Friday 31 May 2013

Simple Things

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best.

I've been using the kitchen breakfast bar as my 'study' since I came back from NZ.  It has the same beautiful view but it is much cosier in this cold weather (the study has lots of glass and even though it's double-glazed it takes quite a bit to heat it in cold weather).  In hot, sunny weather it's so bright it cam be difficult to see the screen.  The only problem in the kitchen is that the bar chairs are a bit too low when using the breakfast bar for the laptop.  I've been trying to think of a workable solution for a week or more.  I can't find higher chairs.  Obviously I can't lower the bar.  I tried cushions to no avail (not supportive enough and they keep falling off).

So what am I now using?  What have I got more of in the house than anything else (possibly excepting CDs)?


Thursday 30 May 2013

Casablanca and a Bad Pun

Here's looking at Euclid

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Hooded Crows

05555 is a Good Time to get up in the morning if the sun is already high in a cloudless blue sky.  Sunrise today was 0434.  I actually woke at 0553 and instantly decided that if I got up at 0555 I had an opening line for a blog post.  Since I arrived back in Scotland I have been so busy that blogging has had to take a bit of a back seat.  I think I'm correct in saying that it's been a time of the fewest posts  in a similar period since I started blogging in 2007.  So this morning just after 6am I was sitting outside in the warm sun on a perfect windless morning drinking my hot water and lemon and contemplating the day ahead.

It made a change from the foul weather we've been having with rain and gales and a temperature on one day last week of -5.5℃ taking the wind-chill into account (ok the ambient temperature in the shade was a relatively balmy +4℃).

I came up with lots of ideas for re-starting my posts but now that it is evening I have forgotten them all.

Anyway I had to go into town this morning to take the car for its service. I was to meet Pat in The Woodlands Centre for coffee.  As I was walking into the grounds I came across a Hooded Crow.  As a rule Crows do not allow humans to come too close.  This one, however, was keeping a wary eye on me but he was not going to abandon his meal.  I probably got within 12 metres before he flew into the adjacent tree.  He was soon down again though and allowed me to take some photos.  Unfortunately the sun was strong and the position was in sun and shade so the contrast exposures leave a bit to be desired.

Oddly the next best pictures I have of a Hooded Crow were also at The Woodlands Centre here.

Sunday 19 May 2013

Memory Blossoms

I'm in Glasgow.  Caroline, daughter of Friend Who Knows Too Much, invited me to the opening of the   degree show for the honours year of her contemporary arts degree course.   I would not have missed it for the world.  I struggle with a lot of contemporary art.  I always have done.  Being with Caroline and following one of her blogs is a revelation.  Frequently I find myself puzzled even after an explanation of the thought processes that may have been behind some contemporary works but I now have a greater appreciation of such art and can at least look at it and think rather than just walk on by.

As it happens I find much of Caroline's work understandable and beautiful both visually and texturally.  No photograph really does it justice but her work in the degree show (part of the whole work - there just wasn't enough space) is the one in these photos.  

Caroline's words:

"Memory Blossoms

I will sway and creak in the cold wind.  I'll hold my buds closed until that warm summer's day when the air smells like raindrops steaming from the tarmac.  Then my flowers will blink at the sun.  When the air smells of peat smoke, my flowers will float to the ground one by one and surround me in a sleepy halo.  The wind will come again, and I will fill the air."  

The 'picture' in the background is part of an installation by Maryam Zare and is entitled The Dream.

Monday 13 May 2013

It's All Frances's Fault

Well given that we live in a blame culture nowadays Frances is as good a person to blame as anyone.  It was, after all, she who posted on dreams and things happening with horses.  

I woke in the middle of last night whilst being chased by horses.  

As if that wasn't bad enough I had to get up at 0430 to see off David and Molly who were getting the early ferry from Tarbert and I woke in a state of considerable confusion given that my bed was in a glass sided pyramid occupied by a cobbler on the top of a turret of a stately home. 

Now at 2320 I've been up for nearly 19 hours and feel remarkably fresh and not tired at all.  Bizarre.

Have you ever noticed that Shakespeare never used 'ing' in the present tense of words?  I wonder when it came into general use and how it developed.

I was communicating with Wendy in Napier today.  It was hot there.  It was 5℃ here.  It's nearly winter there.  It's nearly summer here.  As the newscaster said this evening "Just 40 days before the nights start drawing in again".  With this sort of view from my kitchen window can you blame him for being rather negative.

Night night.  

Friday 10 May 2013

It's Been A Week

since I arrived back on Lewis and I've hardly spent a moment in Blogland.  I miss it.  I really do.  I miss knowing what my Blogland friends are doing.  I arrived back last Friday and, David, a friend of 40 years arrived on Sunday with Molly.  The week has been spent catching up with friends and most evenings there have been visitors whilst the days have been spent working in the garden whenever possible.

Molly has watched:

It has rained.   We had a guessing game this evening when I couldn't remember who sang 'Listen to the Pouring Rain.  Listen to it rain'.  Can you remember?  If you can't, you'll find the answer here to save you Googleing it.

Some mornings the sun has risen behind the hills of the Scottish mainland over 30 miles away across The Minch.

The sun has shone and it has been warm enough to bring out all the youngsters (who, I bet, are on study leave from school) to the beach below the house:

The Alchemilla mollis is in leaf and showing the rain off to best effect:

David decided that the pond algae was already in need of some clearing:

We have since re-laid all the flagstones surrounding the pond and the fish just swam around seemingly oblivious to all that was going on:

David and Molly have been down to the far beach each morning and sometimes met Pat (aka Spesh1) and Briagha (seen here from the house).

All in all it's been a pretty good week.

And now for the weekend.........

Friday 3 May 2013

Spring in Glasgow

It's Friday morning and it's cold and wet and Pat told me that last night that there was snow on Lewis.  Whether there still is this morning I don't, as yet, know but the Met Office App says it'll be a sunny day.

My few days in Glasgow has been a revelation because Spring is late this year so, guess what has excited me.  You got it.  Spring flowers.  Not having seen a real display of daffodils in nature since 2006 they are everywhere at the moment.  

Daffodils and Aubretia
Fritillaria Meleagris aka Snakes Head [Not Potentilla!] 
Muscari or Grape Hyacinth
Dogstooth Violet
At The Glasgow Botanical Gardens there were a couple celebrating their civil partnership with photographs in the Gardens.  One of the party had shoes which I just couldn't resist photographing.  I can't say that Wendy would wear them but they certainly were a match for anything that is amongst her very extensive shoe wardrobe!

If you are ever in the Gardens and fancy a coffee or superb cakes or a meal with wonderful typical friendly Glasgow service then I would suggest a visit to The Tea Room at The Botanics.

PS It's now just after 10am and Pat aka Spesh1 has confirmed that the sun is shining on Lewis.  Yea!  I shall leave the rain here in Glasgow and escape! 

Thursday 2 May 2013

Thankful Thursday: Sleep

This morning I had (for my own piece of mind) to be up at 0400 to make sure that a friend was up to catch a plane to the US.  I set the alarm on my iPhone.  If I was catching the plane I would usually sleep soundly until the alarm (or, more usually, wake just before it went off).  Presumably because it was someone else I slept in short fits and starts through the night checking the time.  I know that many of my friends do not sleep soundly and are awake a good bit during the night or have difficulty getting to sleep in the first place.  Never having had either problem, last night as I lay awake my mind spent a lot of time mulling all sorts of things over including the terrible curse that chronic insomnia would be. 

Today I am thankful that usually when I put my head on the pillow I fall asleep quickly and I sleep soundly.

The post script to this post is that as soon as I'd checked on my friend I was asleep: properly asleep!