Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Walking into 2011 - with Ghreit who isn't barking for a change!

So, that's just about it. 2010 done and dusted bar the fat woman singing - and as I mentioned before, I don't sing. Well, I don't sing in tune anyway. Eve does sing - but not often. Lord Wiesmier, Pirate of this parish [retired] never utters a word or a sound come to that!

Lots of snaps taken this year predominately with 35mm cameras due in part to the sort of snaps I've been taking and in part because the huge hike in film prices these days. Some of these snaps recently appeared on television too so The Crofter and family are now even more well known.

A week on the Isle of Jura in May with Toots and the Coelyns was very nice - as was the weather. Two weddings in Engerland and a trip Ullapool with the Smits and Windys for the cyclosportive made for a busy year.

The downside was that my health had not been fantastic all year but hopefully, with a bit of hard-work on my part getting my head to think me well - plus help from Anne-Marie and others, 2011 seems like it's going to be much better. And so it should be.

On a similar note, our pal Curls is not so well at the moment so I ask you for positive thoughts to go out to him.

So here's a big thank you for your time in 2010 and best wishes and love to everyone for a wonderful, peaceful and contented 2011.

But my biggest thanks is to Eve, my wonderful partner with whom I have the most wonderful life.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Petri 7s

I recently acquired this little Petri rangefinder camera for a song. You wouldn't want to hear it, trust me. Tunefulness is not something that has visited me - not even fleetingly. The carmera came in a nice box and a leather case - the never-ready sort of case. Smelt lovely. Even better than my Zorki6 which has a touch of Frederick Engels' Condition of the working classes' about it.

This the Petri 7s was made by Kuribayashi Camera Industry of Japan and seems a fine and substantial affair made of metal and glass of the finest kind and works rather well for something that cost me ne'er a tune.
I'm not one to just wonder so loaded the thing with film and shot. I mean, just sat there and shot! And this is what I and the camera saw. The stove in the warming room.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

The snow has gone

William. Just William. In Cromor.

The snow has gone. Disappearing overnight with just a mere thwop-miow in the night as the stuff slid off the roof onto some poor unsuspecting cat - probably.
With an air of an escapee, I set off with my dear Eve down to see William and Gemma to witness the Cromor 'moving of the sheeps' or some such local custom. We arrived too late after the pleasant but longish drive south. The sheeps had already been taken from up there on the moor and put up there on the moor with a brief interlude in the fank by the loch for something. Something which I still haven't grasped. I asked a few times but my understanding of 'sheep-talk' - wedders, gimmers and the like - is not up to the speed of crofters and I remain in ignorance. William had a lovely time though and obviously had dressed for the part too.
After soup and a fine chat William, Eve and I had a fine stroll over those there moors alongside the loch looking out over the Minch and the fine mountains of the mainland.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Inside and in

Toots; Inside Toots Towers, outside the mince pies.

This is Toots Wilson. We paid a visitation yesterday to say hello and drag him away from the warmth of his abode for a stroll on the beach. I hadn't realised how balletic Toots was until he did a pirouette on some iced machair behind the beach and somewhat less than gracefully laid flat on his face on the snowy ice. He got up OK and we completed a short walk before the cutting cold wind and coming rain got the better of us. We retreated to Toots Towers for tea and biscuits - and this Instax snap.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

For others

For Deanne and Mr Windy
For The Coelyns; I don't do landscapes

Christmas Day

The Inaccessible beach [with something lurking]
Kate arrives

We didn't get there; the beach that is. Too much snow and ice. I snapped it up.
Kate looked non-plussed. I snapped her up too.
We went to the Smit's for luncheon and a game of donkey. I lost, Mrs Smit won. I didn't snap it up!
Day over. Lovely day too.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve


Well, it's here at last. Christmas Eve that is. The snow is still here and I can officially say now I am now bored with it. Yes it looks lovely, but when my dear beloved employers call me out on a wild goose chase driving around the island on sheet ice interspersed with snow, the spell wears off a bit.
But I have heard from some very good friends around the globe today - Manchester, Australia and Gress to name three. Gress being the next but one village where I called in on Toots Wilson to pass on best wishes and the like and eat his Quality Street - although he seems to be doing quite a good job by himself.
Mother in Somerset has the sprouts cooking ready for the morn when she will entertain some 'old dears' - no doubt 10 years younger than herself - for Christmas dinner for the umpteenth year. Mother-in-law in Yorkshire is coughing nicely at her other daughter's mansion as they prepare for a family, children-rich day.

Clocks caught up with me today as I slid down to see The Crofter and we exchanged best wishes. But for those who don't live here, Clocks is one of those who does not celebrate Christmas being part of the Free Presbyterian Church congregation - or it might be the Free Church [continuing] but I cannot remember. You can read here why they don't celebrate Christmas. You have to respect people these days who have a strong belief like this and don't get carried away like most of us with the church of over-consumption. Still, I might add that I don't believe what they do and have my own faith devoid of dogma or rigid doctrine. I don't expect anyone to agree with me.

Anyway, I wish everyone a lovely Christmas whatever your faith, beliefs and wherever you reside, whatever your gender, sexual orientation or skin colour.
Many thanks for reading.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Hannah, Mick, Bee et al

I previously posted about this couple sailing the world after I met them when they called into Stornoway. Lovely couple and a fantastic experience they are having. They have a new blog and its well worth visiting

Happy Christmas to you Mick, Bee et al.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010


..................and sometimes a few snaps indoors is in order. Like this one of some flow-flows on the dining room table.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter solstice morning

What a wonderful morning. I was up early out at the back of the village trying to avoid the wasted energy [and cost] of the many village street lamps that burn here to see the lunar eclipse - a once in 372 years event. Hey, and I saw it. A little obscured by clouds from time to time but it was worth the effort. The air was calm if a little crisp and it glowed all around on the snow. Just wonderful. May it bring you health and contentment - and fertility if that's what you are after !!!

The wonderfulness of the morning was enhanced by a recent visitation to the Tolsta School 'Pantomime'. Brilliant and sold out too. We were all just wowed by Ruaraidh Wonka and all his Oompa Lumpas, Squirrels and assorted helpers. The house band was so good it will soon be seen at the Heb Fest I'm sure. I even managed to get a few autographs of the actors which I shall treasure till they are all famous.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


Gold star to this family who braved the snow on foot and wheels!

Like the rest of the UK, the Isle of Lewis has been having a cold time of it. For the third time this year we have had substantial snow - no doubt as a result of climate change. Unlike the rest of the UK, it's really not very bad at all here. Yes, the snow lies round about all crisp and even, but its only just at freezing point while Mater's in Somerset has -4c at the moment. Of course, while the Gulf Stream continues we will remain a little less cold than many places although the wind does add a chill to proceedings much of the time.

So, here's a few more snow snaps;

Do keep warm :-)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Going all Docherty

Mr Windy going all Docherty

"Mum, does Dad have to look like that?"

Mr Windy and his lovely wife Deanne was at the Rat-Pack concert last Friday evening enjoying the music and the company no doubt. I'm really not sure what was said between Jake Windy and Deanne since my ears were all tinitused up from the over-worked PA in the place combined with a high C from a singer and the tightly puckered trumpet player. But it doesn't look too approving! Eh?? Still Mr Windy was enjoying the attention. I might add here that the ciggi in his mouth was real but not his, not lit and not on a Sunday either :-)

For those of you who reside south of Watford / equator, you may [not] know that the island has had another unusual dump of snow overnight. So much so that the darkroom door was plastered with the ghastly stuff - as was the bedroom window which led me to initially think that the snow was deeper than it really was when I woke up. Thankfully, twas only a dusting of a few inches.

For those Leicafile forum-ites, there a bit for you over on my Island Crofter blog.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's all about M.E.

I do M.E. or CFS - whatever yo want to call it. I'm in my 10th year so I am quite good at it. However, it has rather got the better of me of late - creaking bones, sore muscles and non-working tum. I have not been so productive on the snapping front as a result. Been a bit touchy and weepy too. But I'm getting better by the day. Meditation helps a lot.
This images of Emily cheers me no end. I took it at the recent Rat-Pack big band evening and I posted the original snap earlier. Now I've enlarged the neg on the pooter, printed it to very cheap OHP film and made this Vandyke. I just love the image. I have several versions of this - none of which are perfect but when I get the perfect print of it I'll varnish it and look at it from time to time and it will cheer me immensely and help me heal myself.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Francis Albert and admirer

Mr Windy
Francis Albert and admirer

Of course Frank Sinatra was there - up on the wall in the movies. Apt, since the place we were in used be a cinema now moved to the more salubrious and well-supported an Lanntair art centre.
Mr Windy was there too as were these two young gentlemen no doubt plotting the downfall of CnES.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Murdo Sinatra & Co

Two young singers await their turn
Three snaps from the Big Band rat-pack evening at the British Legion last night.
The evening was based in the 1960s and some were dressed for the occasion hair-do's and all. A nice few hours with some good music, lovely singers but sadly, missing a bit of the atmosphere of the Glen McMillar theme last year.

I took the Zorki6 and Kiev 4 Soviet rangefinders and this is the first roll of film from the Zorki. Hp5 rated at 1600 asa.

BTW; The filming that took place in our little home a few months ago is for the Adventure programme on BBC Scotland on 27th Dec @ 19.00. I'm seen the bit I'm in so i don't feel quite so bad about it!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

snow sheeps

Look, that's a proper snowy snap!

We have had a bit snow round these parts. Only an inch or two - unlike the mainland - but it is very cold. The roads are like ice-rinks and I may have to venture out on a job tonight. Luckily, I'm all Reiki-ed up at the moment after a lovely session with my friend here on the island so I'm feeling good and able to cope with the worst of the conditions. Rather like the Hebridean sheeps that are living over the road from me on a lovely croft :-)

Monday, November 29, 2010


No wicker

I'm always reading that this or that camera is better than the other. There's new imaging devices out there that mimic cross-processed film at the push of a button and they are tiny - or huge - like the DSLR's you see people hawking around with a huge great lens hanging off the front.
I don't have electronic cameras just film ones and this one I like very much. It's is small and simple, takes medium format film yet folds up and fits in my pocket or bag. And it was given to me by a kind American gent.
I took it out for a spin the other day and came back with these two among other images.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


It's cold here - but I think its cold all over Europe so really shouldn't complain. The fire is burning brightly and keeping us cosy and there's a glass of something golden by my side that I shall sip when I come of shift for work.
I took a snap today - getting the asa wrong and overdeveloping as well. Still, the image is nice I think. Its out behind the village here.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Tis 'orrible

Tis 'orrible out there at the moment. Wet, cold and very windy. The old Tub MV Muirnag has not ventured which is no surprise at all but neither has the MV Isle of Lewis ferry gone out this afternoon.
This morning the village was coated with hailstones that had thrown themselves from the sky early doors - just before I took the community shop van into town for the papers - which didn't arrive. The plane didn't leave where-ever it was coming from! Still, this only takes the village back to where it was before the planes started bringing the papers over anyway so not much of a loss. Although I do rather miss the Guardian - I shall just read it on-line now.

This was the scene on the stroll back home for the shop this morning. Not half as bad as the mainland.

Monday, November 22, 2010


We are experiencing some wonderful weather at the moment. Today the sun was shining and the air warm. The Crofter was taking sheep from there and putting over here [pointing uselessly] with the help from his parents.
I on the other hand was walking up there [looking to my left ] to the old peat tracks along with a plastic panoramic toycamera. Couldn't resist snapping here and there despite the fact the the snaps will be blurred and less than ideal in some peoples' eyes. As I got home as the sun was dipping down, I threw the film in some developer and got these;

Friday, November 19, 2010


Sam takes a stroll
A wall
Another wall

We took a walk the other weekend - as you do. Paid our respects at the grave of the very brave Linda Norgrove in Ardroil then took off across the dunes to the beach. Such a wonderful place. Miles of sea, sand dunes and mountains a nere a person to be seen all day. The walls on this island always amaze me. The hours they must have taken to build in the first place and the incredible routes they take. My favourite wall is on the isle of Great Bernera - but I have not come across that snap yet so these will have to do.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

My chum

Roy is always game for a snap. Well, he doesn't mind when I take pictures when I call in for a cuppa anyway. The light in his residence is grand and Ziggy the doggie always is interesting.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


If you like Scotland and you like cycling, check this out

BTW; today [Wednesday] there's an exhibition about the proposed Lewis wind farm in Stornoway - free biscuits and tea too. I don't like having turbines here but if we don't do something about emissions soon there will be no habitat and no fauna to save!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A grand day out

Visitor Victor in North Tolsta
On Bosta
The sun was out, we had a visitor up from t'mainland so it seemed a day out was in order. Time we got out of bed, we only had the necessary daylight to see Bosta in all it's beauty. So there we were, bathing in the winter-ish light, looking at the Iron-age house reconstruction, looking but not hearing the bell in the sea and seeing a Gold Eagle flying over checking us out to see if we expired on the beach. Twas lovely.
On the way back over the moor the light was tremendous - a wonderful purple-ish glow.

I took some snaps - with this new to me fil ; rollei Retro 400s. I like it

Monday, November 15, 2010

Sam and I

Being a top-quality cheap-skate, I acquired some Rollei-Retro 400s film that only cost three shillings twopence ha-penny a roll or something equivalent to that. Probably.
The film originated as Aviphot 400 made for spying on us all I should imaginet. Now the spying is done digitally - no doubt GCHQ will be reading this before I post it - the film has been confectioned as 35mm film that fits snugly in my collection of slr's and rangefinders. This sunny day - not today since most of the day it has rained, although it started well with a wonderful sun-rise over the mainland mountains. Anyway, this sunny day recently well, fairly recently, I took Sam who was staying for a few days on a sort of holiday or maybe punishment, out on the beach dunes for a stroll where I took the snap with the OM10.
Today, while the rain poured, I dropped the film into some rodinal - roughly 50:1 - about 20C and after shaking it around a bit left it while I got on with life. I did agitate the developing tank periodically during the next 30mins [by shouting "Digital"- loudly] and then, once fixed found I had some images. This was one of them.
So, been busy doing nothing much. But I felt the need to shoot a glass-plate or two. This is a snap of Victor defending his ears against our music! Ah well, I like the music anyway. The print is a cyanotype toned with green tea.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


LAst week I shot a couple of Ilford 4x5 glass plates and developed them in Rodinal 1:100 - as you do. They are a but overcooked as it happens but I think i'm going to get a decent cyanotype for them. this is one from the first batch - bleached in weak washing soda and toned in mate' tea.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

the beach

Since there's a few beaches here abouts, and there's always a dog willing to come for a walk with me, I go along them quite often - although not as often as Tecwyne who walks the length of Traigh Mhor and back along the road twice a day. Yes, twice!
Anyway, I usually take a camera to catch the mood of the day. And here's two from a recent bright day on Traigh Mhor with the OM10. Printed on Ilford MG-rc for goodness sakes! And toned.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Darkroom again

The Crofter, yes im of the Grazing Committee, chairman of the Community shop.

Despite the ventilation not being sorted in the darkroom yet, I ventured in for a spot of printing since I had some nice negs that wouldn't wait. Soon, a local electrician will re-wire the darkroom in prep for the ventilation system - to go with the three story vertical extension that I have planned [in my dreams!].
Anyway, since I'd been taking a few portraits with the old Kowa 6 camera, I'd got some nice negs to work with and after a quick expose' onto some ForteCooltone RC paper I got some prints. Here's one. Tis of the Crofter prior to him venturing out into the weather! I shall pay a visit later on to see if he can wade through the mud that is his 'lawn' to get to the piggies!

I'm listening to 'Late Junction' with Max Reinhardt on the BBC iPlayer at the moment. A brilliant if eclectic mix of music to feast your ears on. Do give it a try. Radio3 at 11.15pm

Monday, November 01, 2010


Stephan checking he hasn't been caught eating more cake.
I got along to a birthday party the other day - only there was no jelly and ice-cream, no pass the parcel and no other games either. Still, I did enjoy myself even if I did miss most of it due having to work that evening. Such is life.
Happy birthday Stephan.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Ask your MP/MSP

This is a great analysis of the current economic situation. Great to watch as well as listening too. Do watch then start penning some letters to your MP/MSPs .
Crises Of Capitalism

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Nuffin much

Been doing a few things that mean I haven't really got much new to show you at the mo. Sill, I found this snap fro,m a trip a few years back and it brought back wonderful memories. From the island of Cuba. Lovely place and terrific people. I you have not been its a must see place before it changes and becomes obsessed by consumerism like everywhere else!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Tolsta, on glass

Another Ilford plate I shot today - looking over part of the village!
I'm getting the hang of this :-) At least I think so.