Tuesday, 7 July 2020

A Face

Rachel recently re-posted some art from the Odessa Museum of Modern Art in the Ukraine. One of the works was this portrait:

On several occasions I have posted this picture by David Gauld which hangs in the Kelvingrove Museum and Art Gallery in Glasgow.

My comment on Rachel's blog was to the effect that I could stand in front of it for a long time. There is so much in those eyes staring at nothing and that expression - such loneliness they seem to have gone beyond pain. It occurred to me that there is a great similarity in the expression in the two painting yet I've never felt pain in Gauld's portrait before. Now I'm not so sure.

Monday, 29 June 2020

Monday Meanderings

Sunday is the last day of the week. It's usually, in normal times, a day when I'm at home. So I've got into the habit of making it my bedding change day and the day when I do all my washing - usually 4 loads. Thank heaven for a heat-exchange tumble drier which uses virtually no electricity because it has no heating elements. Drying clothes on the Island without a tumble drier is very weather dependent and I like my routine rather than being dictated to by the weather.

Now that's about as boring a start to a post as I've ever made. And that's saying something.

I've been in a bit of a lacklustre mood for the last few days. The weather has been really crappy recently (to use a meteorological term) so I've not done much in the garden. However the varnishing of all the garden furniture is now making more progress in the workshop. 

However I got a message this morning:

My brother, CJ aka Scriptor Senex, who has been my inspiration for a lot of things decided in his mid 60s to grow his hair long and have a queue (or were they braided?) or pony tail. Whatever, that is definitely not my style and, despite having relatively little hair, what there is is now long and unruly and undesirable. So in 17 sleeps I shall, once, again return to a degree of hairtorial (Why is there no such word? There should be.) normality. [Added later. Of course the word is 'tonsorial'. It suddenly came to me.]

I'm glad that after a number of revisions in the Blogger interface it seems to be possible to position photos to one side and type around them now.
I found the shell of a  Blackbird's egg by my front door this morning. The Blackbirds nest about 100 yards away from my house so how does an egg shell find its way here? Yet another mystery. 

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

Welcome to The USA

I have just commented on YP's blog that he had "compounded the felony." 

I was immediately reminded of my very first visit to the USA. I was staying with a friend from my teenage years (with whom I had a strong and lasting friendship until she died last year) in Sarnia which is an oil industry town at the southern end of Lake Huron in Ontario. On the opposite side of the canal separating Canada and the US is Port Huron, MI. There is a lot of daily commuter and commercial traffic across the bridge between the two cities.

Mo decided one afternoon that we would visit one of her favourite hotel/afternoon tea/coffee places at Saint Clair on the Michigan side of the canal a short drive away.  To get there we had to cross the bridge which, of course, had a customs post. Most drivers, of course, just showed their passport/papers and proceeded without let or hindrance. Mo, with a British passport despite having lived in Canada for may years, just said "Canadian landed" and was about to be waved on when the customs officer nodded at me and said "Canadian landed too?" I replied that I was simply a visitor so was handed a red card and told to present myself to immigration. 

On entering a massive barn of a place with a huge counter with a raised floor on the other side so that even a person of small stature on the other side would have towered above me. As it was there was one person in this barn of a place. She was a female person of great height and build with a pearl handled gun on her belt. It is amazing the things one remembers. 

There were some gentle "Hellos" on my part. She did not look like the sort of person one wanted to antagonise. Eventually she decided to get out of her chair (from which she had looked up when I entered) and come and tower over me. "Well?" she asked. I presented my red card and my passport. After what seemed like an age she repeated the "Well?" This confused me so I told her I'd just been told to come and see her. After what seemed like an eternity she asked where I was going. I couldn't remember. For some reason this really annoyed her. I said I'd go and ask my friend. This set her off again and asked why my friend hadn't come in. I explained. Then, fortunately, I remembered. This didn't appease her. The questioning continued for some time and included the question "Have you got any venereal diseases?" (I realised from later questionnaires she was supposed to ask if I'd had any) to which I so wanted to say "No, why, do you want one?" but decided better of it.  Then amongst many others came the question "Have you ever committed a felony?" 

Now one of the things I remembered from my law lectures (I was a post-felony era law student) that felonies had been repealed in the UK by the Criminal Law Act of 1967 (I think that was the year). So I'd never had to know what a felony was. However I knew that in English Law felonies were Bad Things. So I was tempted to ask her to tell me what a felony was and I'd tell her if I'd ever committed one. I decided instead to say "No."

After what seemed like an interminable time I was released with my green card stapled into my passport and told that if I didn't surrender it when I left the country I'd not get in again. 

The whole episode was much longer than all that and included a lot more unfriendly incidents. I actually wondered if they were designed to make me lose my cool or whether she was just a bored bully. 

It rather ruined my afternoon and, more importantly, completely coloured my view of Americans because she was only the second (the first was the perfectly civil chap who had given me the card and caused all my angst in the first place) American I'd met on American soil. 

Other visits that holiday passed off without incident because I had my green card. Which, of course, I forgot to surrender at the airport when I left Canada. 

I may post a sequel at some time. Don't worry, though. It won't be soon.

Sunday, 21 June 2020

Fathers' Day and The Longest Day

Midnight - Looking North

Not that Fathers' Day and The Longest Day are in any way related. It's just that this year they fall on the same weekend. Yesterday was the longest day. Apparently today is one second shorter up here. Given the weather it will feel a lot shorter. 

Speaking to neighbours and friends today we all had the same thing in mind. We've all been looking forward to the long days and short nights and now it's all down hill and in 182 days it will be the shortest day and 4 days after that it will be Christmas. 

I also took a photo last night looking East which, because the scene is being lit and I'm not looking into the sunset looks much lighter and is more like what the eye actually sees.  However when I woke this morning the weather had changed completely and I wasn't so keen on the view.

Looking East from my kitchen

I've never been one for observing Fathers' Day and my son, brilliant son though he is, is not a great one on such occasions either. So I was quite surprised when, a few days ago, a card dropped through the door with a big imprecation that the envelope was not to be opened until Fathers' Day. I had to look in my diary to see when it was.  This morning I opened the card. It's certainly topical: