  6. Anonymous6:30 AM

    The Madison County in which Gurley is located is, indeed, in Alabama. It is a couple of hours north of us.

    I hadn't realized how many counties in the U.S. are named "Madison," but there are, it seems, quite a few. They are named after James Madison, a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and our fourth president (1809-1817). Actually, his very popular wife, Dolly, is probably better remembered.

    Thanks, Chris, for the specifics on the gurly sea.