Sunday, 31 May 2009

May Sunshine

The weather here has been so lovely that I haven't left the house, or to be more accurate, the garden all weekend. It's unusual to get temperatures into the twenties at this time of year. The old Scots saying 'Ne'er cast a cloot till May gangs oot' has been well and truly blown out.

As a result the only pics I have this weekend are from my garden. I cut the grass this morning as it was resembling a hay field. I like the top pic, it's a honeysuckle which I planted a couple of years ago to cover a dead tree stump.
The second one is an apple tree which never produces any apples...... but I love the fresh green leaves against the bright blue sky.

I like the contrast of colour here.

One of these crap photos that you grow to like...... you know what I mean? Click to enlarge and spot the beastie.


The force that through the green fuse drives the flower
Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees
Is my destroyer.
And I am dumb to tell the crooked rose
My youth is bent by the same wintry fever.
The force that drives the water through the rocks
Drives my red blood; that dries the mouthing streams
Turns mine to wax.
And I am dumb to mouth unto my veins
How at the mountain spring the same mouth sucks.

The hand that whirls the water in the pool
Stirs the quicksand; that ropes the blowing wind
Hauls my shroud sail.
And I am dumb to tell the hanging man
How of my clay is made the hangman's lime.

The lips of time leech to the fountain head;
Love drips and gathers, but the fallen blood
Shall calm her sores.
And I am dumb to tell a weather's wind
How time has ticked a heaven round the stars.

And I am dumb to tell the lover's tomb
How at my sheet goes the same crooked worm.

Dylan Thomas 1914 - 1953
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Thursday, 28 May 2009

Light and hardly any Dark

Three more Skywatch pics from last weekend. Such fantastic variation in the cloud formations. It's coming up to that time of year in Scotland where it doesn't really get dark for very long.

It's 11 o'clock at night right now as I sit and type and looking out of the window, the sky is still light with beautiful dark purple clouds drifting by. The forecast is good for the weekend and I have a few days off work. Life is good.
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Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Barca v Man U

Ok, now I have your attention girls. Tonight sees large swathes of Europe settling down in front of their tellys at 7.45pm to watch the Champions League Final between Barcelona and Manchester United.

An eagerly awaited contest which should see most football purists hoping for a Spanish win.

Two of the worlds best players will face up to each other in Christiano Ronaldo (above) and Lionel Messi (below)

The match will be played in Rome, at the Stadio Olimpico..... I'm taking the phone off the hook.

Monday, 25 May 2009

The Pipers Hillock

This is the graveyard half way up Glen Clova known as The Pipers Hillock. I posted a pic a couple of months ago and this is a kind of follow up to that.

It's a lonely spot, right in the middle of nowhere. I tried to find out why it's where it is, to no avail. But I'll get there in the end.

Maybe someone, sometime ago decided the view would be pleasant for a dead relative. Alternatively, maybe they thought the view would placate them when they visited dead relatives. Who knows?

The Earl of Airlie has put this notice up at the entrance to the graveyard. It refers to the Airlie Monument which was built in memory of his grandfather and sits on top of a hill visible from many miles around. It can clearly be seen from the Pipers Hillock.

Spot the spelling mistake?

Not the best pic I'm afraid, but that's the Airlie Monument in the distance.
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Friday, 22 May 2009

Phoebe Anna Traquair

A couple of illustrated manuscripts by Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936). I hope you can click and enlarge these. Not sure. The fine detail is incredible.

Traquiar illustrated the works of Tennyson, Robert Browning, William Morris And Dante Gabriel Rossetti as well as Elizabeth Barret Browning shown above. These are her Sonnets from the Portuguese. Traquair was inspired by 'The Book of Kells' and 'The Book of Durrow', two manuscripts well worth checking out.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

Johnny Mathis?

Given the fact that I seem to have spent the past week or so either my my head in the clouds or up my arse, I think it's appropriate that I return to clouds today for Skywatch Friday.

Driving home from work tonight the sky was a visual feast. The clouds were just so varied and spectacular I didn't know which way to look. The road ahead might've been the sensible option as was pointed out to me by my passenger.

Suitably chastened, I pulled over when I could and got out to take some pics. Danielle (my passenger) has got quite used to this now and I noticed has begun to snap away with her moby and I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm seeing the development of a budding cloudwatcher here. Watch this space.
On a completely different tack, I'm currently listening to Radcliffe and Maconie on Radio 2. I like Mark Radcliffe, think he's just the best thing on radio. He played David Bowie's 'Wild is the Wind' tonight which I think is one of Bowie's finest moments. Didn't realise till tonight that Bowie never wrote it. It was written by Dmitri Tiomkin and was in a 1957 film sung by Johnny Mathis. Yes, Johnny Mathis. How disturbing is that?

For more less disturbing Skywatch Friday posts click here

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Robert Scott Lauder

I love this painting. It was painted by Robert Scott Lauder (1803 - 1861). Lauder is probably better known for the influence he had on a generation of Scottish painters in his role as Master of the Trustees Academy in Edinburgh between 1852 and 1861. Yet some of his painting was quite stunning.

The painting is titled 'John Gibson Lockhart and his Wife Charlotte Sophia Scott'. Charlotte was the daughter of Sir Walter Scott. I think what is remarkable and what lends such pathos to the painting is that it was painted c.1840. Whilst Gibson is painted from life, Charlotte is painted posthumously as she died in 1837.

For those of you who are in the vicinity, you can see this in the flesh at the National Portrait Gallery in Edinburgh. Well worth the visit for this alone.

And speaking of Sir Walter Scott, wasn't it he who wrote:

'Oh What a tangled web we weave,

When first we practice to deceive.'

Bit of a contemporary statement that eh?

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Sunday, 17 May 2009

Morgan Tower

A couple of pics taken looking up Perth Road in Dundee towards the University area.

Top pic shows the Morgan Tower, supposedly the oldest standing structure in Dundee.

On the other side of the road is the Queens Hotel.
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Saturday, 16 May 2009

Pointed spires and glassy eyes

This is the East Church in Brechin and it's occurred to me that these are the first pics I've posted on Brechin since I started this blog.

There's probably a good reason for this.

Ah yes..... I hate Brechin.

Nothing personal mind, just that it doesn't really have much going for it. (other than the fact that I have two children and three grandchildren living there!) In fact it has been known for me to describe it as the 'bowels of the universe'.

However, recently noticed this sad old church, never taken the sightest interest in it whatsoever.

But as I got closer I started to notice that it did have a certain something going for it.

Perhaps it was just the state of disrepair which evoked a sympathy in me, I don't know.

It's an unusual 'pointed' kind of shape. A design which is apparently uncommon in Scotland but popular in Ireland. Maybe someone can enlighten me?
The top pic is about as much of the spire as I could get in, but it gives you the general idea.
I particularly liked the guy with the beard and the glassy stare. One cool dude.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Red sandstone

You may remember this pic from a post last week some time. Or at least one close to it. The distinctive red sandstone of Arbroath Abbey.

In response to a comment from a Young Canadian lady, here's some close ups of the building she liked with the 'knobbly' stonework.

I'm really not sure why the large entrance is there, it seems there is quite a large courtyard within. I didn't have time to investigate properly. It looks to me like it was likely some sort of commercial building in the past, but it's all residential now.

Cool brickwork though.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

Stags, clouds and eagles

Now this pic isn't quite as straightforward as it may seem. Seems a bit dull at first, until you click and enlarge. Right in the middle of the ridge on the horizon, is a stag. I hope you can see it.

Have a funny feeling I may have posted this pic before, but I don't care, I like it. There's a certain symmetry about the sky and mountain that I really like. You could almost turn it upside down.

..... and look what arrived today. I'm now member 15195 of the Cloud Appreciation Society. How feckin cool is that. If you're very, very good I may show you my badge too......
I didn't see any eagles the day I saw the stag, but I might have :

The Dalliance of Eagles
by: Walt Whitman (1819-1892)

Skirting the river road, (my forenoon walk, my rest,)
Skyward in air a sudden muffled sound, the dalliance of the eagles
The rushing amorous contact high in space together,
The clinching interlocking claws, a living, fierce, gyrating wheel,
Four beating wings, two beaks, a swirling mass tight grappling,
In tumbling turning clustering loops, straight downward falling,
Till o'er the river pois'd, the twain yet one, a moment's lull,
A motionless still balance in the air, then parting, talons loosing,
Upward again on slow-firm pinions slanting, their separate diverse flight,
She hers, he his, pursuing.
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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Back back roads

I made a comment about the difference between looking up and looking down on my Cloudbusting post recently. Standing in a wood outside Brechin today. I did just that...... these were the results.

Says it all really?
I had to drive from Arbroath to Brechin this afternoon. Now the main road is pretty much a country back road, but there are 'back back' roads which you can take too.
The traffic can be pretty horrendous though........

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

100 not out?

Picture postcard scene from the Applecross Road. Torridon peaks in the distance. Nice spot for a picnic.

Applecross Bay, if you click to enlarge you'll see the village of Applecross along the shore. No traffic lights there.

Another view from the Applecross Road, looking north. Good spot for a Kebab Shop?

Would you Adam and Eve it, this is my 100th post. How time flies when your head's in cyberspace.
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