Sunday, 30 December 2007


Lines from the poem Rannoch Moor Incantation by Alexander Hutchinson

... the face of Rannoch Moor in its remoteness

... cloud-banks that range across the sky

... the cold clear air

... the first light of the waking of the day

Acknowledgment: John A's Highland Images continued from Rannoch Moor 1

Thursday, 27 December 2007


Two weeks ago John was away to Loch Rannoch in central Scotland. With his good eye and his good camera he came back with these shots. Beautiful, just beautiful!

A.E. Housman wrote "A Shropshire Lad".... While it was England he had in mind these images of his northern neighbour seem apt ....

Into my heart an air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.

Wednesday, 26 December 2007


A wee person at the end of a busy day ... and not the best photo but this is definitely her colour.

A poinsettia brought by Marjiukka is temporarily on the doorstep in the always-to-be-relied-upon rain. Why I grew up always calling it 'pointsetta' I do not know!

Shoals of cards arrive and are received with great joy. At last there is time to sit down with pen and ink to read and respond.

The cards this year, as always drawn by Peter, feature the Faroes for the setting. We stopped to assess how many years we have been producing our own – thirteen! Amazing! Time to think about producing a book perhaps including each year's sailing log (if we have them all).

Monday, 24 December 2007


We are very well served by our postman (and woman). If ever there is a problem it invariably lies with the sender, i.e. wrong address or incorrect postage. Santa's helper, in the form of Angus arrives with Amazon packages, both my own order plus family orders to our address.

Below is a big Amazon box with Wish List fulfillment as delivered by courier.

There is a whole economy of these vans running around the country: TNT, DHL, Parcel Force, FedEx. Anytime of day or night they are scooshing along the motorway, clogging up the side streets of the west end, parked on double yellow lines, stopped outside shop entrances ... doing what they're doing.

Nigella has arrived. As a scone baker of some renown – a batch coming out of the oven as the box arrives – I am living in hope that I can start working on my image as some kind of Live-in-Hope Domestic Goddess! As they say, nobody can take away your fantasies!

Flowers from the music group, wine from Angela and the last of the 'messages' in the porch with Glenda's Lady Gardener and Mr Seal from Loch Ranza.

Sunday, 23 December 2007


A house in the neighbourhood at 4:30 pm December 22nd. As I was walking home the full moon came out from behind the clouds.

Glasgow Cathedral, ast Saturday at 7:00pm, on the way to the Carol Concert.

The area in front of the west door of the Cathedral with David Livingstone looking on.

Saturday, 22 December 2007


Two snowball candles, a present from Inger. My mother's 1940s vase with rosemary snipped from the bush at the back door – still happily thriving in our west coast climate.

The wonders of Photoshop "cut-out" filter:

A driech day ... time to put the fire on, put my feet up with a dram "Here's to the return of the sun!"

Thursday, 20 December 2007


Of the many Glasgow words that I just love, my favourite is: "swally"! I first came across this, years ago, when Tony in the BSRU workshop said to me on the Friday afternoon before the Christmas break, "You'll be joining us for a Christmas swally!" "A what?" "A swally ... a drink!"

So nothing for it, but time to have the neighbours 'round for a swally. All very pleasant; I explained that it would be nothing fancy, just putting our feet up in front of the fire with a bottle of the good stuff. Normally I'd go for a dram, but we had 2 bottles of Montana Chardonnay Pino Noir Brut CuvĂ©e– sparkling wine from New Zealand – left over from our 40th anniversary party. Once chilled in the cooler (i.e. porch in temperatures just above freezing) it was the perfect drink for the occasion.

Wednesday, 12 December 2007


The 'Vital Spark' puffer is in Bowling Basin this week. Normally berthed in Inverarry, she's down in the Clyde to mark the 150th anniversary of the construction of the first puffer.

Formerly called 'VIC 72' she was built in 1944 at Hull. She is one of the last VIC class puffers built to have a loadline certificate to carry cargo and is powered by diesel engine.

VIC stands for Victualing Inshore Craft.

The puffers were designed to negotiate the Crinan Canal and their max length could not exceed 67 ft.

'Eilean Easdeal' was the name given to her by the Easdale Shipping Company who used her commercially on the west coast. She was re-registered in 2006 as the 'Vital Spark' after the puffer in the stories written by the Inveraray writer Neil Munro who wrote about 'Para Handy', skipper of the 'Vital Spark'.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007


Our lovely black Victorian upright piano has now been tuned. The name carved on the underside of the upturned lid in the centre below the hinged music shelf says "Steinberg". On the same surfact located on the left there is a decal stating that the agent is "James Chalmers, 11 Newton Terrace, Glasgow West". The stamped number inside left of the cast iron frame is 19586. And that is all the information known. (Nothing found on the internet - yet.)

Bought in the early 1970s in MacTear's Saleroom, off St Vincent Street, Glasgow, it sits in the dining/family room against the west wall.

Quite hidden on the inside are the lovely painted flowers motifs on the gold painted metal part of the frame.

Norman Curie who tunes the piano has many wonderful stories of his life as a piano tuner. He started as an apprentice (over 50 years ago) in his mid-teens in Glasgow and is still working at the same job.

Hopefully, with a bit more effort some light can be shed on the age and make of this regularly played instrument.

Sunday, 2 December 2007


John has been in the Alps in southern Germany (Karwendal) enjoying blue skies and sunshine! I chose 3 pictures from his collection here.