Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Ellen Hunter MBE

Paul Hunter

I've been listening to and reading all about the forthcoming Olympics in London today. To be quite honest, I've just about had enough of it now. Having said that, it did dominate my life for quite a number of years when I worked as a coach at the Manchester Velodrome - home of the GB cycling team.

Most of the radio was about the stars, Sir Chis Hoy featured as he should, Vicky Pendleton babbled away too and countless athletes, swimmers and rowers spent time telling me how wonderful it's going to be. 

For me the stars of the show are the two erbs above. Ellen Hunter came into the Velodrome one day as a novice and then ended up [via breaking her back but riding as the able-bodied tandem pilot] winning a gold and silver in the Athens Paralympics on the front of a tandem with Aileen McGlynn MBE - and later gold in Bejing too. That same year Paul, Ellen's husband, entrepreneur, wit, irritation and driven man won a bronze on the tandem at the same event with Blinkie Sharpe. Paul was the one with all the talent really. I remember, after Paul won his first World Masters title with a scintillating ride in the pursuit final against some chap from foreign climes - him telling me that he had had packed all his training into one week. Yes that's right, one week. Most people take months and years of preparation but Paul planned it on the first day, did hard and specific training on the next 5 days, tapered on the sixth day and won it on the seventh. Goodness knows what he could have achieved if he trained properly. But then, if he had been around the Velodrome all the time like most of the other riders, someone would have killed him! Lovely chap but try telling him how to train .........

On another note I overheard staff at Tesco's in Stornoway talking about Sunday opening. Now there's a can of worms. I also heard some chap on Radion 4 talking about petrol prices in Stornoway being a tad high. He then went on to say people were using their cars less in the UK and so the tax take was lower and it was affecting the economy. Not one mention of the beneficial effect on the climate or the biosphere though.

Monday, July 25, 2011


Me old pal Mr Windy, im of Windy Wanderings, decided I needed a challenge or six and kindly lent me his Holga TLR to play with - already loaded with some tasty Foma 100. Now that's the sort of loan I like. I seem to recall Mr Leica doing the same thing but with Tri-x.
Anyway, once Eve was safely back on dry land after her visitation to the NT shop on St Kilda, we snook off to a nearby beach in the warmish cold wind to gawk at the surfer people. Not one VW van in sight so they can't have been proper surfers.
 Back from St Kilda

 "I surf". Yes, we know!

 Shadow wants to surf too

Shadow and Frinn

The TLR Holga is a real pig to use to be quite honest. You look down  through the view finder to see some blurred something in a round hole, you think about it then take the snap anyway. What you see is not what you get with this gem of a 'camera'. I like the snaps tho.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The road

I don't do landscapes #7

Some nice chap sent me a batch of old film to play with. I loaded up the Baby Graphic 6x9 with some old-looking Ultra100 film [whatever that was] and took it out on an old peat rack over the back of  the village. I looked at the view for a moment or two, stacked some red filters in the front of the lens and took this snap. I like it. Even with the odd effect of the old film that I had soaked in Rodinal 1:100.
 St Kilda so I'm told.

The Coelyns on t'boat to StKilda NT shop

Meanwhile, my dearest Eve was bobbing around in the Atlantic on the way to St Kilda for a look see with the Coelyns, Toots and William among others. Apparently, St Kilda is a NT bookshop with an army base attached. Not sure why they would want to go there but still, I had given my Viv UW&S to Eve to play with in between collecting pixels with her machine. I hereby present two images to prove Eve wus there.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Chips on a bench

I very rarely eat chips. Pommes de Terre saute'es a' Cru perhaps but not fries. Never cook them at home and don't tend to frequent chippies either. Having said that, Eve & I did give the ward winning chippie in Ullapool a little business the other week. But that excepted.

Eve's wallowing somewhere out near St Kilda today and I'm chiilin before workin. Life eh?

Thanks for all you inputs on the images for my 'friend'. I value you thoughts greatly. Having said that, I'm printing another image altogether :-)

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Picture on t'wall

I have a a friend. Only one don't you know and yes, I do pay them to be my friend since you ask.
 snap 1.
Snap 2

This friend want's a snap of mine on t'wall. There's no telling some people eh? I have in mind these snaps I took the other day. Obviously these are just neg-scans and I might even push the boat out and go to the same peat-road again with a bigger camera if the mood takes me and the clouds stay nice. And the midges stay away and it doesn't rain. Then, I will make a proper print in t'darkroom for 'im and everything.

They are both of the same place. Which one shall it be ? 1 or 2?

BTW; I don't 'do' landscapes.

Sunday, July 17, 2011


It's rained pretty much all day. I got up late and mooched around somewhat thinking I might actually one day get back to riding my bike properly. Listening to the TDF on the radio at the moment - with chaps I used to coach riding it - is making it so much worse. But I have to listen and today I hear Mr Ben Swift got 6th on the stage in his first tour. If I hunt around the house somewhere I have a lovely snap of Mr Swift - when he was 12 I think. He is a very handsome man these days.

Still, much as seeing Ben and others riding so well in the Tour, I still miss riding my bike - a lot!

Friday, July 15, 2011


We now stock Harris Tweed gifts

Tis mad in town at the moment. There's dancin in t'street, people enjoying themselves and everything. The tall boats are blocking up the harbour and creating a nice atmosphere about the place. Feels like the klondykers are back what with all the Polish and Russian crews about the place!
Contemporary Polish 'Klondykers' [Leica II-d]

Turn down one street and there's the Highland dancers, the other street and there's Samba dancers and a mainland drum band. Nice. Quite a change from the normal quietude of the place.

Talked to Mohammed again today - looking real smart in a sharp suit - a change from the work gear from the night before as he was doing the overnight guarding of the 'Continental market'. "Such nice people here" Mohammed told me.

I took some snaps too. Then I messed with one in PS. Just because I can.
Thanks be to Leica Man for the loan of the Leica II[d] and Tri-x

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Oh dear

It was not a good evening. The music was ordinary, there are too many people around and the only drunks I saw were sat in front of me at the music venue. I left at half-time not wishing to have another ordinary hour and had a pleasant stroll around the harbour gandering at the visiting yachts and crews. Not a drunk insight and I didn't take a photo either. Didn't have the heart for it. Could not be bothered. I'm missing my mother who is not here to receive my phone calls now.

As I get older - as inevitably I do - I find myself less able to waste time listening to music that's just OK. Or maybe I go to concerts with a negative feeling in me already. I must meditate on that to explore it.

 Last week's campsite at Lickisto

Leica Man

Still it wasn't a terrible day. Leica Man met me in town earlier to loan me his lovely old camera and Eve is wonderful as always. Three snaps; two from last week's little camping trip and one of the kindly LeicaMan

I must meditate now.


It's all happening in town at the mo. There's a festival on - two tallish ships came in this morning and I, taking the opportunity went aboard one. It's a ship from the Netherlands. Now, I was rather expecting an old ship, beautiful grained wood held together with bolts and nails put in by peoples of times long gone. This one was steel, built in 1989 and equipped with all the latest electronic kit. I was gutted. Granted there was another tallish ship out by Arnish shipyard - Polish by all accounts - and that looked a tad older.

Anyway, I had Mr Leica's camera at the time and shot a couple of shots of crew aboard the metal sailing ship before leaving feeling a bit low. For some reason this little visit mad me really upfed. I wonder why?

 Tonight, I might go and listen to some music and photograph drunk people :-)

 A dog walking his man in Ullapool
Rocks and water - Ullapool stylee

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


I suggest it's all going to get messy in the next three days. I just had that sort of feeling as I came back on the ferry from a brief sojourn in Ullapool. The old boat was heaving with festival goers set for a few days of music and ,,,,, and something.

 Whoa! The world's falling over!

Not sure if he has a licence for those legs. Sorry.

You looking at me?

 Ullapool is a nice place -especially when the sun is shining, the ice-creams are melting and dogs are driving cars !! Eh? Yep, at least I think so.
The sun shone all day, the tea was drunk, the chips sober and fun was had.

I love the island I live on but it is lovely to visit the mainland from time to time - when the sea is calm and all that. Now that's done I must get the peats in - Donald four tractors has been round to see when I want trailer services so we must bag the stuff up.

Monday, July 11, 2011


 Harris Half marathon


After our lovely sojourn I 'arris we came home as I was working - on call anyway. Then it rained. The golfers on the mainland must have had enough of it and sent it over here. So, after a nice stroll up t'road to nowhere - and back in the morning I sloshed some developer around a film I had exposed in the little Petri7s then sat back and looked at the images. I do believe they are getting better every time I shoot these days - even though I say it myself. To me there is something about a snap that gives you an expression of something rather than the thing itself - which is, to me at least - altogether too boring.

No doubt The Coelyns and Leica man won't agree although Toots probably will since he is a happy man at present.

I was lucky enough to see the Harris Yoof half-four mile run [ that's 2 miles if you left school a long time back] so got this magnificent shot you see at the top :-)

Saturday, July 09, 2011

A day or two

 Down Harris way
This morning's stroll

Eve and I took time off our busy lives to play big with the Harris massive at Mission House Studio the other evening. We tootled down to Harris [it's all part of the Isle of Lewis & Harris and joined by an isthmus - Tarbert] after Eve finished her worked, parked up the tent at the wonderful Lickisto campsite - highly recommended by us and loads of other people too - and set off to hear the fantastic Kyle Quartet play Beethoven. The venue is just perfect, the location too. The Hosts - Nickolai and Beka were so welcoming and the music sublime. I mean, I've never heard Quartet 15 Opus 132 before but it is just wonderful, my fav of the evening in fact. We even had a composer fella Piers Hellawell to speak about the piece before that last quartet - and very interesting it was too. Now we are wondering if we justify another trip down for next Friday's concert.

I think we can :-)

I did take some snaps - if you can take snaps with a Graflex 2x3 handheld. Eh? Any, here's two I didn't muck up too much, taken this morning :-)

And the coastguard were out practising just down the road again - although I did wonder if they were doing a spot of sub-contracting work for the council so they can spot builders using the village skip for their rubbish instead of having to pay to dump it.
Just wondering.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

That's not a Leica !

Is that some Japanese camera?? Eh?

The other fine day whilst strolling round the Castle grounds in The Smoke, I came upon the Leica family happily taking in the sun and looking very relaxed with life. Mr Leica didn't even have grass on his boots - which makes a change for him.

I took some snaps - as I do - but with a loaned Minolta 7000i which is by all accounts a very nice camera with great glass but is a huge lump! However, I know young Leica didn't like it. It's not as nice as dad's at all. And of course, he is right.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Fish out of water

I've been feeling like a fish out of water these last few days. All over the place [bed a lot actually]  and feeling fed up in the process I can tell you. Toots can relax because it wasn't his fancies that laid me low. 

I dragged myself out of bed this morning - after my pre-breakfast meditation - and decided that this day will be better. Loaded the Holga with some Rollei400s, searched and found the Perkeo that had a half-used roll of GP3 film in it and took off in our little red car.

The Pentland road is always nice - even in the rain. I stopped and shot some Perkeos and then a Holga or two. It's one of the rules of being a photographist on the island that one has to shoot 1: sheilings, 2: the stones 3; the beaches. I succumbed.
Sheiling on the Pentland Road - spur :-)

Later, I bumped into young Alexander in The Smoke. He's an ex-boy scout or something but a thoroughly nice man to boot. He always cheers me up - and he did. There he is, sitting in his 'wheels' or whatever the local parlance is.

So, I know I'll be panned for shooting the Sheiling, mocked for shooting the Holga and criticized for snapping a fish out of water [out of the freezer actually]. But who cares? Not me since I'm feeling better today :-)

Monday, July 04, 2011


Not been feeling too bright of late for some reason. Probably because my shift at work is about to start no doubt. I quite like my work as it happens but it doesn't seem to like me at the moment.

Coelyne planning to snaffle the dark chocci cake

Eve and I made it to Toot's for mid-morning tea with the Coelyns and Toot's new playmate, Anne. The cakes were lovely as usual, the company equally so but I've not been at my best since. I think it's mere coincidence.

I did come away with a camera to play with so, loaded with RolleiRetro100 straight away, I shot the whole roll through in a day. Nice camera but it is rather heavy!

I shall feel better in the morning. How's that for positive thinking?

Friday, July 01, 2011

The New Order

Stornoway morning
I was walking this way this morning. The weather warmish, the breeze light and I feeling calmish. I went to a meeting, said my bit and came home to continue life via The Coelyns who took an electrical-type image of me. I want to travel abroad later this year yet my passport to foreign places has nearly expired and 'they' need to know what I look like.

It's not finalised yet. I'm still working on it - a new way of living that will lessen inequalities and be sustainable. Not much to ask and not impossible to attain either. Give me a bit longer please.