An Aussie, a Hungarian, a Russian and a Pom Went Up a Hill

Well if you’re a diligent little blog reader and actually read all the comments of the blogs you peruse, you’ll know that I have a job. Albeit a temporary one. But as Bardon so eloquently put it in those same comments, all jobs, like life, are temporary. In any case, I’m declaring myself still a bum till I get a permanent job and therefore the title and this blog’s raison d’etre is still relevant. Yes, just like your average bonkers cult leader, I like to interpret the written word until it has meaning that suits my purposes. Life’s less disappointing that way.

Now if you only got so far as the title of my last little rant, you may have come to the conclusion that I did in fact resort to creative means to land this little vocational assignment. But you’d be wrong. I may be exploring new professions these days, but the world’s oldest is not among them. Yet.

So why’s it taken me three weeks to write about this stupendous (???) development? Because I’m buggered. Jesus Christ, this getting up and going somewhere every day, pretending to be someone with manners, who doesn’t swear and gives a shit is exhausting!

But there’s plenty more time to moan about that later. Right now I’d like to show you what I did last weekend. I could probably write a little story about the whole day, but I’m just going to post some pics instead. Seriously, words cannot do justice to the beauty of Scotland. Well yeah actually they probably can, but I’m tired and it’s Sunday. We working people need to rest up for the week ahead you know.

So here’s Ben A’an in The Trossachs. The Lochs are Katrine and Archray, but buggered if I know which one’s which. click on the pics if you’re the type of person who likes to check out the little details in life.

This is about 5 minutes in. Cunningly I devised a "I'm being a photographer, you'll thank me later" plan to disguise my need for a rest.

This is about 5 minutes in. Cunningly I devised a “I’m being a photographer, you’ll thank me later” plan to disguise my need for a rest from this ridiculous gradient.

A lovely flat bit through a lovely foresty bit.

A lovely flat bit through a lovely foresty bit.

Don't the trees look spooky in B&W?

Don’t the trees look spooky in B&W?

Almost at the top. almost worth the effort.

Almost at the top. Almost worth the effort.

Good spot for lunch

Good spot for lunch

OK fiiiiiine, that's worth the effort.

OK fiiiiiine, that’s worth the effort.

View from the other side of the summit.

View from the other side of the summit.

Since my friends will no doubt be horrified I put them on my blog, here's me trying to remain incognito on the top of a mountain.

Since my friends will no doubt be horrified I put them on my blog, here’s me trying to remain incognito on the top of a mountain at the very moment I realise my camera is no longer around my neck.

Taking  the road less traveled on the way down.

Taking the road less traveled on the way down.

As you can see, Ben A’an is slightly attractive, and allegedly an “easy” hill climb. Personally I thought I might rupture a lung a couple of times, but I guess they mean it’s a short (1.5 hours) climb and the path is not too challenging since most of it is laid with rocks as steps. Even better, all this stunning scenery is only one and a half hour’s drive from Edinburgh. If I still lived in London, it would have taken that long just to get out of the city.

So if you’re heading north any time soon, make the most of what I’m constantly being told is an astoundingly good Scottish summer and get yourself out into the hills for a day. Just be prepared for the shame of a five year old racing past you as you wheeze and splutter your way to the pay off. Or maybe that was just me…

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Who Do I Have to ‘rhymes with truck’ to Get a Job Round Here?

Recruitment agencies – Angels sent from the gods to make your dreams come true? Or about as useful as a one legged man in an arse kicking contest?

I’m sure anyone who’s had even one go on the recruitment agency merry-go-round will probably choose ‘B thanks Eddie’ (sorry, you gotta be a skip to understand that one). I’ve had one interview so far in 2 months of searching and for some reason that agent has gone all Helen Keller on me. He won’t answer my calls or emails. How immature is that? Was he not told that part of his job is to tell people they didn’t get it? I’m not gonna cry. Geez.

Oh, wait. Before I start my proper tirade, let me show you a picture. Check this out.

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Can you see that? The mist over the water? Here, I’ll go closer.

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How spooky’s that? It’s called the Haar, the Scottish sea mist. Behind me, as you can see in the pic above, it’s a sunny, mid-twenties day. Crazy. Apparently later on (Autumn/Winter??) they roll all the way into town, giving the whole of Edinburgh a truly Dickensian feel. I can’t wait for that, although I’m not too excited about the potential frizz ball my hair will be from walking through mists all day. Still, I could wear a flowing robe and carry around a big sword and pretend I’m in Avalon. For example.

But back to being pissed off… Continue reading

The Job Hunt;rhymes with c…

Binoculars Job Hunter

If there’s one thing moving to the UK has taught me, it’s that I’m not nearly as amazing as I used to think I was. I’ve been slapped in the face by reality so many times over the past five years I’m surprised my cheeks don’t have the outline of a hand tattooed on them. A lot of the slapping revolved around getting a job, or not, as the case was for quite a while. As I head into my 5th week of unsuccessful job hunting in Edinburgh, my sharply deflating bubble of confidence tells me that maybe symbolic physical violence is not the best learning tool for me.

I mean, up until a few days ago I was thinking what the hell’s wrong with all you recruiters? Haven’t you heard of me? Nat. From Australia. The amazing employee any boss would be glad to have. Not ringing any bells? Well that’s bloody strange.

When I moved to London in 2008 I arrived thinking it would be easy to get a job. I’d join a recruiting agency, they’d talk to me, see I was intelligent, had some good references, good experience and boom – lovely job, nice location, good pay, thanks very much for coming. Queue 12 months of rejection, frustration and humiliation, but on the plus side, more interview practice than the average person probably gets in a lifetime.

Continue reading

Gettin’ Out of Dodge

In a month’s time I’m leaving London. It’s been four and a half years and I’m no more enamored with the place than I was when I first got here. So I’m off to Edinburgh. And if you’re like every single other person who I’ve told this to, you’re going to be thinking “Ooh you’ll need to rug up” or “oooh it’s expensive there” or “Edinburgh? WTF?”

Well first of all, yes, thank you, I’m aware it’s colder the further north you go in this hemisphere. But my research tells me that rent is half what I pay here and monthly travel passes are a quarter of London’s, so I don’t know where you’re getting the expensive thing from. Maybe you’re talking about eating out at nice restaurants, in which case, I’ve heard of this thing called supermarkets and home cooking, so I might give that a go.

Why Edinburgh? Well I went there once. It was nice. It will do.

I just really want to get out of London. As well as wearing a hole in my unemployed-bum pocket, London has worn the hell out of me. Edinburgh is tiny, you can walk across it in half an hour, there’s 7.5 million less people, you’re not likely to be pushed and shoved on the Tube (because they don’t have one),and I’ll be able to afford a car, which means I can go for drives and do ‘stuff’. I can’t afford to do stuff in London. When I try it all goes pear shaped anyway. In the four years I’ve been in London I hired a car once and anyone who read this blog post might understand why the car point is even making an appearance on this justification-of-the-nation list.

Plus I do believe I might have relatives in Edinburgh who don’t know I exist. A spot of ancestral digging sounds fun.

It’s also time to get another job. Being an unemployed bum has run its course, as has the bank balance. I’ve yet to make any money from photography (probably because I realised that will take years of hard work – not 6 months), I haven’t landed a book deal (probably because I haven’t written one) and I’m not a superstar blogger (probably because I write infrequently, don’t promote it and what I write is not that globally interesting – locally though, I can’t understand why I’m not dripping in accolades and Dior handbags – errr kidding, I’d never buy a handbag).

Besides, I hate to admit it but I miss having an office job I hate. OK no I don’t. But I miss getting paid.

I don’t regret my somewhat crazy decision last August. I may not have managed to find a way to make a living doing what I love – yet – but I’ve had six months to indulge in it without the distraction of twelve hours a day participating in the rat race. I’ve tried many different avenues and failed many times but I will continue chipping away. And I’ve been luckier than most that I’ve had the opportunity to take time out from the real world to try all this. Most importantly, I’ve had time to figure out what IB bloody S is and get to grips with it away from the stresses of the daily grind.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I must go off to the dentist. All the saccharine in that last paragraph has made a few of my teeth fall out.

Trying to Teach a (sick) Old Dog New Tricks

I have man flu. Apparently I’m making enough grunts and groans every time I move even so much as half an inch that the world is sick of me (and apparently I’ve reverted to imperial measurements since moving to the UK). By “the world” I mean the girl who is stuck at home with me. Oh and the cats. Well, maybe the guy at the corner shop I go to each morning for a Freddo Frog too.

But in my opinion I’ve been unjustly labeled. My symptoms include a cough that sounds something like I’m ejecting a demon spirit, ears that ache like they did when I was pulling some G forces on the Mission Space ride at Disneyworld and of course a nose which alternates between waterfall and dam depending on my angle of recline-age. I also have that damn tickle you get in your throat that makes you choke and cry tears of pathetic-ness because it invariably hits when you’re in public and making it worse by fruitlessly trying to stop it. Plus a strange addition last night was an over production of saliva that made my pillow look like a rabid dog had laid down to rest on it.

So boo hoo for sicky sicky bum bum me, right?

All of this is not helping the fact that this week I’m attending an evening photography course. Normally my brain only functions for a few hours a day, usually around 9am till lunch, 1pm-ish if I’ve had a good sleep. After that it’s a waste of time ever trying to have an intelligent conversation with me. So with my course being 6.30pm till 9pm (normally a prefect length for my attention span) each night, added to the fact that my head is already full of mucus, there’s not much room for new information.

The course is a beginners one, covering the absolute basics, but that still involves wrapping my head around things like f-stops (the most infuriatingly backwards system that’s ever existed – something to do with Pi he said???), apertures, shutter speeds, angles of view, pinhole cameras, sensors, focal length, exposure triangles. Oi vey! I’ve been getting along fine just winging it till now. Maybe I should have factored in my age and number of depleted brain cells before I made the crazy decision to quit my job and start a photography business.

I’m exaggerating slightly, but it is curious to realise that the brain is just not what it used to be. I’m sure it will all slot into the correct files in my head eventually, I’ll just need it explained about ten times more than a youngun. Or someone my age who didn’t obliterate their capacity to learn in their 20’s through copious amounts of Jack Daniels. And vodka. And Long Island Iced Teas. And beer.  Continue reading

The World’s Busiest Unemployed Bum

Well, busy I may be, but efficient I am not. It’s now been four months since I quit my job and although I have plenty to do to fill my time, I’m not exactly rolling in job prospects. All my fault of course, “working” from home is a mine field of distractions and now that winter has arrived, dark and cold mornings make it harder to fight the urge to stay in bed  “just a biiiiiit longer”. Luckily I have a kitten to make sure sleeping in past 8am is impossible.

So what have I actually done in these four months? Let’s see if I can justify myself.

I have had two photography jobs, one I’ve spoken about and was for a team at work. The second was a baptism, but since this was for a girl who used to work with me, again I’m not really reeling in the customers am I? It was a good practise though, and even though I was pretty much winging it, I think some of the shots came out well, thank bloody god.

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Then I twisted the arm of another guy from work and hijacked his little girl for an hour. Again it was good practise. I have no kids around me and am not what you would call good with them, so it gave me an insight into what photographing kids would entail. The poor thing was pretty scared of me and the big black contraption strapped to my neck for the first half hour, so her expression illustrates that fear nicely. Continue reading