Monday, 28 June 2010


What fun it is to see the garden through the eyes of Little People! Wee Alastair (2 1/4 years) is fascinated with things that fly and crawl in the garden. He is often seen peering into the bushes (when his is not shredding them) and shouting "spider"! It could be an ant, a dragonfly, a moth or ... yes, even a spider. He likes to watch them scurry about their business. Well, it keeps him out of mischief for a whole 2 minutes!

When I arrived at the house yesterday he came running up the steps to greet Iain and I "Grandma .....Grandpa". Before he got to the top, he stopped and pointed shouting "Butterpillar"!

I didn't actually see the creepy crawly because (1) I was laughing so hard and (2) it was hidden to me.

I just love the word "Butterpillar"! Now just because we have never seen one doesn't mean to say it doesn't exist. Therefore to help things along I conjured up a picture of what one might look like. I got the images off Wikipedia* which was easy (and a wonderful diversion).

I have given this new species Alastair's name. If it catches on it might go some way to providing a counter-weight to the other names that he is sometimes called by all of us ... "Alastair Here Comes Trouble" and "Alastair You've Ruined It"!

* Butterfly: Wikipedia; Papilio demodocus (Citrus Swallotail). Pictured in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Muhammad Mahdi Karim, January 2009

* Catepillar: Wikipedia; Papilio machaon [Schwalbenschwanz (Raupe)] Photo taken by Eric Steinert at Paussac, France, August 2005.

Sunday, 27 June 2010


Frank Delany has started something new. He going to read James Joyce's Ulysses here on his website. He is a well-known author, broadcaster, judge of literary prizes and so on. Like so many Irish I know, he clearly loves words!

In the past he has had (among many other things) his own one-man show on Joyce in London called ReJoyce.

So now he has started this marathon exercise: once a week for about 15 minutes he presents Ulysses. It is like an English Lit. class, i.e. while he reads - from the very beginning - he highlights aspects of the work hence giving insight into the way Joyce uses words. Great stuff! I love it!

It has only just started and looks like it could go on for years! That's OK by me ... as always, the joy is in the journey!

Photo: Wikipedia
Poster: Wikipedia

Monday, 21 June 2010


Just feast your eyes on this wonderful photograph! John took this early morning shot while sailing to St Kilda last week. This is a real "Wow" picture as far as I am concerned!

This is the original photo but at 72 res. for the web. I thought I would play around with it and do some arty stuff. So here is what I came up with.

There are a million ways to 'doctor' photos and this one is putting a glow filter on. Let's see, I think it would be a good piece of artwork for a jewellery advert.

Similar to above using a duck-egg blue colour... I can see this on one whole wall say in a clinic for chilling out or maybe an airport boarding lounge?

And this one is using a 'texture' filter. Would be good as a card, I reckon.

Sunday, 20 June 2010


These days my views are mostly of builder's bums. The roof tiles are all off, the basic materials for the new tiles are in place. Soon we will be over the worst of the mess (at least outside the house).

When Maggie and Brian arrived for a meal Maggie declared, as she stepped over the rubble and mess at the front door, "Looks like Beruit!" She's right; it does!

As a salute to our team of Irish roofers I came across the following video

HERE [click on this to view]

which is a song by the Dubliners about a building site. It's called the Sick Note Song but is also known as The Bricklayer's Song. This video is of the Dubliners but it has been copied many times!

Friday, 18 June 2010


I'm playing a game today where a letter has been randomly chosen for me here on this website. The idea is that I list 5 pieces of music that start with my allocated letter. It is "M".

So here is my list below. They are links to a video. Double click on the title and it takes you to the video site.

YouTube - Music For A Found Harmonium

YouTube - Dusty Springfield - Messing About On The River

The Muppet Show Theme Song Intro - GUBA Video

YouTube - Kingston Trio - M. T. A.

YouTube - Celtic Woman - My Lagan Love

Thursday, 17 June 2010


A 7 am knock on the door certainly sharpens the mind! Davie the Builder arrived this morning with this (on the street outside the house).

Now we live in a quiet suburban street ... but hey ... it is a lovely morning (again!) and there's a job to be done! (Disregard the white camper van in the driveway. It is Alastair C's. He is heading off this morning. Phew! Just in time as Davie needs to reverse that trailer into the space. This is so the roofers can fling the roof tiles into it.)

Yes, you may ask, why not just hire a skip (dumpster to Americans) for the job? May I remind you this is Scotland (a) everyone ... read "men" ... have deep pockets and (b) why do something straightforward when a more interesting alternative is available?!

Now I want to talk about art. See that tractor? See that trailer? If ever there was a case for Pure Art it is the site of a lad i.e. Davie, reversing a trailer into a tight space!

You should have seen the 3 of us (Alastair C., Iain and I standing on the porch in awe as he deftly swung it into the driveway!)

It's now 7:15 am. The street hasn't stirred. For a fella whose probably been up since 5 am it is unhooking time and back to the farm to start his day job of building houses.

Thursday, 10 June 2010


Today marked the start of Stage 2 (b) namely, the builders cut a hole in the roof and started the construction of the dormer window. This will create a proper room in the loft area which is to be Iain's bedroom.

The pile of polystyrene on the drying green is going down steadily as the Polish lads place them bit by bit along the 4 sides of the house.

This shows the polystyrene sheets along the west and north sides. They are sitting on a metal mesh "ledge" which was secured in place and shown here as being propped up by wooden sticks. Ledges were placed in all the windows. They cover the old ledges.

Where the sheets had to be curved they have done it as shown here.

Friday, 4 June 2010


A job well done is a joy to see. And this what what a team of 3 Polish lads (who work for Graham, the Gaffer) produced when they had to plaster the lower sections of the front of our new (1960's) bungalow.

The brickwork in the front had previously been covered over with faux tiles. Iain removed them all, i.e. all those that had not come off with the frost.

These lads were taught their craft in Poland. The finish was so outstanding - smooth and perpendicular - it made me wonder if I was not looking at the legacy of workmanship/craftsmanship which has come down from the days of building great cathedrals, castles and towers.

When I asked them about the work they had been doing since they arrived from Poland it was not a happy story. They had been taken on building sites to work, given poor tools and materials, expected to produce good work with this and in a short time. Then they were not paid what was agreed or not paid until after a long delay.

It all resonated with me, I am afraid to say. However I ended our chat on a brighter note. I said to the one lad who was the main finisher-off man with the eye for clean line and beautiful workmanship. "Very good work!" "Oh, it is but a small job..." "Yes, but just think of when Michaelangelo* was asked to demonstrate his work. He took up his brush, stood back, and drew ... a perfect circle."

* Actually, it was Giotto .... Vasari in his Lives of the Artists relates that when a Pope sent a messenger to Giotto, asking him to send a drawing to demonstrate his skill, Giotto drew a perfect circle in red paint and instructed the messenger to send that to the Pope.

Wednesday, 2 June 2010


This photo is placed here by way of responding to a challenge on Stuck-in-a-Book's website here. He asked for photographic representations of one's taste in books.

Good Heavens! That is a really hard assignment! I like all sorts of books for all sorts of reasons! So in order to represent that I chose this photo of a rainbow.

The photo was taken by John Douglas in the Clyde Cruising Club in 2008. It is a view looking back at Castle Duart which is in Loch Duart on the mainland of the west coast of Scotland, opposite the Isle of Skye. (The castle often appears on tins of shortbread and chocolate boxes.)

So what is a rainbow if it is not a multi-coloured entity with a pot of gold at the end?!

This is the photo* of Rockal - away out west from Ireland in the Atlantic Ocean - that I decided not to submit. (If I had to choose one word to describe my taste in books it would be "way out"!)

* taken by Barrie Waugh, Zubenubi, Clyde Cruising Club