Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Stornoway Ways

With apologies to Kevin McNeil
Still, I rather like this snap I took last year so printed it up on Forte-Elegance. Lovely paper and its a pity I only have a few sheets - even if they are big sheets. Printed this 8x8" and sepia toned it.
Must drag out the KOWA and do this again.

He's here. Been there, done that. Now here.
Zig is quiet for a change. I'm supping Royston's nice coffee and taking his picture - again. Always lovely light here.
Printed on Forte Coldtone and sepia toned.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tolsta Community Shop

Craig - shop manager

He's waiting in the shop. He should be of course as that's what he's paid for. Anyway, he's there. He's there shuffling the jammie dodgers - essential for keeping the daleks out of the village - with the fire-lighters. Everything so nicely lined up and ready for inspection.
"Good day Sir" I remark and he looks up and smiles. "How nice to see you" he says. And it obviously is since his smile broadens and he makes his way behind the counter. "How may I help you?" he continues, no doubt a regular viewer of Are you being served in days past.
Since I am beyond such consumer-related-conversations , I stroll around the extensive premises, admiring the tins or this, jars of that and packets of the other. I can't help noticing though, there is no wall of crisps. "No wall of crisps then ?" I venture. Craig eyes me sadly. "Not yet I'm afraid".
I just hope there will be. Not that I eat them of course.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


The sun was almost thinking about showing itself as Toots, Eve and I exited the motor and took off over the head by Cliff on the Bhaltos peninsula. Carrying my old pinhole box we made our way over the hill down to the beaches near Cnip. Near perfect conditions although perhaps not for the pinhole camera.
The darkroom didn't fair too much better either. Still, I like the effect.

Friday, April 23, 2010


The Tolsta Community Shop - now Open

The rain is falling -again. And although Hector and Mrs Hector are out on the peats, mine can wait. I went in and solved the problems of the world on Woodlands Centre with my neighbour. Then a quick visit to the above shop and home to read this - if that's the only thing you read today, its well worth it.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010



Speaking clearly on t'radio, she told me what they would like to do. And I liked it - although it will never happen. It never does. But she said what I wanted to hear. She stands for the right colour, has no bad form and unfortunately is in a party that does not stand up here.

One man spoke to me about something I cannot remember but smiled. I have not seen the others but, one has history and another couldn't possibly get my vote. One doesn't even believe basic science it seems. So, I'll just vote for the other one.

There was a definite feel of Dalek around today. I took a sneaky stroll to the community shop and bought some Jammy Dodgers to ward them off. It worked. No Daleks at home when I got back. So I ate the JDs. Sorted.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We are sat in Toots' luxuriously appointed home, wall to wall floors, snaps on show, windows and everything. "Tea?". I nod and I'm not asleep - yet. The biscuits come out - chocolate tasty things all laid out end to end in a little basket with a serviette.

With a deft movement Smiley-like, the pinhole camera is placed on the bookshelf just next to Kennas' best and Blakemore's tribulations with tulips. Atget looks over me as I pull the shutter open then sit down. Down, deep down on the soft and forgiving settee.

The tea is drunk, the biscuits are gone - just a wee crumb or two remains on the red serviette. Toots considers what tins to buy; we wonder about Coelyn on St Kilda as the cold rain lashes down outside. And the deed is done.

I made the flippin thing - all gaffer tape and matchbox. It works too.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Can you believe it? I'm nearly wiped tonight out by some demented banshee racing along with abandon in a black range rover through Laxdale at about 80mph. I'm still shaking.

Maybe I should have realised earlier that things were going to be weird when I bump into some politico chap in a yellow tie smiling at me at the community shop. "We've met before, at the community centre." he said. Smiling nicely. He was right as it happens. I was hijacked that day whilst on a nice stroll round the village when no-one had probably turned up for his 'surgery' and I was called over by a village worthy. "Do you have any influence at all in the British parliament?" I recall I asked him. I did get an answer and he was very pleasant. But then I looked up his voting records and realised I could never vote for him - nice as he is.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

I'm taking it easy strolling out in the sunshine, brisk cool breeze in my face, dark clouds in my head and hard skin on my feet. Imaginary dog by my side as my usual companion seems to have given up on me. Past the community shop cars whizzing past for a quick look at the beaches before turning and going back again. Can't get the snapping feeling out of me - the snapping of the camera that I must do very day for some inane reason. I'm not living if I'm not snapping telegraph poles or something like that.

There's a man from a foreign land who walks this way twice a day with his dog, who I shall call Dai. Twice a day enjoying the quietness of the village, the sea air and the aircraft flying low overhead crashing through something that causes me to start. The 'military' are playing at killing people again this week no doubt.

Dai and his master walk, though the opposite way from me. I meet them on the cemetery road. I always like to walk up the road away from that place rather than down towards it. call me odd but that's the way it is with me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


"Ugh?" or something like that. Some literate comment or other. Windy glared at me and realised he had been snapped. Captured for posterity and all that. And with a Soviet camera an all.


"How lovely" she told me as I dumped four hard-dug bags of ripe manure at her feet. Not anyold manure either but from The Crofter's place o'er t'road. There was not a hint of irony in her voice, not a hint of a smile either. Can't blame her I suppose. Its not as if I'd taken a box of Hebridean Chocs or something.

Woke up as if the weight of the world was bearing down on me. Despite the sunshine my head was somewhere dark, deep dark, dank dark - probably. So set off for a stroll down Glen Tolsta for a little meditation on the beach - quiet as you like down there. OOmmmmmmmm. and that sort of thing. Clearing my mind of detritus, work, elections and meditated on the incompatibility of the current economic system in a closed biosphere. as you do. As I do.

Then it was back up to The Croft to dig manure and take it across the village to she who is so nice.
I did get to bottle-feed a lamblette though and that brought me back to the world the right way up.

If you are passing St Kilda in the next three weeks, do wave to Coelyn who will be camping and snapping away. Hopefully the weather stays fine :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


World Masters Pursuit Champion 2006

"I say, are you from Bridgwater?" I asked with a certain amount of confidence. I'd seen the make of hand-made bicycle that was propped up outside Woodlands and now, sitting adjacent to the kindly looking gentleman and his grand-daughter and dressed in similar garb I deduced the velo was his. The bicycle was one made in Bridgwater by someone I briefly worked for and such machines are designed with great attention to detail for the pleasure of cycle touring. Their wheels are just so; the frame superbly proportioned and the touring capacity unsurpassed .

Mr Windy had met Eve and I for a tootle round the castle grounds on our old mountain bikes; bikes that have seen many miles and given us much pleasure. Mr Windy's bike was blue. Both Eve and Mr Windy used to be track racing cyclists - rather like Sir Hoy and Princess Victoria Pendleton - but with rather more panache and less speed. I used to coach such creatures for a living. We were used to cycling although our legs and bots seemed a little more tender than we remembered from last year. Or was it the year before?

"I say, are you from Bridgwater?" I had asked. "No, from Holm" came the crushing reply.

Friday, April 09, 2010

oop 'ere

Just above below
Just above that looking over there.

Looking down from above. The cars move to the beach behind me. I'm hovering - not literally of course although I wouldn't mind that at all. I raise the camera, just a bit. And then a bit more before squinting through the eye-piece and capturing a unique image of this place here and now - well, there and then. And then proceed to muck it all up in the developing.

Thursday, April 08, 2010


I ventured to the front of the well-built house, knocked and stood back as the Coelyn came to the door. "What do you want?" I ventured. I got told; Coelyn had come to the door to see who it was which I must admit did seem reasonable.

Eh. No, I dreamt that wrong.

Try this;

The rain pattered on the window oblivious to what I was doing. Billy Liar punked loudly at me from hisSpace somewhere in nowhere land; down a wire from Edinburgh. Punk in Edinburgh? I can hardly believe it. Stornoway, yes.
There's a knock at the door and I hastily commit Mr Liar to hisSpace and not mine. The Coelyns stroll purposefully into my dark little roomette. I think I'll post a snap of Coelyn soon - the one with his 12x14 accordion - or whatever it is.

Sorry, got all the dreams mixed up. Last nights and last weeks have got confused. Or was it yesterday? No idea. Come back Friday and I'll try again.

Monday, April 05, 2010

from there to here

The Heavy. We met and talked. We liked him. Ali.

“Look, if you had walked all the way from Ness we would have had to call the coastguard out by now” I railed. “It’s only another hour or so from here – assuming we go the right way and I don’t kill you first”.

We’d seen two eagles soaring up above some gully that had some unpronounceable Gaelic name on the map. Might have been sea eagles but we weren’t sure. They looked like eagles – big and ugly with fingerly bits on the end of their wings – and they were by the sea. So they might have been sea eagles. Someone, I can’t remember who, told me there were sea eagles up here. Here in the middle of, of…. of Ness and Tolsta. More towards Tolsta really. Obviously.

By this time I’d already tripped over an empty can of cider, fallen on my face in a gully and slipped on my ass on the slippery grass. I was uncomfortable. My boots were soaked and the boy was limping. He didn’t want me to know he was limping but since he was walking like a three legged dog, it wasn’t hard to tell.

Six hours it took. Six hours of grass, rock and cliffs. Big cliffs too. If the boy had gone on much more he might have seen the bottom of one of those cliffs. But he didn’t and I didn’t. Just as well since his calves needed feeding at home.

Friday, April 02, 2010


Moving on
This is it. Only it isn't.
I've bin trying to get this down on silver gelatin for ages. This is not the result - it's merely an imitation of the required result. Sure, it was shot on proper film in a proper old folding folder camera of some age or other - as if it matters anyway.
The real thing eludes me. By real I mean creating with sweat and probably blood in a smelly damp darkroom. I'm going to get in and shine a light through this neg soon onto the oldest paper I have and then throw it in with crappy developer an all. That's the way I feel about it. It may work. But it won't. I can feel it in my bones. And if you had the bones I have you might know what I mean.