Wednesday, 29 June 2011


We have been away in the south of England. The weather was hot and rather on the muggy side while we visited a friend in Walton-on-Thames west of London. It was wonderful and ... the roses were out!

No matter if they are in parks, manor houses, cottages or roadsides, they are a feast for the senses at this time of year.

These shots were taken on my iPhone. I continue to be impressed with the sophistication of this splendid technology!

But best of all when we returned home I put my feet up in front of the TV for ... no, not the tennis which everyone else is watching ... but a BBC program Perfume. It is on iPlayer here and I think runs for 30 days.

Yes, it was about perfume and how a new line is brought out, say, in time for the Christmas market. But to me it was all about how to establish a brand and that it happened to be perfume was secondary as far as I was concerned. It's big business and this program covered both a French house and an American one comparing their approach to this task.

As far as selling perfume goes, it is the bottle that people go for first, the label or brand second and the actual fragrance third. I believe it. Hence the importance of the image and the advertising. There are more programs to follow.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


Tis midsummer and the calendar turns to the second half of the year. We are both well and busy. Having not planned any holiday either on the boat (still out of the water to have repairs done to hull and keel after crunching on a rock off Islay) or in a tent the really dreich weather of the last 2 months has not given us any great disappointments.

Ishie (now 4 1/2 years) and Alastiar (3 1/2 years) have been EasyJet-ing it to France with Mum & Dad plus friends with children of the same age. Here they are in Carcassonne market square.

An engineer in the making?

Alastair and Dawn's pet stuffed pig is poking his nose into the new pushchair that sits in the hall. I think that pig is going to have that nose put severely out of joint when the new baby arrives in August!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011


This morning the rain actually stopped long enough to enable me to take the camera out to the garden. Although the sun was not shining some flowers and seedlings were ... well, not actually sparkling ... let's say 'shimmering' (or should that be 'shivering'?) in their watery coats!

This pansey has raindrops in all sizes.

A necklace of drops on the leek seedlings.

Multi-sized raindrops on serrated geranium leaves

This is an edelwiess that I planted after we returned from Germany (plant bought locally). Its fleshy leaves would appear to help with its waterproofing.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


John took this beautiful photos while on holiday in southern France. I think it is stunning!

It reminded me of this very famous painting - below - by Claude Monet. (For years it hung in a Habitat frame on the wall above my ironing board.)

Monet's Poppies, Near Argenteuil

Monet showed this picture at the first Impressionist exhibition, held in 1874. This is his wife, Camille, and son, Jean in a field of poppies. I notice 2 others at the top of the slope but don't know who they are. Argenteuil is, today, a suburb on the north-west side of Paris.

* * * * * * *

Today is the Summer Solstice; it has rained all day long and as I write this at 9 pm it is ... still raining!

Saturday, 18 June 2011


Every country has its colours. John and Mairi are back from holiday in France and I have taken the liberty of posting some of John's wonderful photos. I chose the photos because of the colours. Here are the earthy ones.

To work with these colours, I have finally figured out (with the help of Alastair at the end of the phone line) to go into the Color Picker in Photoshop and identify the RGB colour number in the box at centre bottom of the menu. Then by using this program called Colour Designer here I can fill in the RGB number in the box at the bottom. Hey presto! The complement, triad etc colours can then be selected and shown in the colour palatte. Ah ... technology ... what would Leonardo make of all of this?!

Thursday, 16 June 2011


If you like that sort of thing that is the sort of thing you like ... if you get what I mean. I have been following Frank Delaney's podcasts on James Joyce book, Ulysses. They are what might be described as a 5 minute English Lit lecture and I just love them. He has now done 52 of them.

Today, he states here that June 16th is two things: the date that the main character in Ulysses started his narrative and the first anniversary of his podcasts on said book. It also marks the end of ... Chapter 1!!! A whole year to discuss one Chapter? Yes! And that was glossing over a lot of stuff which he did not develop. The material covers history, literature, drama, philosophy, poetry, theology, politics (Irish and British), the theatre etc etc ... "a cornucopia of detail, much of it hidden beneath the surface".

I reckon it is probably the only way I will ever "read" Joyce. That being said, give me more!

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Bill, aka Professor Sir William, was over today and stayed for lunch after he and Iain had a walk to the Whangie.

We got talking about the use of metaphors in our language. They are good and useful tools of language to describe things but I find they are used a lot in the media and also in science where they are presented as fact.

My particular example was the use of Big Bang for the theory of how the universe started. It was neither big nor a bang .... at which point Bill pipes up: "Ah, of course! It was my old professor - Professor Fred Hoyle - at Cambridge (who lectured in Bill's class for Applied Mathematics) who first coined the phrase." Furthermore, Bill explained, that the phrase came about because he was of the opposite opinion and referred to the idea to which he was in opposition as their "Big Bang" theory.

Indeed, I see from googling there is this video here of an interview with him. It is just what Bill was talking about. I cannot get the video to embed in this blog but going over to youtube is perfectly OK.

Saturday, 11 June 2011


It turned out to be another long day working in the garden. Iain spent the day with Duncan as they prepared the hard-standing in front of the house for its final brick and surface work. Then they worked on other bits and pieces as the weather permitted.

The day started beautifully clear. By that I mean at 6 am there was a clear blue sky. The few flowers that are flourishing had a halo of back light in the early morning so I got the camera out to catch the moment. This is an Oriental Poppy which has what can only be described as "weather-beaten"!

These are Welsh Poppies and seed themselves everywhere. I have decided to try and grow a couple of different varieties of poppy from seed as they seem to thrive in this climate.

We had morning coffee with Iftie and Duncan; it was our first use of the sit-oottery. By midday the rain was back. (Because I am planting out other seedlings I am not minding the arrival of more wet weather.)

Also, on inspection I have found, to my surprise, that the bay tree I thought I had lost due to frost is starting to send out shoots from the base. I cut all the dead stuff off a few months ago but decided not to pull it out just in case ...!

Friday, 10 June 2011


The days are really long now as we approach the Summer Solstice. This evening I had the rare opportunity to admire the changing colours of the evening sky. This is my view out of the window next to my desk (with the computer). I grabbed the camera for a photo and then looked at my watch - it was 10 pm!!

The scene was doubly welcome as we have had precious few good days the last 6 weeks! The rain stopped today ... for a whole day! (No wonder we talk so much about the weather; we simply get so much of it!)

This is what it has been like since early May. We bought this gazebo in order to get on with the garden work of laying the slabs. It turned out to be a Really Smart Move. I reckon it's there to stay!

We have both been working really hard in the garden this week but the good news is that we feel we are finally on the home stretch. We keep thinking about the days when we can sit out in a lawn chair with our feet up and pile of books to be read!

(The boat is still on the hard at Lagavulin - no progress in that department as yet.)

Monday, 6 June 2011


At the weekend we helped Brian and Maggie with a boat delivery job. They had to move their boat from Loch Aline down to Oban because she was damaged in the gales of 2 weeks ago. Brian attends to the work of it and it will now be much easier to get things done as he can get to Oban by public transport. Maggie took off booze and glasses which had been thrown around the cabin when the hurricane gusts hit them causing the mooring rope to break and set them adrift down the loch.

The drive north was pleasant though the weather went from being cloudy to positively driech by the time we were loading the car to return to Glasgow. However we visited some of our old watering holes and some new ones during the day.

This painting ... well, a print of it ... was for sale in one of the tea rooms en route. It is by Georgina McMaster, a Scottish artist I did not know. This is her website here. I really like the print; it made me laugh! I reckon a caption might be: "If you think you've got problems about the driech weather, just remember I'm out in that stuff all year long!"