Curse of the Phoenix

Day 49

I’d really meant to write those words! But first…

… I had to catch the bus to Edinburgh. Rhiannon and I were the only ones on board without silver hair. But we’ve always thought like silver-haired people: get to town early and beat the crowds.

… then we needed breakfast. We went to our old neighbourhood from the backpacking days. The deli where we’d discovered Cream O Galloway ice cream had turned into a Sainsburys. The Wok 2000 takeaway was gone, which is a shame because instead of sounding outdated as it had in 2003, it’d be retrotastic now.

There were swanky new cafés. We chose one with muted colours, rustic tables, rich coffee and hip artwork. But the whole effect was wrecked by the menu board. It was grey and Vistaprinty with a rubbish sans-serif font. It did not belong with artisan coffee and sourdough toast. It would be better suited to a more mayonnaisey establishment. After all that effort with the decor, the menu board seemed vommed up at the last minute. Who let that happen?! It totally put me arf my eggs.

“You know,” my sister interrupted my thoughts, “That font is ruining the whole thing.”


United by font disappointment, we marched on.

The sky was clear but it was cold, with gale-force winds. I’d come out without a jacket in a moment of recklessness and had persuaded Rhi to do the same. After a couple of weeks in Australia, you forget that blue sky doesn’t necessarily mean pleasantness, but the whiplash from you scarf soon reminds you.

… then we had to buy some cheese. I was too intimidated to go inside the cheese shop when I found it ten years earlier, but now I was inspired by the shirtless young man. He was sitting out on the window ledge of his first floor flat, strumming a guitar and gazing soulfully up at the sky as though he was somewhere hip and gritty, like a New York summer. The effect wasn’t quite as cool as he was above a granny-filled tea shop, but he reminded me that you need to take risks, even if you might look like a bit of a knob.

“Do you know what you want?” the cheese man asked witheringly, as we froze before the various wheels and wedges.

Hey! I wanted to say, Don’t look at us like that. I wrote a crappy article for our work magazine about French cheese so I recognise at least two of these things. But I just said, “Nothing too stinky?”.

… then we had to go home and eat the cheese, while catching up on three episodes of Paul Hollywood’s Bread. He’s quite mesmerising with those big forearms and twinkly blue eyes and won’t-suffer-fools manner. And when he kneads that dough he really gets his back into it doesn’t he? Crikey.

… then we had to go for a walk.

… then we had to Skype chat with the Mothership.

“Hi!” she said. “But your generation doesn’t say hi, do they? It’s yo. I read it in the paper. So… yo!

… then BBC Four had three random music documentaries back to back: Bananarama, The Smiths and REM. I can’t resist random music documentaries. Whatever the genre, you always come away with a new appreciation of the artist. Turns out there was a Bananarama Greatest Hits-shaped hole in my life.

… then suddenly it was 2AM. It was only as I headed up to bed I remembered that I’d forgotten to write the morning pages.

My 750words streak! I broke it again!

On Day 49, AGAIN!

That bloody Phoenix Badge is further away than ever.

Update: I’ve now got it back up to 14 days but I still feel like this inside:

Phoenix rage

About Shauna Reid

Ahoy there! I’m Shauna, an author, copywriter and content mentor. I love telling stories about life and helping others to tell theirs.

Find out more about me and how we can work together – I’m now booking for October 2021.

12 thoughts on “Curse of the Phoenix

  1. That sounds like an utterly delightful day. 🙂
    So brave of you to go where you feared to tread years ago!

    And you’ll get that Phoenix badge next time, Gadget!

  2. A salon here changed their name from Nails 2000 to Nails 3000. I am in awe of their mani/pedi optimism (and that of their future descendants, the French-tip Millennials).

  3. I just started on 750 words after the last post you wrote about it, and I’m loving it. Apparently there was a book in my head waiting to get out, and it’s fantastic seeing it come out of my fingers. I didn’t even know it was there. SO thank you, even if that Phoenix is eluding you.

    (I’m also saving pennies for a fitbit which is completely your influence. I cannae wait. Although I’m getting the new waterproof one because I don’t want to have a traumatic drowning incident.)

    1. Ooh… what else can I brainwash you into doing!?

      So chuffed to hear you are writing a book! POW! Good on ya Lizz 🙂

  4. I got my first turkey badge this morning. Now I understand the lure of the badges!

    I’ll race you to our first Phoenix badges! 😉

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