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One year ago in Indiana

Each of my trips to Indianapolis has been distinct in different ways. The first time I went out, to see the 100th Anniversary Indy 500 in 2011, it was all about soaking up as much of the speedway, its history and traditions as was possible in the time that I was there. Everything I experienced was new and, as such, I spent practically every minute of each day with Patrick guiding me through my rookie ‘500 weekend. I treated that week as if it was something I’d never get to do again, I was fixated on the details and I lived every moment as if I’d never again step off a plane in Indianapolis.

So, when I returned in 2012, I was more relaxed and spent a bit more socializing with Patrick’s family & friends and slightly less time picking over the cars and the race track. It was a great week that culminated in Dario Franchitti winning the race and me staying an extra day in Indianapolis due to a flight delay. As I sat on the porch of the hotel near the airport on that last night, drinking ale and talking to strangers, I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to write about my 2012 Indy escapade in detail after the event because I felt it had been all about living in the moment and enjoying it.

Hooked entirely on the experience, I headed back to Indianapolis in 2013 and again wanted to spend the greater balance of my time catching up with the family and friends. Of course, the track and the race are still the focal points and that’s as it should be if I’m going to fly 4000 miles to be there. But the thing is, the track and the race aren’t going anywhere and I could come back another 50 times and there’ll be a race on Memorial Day Weekend the way there has been for the last 100 years.

However, I might not always get the chance to spend quality time with the people who’ve given me such a warm welcome over the last couple of years that Indianapolis really does feel like a home from home for me now. It’s from the desire to capture those moments in a jar so I can look back at them in years to come that this late account has been put together.

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More serious Burns

Since 2010 I’ve been getting more involved in the Burns’ scene – performing the Address to the Haggis at various Burns’ Suppers. In early 2013 I attended one in London organised by Cousin Iain, where once again I did the Address to the Haggis. I pretty much nailed that one and was pleased with my performance – the same was true when I did it again at the Colgrain Bowling Club.

When I was done with the latter one I spoke with the lady who organises it and we both agreed that, after doing three in a row there, I’d done my bit and if I came back in 2014 I’d do something different. This was fine by me, as I’d done the Address to a Toothache at both the Helensburgh Bowling Club and the Clyde Bar Burns’ Suppers and quite enjoyed the new material.

However, in 2013, I did so many Burns events that I was struggling to maintain my enthusiasm as the season wore on. So I decided that, in 2014, I was going to attend and perform at far fewer events than had come to be the case.  I would attend the local Masonic lodge Burns Supper because I’ve done that every year since I’ve been back in Scotland, but my aim was quality over quantity.

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The lost year

Since I started “blogging” (it wasn’t called that yet when I first kept an online journal in the late 90’s), the frequency of my writing has ebbed and flowed. Some years I’ve written dozens of things and for some I’ve barely managed one each month. However, as 2013 rolled on I found I’d “lost my voice”. It wasn’t that I had nothing to share, it was that I just couldn’t seem to put the events into words and, as time went on, I thought I’d “challenge” myself to not write anything for a calender year to give myself time to find the motivation again.

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