Walking As Therapy, R.E.M. and “Nightswimming”

Today, when I sat down to write my first post since turning over a new leaf (in terms of blogging), I discover WordPress has totally changed how we create content around here and I suspect it’s going to take a little while to get to grips with it all. Just as I was getting comfortable they go and change it, by adding a new piece of software called Gutenberg. Anyway, a great chance to test it out by putting together a bit of a picture post, which is what I had planned for today anyway.

One of the benefits of having been so stressed over the last few weeks is that I am probably fitter than I’ve been in years. We all know that exercise is a great stress buster, and rather than donning the lycra and heading to the gym (one of the most boring pastimes ever invented), I’ve taken to pounding the paths and pavements of my “hood”, and have now clocked up a serious amount of miles. Nothing easier when you find yourself with a spare half hour, than to grab a hat, a pair of gloves, a waterproof jacket and some comfortable shoes, then head out in whatever direction takes your fancy. A brolly can also come in handy and a pair of sunglasses to keep the wrinkles at bay, but not obligatory.

Some pictures below – If you look closely you will see a daytime moon.

There have been some beautiful sunny days around here of late and it’s been a privilege to take in the blue skies and autumn hues that surround us at this time of year. Another bonus is that I seem to have inspired a few friends to join me, so although I’m happy to go it alone, I often have company, which has been great. Putting one foot in front of the other – It’s not rocket science is it, but something that seems to be lost to so many of us nowadays and I used to be one of the worst culprits. We sit in front of computers all day, drive to work and to the shops, binge watch telly on our sofas and then go to bed, only to get up and do it all over again the next day.

Hat, gloves, jacket, shoes…

Hat, gloves, jacket, shoes…

Leave the Fitbits and all the gadgetry at home and just get out there and enjoy whatever there is to see. I don’t want to come across all smug and self-righteous here, but I think I’ve now seen the light, and if I don’t fit a couple of walks into a day, something feels all wrong. Talking of seeing the light, some of the best times to be out during autumn is in the evening, especially if you live on a hill as I do. It gets dark at around 5pm, after which you see all the lights across town; the lights in the offices where people are still working; and those that illuminate our highways and byways.

Still hard at work – Scottish Natural Heritage HQ
Down by the canal locks at night-time

Looking at the picture above, I am reminded of the song Nightswimming by the American alternative rock band R.E.M. It was released in 1993 as the fifth single from their album “Automatic for the People”. I don’t think the waters of the Caledonian Canal would be much fun to swim in at this time of year, but of course the waters of Athens, Georgia, where the band hail from, would have made night-time skinny dipping perfectly possible. This is where the inspiration for this song came from, I think, but those R.E.M. boys have a habit of making things up as they go along, so it could be about something totally different!

This is the second time something from that album has appeared on these pages in the last few months. Last time (link here) I included their 1992 single Man On The Moon as one of the featured songs for my “Moon Series”. It wasn’t really until “Automatic for the People” that I started to properly appreciate R.E.M., and other than the songs already mentioned, it also spawned the singles Everybody Hurts, Drive, The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonight and Find The River. Not quite a record at 6 singles in total, but very impressive nonetheless.

Nightswimming by R.E.M.:

So, “What’s It All About?”- I don’t know if any of my blogging buddies are having similar problems here on WordPress, but the times they are a-changin’ it seems and I think we’re all going to have to man up, and learn how to adapt to this new software. Typical, just as I crack how to use all the bells and whistles, the system changes (that was the story of my working life too). I have a feeling this post is going to resemble a dog’s dinner, but bear with me, I’ll get better.

(Oh and yes, I know that if I had a dog I would be out there pounding the pavement every day anyway, but I don’t, so it’s just never been part of my daily routine. The gerbils, hamsters and guinea pigs that have been part of our lives over the years were not what you would have called labour intensive – My mistake I now see!)

Until next time….

Nightswimming Lyrics
(Song by William Berry/Peter Buck/Mike Mills/Michael Stipe)

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
The photograph on the dashboard taken years ago,
turned around backwards so the windshield shows.
Every street light reveals a picture in reverse
Still it’s so much clearer
I forgot my shirt at the water’s edge
The moon is low tonight

Nightswimming deserves a quiet night
I’m not sure all these people understand
It’s not like years ago
The fear of getting caught
The recklessness in water
They cannot see me naked
These things they go away
Replaced by every day

remembering that night
September’s coming soon
I’m pining for the moon
And what if there were two
Side by side in orbit around the fairest sun?
The bright tide forever drawn
Could not describe nightswimming

You, I thought I knew you
You, I cannot judge
You, I thought you knew me
This one laughing quietly
Underneath my breath

The photograph reflects
Every street light a reminder
Deserves a quiet night
Deserves a quiet night

Author: Alyson

Whenever I hear an old song on the radio, I am immediately transported back to those days. I know I'm not alone here and want to record those memories for myself and for the people in them. 57 years ago the song "Alfie" was written by my favourite songwriting team, Bacharach and David. The opening line to that song was, "What's it all about?" and I'm hoping by writing this blog, I might find the answer to that question.

15 thoughts on “Walking As Therapy, R.E.M. and “Nightswimming””

  1. So far I’ve been able to write as I always have in WordPress software. I open up WP Admin, and all in there looks the same as always to me.
    I guess that you write via a different part of the WordPress setup?
    Is your site self-administered? Mine isn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope it continues to work for you – I have come to realise that depending on when you signed up to WP, you may end up doing things differently, and I think you’ve been blogging for longer than myself. I tried to use the “classic editor” but as I was warned the formatting went all haywire with no paragraph breaks, so had to use the new software. It will take a little while to get used to it, but I’ll get there in the end – The above looks quite similar to what I usually do but it took and awful lot of cutting and pasting from Word to get it that way. Should have taken an hour or two but ended up taking about five hours!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hey Allison,

    (Not a blogger here 😉 (Well, many years ago I was…, -see web-site, it’s in Dutch-)

    I read your Jukebox-blog for some months now, and let me first tell you that I like your style of writing very much…
    More importantly: thanks for being very inspiring to me…
    Wish you all the best of luck.

    Hope to introduce myself to you in ‘a letter’ of sorts later… But for now: amazing how recognisable some of your experiences are…, and so much fun that you choose music of ‘our’ past to accompany those… We’re about the same age, and especially the ‘old pop music’ resonates with me too, in ways we’ll never really will understand. But it’s fun!!

    Keep up the walking!

    Tara (as in: “Have a good day”…) , Anton.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by Anton – Good to hear you’ve been enjoying what I do around here. It’s all been a bit serious of late but I hope to get back to what this blog was always meant to be about, reminiscing about the music I’ve enjoyed over the years and finding out so much more about the song, and the artist, than was ever possible back in the day.

      As for the walking, yes I fully intend to keep it up – Have a good day yourself.


  3. It’s all looking good from here, Alyson, I can’t tell any difference. It’s a pain though when things get changed beyond our control and we have to keep adapting and sometimes I don’t know what the point of it all is meant to be except that there’s this compulsion to ‘update’ all the time purely for its own sake, it seems. I’ve found recently more and more sites just relying on icons only for you to navigate by and if you don’t know/remember what they represent it just looks like some alien language (but one we all have to learn!) I realise I am probably sounding very old….
    Really impressed by the frequency of your walking! I remember we talked about this in the past as I think neither of us felt we were doing enough of it at that time. I’m still in the same boat, I’m afraid, and several days can slip by before I even set foot outside the house, although if you count going up and down the garden several times a day I at least get some fresh air that way. Just not enough exercise, which I must make time for. The photos are lovely… fab colours.
    I’ve never swum at night. If only I had a private pool…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi C – Good that you can’t tell the difference but this post was not easy to put together I can assure you. I tried to move back to the “classic editor” but as I was warned all the formatting went haywire so had to copy to Word and then move it back block by block to the new content editor. Yes, I’ve noticed that so much is done by clicking icons nowadays but like you don’t always know what they represent. DD and her friends seem to navigate this world with no effort at all but I get set in my ways and then feel upset when we have to relearn how to do things. (When I worked in Finance, roughly every 5 years a new system would come along and it really didn’t matter how good an accountant you were, the people with all the power were the ones who had access to/quickly adapted to, all the new tricks, passwords, bells and whistles, but, I suppose that’s the world we live in nowadays.)

      It has been a blessing that we’ve had really nice weather around here of late as the walking has kept me sane I think. So easy to not bother but I’m feeling so much better because of it and as I say, no excuse really, as all you need is 4 items of clothing and a spare half hour/hour. The night-time walks have been great although hard to get decent pictures on my phone – Will be borrowing shots from my friend with the fancy camera again I think. Only ever done some “night swimming” on holiday in Greece but early evening really, not night, as it gets dark earlier the further south you go. Very special though but not to be done under the influence, or could be a tad dangerous. Yes indeed – If only we had private pools….


  4. I particularly like the bridge. And daytime moons are something else, aren’t they?

    Not for the first time am I amazed that you can sit down and spend five whole hours on a single post – my hat is well and truly taken off! I really must stop writing from the hip and take this whole blogging thing a bit more seriously!

    You live in a fabulous part of the world Alyson. Keep sane. Keep happy. Always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I just added the photo of the little bridge today actually but we head across it often as it takes us onto The Islands, a lovely park area set in the middle of the River Ness.

      The 5 hours this time was because I was beset by technical difficulties, shouldn’t have taken that long at all. My American Odyssey posts however could take a whole weekend to write (which is why they are on hiatus at the moment). But, the short and snappy posts are perfect for your kind of blogging so no need to change anything at all. I wish I could master the art of brevity. Still remembering about the 100 word challenge by the way so should be doing something about that soon!


  5. Lovely photos. I miss walking. Used to be a serious walker: 45 minutes (at least) a night, plus much longer walks on the weekends. Then life intervened. Not as fit as I used to be, and I recognise the vicious circle of feeling too tired all the time, which I probably wouldn’t if I pushed myself. Got to get back into it, but time…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can only do it because I’m not heading to work at the moment (although that might change in the new year) but been great therapy during this stressful time.

      You will no doubt find the time again in the future and of course if we all gave up blogging that would free up time too! Not going to happen though is it as blogging is a kind of therapy too (and we’d all miss Saturday Snapshots too much).


  6. “Night Swimming” is one of my favourite songs: perfect music, perfect lyrics. I’m not a big fan of R.E.M., but there good stuff is really good. Songs like “South Central Rain” are wonderful.

    I have a few of their albums. The first I bought was Fables of the Reconstruction, still pretty new when I bought it in 1986, soon after I had bought my CD player (which I am still using today). There is a song called “Kohoutek”, named after the comet. The comet, like most, is named after its discoverer (most discoverers of comets discovered them by accident and work mainly on other things; the most famous comet hunter is Charles Messier and he is famous for a catalogue of non-coment objects (which he made so that he wouldn’t confuse them with comets)), Lubos Kohoutek. A few years later, I came to know him when I was working at the Hamburg Observatory, where he had been since the early 1970s (and is still there today). He has a brother who is a musician, so there is another connection to this blog. (There is also an instrumental by Journey called “Kohoutek”.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for dropping by with all this great info. I’ve been fascinated by the moon this last year but so much else out there, like comets.

      Impressed you still have your ‘86 CD player – I wish I did as nothing around here nowadays to play such discs. Maybe I’ll ask Santa for a retro one!


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