Thursday, 27 December 2012


It really is the best possible day of the year - family, food, presents, playing games and singing together in your best clothes with drink in your hand. And while I may have over-done it somewhat regarding the latter, it was worth it for a night as festive and jovial as I could have hoped for. 

Monday, 24 December 2012

waiting for santa

It seems that, like an excited 9 year old, I'm still awake at almost three on Christmas morning, despite my best efforts to drop off before page 600 of Anna Karenina. Excitement over presents, or lack of sun messing with my sleep cycles? I don't know. In any case, I thought I'd post a poem I wrote about four years ago now - how time has flown. Yet some things don't change. 

Mass on Christmas Morning

This morning it’s different
My fingertips, skimming holy water,
Have lost their brisk impatience.
Pews full of foreign fathers and alien clans.
Old biddies wheeled out guiltily.

Normally scattered morse code, today
We rub shoulders like recalled truants, a medley
Of fine, cool smelling coats, shoulders
Rain-strewn with mercury,
Of renewed Celtic hoops
And the rustling fibres of unwrapped costumes.

Four lighted candles and the spindly tree
Loom over the mute children’s liturgy
Uncoaxable and unamused.
And I’m bubbling among the cronies,
Thoughts on stomach-fluttering packages;
Window-misting oven smells.

I know next week I’ll pick mental holes in the sermon,
Endure the syncopated choir and the neverending
Parish Bulletin.

But today-isn’t this enough?
I’ll welcome the respite, add my voice to the chorus
Letting it melt into the gaggle
The old-known words brimming with the unarticulated
Reaching and relief of unexceptional lives.

I’ll sink into the transient comfort
Of happiness en-masse, without squinting
Beyond the curtained tabernacle. 

Saturday, 22 December 2012

christmas ingenuity

It's been so great having my parents on holiday for Christmas. In between learning Spanish and booking beach hotels for Peru, we watched movies by the fire, ate a lot of anti pasti, and constructed this excellent Christmas cake. We think he looks a little bit crazed. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

driving home for Christmas

For some reason, it feels especially good to be home this year: I've never appreciated a fully stocked Christmas cupboard and my electric blanket more. Tonight we decorated the tree in true, fastidious Patterson style. The words "Now it's a conspiracy of baubles rather than a dialogue!" may have been uttered. 

Monday, 10 December 2012

the beginning of the end

I am in the middle of a two day take-home exam, so, naturally, I have made a little film about the start of fourth year. In between singing Judy Garland songs loudly in my empty house, eating a lot of peanut butter squares and watching Gossip Girl. 

I felt kind of sad making it, because there are so many 'lasts' in it - last end of summer before another academic year, last autumn and Raisin and Thanksgiving and Christmas  in St Andrews. Time passes differently when  it doesn't stretch out into the distance. This year so far has been permeated with a sense of the fleeting, making me appreciate things all the more. 

Thursday, 6 December 2012


There has been a serious lack of photos/ life events on this blog recently, mainly because my life right now mainly revolves around the library, watching Gossip Girl with no make-up on in my friends' beds, and getting travel vaccinations. None of these contexts are particularly photogenic. 

So, I've decided to share my exam procrastination with you in the form of animal-themed links. 

1. Cat friend versus dog friend
2. Real birds send messages on Twitter
3. 33 Dogs and Cats that just don't know anymore 

Over and out, until I have a life again.  

Saturday, 24 November 2012

lazy links

Due to a number of things, this week has been somewhat hellish, involving copious amounts of mate tea, essay writing for twelve hours straight several days in a row, a lot of nerves and a horrible meeting. 

BUT: it's over now, and has been rounded off with a lovely Thanksgiving dinner. Every year my good friend Sazzle from University Hall has organised a meal: this year it's grown from being around her upturned bed in hall to a table for forty in Madras Clubhouse. We drank good wine, made toasts, and then danced to a Spice Girls medley while the boys washed up! 

This weekend will be the first in weeks that I haven't spent in the library. Why hello, novels in coffee shops, vintage fairs and letter writing! 

Here are some nice things from the Internetz to celebrate. 

Monday, 12 November 2012

the collaboration club

It was nice this week to have some of my wee films featured on a new project called The Collaboration Club. I've known one of the founders, Johanna, since living in University Hall together in first year, and she recently did a turn as a street style photographer for my section of Owl Eyes. 

One of the things I've come to appreciate about St Andrews is how easy and fulfilling it is to make things happen - whether a magazine, an event, a society, a project - and to collaborate and find support for various ventures. The Collaboration Club is a relaxed space for artists and creators of all kinds to share their work and inspire each other: ah, the wonders of the Internet. 

Thursday, 8 November 2012

guy fawkes night at willow cottage

At University it's important to me to observe holidays and traditions, even if only in a smaller way than at home. At Hallowe'en, I carved pumpkins in ArtSoc's studio to put on my windowsill (my academic daughter Elsa's was the stuff of nightmares:)

So for Guy Fawkes night, with essay deadlines looming, my flatmate Angela and I took a brief break from studying to act like 5 year-olds and wave sparklers around outside.It's all about the little things.

Monday, 29 October 2012

rockpools and vitamin D

Last weekend I went home for my mum's birthday and a big family dinner at my Gran's. I was in sore need of a break from St Andrews: love it as I do, the frequency of these blog posts should give an idea of how busy it is at the moment. Sometimes the things you love (seeing your friends everywhere, being able to walk any place) turn into the things you hate and you just need to get out to avoid cabin fever!

The weather suddenly turned perfect and it was so good to wander around Gullane beach with my parents and soak up the last rays of warm sun this year. Peering into rock pools, looking at birds and receiving some very good advice was the perfect way to spend a Sunday morning. 

Friday, 19 October 2012

st andrews study break

Nothing better than a wander around Cathedral ruins for a Friday library break. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

sketching in the botanics

Right now I feel truly happy to be back in St Andrews as a fourth year. It's been insanely busy, but after three years of saying yes to everything (well, almost) and embracing new experiences, I finally feel like I kind of have my act together. This Sunday reminded me of so many reasons why I love St Andrews: where else could you walk ten minutes from the centre of town to beautiful a botanical garden filled with sun and an adorable local brass band? I've really enjoyed getting to know the ladies in the Art Society this year as Life Drawing Co-ordinator (yes, as with most things in St Andrews, the girls on the committee outnumber the boys 14:1...) We sketched, explored and soaked up the last rays of vitamin D we're likely to see until May. 

Sunday, 2 September 2012

sunday links

  1. Old men doing some unfathomable dancing.
  2. What happens when you try to be completely honest
  3. Disney and Dali get together. 
  4. 33 tips on living from a 33 year old. 
  5. These animals are all disappointed in you.

Monday, 27 August 2012


I'm enjoying the last few weeks of real summer and the remaining blooms in the garden. 

Monday, 20 August 2012

the 5 most adorable children on the internet

1. A 3 year-old explains the plot of Star Wars. 
2. A sneaky mom eats all her sons' Halloween candy. 
3. Jessica feels good about her day. 
4. Another serious 3-year old explains leprechauns.
5. 5 year-old wants a job before marriage. 

Sunday, 19 August 2012


Such dusky grandeur clothed the height
Where the huge castle holds its state
And all the steep slope down
Whose ridgy back heaves to the sky
Piled deep and massy, close and high,
Mine own romantic town!

At school the windows in my history classroom looked right out onto the crags and Edinburgh castle. My awesome teacher had pinned Walter Scott's poem above right next to it. That was the great thing about him, he was always setting up connections in our brains between history, poetry, theatre, art, so that eventually we'd come across a point in our own lives and go 'Ah. That's what he meant.' 

This week I started an internship at the European Parliament, right next to the Scottish Parliament building, and it struck me that the poem could be describing that landmark too. The building has been surrounded in controversy, partly because it exceeded its budget terribly, partly because many people just don't like it. 

Maybe it's having an architect for a father, but I love it. It seems to grow organically out of the volcanic rock of Arthur's Seat, utterly modern and yet somehow primordial at the same time. Isn't that just what a parliament should be? It eases itself into the landscape, so on sunny days the stone benches, nooks and crannies, grassy ledges and shallow pools are full of people relaxing and playing. It's both imposing and inviting, and that is no mean feat.