Tuesday, 27 June 2017


It's mid-summer.  The skies are grey but there is colour if you go looking for it.
Harriet and Ellie help to make a Spiderman chocolate cake ... Smarties being a dominant feature.

Raindrops on roses

 Wedgewood Bizarre Clarice Cliff plaates in local Oxfam shop.

 Wooden spoons in Provand's Lordship, Glasgow.

 Anne's Orchid found in the garden ... Lesser Butterfly Orchid? 

VW at local vintage car show

Thursday, 22 June 2017


Oskar Wilhelm Fischinger was a German-American abstract animator, filmmaker, and painter, notable for creating abstract musical animation many decades before the appearance of computer graphics and music videos.

I know this because Google has done a Doodle:

I clicked on it and made my own which is this:


Amazing! I love it!  It's really a 'riff'.

I will call it Flutterings ...  after the pigeons in George Square last week.

 Fischinger image Wikipedia.

Saturday, 17 June 2017


I was in the city centre of Glasgow today.  Absolutely buzzing!

Glasgow Art School's Final Year Show is on.  Here are some eye-catching textile dispalys; names to watch out for.

 Poppy Tuckley
 Katie Connell
Becky Moore

 A sculpture made of reeds.  It's a high heeled shoe... quite clever!

George Square had this crane hoisting a table full of folk.  People were queuing to be seated around the 22 seated 'bar' and were being served something fizzy in tall glasses.  Then once strapped in the whole 'table' was hoisted 100 feet into the air.

Well ... whatever turns you on....

 Apparently it's a pop-up restaurant:

"THE HIGH LIFE Sky restaurant ... is set to welcome first diners this weekend – Punters will be fastened into their seats as they hover above the city while enjoying a selection from some top restaurants." [ Sun newspaper].

The Victorian statues in George Square are oblivious of the sky hoist event...

Clive of India must be turning in his grave

Sunday, 11 June 2017


Cherries (really, any of the soft fruits) can sometimes gives me a problem in my old age living in the UK.  It comes  from growing up on what they call in Britain a "fruit farm'.  We had an orchard.  We grew apples and cherries (in the North Okanagan, British Columbia. It was too far north for peaches, apricots and pears but they were a-plenty in season.)

These seaonsal thoughts come about because I had a recent conversation where I was being 'enlightened' about cherries. I thought to myself "D'ya know... I could write a book about cherries!" 

In fact, it reminds me of  Isak Dinesen aka Karen Blizen's book Out of Africa where her opening line is:

"I had a farm in Africa..."

Yes, I would start the book

"We had an orchard." 

Maybe I should stick to painting ... like this one:  

However here is my treat to myself today:

The first of the season's cherries 'Giant Prime',  very fresh, which came from Spain (don't think about the air miles!). They are not Okanagan, but never mind ...  plus some roses from the garden and a glass of wine courtesy of Mairi.

And here is one of my favourite old photos (early 1970s).  It is our cherry stand on the Trans-Canada Highway. Plywood sides, cardboard containers holding 25 cents a pound fruit and wee new baby Kim in the weighing scales next to the area where we washed and patted dry the cherries before filling each box on the scales.   Would those be my mother's roses in the lower right triangle shape in the photo?  (People used to remark on those roses as much as the fruit, as I recall!)

Happy Days!

Saturday, 10 June 2017


The end of an eventful week. The election is over and we can all get back to normal... whatever that means.

Time to look on the bright side ... which means getting a laugh from the wee ones. i.e. the 2 Munchkins.
Harriet (4) and Ellie (2) were here this week for a few hours.  They are quite close and will stand up for each other if scolded by me.   They made me laugh:

Harriet must have been trying to get Ellie to do something without a lot of success and was getting exasperated:  "C'mon Ellie!  Make an effort!" in a Mummy tone of voice!

When we visited Alastair in New Jersey last month he was proudly showing us his new 'toy'.  It was a 3D printer.  He demonstrated the technology by printing us a house number from the plastic raw material which gets squirted out on to a platform located in a large printer box unit.

So Iain got them mounted today.

Talking of printers we both headed out to the local retail park to purchase a new printer.  It is one we are going to share. 

The young lady assistant was very helpful e.g. pointed out that I will now be able to print out images straight from my iPhone. 

While waiting for the card to process the purchase she asked, by way of conversation,  "Are you up to much today?"

I had to chuckle to myself as we live a very quiet life and I am sure most folk would answer along the lines of "We're going to do some more shopping" or whatever.  I just replied that we were heading home for a quiet afternoon in the garden.

However  I got thinking about that phrase.   I think I only ever use it in the  negative form, i.e. "I've not been up to much these days."  I don't think I have ever used it the other way around.  M-m-m-m ... but, yes, here is another way I would use it, also in the past tense:

"Been up to much lately?!

Pair of Mandarin Ducksy by Baresi Franco, Wikipedia


Friday, 9 June 2017


Iain and I were saddened to hear from Alice that Dick had died (May 23, 2017). He was a legend in his own lifetime.  We both have memories of him which I have grouped into several categories: photos, stories, poetry.

The images are high res and all are in my possession (UBC memorbilia and Christmas cards).

[1] Some photos ...

 Christmas card 1972

  Christmas card 1971

 Christmas card 1969  "Steck & Hagen Waddington in winter"

Christmas card 1971 "Mt Augusta St Elias Range"

[2] The stories ...

When Iain came to Vancouver from Scotland in 1966 he lived with Bob Cuthbert and mates on West 11th.   There were lots of stories of climbing, climbing with Dick and also of Dick's 'first ascents'.

Iain recalls the fellows lamenting at that time that there were only a few 'first ascents' left that could be done from Vancouver in a weekend!  

Around about 1968 or 1969 we visited Dick and family in Alberta.  On that occasion Dick told us a story about when he had had a confrontation with a grizzly.  He had a gun and used it.  Iain then asked Dick "Do you still carry a gun?"   "No. I lie down behind a log (or whatever) and play dead."

The next day we were sitting in the airport awaiting our flight east when a fellow sitting back to back with us got up and came around to say hello.  It was Ian Stirling (VOC).  He was getting on the same flight east.  We sat together in a 3 seater row and Ian told us stories of his work with polar bears and, yes, he had had also had an encounter with a grizzly bear.  And, yes, he echoed Dick's strategy (play dead behind a log) and ... was alive to tell the tale.  

[3] The poetry ...

I was in awe of Dick from my very first meeting of him in the VOC hut on a Thursday (in the period 1963-67).   I recall being impressed that he had written a book [Climber's Guide to the Coastal Ranges of British Columbia which came out in 1965].  I had never met anyone who had written a book and was very struck by the brain of the man!

Over the years he was back and forth to the house on West 4th.  One memory I have is being on the phone one night anxious about their return from a night 'adventure'.  Let's just say it involved a concrete structure ?North Shore (as opposed to a campus building)!

In 1966 I offered to be the VOC Journal Editor.  Either Dick offered or I asked (can't recall which) but we got talking about the fact that he wrote poetry. I was mightily impressed, again, with the brain of the man!... a very 'deep' person, I remember concluding.

And that is how his poems went into that 1965-66 VOC Journal.  Those were the days when one (by that I mean me) typed every page.

He eventually had a collection published in 2009 and this is my copy as given to Iain and I when we visited him on the Sunshine Coast around that date.  He signed it with a nod to "The Good Old Days"!

Thursday, 1 June 2017


There is a very pleasant BBC 4 minute video about Frances Chichester's single-handed sail around the world in 1966. He arrived back in the UK in July 1967. I went to see the boat several weeks later as I had just arrived in the UK.

Click on this link:


50 years ago

Source of photos:   www.gipsymoth.org/gallery/