Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Homestead in yellow
The Callanish Stones [just to the left of this snap. You didn't think you'd catch me out that way did you?]
At last, summer has momentarily arrived - just before Autumn kicks in! Still, one makes the best of it, walking the myriad of wonderful beaches, swatting the midges and get the washing out to dry - and dry it does, quickly. I even managed to get out with visitors - not our visitors but I borrowed them for the day and went out to the stones one hears about up here. It rained. Then a midge squadron moved in and I moved out.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Old camera, old film

The other morning I sought out my Kodak Brownie Twin20 camera and some old Vericolor film. Re-spooled the film since the camera takes 620 spools, gaffer-taped it up and took it out for a spin.

The Horse was waiting for me at the Morven Gallery and the boat at Ness Harbour. As I write, Coelyn is with Ian Stephen and others in the Minch in this little traditional boat on the way to Stromness see here - Ness is at the top of the island on the left, Stromness near the bottom left of top group of islands]. The weather is fantastic at the moment.

Sunday, August 29, 2010


I was taking my morning stroll round the village, coming down from the top after viewing a little peat stack when I bumped into Curls [Aka Donald ]. He was sat in his jeepney after a hard morning taking his pal around so his pal can work. "What are ye up to?" he asked. "Just off home to paint the back door yellow" I replied - having not long finished doing the front door the same being rather pleased with the effect and having half a tin of expensive paint left. "Yellow? for goodness sakes!" I smiled sagely at Curls' surprise and listened while he wondered at the idiosyncrasies of the English. Then went home and painted the door yellow.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Up the right way

The other day I ventured for a little walk across the golf course towards the noise emanating from that region. It was of course the Hebridean Rally- a fine event raising lots of money for Macmillan nurses. This was the Ford Anglia driven by a demented banshee round the narrow roads/tracks of the castle grounds which later ended up up-side-down!

Friday, August 27, 2010

The peats are in; The peats are in. The peats.....

Yay, many thanks to Donald Four Tractors who sparked up his faded red old Massey-Ferguson [ ["'ere, I paid £50 for her 25 years ago and I haven't yet changed the oil"] - with a little help from a coin [don't ask me???] - and brought our peats in off the moor.
I was over at The Crofter this morning, passing the time of day, fending off the amorous turkey and snapping up Bertha et al when I noticed Mr 4 Tractors playing with one of the aforsaid tractors in the next door croft. I ventured closer for a little look-see; the tractor was replete with an antique grass wobbling machine [or something like that] attached to the back. Mr 4 tractors saw me and wandered over. "Hiya" I said with a really positive tone in my voice. "Helloo" he said in his lovely accented voice honed by years of Gaelic speaking every time a tourist came around his way :-) "Bout time we brought your peats in isn't it? ". I nodded encouragingly, smiled and everything and we chatted on passing on the news that one does round these parts. In time Mr 4 tractors wandered off, sparked up The Beast in a cloud of diesel smoke and trundled off down to the cliff-edge where he was to salvage another old tractor. Well, one can never have too many can one?

Later in the day, I was reading The Guardian in our smallest room - sad news about MI6 man found dead in flat in London who, it transpired when I had seen an image of him I had coached in my previous job at the Manchester Velodrome - the phone rang. It always rings when I am in that room. I called back to the caller who had not left a message. " It's me Donald" came the reply. Now, in North Tolsta this is not much help unless you recognise the voice snce half the village is called Donald. It was, however Mr 4 tractors and did I fancy getting the peats in today? I did and we met a little while later but not before I had cajoled Mr Crofter to come and give us a hand.
Along came Mr 4 tractors - put-put-put etc but lo and behold it wasn't the same tractor as he was on earlier. Oh no, the first tractor has decided not to play any more - the fan belt broke - and it was only 10 years old - the belt not the tracotr!!! The Crofter and I hopped up on the trailer, endured a spine jarring ride over the rough peats tracks to my peat banks, loaded up the bags and came home. In no time the bags were unloaded and the tea brewed [80C green tea for me], fig newtons un-wrapped and the world put to right.
Brilliant! Many thanks Mr Crofter and Mr 4 Tractors for helping me with getting the peats in. Much appreciated. And no, I have no snaps of the event so put up with this one of Mr Crofter feeding Maclaren and Doris in the Byre.

BTW; there's more on Mr Crofter over at Island Crofter blog if you don't know.

I know, I know

Hector's famous peats and silage

Yes, its a week-old photo but I have some snaps to develop and as yet have not found time to do them. The back door needs painting again so it glows :-) [yellow don't you know] and the peats still have to be brought in.[on that note; if anyone wants some work experience .......]. So, bearing all that in mind, and taking into account that the sun was shining brightly through the window this morning causing a riot of rainbowletes around the room as it interacted with a crystal hanging there, I shot out of bed - slowly. Looked at the washing on the line I had left from the night before [note to self; remember to bring it in by Saturday night]and then readied myself for a little trip. Sonja, Stefan et al, our good friends in the village have some South African visitors staying - and they like taking photos! Say no more. I was in their car in a flash. Well, it would have been in a flash but I had to wait till they arrived you see - but arrive they did eventually and we popped over to Callanish - passing the Western Isles MSP who was cycling across the moor in bright sunshine in aid of the Mod - whoever he is :-) - with a black cloud lurking behind him!

Arriving at the Stones it started raining- as it does. Mike the Bike, the an Lanntair tech-man disappeared soon after in a cloud of spray on his Harley-Ferguson, the tourists flocked back down to the cafe leaving me alone in the circle - apart from a couple of lost souls in hoodies - no doubt still finding their way from the Solstice festivities. Rudi and Jenni - my new found S.A chums huddled in the jalopy with Sonja who used the excuse of feeding the bairn rather than braving the ravaging midges who arrived, rather predictably as the wet stuff eased. Rudi and Jenni did get their snaps with a lovely black cloud hanging over the moor behind - no doubt with our MSP underneath!
With parched mouths we headed up to the Morven gallery - a haven of tranquillity and liquid refreshment - not forgetting THE APPLE PIE - which is worth the journey alone if you are reading this in London. After a troll around the gallery where I wondered at the wonderful work of Gareth Watkins - again. I took tea. Green Tea, Dragon Well - the very best I was told. And here's the revelation for me [apart from the spooky old man's face that was looking at me in the reflections of the wet roof opposite this morning that is] - brewed at 80C - not boiling eh? You're joking me? "No" he replied with an air of authority that made me stop and listen. "That's why this will taste so good" and I can't argue - IT WAS WONDERFUL. Without doubt the best tea I have ever tasted. My own home-made green tea - probably made from mere dust and put in little paper-like bags and sacrificed by me in boiling water for 30 secs was nothing like it. Nothing like it - at all.

So, here you are; recommendation of the day. Go to the Morven Gallery - it's somewhere over on the west-side of the Isle of Lewis near a house where there's sheep - oh, and a real white horse - see here for ferry info to get here first - look at Gareth Watson's watercolour images then order Green tea made at 80C and sit back and feel the pleasure. And don't forget the APPLE PIE!

I'll stop now and once I've had a walk to the shop, along the beach and what have you, painted the door and cleared up a bit, I may develop some films. No, I'll do the films first. One has to prioritise!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Painting light catcher

For a while now I have had this bottle of Silverprint Liquid Emulsion lurking in the fridge. Been waiting for the right image to use it on - having said that I have never used this stuff before so it was going to be a bit of an adventure. The great thing is, this stuff comes with lots of instructions.
So, into the darkroom I go armed with the emulsion and some glass bowls. One has to heat up the emulsion so the stuff can be painted on and this is done in hot water. Anyway, got the stuff all liquid - could feel it in the bottle. Opened the top but none came out. So put it back in the hot water for a while. Tried again and again none came out. Mm, I thought rather perplexed. "I'll give it a squeeze" So I did and all of a sudden I had warm liquid emulsion everywhere. It seems there was a clear plastic bung in the top of the bottle!
As it happens, a lot of the emulsion went into the warm glass dish I was using to hold the emulsion before brushing on so, I quickly sorted a few more sheets of watercolour paper and sloshed the lot on.

It prints ok as it happens. Very pleased with this my first liquid emulsion effort - Hectors new peats - probably the most famous peat stack in the world!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Whales and things like that

The sun was trying to shine and I needed a walk. Since I had been up early and into Stornoway to collect the papers and bread for the shop, now I needed fresh air. And it doesn't get much fresher than out around Garry beach. Off I trotted, along the cliff edge, across the stream then the river and eventually up onto the 'road to nowhere'. It was lovely. Hardly a soul around - just one couple who thought they were going to walk to Ness.
Then the sun came out and I bumped into three ladies off on the track out to track whales and dolphins. Up from the Moray Firth, they were working for the wdcs and looking for Rissos dolphins which apparently breed down this way and are on the endangered list. Despite this, the Faoese slaughtered a pod of these creature recently as a change from their usual whales.
Had a lovely chat with the three, watched the sea-eagles for a bit and went home happy.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Twas a nice morning when I poked my nose out the door at early O'clock. Craig, the village shopman arrived soon after but I managed to get a load in the washing machine - as you do. Stornoway is very pleasant early doors. Not too many people or cars around though there's a fair bit of action up the Rigs Road area as the town's industries crank up for the day.

The bread was ready for collection as were the papers. Milk was put in the back of the van and we trundled home in the diffused sunlight of the morning. Out came the washing from the machine and the second load went in and later onto the line in the fresh breeze. Off again I went to Stornoway this time for business and pleasure. Pleasure was the Photographica 'meeting' in An Lanntair [where else?] and business was business in the same venue but with new personages.
Business concluded and I see the rain is now falling. Absolutely plimsoleing it down as it happens. Back home the washing on the line is now soaked so back into the machine it goes for another spin. So much for saving energy.

Rather reminded me of the Carloway show this year!!

Enjoying Carloway show

Enjoying Carloway show 2

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Taking a stroll with the om10

The day dawned mild and still. The midges were out and so was I. Off down to The Crofter with Eve to see if we could persuade him out of his armchair to the beach. We could not so we went alone - alone but with my new-to-me OM10 loaded with APX100. [Its a camera for those who don't know - and loaded with film. Eh?].
I couldn't pass this spot without taking a snap - I never can. And the midges hadn't found their way to the beach either.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

I'm back

MiLady McGlynn O.B.E
A 'walk'

I got back in time for a right old hoolie too. The ferry stopped running and I lay in bed listening to the tiles rattling on the roof with my tummy rumbling. Which is no great surprise since the hotel on the mainland where my employers put me this week served the poorest food I've ever had in such an establishment. At least the lunches provided at the office were fine affairs so I didn't starve.

Staying in a new-town near Glasgow is not my fav place to be since there is nowhere to walk that has a view other than a concrete shopping centre of roads. My morning walk consisted of a quick trot to a big supermarket in the shopping centre - three under-passes, six million fag-butts on the ground next to the hardened chewing gum plus four empty crisp packets - and bought my copy of The Grawniad to browse over at breakfast. It was on such a brief journey that on impulse, I bought a body spray thing. Musk of the Lily or some such unlikely fragrance. I had in mind a mere light suggestion of fragrance. Unfortunately, I must have dozed off and leant on the nozzle when applying the spray since the smell was overwhelming. Later, sat in the office in my self-imposed Musk-fug I could hardly breathe. I can't imagine what poor Tom was thinking as it was suggested he sat to me that morning - and bless im - he did sit in my general direction. Almost.

Anyway, we don't have trains here so I took the opportunity to go on one from the the new-town I was in and went up to Glasgow to have a lovely time with Aileen - a paralympic cycling gold medallist from Athens and Bejing whom I know from my previous job. I snapped her up with the Holga and flash catching a nice silhouette of the town hall on the back ground.

So lovely to back on such a peaceful island- at least it was until the rally cars started flying round Stornoway this morning. All for Macmillan Nurses charity mind you so, I took a little look and did my bit.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Wells, Somerset

To be honest, this isn't in Wells but at Maters. Tis my nephew Calum apparently. Hardly recognised him since he is a bout two feet taller than when I last saw him . But it is him.
A woman who annoyed me
A gentleman

Have you been there? Oh, it soo lovely. Nice cafe's, fantastic pasty shop, lovely Kirk too. Near Glasto and everything. We went Eve and I and Mater who lives nearby and to whom we paid a visitation. Took a bus ride over in the sunshine and pointed my new-to-me Holga at all and sundry. As you do. Lightleaks an-all. As there is. Must get the gaffer-tape out!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Butcher, Baker and papers. The candlestick makers is shut.

How on earth is he happy at this time of day?? At t'butcher eh?
At t'baker[No. 1]. Looking pensive and to see all is there.
We are off to......... next
"Are the papers ready?" " Nearly" "Right-oh".
Back at the shop

I was up at the break of day today - at least half-an-hour before I'm usually up and soon there is the purring of an engine outside. I pop out to see a bright faced Craig, shop manager man of the Tolsta Community Shop in the van. "Good morning Sir" I ventured. I got in and we cruised off in much comfort - although I must admit I was less bright than Craig.

We visit the cash and carry. I get a nice badge to wear for 20 mins - and feel rather important I must say. I didn't use the camera there. Got to keep up appearances hasn't one. No sooner have we loaded the shiny new van than we are off to the Butchers where the nice man greets me with a smile while I try not to look at the animal bits in the shop - I'm a vegi you know. The pies and sausages get loaded so we pop up to the first baker - good rolls I'm told. A wonderful place where I think I may visit again - with camera. Then off to the second baker - "Hello" we say - as you do - and collect the order. [I might add here; we said 'hello' or variants of that to everyone we met - just for the record] .Down to the paper distributors and a short wait while they are sorted. They are just off the subsidised plane that brings them in - can't imagine how the government can justify continuing that. Still, my Guardian has arrived so that's nice.

Then off back to Tolsta and the little but vibrant community shop where Dorothy is already waiting at the laptop to scan things in. All before 9.30am.

What a fine morning it is too. I'm soon back home developing this little bit film of film I took with my little point and shoot. I might have a sleep now!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

End to George's end

Just a quick note to say that George Morrison of this village will be starting his end to end on Britian cycle ride in the next few days - once he manages to get down to Lands End that is. He's doing it to raise money for Macmillan nurses. You can sponsor him if you want !

Monday, August 09, 2010

Did I tell you I went to a wedding?

The outside photograph. Maybe its the brides mother or maybe not. Who knows? Perhaps I should have been looking before I snook the shutter down.
It's that man again. And his son - nearly anyway! I wish his son would grow taller than he might be in my snap!
Oh deary deary me. Time for bed
The bride is behind that lot somewhere. I am not "A" list you see so I get the back row!
Ms ....

I think I told you I went to a wedding. I did and all. Someone in the extended family on my partner's side . The side where it all mansion houses, cars that work without clouds of smoke and everything.

What a day. I mean it was nice and all - except that my film in the Zorki camera got stuck and broke so only had a few snaps to annoy everyone. Still, there was a man in a kiss-me-quick hat bestooned wif digital cameras and lens' so long you could have poked the bridegroom in the eye with them. So that was alright then.

Now, have I got the snap with the grooms father and mother in....? No.

Friday, August 06, 2010

It's that man again

... finishing his paddle about in the sea the other week. Lots of people out to see why he did it. For those that don't know the place, Mr Pharmacy Husband man is seen here swimming into t'harbour just near his housey. I must say, I rather like this snap.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


"Has anyone any moisturiser please?"
"oh look, something's moving out of Brevig harbour"
The crowd look, look, everywhere but at the Great Swimmer - except one!
Just the latest in Swimwear - soon to be available at Bac Pharmacy alongside horselicks and asprin. Order yours now!
"Look, I have proof. If you don't finish soon, you'll be washing up for a month!"
The apparition in Broadbay

The ferry got me back, back from a penance in London and elsewhere. A wedding. You know the sort of thing; posh frocks, champagne, mansion house and idle chat. They were happy them who were married. Who ever they were. Eve knows them; related to them in fact. Oh, that means I'm related to them. You might even get to see them soon since I took a snap or two.

Was raining when we stepped ashore, raining at Carloway show that enjoyed our company and raining as I write this. And the peats are still out on t'moor.

The post had been while we were away. I got cards and all that since I am now a year older and all that. Today :-)

There was also some snaps I took of Paul, Sporty Paul from Bac pharmacy. He swam the bay you know. Took hours - and I waited two of those for him to arrive. And arrive he did in style with Mrs Bac Pharmacy threatening him from a boat that went out to meet him. A piper did what pipers do and loads of people where there to welcome him in. He was wet. And cold. But still, there was a man who smiled - and was vaguely familiar - who shook his hand. I think that's why Paul did the swim - or I might have dreamed that!!

Paul was brill - and raised loads of money for charity. Well done Sir.

The Minch next?