Mound-I woke in a world ruled by women.

I leaned forward, conspiratorially. “You like that, don’t you?” His face changed, a fierce joy in admitting something one does not, normally.

-They’re not aggressive like we are.
-Like we’re supposed to be.

And then S came back, and we talked of other things. I wanted to get back to this subject, but could not get him to talk of it, though I alluded to it later when we were alone. It occurs to me that if we do not have an accepted cultural way of expressing this, and are forced to find our own ways- there is no “Community”- I might find other ways of expressing it painful and embarrassing. Androphile and gynephile trans women can bicker about which are the real, or primary, transsexuals, and oppression by kyriarchy could divide us, rather than bringing us together. I have fear to overcome before I can empathise.

I walked along the North Bridge, and took photos of Calton Hill, and it seemed to me that I was monitoring all my movements, all my responses, like a spy in a foreign country. I must not express myself in my body-language. It seems this is my normal way of being, inwardly focused all the time, and it seemed to me a small child’s way of being, and I could just stop. I reset myself, into Presence. I am here, now, and OK as I am. The poison becomes the medicine.

I took my father out. We used his walking frame, designed for indoors only, and we walked out of the ward to the lifts, down to the ground floor, out the main doors and to a bench about twenty yards away, to sit in the sun. I love my father. I hate to see how he is fading away, his judgment impaired, his walking unsteady, and now he has had his third minor stroke. He broods, unhappily, about the past and gets disoriented. And- he is still alive, and I get to hug him, once a year or so. His stroke is the excuse for my current visit.

Then I took the bus back to Princes St., and spent some time trying to photograph the gulls flocking by the shopping mall. One picture worked. To the Royal Scottish Academy summer exhibition (no photography, unfortunately). There is a video of a woman’s face- “Study of a face perceiving itself”. She looks down, then glances up at the monitor, slightly to the side of the camera. She could be nervous or irritated. She is not beautiful or stylish, but she draws me in, and I am high on art. It is speaking to me directly, and moving me. There are eight discs of polished stone- gneiss, basalt?- on the wall, which are beautiful, and a sculpture of a mud-monster walking with thick legs and arms. His expression could be threat or perplexity. I got chatting to an Irishman, who agreed some of it is beautiful and immediate, and some just dull. A “Stewart’s Cream of the Barley” whisky bottle, with words blacked out so it reads “wart Cream”; and a metal tripod supporting a rock over a round metal bowl filled with water and, surprisingly, weeds and rocks- I love the contrast. When it swings- the man’s wife pulls on it, to my consternation then delight- it does so majestically.

8 thoughts on “Hospital

    • You might find the “wart Cream” thing, which I saw as worthless, gives you the same entrée into the exhibition that I got from the video. I might at one time have seen the video, and thought so what- then felt irritated that anyone would bother to create or exhibit it. I loved the cheetah, and feel the whole is worth more than five minutes. Did you take your daughter, and did she like any of it?


  1. I’ve not been in the RSA for a while. I must pay a visit. Had you visited the National Gallery as well, photography is allowed, so long as you don’t use a flash.

    I wondered why one of my sisters had a pic of the New College (Assembly building of the Church of Scotland) up at first. I wouldn’t imagine they are too welcoming of us in that building.

    Glad you had a great visit Clare. I do know you said you wanted to get back.


    Xandra xxx


    • I was taking pictures of Edinburgh, and had no idea that was the New College. Though I am glad that progressive congregations can now have ministers in civil partnerships, and one such has the enthusiastic support of his congregation. It is progress.

      The way the geology and architecture interact fascinates me.



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