Wednesday, February 29, 2012

knitting yoghurt

Hector was going the other way. Down that way [pointing to my right]. I was going straight on over there [gestures uselessly ]. The sheeps were going wherever they wanted to in the main. Hector wanted them on his croft so he could do something or other with them. Or to them probably.
Sheeps on the move

Sheeps are often not the most cooperative creatures - even when they not as old as the previously oldest sheeps in the world who lived at the other end of the village. Until she feel off the cliff! Moving sheeps the right way is like knitting yoghurt. Which to be quite honest is not easy at all.

I had a visitation from The Artist formerly called Jon this morning. Always a lovely experience. I'm now over-excited about the resurrection of my matchbox pinhole camera so expect some well-nice snaps in the near future.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Blogging; what's that all about then?

The other day I received an email. Not in itself a strange affair only this was not offering millions from Nigeria once I'd sent my bank details, neither was it another piece of spam from the union but a request from someone to waffle on in my own inimitable way about blogging.

Oh, by the way, did you read the post about Eve and I going to waltzing lessons? No, well, go back and do that first then come here again.
Waltzing not wrestling

Nice eh? Since then we have done a minuscule bit of practice, notably on the beach the other evening - in the rain. I mean, eat your heart out Mr Vettriano. Having said that we had no singing buitler although we did hear some wierd noises coming from a nearby cave which turned out to be Sammi the seal.

Right, where was i? Ah, blogging. No idea why I do it to be honest! It just seemed like a good idea at the time - a few years ago. Whoa! six years ago! How did that happen? Some time life just passes so quickly. A bit like last night when Eve work me up in the morning just as I was in my death throes - in a dream thank goodness. I seem to be dreaming a lot at the moment. Why is that?

I take snaps. With proper film cameras and all. Well, most of them are proper. The one I used today cost me 99p [plus P&p] and even when I tried to give it away I couldn't. Look above, Eh? It almost takes passable snaps - when you point it in the right direction and keep it level when you use the self-timer and everything. And when I do or don't do those things and I have spent good time and money developing the flippin things and perhaps even printing then in the darkroom [where I might add, Monster, one of the local cats spent the night after being locked in there by mistake - and peed and pood everywhere - leaving me a tiresome job to do before I could sloosh the chemicals about to mask the smell] I might want to show them to someone.  Or I might not. Either way I might scan the image onto the pooter and regale you all with tales of this and that that keep me amused and might just arouse a smidgin of interest out there in the virtual world. You never know.

Mr Crofter's Hebridean Sheeps.

Like this snap, taken coming back from the beach and meeting Sammi and the waltzing and all that. Mr Crofter's sheep were lurking near the old pathway so I snapped them up with the 99p camera - and they didn't seem to care at all. Perhaps I should have taken the Hassleblad, they might have perked up a bit then.
See, if you followed that link you'd realise I 'do' two blogs. How wasteful is that? Well, not at all since the other blog is a sort of documentary of a man in mud. I love the work of James Ravilious and Rax you see and try to emulate/pay homage too/copy them.

Now I come to think about it, I'm still not sure why I write them. I shall sleep on it, dream a little more and come back with the answer soon.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Jane and Ted [and not forgetting Murphy ]



This is Ted [look at the top snap] and this is Jane [now you can look at the bottom one]. Easy wasn't it, eh?
Jane and Ted live in a lovely house by the side of a beautiful green field on a hill over-looking a Peak or two. 

They are not married, despite Jane being a little pregnant. For Jane is married to Rodney who was away on 'business' in Oman at the time. Business being chasing men in lycra who are riding bikes around the countryside. That sort of thing anyway. 

Ted is not married at all. He does catch birds from time to time though. And frightens the life out you in the middle of the night when he jumps up onto your bed to see if it was going to be warm and comfy there. It was warm but I made sure it wasn't comfy. He didn't ask first did he?

Murphy was there too. Murphy is big and timid. I mean big as in Maine Coon big and timid as in like a wimp.   But I did like him even though he frightened the life out of me when he jumped [very noisily I might add] into his cot [yes, you read it right! ], into his COT in the room we were sleeping in. I turned the light on and gave him a very stern look I can tell you. 

He didn't want his photo taken though. And I respect that.

People and all that.

 My father in his younger days

We are not long back from sauntering round England and, clearing out my late mother's house where she and Dad lived for some years after retiring from running a couple of large youth hostels with Mum. Can't think of how much hard work that was - running first Slimbridge and Ironbridge hostels. Before that Dad was an electrician in the Navy on Minesweepers and then later in hospitals. Doesn't he look grand in his uniform in this wonderful print I found.

Mum on other hand was a Sergeant in the Army [although it's hard to imagine I must say] with Winston Churchill's daughter and while bringing up us lot [my sisters and I] she worked voluntarily as a nurse on nights a couple of days a week. After retirement Mum then went on to run a B&B and continued until her 87th year. If only I had that sort of energy.

 Calum welding in the rain

There is someone I know up here who still works in his shed in town as a blacksmith - maker of all things metal especially the local Tairgseir for the tortuous peat cutting -  and really nice chappie fellow me lad. A little bit of torrential rain is not going to stop his welding something to something else whilst sat on an old crate. I wasn't in the rain myself but passing by in my horseless carriage. I stopped, wound the window down and snapped him up.

I might add here, a little tentatively perhaps that I got a few pagers in Notes, the magazine/pamphlet of Scottish Photographers where they reproduced some of my blog posts noting; there is a gentle madness about the Blog. I'm flattered although I'm not so sure about the 'gentle' to be honest.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

All too much

The Windys' Waltz

One, two three....

.. by this time it was all going blurry. My legs were tangled with Eve's, I had chunks out my shins and we were doing our best impression of Ms Widdicombe x 2. It was fun though. The teacher was brill - if unrelenting. Four hours to cover all of the waltz. I mean all of it. At least the minor celebs on TV get a week so I'm told.

The collective effort of the day brought down a curtain rail in the ballroom [sorry! ] and warmed the freezing room to boiling by the end the day. My Windy enjoyed himself too dancing Mrs W into the ground. I too am exhausted and bed beckons soon. I just hope I can move in the morning :-)

 Mr Windy having fun

Meanwhile, as Eve and I were struggling to keep in time, lurching this way and that and generally making a fool of ourselves, our pal Anne was dangling on a wire below the coastguard helicopter. Anne had the misfortune to break her ankle while out walking and wasn't too keen on taking the easy route back to the hospital [they were in the middle of Harris somewhere] - until she saw the nice helicopter crew - then she thought she might just take the chance!
Hope you get well soon Anne.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Nere do well

Sorting out the world

The nice thing about going into town, about 14 miles from here, is that I'm likely to meet someone I know. This week met loads of peoples when I visited earlier in the week. Stopped for a mocha in An Lanntair with William, Colin and Barbara, the former two were soon putting the world to right - and enjoying themselves in the process too.

Meanwhile, I was out strolling today - just in time to get caught in a[nother] torrential downpour of hailstones. The concrete bus shelter was to hand and afforded a little respite until it eased off and I resumed my walk. I took myself off to the moor to look for for Meades cars. [and ] I found two.

Meades cars

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sometimes wrong is just right

Mr David Brown

Got a bit OTea-ed today. I had the pleasure of visiting Mr Brown in the village after a brisk walk in the rain. The water dripped of my waterproofs as I sat holding my first cup of tea of the morning listening, fascinated to David. He is a real knowledgeable man on birds in particular and has a published work on the islands birds. It's in the Stornoway library if you want to read it. Not surprising he knows so much since he was a estate gillie for years. I shall be back to drink his tea again and learn a great deal more about the island fauna in the process.

Then it was Stephan's turn to suffer my visitation.which was cruel really since he was already suffering from the after effects of a bad dose of flu. Being ahead of the game, I'd had a flu jab last year for just such a time. So, smugly I sat and chatted while Stephan sat and coughed. Then I was off down to see Royston and Zig where I soaked another cup of tea with a welcome apple pie.

Since the rain was still coming down when I got home, I processed a roll of film - badly but liked the result anyway. That's what you get when you allow incompetence to seep into your life !

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


Adox MCC

Not sure what to do about this; I spend ages fumblin round in the dark from time to time, turning out what to me are rather nice prints. They look black and white - when I don't throw them in sepia - with bits of grey too. Detail where it should be and everything. The subject is not too bad, the paper just right. But when I come to scan them to post here they just look horrible - blown out out whites and loads of grain. Would welcome any advice. I use a Canon 880f and Vuescan.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A turn of events

It seems that there are plans afoot to build 13 large wind-turbines near the village here. Interesting, since the only people who seem to know about it are the local crofters. I wonder why? Actually, I do think I know why but don't wish to put it here.

If anyone has any further information about these plans I'd be very interested to hear about it.

Still, the rain has stopped, met my work colleagues in town for a coffee and took some snaps too. So not all a bad day

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Cha etc

I was wandering around in a daze. You know the sort of day when you can't really wake up but the day passes all the same. You meet lovely friends for coffee and then you find out there's dance class going on in town. And you have a camera in your bag. Not the right camera but a camera with film in it all the same. You trot along to the Hotel where the dancing is taking place.
Two Coffees?

"£22.50 please".

He was joking thank goodness.
Mr & Mrs Windy were there learning up the Cha cha cha and I really wish I was doing it too.
We are going next week - it's the waltz :-)
At least I will be feeling awake by then.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Velodrome

Old pals at the Velodrome

Just before the test event happened at the Olympic Velodrome in Londinium - where Sir Chris won, Victoria and Jesse broke a world record and won and the women's team pusuit team did the same - Eve and I were visiting my old place of work. The Manchester Velodrome seems to have grown in size since I was there with the new BMX track next door and a wonderful restaurant as well. Lovely to be there again and such a lovely welcome from the staff and riders we still know. The Vets session was on at the time so we popped down to see  who was there and came across these old pals. They don't seem to be getting any older while I age too quickly for words. Am I missing something?

Friday, February 17, 2012

Stroud and beyond

Stroud - or a bit of it anyway

We visited Stroud on our English travels. A short stop to stretch the legs, breath the air and enjoy the delights of the arts centre cafe. It's a nice-ish place stuck on the edge of the Cotswolds - not contaminated too much by the lovies of the interior and retaining much of it's rather down at heal feel I remember from years back when I used to visit more often. Please don't write to me if you live there - it is after all, just my jaundiced opinion of the place.
Frosty morning in the orchard

Later we arrived at my dear sister's place on the Somerset Levels where we stayed a few days whilst sorting out our late Mum's house. It's for sale BTW. One morning we had a proper frost and everything so I took off into Lynne's orchard to take a few portraits there - with James Ravilious in mind.

Cabbage patch

Did I tell you I was back home? No? Well I am. We are actually.

Nothing nicer then a visit to the in-laws at the cabbage patch house for a few days to prepare oneself for the rest of the break. Bonky [aka Mother-in-law] was in great form devouring the news in the morn, the crossword in the afternoon and generally being the lovely person she is. The cabbage patch house was full. Eve's sister and husband - whose house it is - were there as were their daughter, her husband their two boys - Moon-Biscuit and   The Lone Ranger. And us !

The Cabbage Patch

I developed a roll of Orwo n74 rated at 1600 asa for too little time in the faithful Rodinal so we have a  limited selection of images to peruse here. Still, the Kiev II seemed to like the place.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Pelforth Brune

We are, as I type, sitting in the summer parlour, warming our toes on the fire and sipping a fine glass of Pelforth Brune. It's beer - the proper stuff - from France and everything - via Whaley Bridge in Derbyshire where we bought it.. And no, we have none left , just in case you were suddenly planning a quick visit.

Classy [blurred] shot from the Konica Pop camera. 

We have, as you might have worked out, been away from t'island. Visiting relatives and what have you. And friends. Special mention to Murphy and Ted who we got to know . Photees to come later but in the meantime you feast your eyes on this gem I found lurking on the floor when I got home.

And while you are waiting to see the next post here, check out Scottish Photographers too. You might see an image you recognise.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Sometimes a man with a silly looking hat can be a very good thing

I like hats. Well, up here I do anyway. When the cold wind screams over the cliffs it fair freezes the ears and a bad case of 'ice-cream-head' is often not far away. A warm hat is the way forward - fast forward usually as one chases it down the road after it has been blown off ones head! I have a nice warm green hat, another my dear Eve made for me in cream and some other colours and of course another knitted one Eve also made with ear pieces and an under chin[s] tie.

Today this man saved my day. Despite his sensible warm hat, he is a clever and lovely man. The chief mechanic at Mackenzie Motors, he waved his magic hands over my ailing motor and it came back to life. The door that had been making horrible noises suddenly was a smooth as can be.. How good is that? And then he didn't want to charge me??? Needless to say, I paid the man. Who can resist paying a man in a silly hat

 "Right that's enough photos, I have a car to see to"

All smiles from Mr Mackenzie in his rabbit ears hat

I can't recommend this garage enough. Buy a car from him and get the best service and on-going help you'll ever need.

Do I get a discount now?

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

A shocker

A snap of the village with Mr Windy's Holga 35mm

The last few days have been a shocker. A good shocker as it happens. I have at last managed to see a few words written by a budding author in the village - and liked what I read. I have heard from a former dentistry work colleague who now lives on a remote Shetland Isle . How good is that? And the sun has shone, I had a lovely walk with my dance teacher's secretary and her son, I met my new work colleague and all is nearly well is the world.

Stornoway with Mr Windy's holga 35mm