Monday, May 16, 2011


I must admit that I have a small but fine collection of photo books. That's books with mainly photos in them rather than "how-to's". I'm influenced often by the emotion of the work inside - such as the fine James Ravilious, Alexey Titarenko and many others. However, I also have an interest in fine B&W cycling photos - no doubt because of my past employ/sport. Often the well-known names such as HCB shot cycling events from time to time but I rather like the images of Etienne Auwera - this image of his comes from the Tour of Belgium 1952.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Eve's pal

Eve got friendly with Big Mac the other day down at The Croft. Big Maclaren was out with Rosie digging up 'the ex-lawn' while The Crofter cleaned out their hutch. Eve and I were down to dig up some ... er 'compost' from the big pile down t'croft to put on our little veg patch.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Chris Mackie

There's a new exhibition with some lovely photographs going up in An Lanntair as I write. They are by Chris Mackie who is currently in travelling in NZ for while.

Sheeping - or something like that!

I was proceeding in a northerly direction, minding my own business, looking at the darkening sky and wondering what to make for tea when I spotted Murray getting all togged up outside of his pal's barn. "What you up to Sir" I asked respectfully. It's the sort of thing I've got used to asking in my present line of work with the island's miscreanti.

It seemed that Murray and Murdo, Murray's pal were about to do a bit of sheep hair curling so the little lambs with straighter wool didn't feel out of place. Or was it a bit of dosing of the sheeps? Can't remember rightly but it was one or the other. We all descended into Blind Billy's shed where a contraption was prepared.

I apologise for my vagueness on the events of the day but to be honest I have not much idea what was happening on the other side of my camera lens. They moved or didn't and I shot. Or didn't. That's the way it went. I know it's hardly Ragnar Axelsson [who I might add, has had a wonderful film on BBC about him which is a must to watch] but it is North Tolsta !
 In Blind Billy's shed
Doing something sheep.
Next there was a lot of running about the croft, whistling for the sheeps who obediently came for a look-see and possible feed then disobediently shot off again with Murray chasing behind. I stood and watched, picked up a piece of fence stuff with which I thought I might help then put it down again as the next door crofter's jolly good sheep dog  came along to round up the sheeps [No, not Blind Billy who was still having his mid-morning sleep before his midday sleep.] In no time at all the sheeps were playfully trying to headbutt their way out of the little fank now they had figured something was up.

Then it rained.

Out came the curling tongs and the sheeps relaxed. But this was merely distraction and soon a dose of something which looked horrible and probably tasted horrible was administered.

I ran out of film, out of the croft and into the darkroom. Eh? Ragnar Axelsson, eat your heart out!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A tribute to rider 108

Very sad day at the Giro D'Italia yesterday when Belgian Wouter Weylandt died after a terrible crash on stage 3. Lovely tribute by the riders at the race today.
The long and winding ......

Although I did not know the rider, having spent 10 years of my working life in the sport, I really feel the loss.
Rest in Peace .

Saturday, May 07, 2011


Mr & Mrs Eve's sister and Eve
Sister is here. Eve's sister that is. Sister and her hubby are staying outside the village since we have no room for visitors to sleep - unless they sleep in the coal bunker that is. And, the bunker is full of coal. Eve and family took off oop north to Ness on t'road to see things while I stayed here flat on my back wondering what's happened to cause me this agony. I can barely see the screen here as I can't bend my back enough!!!
I managed to meet them in Stornoway for a lovely meal in the Park Guest House restaurant but then had to stagger back to the car bent double. Perhaps the morning will bring respite.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Her loveliness

Eve in all her loveliness on t'beach.

The weather is still good. It wasn't so good this morning as I took a light stroll up the village to see my pal for coffee. When I came back i ensconced myself in the darkroom to make a minor masterpiece and came out an hour or so later blinking in the blazing sunshine. How did that happen? Immediately I took off to The Crofter as I was sure they'd be sunning themselves again waiting for the sheeps to baa or something. I was mistaken as The Crofter was inside gossiping to another villager and making teeth - as one does to make ends meet. 

It did pop into my mind that I mind take out the bicycle for a spin this afternoon so I laid down and luckily the feeling soon passed. My dear Eve's sister and husband of that parish is arriving this evening for a tootle around the island. No doubt Mr Eve's Sister will be looking around with an eye to buy up a croft or three in the village for a little business venture :-). 


Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Bishop's Bottom

Mum's doing Ok since you ask.

 B&B Ullapool views
On the way back from doon sooth, my dear Eve came over to Inverness to meet me off the biplane and it wasn't long before we found ourselves ensconced in the Blackfriars pub supping on some fine proper ale. As it happens, Eve' was not Bishops Bottom but something strong from Orkney while I risked all with a half of Hector  [ale; so you North Tolstaonian's don't get the wrong idea] . Lovely it twas too. The walk along the canal to the Tomnahurich cemetery was great too. One can waste a great deal of time exploring this fascinating place - the headstones often include the occupation of the deceased. We saw engineers, ship master, prison governor, tweed manufacturer, an iron turner, military people of all sorts but we missed the lion tamer that is [allegedly] there.
We tootled over to Ullapool on t'charabanc where we spent a fine evening enjoying the foodie delights and the views from the excellent B&B [although I am less enthused with the 'memory mattress' in the place that seemed to know the size of my deriere but forget my back].