Sunday, 30 June 2013


There is a regatta taking place on the Clyde starting now and carries on through next week.  It is a gathering of yachts that were built (roughly + or - 100 years ago) in the Clyde by Fife Boatbuilders based in Fairlie (adjacent to Largs).  The regatta is the Fife Regatta 2013.  Details are on their website  here.

It was held 5 years ago and I was able to get some stunning photos at that time.  They are on my blog of 5 years ago here.  (Five years ago!... Really?!)

Be that as it may, it headed off on the train (if you get my meaning...) to Largs somewhat late in the morning.  The first race around Cumbrae started at 11 am but I reckoned I would be able to catch the boats at the end or see them jeeling about on the water*.  There are 20 in the regatta and they had to go around the island twice.

Well I really mucked up as there was nothing ... well ... very little to be seen.  Yes, the weather was low cloud and muggy but not actually raining.  The boats that I did see in the distance were small Fifers, i.e. I was looking for the grand Classic Yachts with a crew of handsome sailors all in their whites.  (See previous photos of 5 years ago as referred to in the blog reference above.)

Largs, I am here to tell you, was absolutely packed with people.  The marina (a mile away) where the boats were all in for the day was virtually empty of people except for those on the racing yachts tidying sails and stuffing kit bags before they headed off to the shower room.

In Largs I asked in the cafe what was on as there were so many people! The train was packed; Ma, Pa and all the wains were out for the day at the seaside. It was all about "Largs Live" ... meaning pipe bands, jazz bands and a radio station all keeping the place jumping.

Yachts? Not part of this scene!

The one (and only) other group in evidence were the media: half a dozen empty RIBs (rigid inflatable boats), one with a green MEDIA flag, were tied up on the main pontoon.  CNN was there to make a film.  It is going out in August.


The blah photo I took above is Largs monument to the Battle of Largs against the wild Norsemen in 1263 and a Photoshops funky pink bird stilt walker from the seaside throng of folk who headed doon the watter for the day.

* Speaking of which ... when I went on to Google just now to see exactly how to spell "jeeling" (which means fiddling around or in Scotland they say "footering") I came across only one hit ... none other than John's title for a Flickr photo he took in Norway "Jeeling Aboot on the Water" here!  

Friday, 28 June 2013


It's Friday and time to down tools.  This afternoon Iain and I took Ishie (6) and Alastair (5) out to Mugdock Park for some Get Rid of Some Energy Time.  The place was looking its very best with kids' play facilities e.g. assault courses, activity park, and the paths and dog-walking areas all in good repair.

 It is high summer with all the trees and bushes in lush green and the little waterfall and burns all running well.

 Here's a wee monkey in a tree.

Grandpa and the 2 children in the woods beside the loch.

Monday, 24 June 2013


Indy, our little grandson in Vancouver,  is coming up for 2 years old now.  Born in August 2011 he has been treated for retinoblastoma in his left eye.  After his eye was removed at age 3  months he has been monitored closely by the hospital team in Vancouver.

Today Dawn posted on Facebook (on which I follow all the various activities of the branches of the extended family) that Indy had another examination under anaesthetic.  The medical people are looking for any further evidence of tumors in the other eye.  There was none.

It certainly is a credit to the people involved at Vancouver Women and Children's Hospital and also, of course, to Dawn and Alastair who have all the work and worry looking after this little fella!

These are 2 recent photos taken by Alastair. As Dawn says, as they have got this far, maybe they are through the worst of it?

And while we are on the subject of darling little 2 year olds .... here is a photo taken of Alastair at the same age.  His hair seems to be the same colour and more or less peach fuzz!

Wednesday, 12 June 2013


Alastair and Ishie have a new baby sister.  Born June 6, 2013 Harriet Barbara is John and Mairi's new beautiful daughter and our 4th grandchild.

John took this photo of the family when Harriet was one day old. She was born in the Southern General Hospital and this is her little cot at Mairi's bedside.


Kate D. knitted this Shetland shawl for Mairi's first-born and so it has been brought out of the cupboard for use again. 


Harriet in the doll's bed wrapped in Kate's shawl.  Weighing 8 lb 6 oz at birth she will soon be too big for the little doll's bed (which I got from someone in Maxholme Playgroup 35 years ago!) All the babes have had their photo taken in this little bed; that is for another post.


Time for tea and cupcakes.

Auntie Iseabail visiting on Sunday.  Alastair and Ishbel enjoying the gifts and attention.

Ishbel and her new little sister in the back garden on Sunday.

Time to wet the baby's head (at Maggie's in the back garden with friends.)


 It's pink for girls: Chapel Down English Sparkling Rosé Brut, Tenterden,
Kent, TN30 7NG, England. Purchased in Marks and Spencer.

Saturday, 8 June 2013


The long wait is over.  Mairi and John have a beautiful baby daughter - Harriet Barbara.  This is a little sister for Ishbel (aged 6 years) and Alastair (aged 5 years).

We are all thrilled with the new addition.  This is makes grandchild no. 4 for us.  (We have Indy in Vancouver who is coming up for 2 years old.)

She came 2 hours before midnight of her due date of June 7th.  Isn't Mother Nature wonderful that after 40 lunar weeks' gestation the baby enters the world right on time!

She is perfect in every way and looks exactly like brother Alastair when he was born.  Also she seems content, as indeed Alastair was. 

She is to be called  Harriet Barbara. Harriet is a family name on John's side and Barbara is my name, her maternal granny.  However it is also the name of my mother-in-law, Barbara MacLeod nee MacKenzie or familiarly known as Barbara Sergeant because everyone in Gairloch were MacKenzies and this was a name that was used because her father was a Sergeant in the Seaforths.  She was born 1900 and married Donald MacLeod, Achilitibuie. (They had 2 children Iseabail and Iain - Harriet's Grandpa.)

Monday, 3 June 2013


Thanks to the book blog Cornflower I have discovered a video performance of a piece of music that I am currently learning to play on the piano, the well known Bolero by Ravel.  Better known as an orchestral piece here is my copy (solo piano) below.


It is a Spanish publication with Spanish dynamic markings. [1]   The notation is consistent with other pieces by Ravel i.e. placement of notes on the staff is slightly idiosyncratic compared to what I am used to.

This is the video. It features the Labèque sisters, Katya and Mariella, and they are playing Ravel's own arrangement for 4 hands. *

Ravel drew on music of from his Basque background. In the sisters' performance of 4.41 minutes they have added 3 Basque percussionists, the trio Kalakan.  A stunning performance!

I got a real kick out of watching this video because while I have been working on Bolero I have also just been given (well ... loaned) another piece for 4 hands by Ravel called Ma Mère l'Oye or Mother Goose Suite. [2]  I had never heard of this piece and am having fun reading through it. 

But what I really love about it, and what made me laugh when watching this video, is that Ravel does the same trick at the end of the Bolero piece for 2 pianos above as he does in the much shorter and simpler Mother Goose Suite.

What he does is have the Primo player (top line) playing repeated glissandos, i.e. running the back of your fingers up, or down, over the keys in a great flourish and in this case, punctuating each beat with percussive stab.  Wheeee! Great fun!


[1] Bolero, Union Musical Ediciones S.L., Calle Marques de la Ensenada, 4, 28004, Madrid, 1994. ISBN 1-84449-809-3.

[2] Ma Mère l'Oye, edited by Weekley and Arganbright, Neil A Kjos Music Company, San Diego, California, 1985. ISBN 0-8497-5252-3.

* Details about this performance are on their website here.