1 EAGLETON NOTES: September 2023



Wednesday 27 September 2023

Act in Haste

...and repent at leisure. 

I volunteer, when I can, to do a shift in a local community interest charity/opshop/thrift shop which has at its roots a desire to assist low-impact living. Perhaps I might blog about that another time.

Today a delightful couple came in for coffee and tea. She had local connections and she and I had a chat while he was otherwise engaged. He is a retired clergyman. He said they lived in Inverness.

On their way out there was a discussion about the fact that I was "not from here".  Although I suspect that I have lived here longer than they did given that I'm not far short of having lived on Lewis for half a century.

He then asked if he could preach me a short sermon. I declined the offer, gracefully I hope. There was an ensuing discussion as to why I'd declined his offer during which, of course, I refused to be drawn. He said that I had obviously seen The Darkness and not The Light.

Since that occurrence an hour or so ago I have been asking myself why I did that. What would it have cost me to just accept? I would not have created the possibility of him losing face in front of his wife. He could have gone away a happier man having felt that he had helped another sinner on his way to salvation.

"Act in haste and repent at leisure." is believed to have been adapted from the proverbial saying first expressed in print by William Congreve in 1692. It's been around a long time. I wish that I had remembered it earlier.

Sunday 24 September 2023

Punctuation Day

Today is Punctuation Day. 

Quoting from Brian Bilston's book Days Like These "Punctuation Day, which occurs annually on this date, is a day on which pedants come together to criticise the punctuation and spelling of others, as they do on all other days. Things can become rather heated in the process, with arguments often spilling over into violence. This has led to colons being extracted, infinitives split, bullet points fired, and commas inverted. And for the improper use of ellipses...

He follows that, as he does for every day of the year, with a poem. Today's is entitled "Greengrocers Apostrophe's: and other Punctuation".  It is an amusing read as are most of his daily poems.  

It made me think, though, that the subject of sloppy and just plain erroneous punctuation seems to have fallen off the agenda.  

I wonder if anyone these days even remembers Lynne Truss's book "Eats, Shoots and Leaves"?

Does anyone know if punctuation is taught in schools nowadays?

Does anyone care about punctuation any more? 

Friday 22 September 2023

The Drive Home

Many of you may already have seen and even viewed the return journey from Gisla. If not, here it is.

If you want to avoid the bits you have already seen, albeit going the other way so the view is quite different, then at 11mins 30 seconds into the journey, when you come down into the first roundabout in Stornoway just after the 30 mile per hour speed limit starts, you can get the journey through Stornoway and out to my house in the sticks.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

Blogger - Spam - Again!

Well I have caught Blogger well and truly this time.

I have become fastidious in checking my 'Comments' folders ever since comments I was certain had been posted and had not been there previously have suddenly appeared later. I have just completed today's check. It contained amongst other comments:

which is dated 23 August.  So I went to the 23 August post and found:

Which shows, pretty conclusively I think, that Blogger is now removing random comments from old/previous posts and placing them in 'Spam' and, presumably, heaven knows where else.

I've now removed the comment from Spam and, guess what, it's back where it belongs.

Tuesday 19 September 2023

A Drive Across Lewis

Over the years I have been asked by many to publish more photos of the Islands and I've tried to oblige. One aspect of living somewhere for half a century is that, as a general rule, I don't stop and take photos because when I'm travelling I'm usually going somewhere as compared with travelling as a tourist to view the scenery. I just accept it and take it in and be thankful for the beauty around me.

However whilst an old friend was alive in recent years I travelled across the Island every week to visit her. One day it occurred to me that the dashcam footage could be made into a YouTube video. Not by me but Adrian (who many of you will remember) is a real whiz at this sort of thing. So he offered to do the video for me.

The journey itself takes a while and could be very boring so what Adrian has done is speed the footage (is it now called meterage?) up. So please note that I was NOT exceeding the speed limit and travelling at rocket speed in some parts. 

This is just the journey from The Woodlands where I spend so much time with friends drinking coffee to Gisla. There is another video of the return journey which includes the 7 miles from town to Eagleton. 

I'm sure that most of you will know that to view the video in full screen you can tick the wee square in the bottom right of the YouTube front page.

Sunday 10 September 2023

Cookery Books

This morning I read Jabblog's post about about cookery books and the collection or otherwise thereof.

I was married to a lady who was a superb cook and hostess (and mother for that matter). After we were married my wife announced that she would do the cooking and the ironing and I would do the housework.  I asked if that was negotiable and the reply was in the negative. Having said that I can't say that I did all the housework all the time.  However, I was not allowed into the kitchen to cook. 

So when we separated I had to rely on what knowledge I had gathered and cookery books. I was fortunate in that my Mother believed in her children being taught all the elementary aspects of running a house including cooking. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and a dinner party for 12 (the maximum my table can take) held no fear whatsoever and as people kept accepting invitations I assume that they were reasonably happy with the results.

As for cookery books, like any other subject in which I became engrossed, I collected many. Very many. Far too many. Indeed a few years ago I had a massive cull of my bookshelves and, despite a few recent purchases including "Bosh" I only have 21 now (just counted!).  Having said that most of the time when I want to try something new now I search the internet for ideas and rely on my books for old favourites. In addition I have a folder with favourite recipes and tips in it and I also keep quite a lot of recipes on my computer.

The Hamlyn Books were my originals and I still refer to them. By far the most important at one time when I was doing a lot of dinner parties was "50 Great Curries of India". I learned a lot about curries but they can take days to make and I rarely make them from scratch now.  I've kept the book though because my late son gave it to me because, I think, he was friendly with the author's son. 

Whilst writing this post I thought I'd see just how popular cookery books are these days. The answer according to Google is that a great many are written and published. and bought - many probably as presents. Many end up in Charity Shops and apparently some are used. 

Thursday 7 September 2023

Friendships and Safaris

I have been one of the luckiest people on this planet in so many ways. Today I was reminded of one of the things which makes that true for me. My life in New Zealand and the wonderful friendships I made there: many of which endure today albeit, for most of them, at a distance.

I started a New Zealand blog because my UK friends and family kept wanting to know what I was up to. The blog was more a diary than anything else. Which, in many ways was how this blog started off.

One day (I can't remember the details) because I had never been up to Northland a fellow blogger suggested that if I went up there she would show me around. It sounded like an opportunity far too good to miss. So on 11 December 2009 I pitched up at Whangerei Airport having made absolutely no arrangements apart from a return flight. I was sure that my fellow blogger would know the most appropriate hotel etc where I could stay. 

The person concerned turned out to be both a superb tour guide and real 'people person' so my natural shyness which can manifest itself in so many different ways completely evaporated. 

We drove out to the Whangerei Heads and I saw a New Zealand that I'd never seen before. It is a country of many many different geographical, geophysical and human personas. I was loving the new sights and the commentary and the company.

By the time we got back to Whangerei it was getting on a bit and I wondered about accommodation. But my hostess just kept on driving....and driving... into the wilds of Northland.  Until we reached her home. Just as it had never occurred to me that someone I had never met except via our mutual blog comments was going to house me for the stay it had obviously never occurred to her that she wouldn't be offering hospitality. 

And so started a truly wonderful friendship with a number of safaris in Northland, Hawkes Bay, Lewis and Harris and the Scottish Highlands. 

What made me think of this today? Pauline's post here.

My first view from the plane of the 'Uppity Downities' although I didn't know that at the time

Whangerei Heads

My first Northland Coffee at Reva's in Whangerei

Reva's Café, Whangerei

The Vodafone Mast on The Uppity Downities - the locator beacon so I knew where I was.

Saturday 2 September 2023

Travelling (A bit of a waffle)

This post was originally inspired by Jayne's post here.  However since then Jayne has posted with more adventures and some of her commenters have added very much to the discussion. Jayne has also added a post Going it Alone. which is a guide to travelling by camper-van alone.

All in all the whole question of travel is so significant in many of our lives that books rather than simple blog posts have been written on the subject. 

It made me realise that we travel for different purposes: work (when I was a young man the 'commercial traveller' was often the most-travelled person I knew);  relaxation and exercise (YP and my Munro-bagging son immediately come to mind); to visit friends, family, second homes and so on; to go on holiday to (often far-away) places for rest and relaxation; and then there is travel undertaken for the pure pleasure of being a tourist. 

When I was a youngster most of my travelling was to spend a fortnight in a country cottage somewhere in Wales or The English Lake District to go walking and visit anything of interest that we could find in the area. Generally most people were not well-travelled unless they were wealthy. Most people when I was young had two or at most three weeks holiday a year. In the UK that would generally be considered derisory today.

Much of my 'travelling' as an adult has simply been driving or flying from home to Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Balearics or Canada and Australia  to stay with friends or stay somewhere on holiday. Ultimately I flew between my home in Scotland and my home in New Zealand for 9 years. In the grammatically correct use of the word all this was travelling.  

However, in reality, the journey was not the point of the exercise. It was simply a means of getting from home to where I was staying. On the other hand I have travelled to and around some of those countries and California, Australia and New Zealand as a tourist a well.

When I was a young man I read the Russian novels with ardent enthusiasm. A friend and I (he became a Church of England priest) planned to go to Russia but I met my wife and got married instead. I never did get to see Russia although I got a taste of what it might have been like when I visited East Germany before the fall of The Berlin Wall.

I'm conscious of the fact that this has been rather a waffle but I'm genuinely interested to know what makes people travel and who travels simply for the experience of travelling rather than, say, business or visiting family.

A few photos of me being a tourist in South Island, New Zealand:

Hele-hiking on a glacier

From a helicopter above the glacier

Flying over whales.

The Chain sculpture, Stewart Island (the most southerly inhabited Island in the New Zealand chain)