Advent 2010 VIII: Imagination

Today’s photograph is not something particularly Icelandic: my iPod.


The reason for that is that I spent today cleaning windows. My last day here, and I literally cleaned windows for 6 hours. Inside and out. Yet even though my hands are dehydrated, raw and so numb I had to massage them for quite a while before they regained the ability to type, it was quite a pleasant day thanks to my iPod. If I could actually post a photograph of what I saw today it would involve extracting an image from my imagination and that’s not really possible.

First of all, I finished listening to Villette by Charlotte Bronte, which my friend Lola recommended to me months ago… and it has taken me months to finish it. The ending was bittersweet and suited the tone of the whole book. This morning I walked through pretty French town houses and gazed at elaborate religious ceremonies celebrated in the traditional French Catholic style.

Then I moved on to – I won’t lie – my preferred aural digest. The BBC produces many wonderful programmes, the least of which is not The Infinite Monkey Cage, where celebrity physicists and mathematicians-turned-stand-up-comedians battle wittily and thought-provokingly about the purpose of philosophy, the meaning of ‘modernity’ and the development of probability.

I finished the day with a good old slice of Stephen Fry’s boundless glory, which is how I plan to continue the evening. I’m going to babysit Magnus at 7, but I will convince him to sleep and then watch part two of his (Stephen Fry’s, not Magnus’s) very personal The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive. I spent half of part one marvelling at how much mania sounds like traditional madness, and how foreign and frightening it sounds… and the other half nodding in rapturous delight at hearing an iconic figure describe some of my most personal anxieties.

Eugh, can you tell that his style of speech is rubbing off on me? Well, I’ve just spent over half an hour being told that language is an art form intrinsic to all of us and yet one often laid aside in favour of a harp or a paintbrush. So I took up my linguistic easel, and tried to paint you an image of my day.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Fröhliche Weihnachten & Gleðileg Jol!



  1. Hi just curious, are you watching The Secret Life of a Manic Depressive online somewhere? I missed it when it was on TV and have been kicking myself ever since!


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