Thursday, May 31, 2012

I didn't know what to say. They looked so at ease with life.


Wandering up the road through the village with the sun on my back, breeze in my hair and no midges to deal with, I came across these two little fellows. 

"Hello" I said in my best lambese. They cocked their pretty little heads and looked quizzically at me. 

"Who are you" they suggested.  I told them I was the only vegetarian in the village [which isn't exactly true since to be totally honest I am currently a pescatarian and so is Eve but I figured that being so young the little lamblettes wouldn't know what I meant and I was trying to put them at their ease and not frighten them and all that]. 

"Oh" they replied not moving out of their cool spot in the shade. 

I didn't tell them of life and things. Of non vegetarians, of nine months down the line and what have you. I saw no need. They seemed so content with life just sat their looking while mum looked on from afar.

"Please can you let the world know of our plight" came the surprising request as I turned to leave. 

"I'll do what I can but I'm not sure who reads the stuff I write these days as none leave messages on the blog".

"What's a blog?" The Tolsta two asked. I tried to explain about it being a place where I write things down and post pictures but I could see they hadn't a clue.

I wished them well, took their picture and left.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Van the woman [or something equally witty - you'll just have to make it up yerself!]

A crazed woman shot out the back door of the shoppe/Post Office. She looked rather like the post mistress to me. Wide eyed, grinning like a Cheshire cat sort of crazed. "Have you got the van key?" she demanded of me then pushing past with a pile of boxes in her arms. The key was in the ignition I ventured guardedly. .

John A the councillor sprang into action - coffee in hand, bought in the shoppe that morning. "Now hold on there" he said with a smidgin of concern upon hearing me ask if the post woman lady person can drive.

Mrs 'Up Yours' MacIver shot into the road, checking for traffic to warn as the van kangaroed up the road threatening to spill it's contents all over the road! Another day in North Tolsta had begun!

Just down t'road, Ben the Vet [Pushkin's private physician ] was soothing a stroppy horse as the farrier fitted new shoes.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Perkeo in North Tolsta

The Perkeo in question is a camera - what else? It is very nice. Compact and all that and nice. Did I say it is nice?

Put some Fomapan 100 film in it, point it at your partner and shoot into the sun. Might as well while we have some sun.

I am currently inhabiting the Oiseval Gallery in Brue here on the island. That's nice too. Come in and have a look.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Dourdoigne, Dugast. Lovely

Monsieur Dugast then of Dourdoigne Boyaux and good family friend Desire Almy.

Back when I was young - a long time ago it now seems, I used to race bicycles. See, I had a life once!
Anyway, the family Ingram, of which I am a member had long time friends who lived in Normandy - that's in France and everything. This French family are lovely and none more so than Desire Almy who must be at least ninety now and used to race bicycles too in his younger days. This lured me over to race in the area riding for a local club there and generally having a good time.

We even got round to visiting the  Dourdoigne Tubulars 'factory' in a garage somewhere near Granville in France. That's French France. There was a outdoor velodrome there too so all my boxes were ticked that day. 

Are you following this? Nothing to do with the island here or photography much - except that I found this snap lurking yesterday and it made me remember 'things' Eh?

Scroll on a few years from the pre-1977 snap above - and I'm in Sheffield trying to do a PhD and I see Dugast tubulars on bikes at the worlds in Manchester Velodrome where, a couple of years later I take up the post of Velodrome coach. We are talking 1999 now! Sir Chris Hoy is merely a boy and just another up and coming sprinter. Victoria Pendleton is still a kid and I'm now importing hand-made Dugast tubulars [special stick on tyres for racing bicycles] and selling them on. It supplemented my grant at the time. Then, when working at the Velodrome I sold a pair of special tubulars to Jason Queally. He went on to win the Olympic gold medal in Sydney. Then I was supplying the GB team at the Velodrome and, Chris Boardman for his hour records. Lovely white or pink treaded tyres made of silk and rubber. Mmmm. Even my Eve won her World Masters title on pink Dugast tubulars - which as it happens are lurking up in the loft as I write. Latterly, Mr Dugast had retired and sold the company to a Dutch chap Richard Nieuwhuis who came over to stay with us in Mossley, Lancs while visiting the Manchester Velodrome for big events. Our lovely Dutch friend Carine - called him a 'talking chair' - I am sure you get the idea.

So, there you are,  a little history all from one snap Eve found while looking through a box!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Wave alert!

Oh dear. Just came home from working and I noticed someone has taken the waves! There wasn't one there at all. All smooth like they have melted in the sun or something.

Don't panic, I probably will come across the cove who has taken them .

Yes, it's hot here too

 Looking into the mist [ as Sammi the seal juggles six balls in the sea below]

Our friends Anne and David were up this way recently, so I took them for a stroll round Tolsta Head. If you haven't been round there, you should do. Birds and everything to be seen. I can see it as I write to be quite honest.

Hopefully you won't get bonxed by the Arctic Skuas or fall off the steep cliffs where the sheeps sometimes go to their demise. Hopefully you'll be able to see the mainland - although if you can see it clearly then head home as there will be bad weather coming in. Probably. This day it was hot. Very hot for here - and close. Did I tell you it was hot as well?

 Clocks [with summer hat! ] and Beinn

Even Clocks has taken a summer look and he looks years younger than he looked before. And Beinn the doggie followed him round all the same. When I say 'followed', what I really mean is that he walks around the village with Clocks wondering where he is.

Hector's peats

The peat cutting is doing well this year - but we haven't cut this year, the first year since we have been here  we haven't. We'll be back next year though. These are Hector's peats all nicely stacked in front of t'neighbours house. Yes, that's not Hector's house behind.  Makes me tired just looking at it!

Friday, May 25, 2012



This is a road - of which we do have a few. Even double ones like this main road. Luckily they are without too much traffic. Unless you are on the road when the ferry comes in at Tarbert. This was not one of these moments.

There is another big road down Uig way. You go down loads of single track then all of a sudden there's a road like a motorway for a few miles before that too suddenly goes back into single track. Well, I suppose they have to waste EU money somehow!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Barking, just barking

 Barking dog almost made it through the pinhole

And then she was gone

I wasn't sure the barking dog had made it through the pinhole but she had. Almost. Seems like she may have got her head stuck and tilted the world to one side in her attempts to get all the way through. It's ok, the world is straight again now, the sun is still shining and all is well.

Apart from it's too hot to go into the darkroom. A first up here!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Barking Dog is there somewhere but I think she may not have squeezed through the pinhole

 Outside nicely sucked in through the pinhole.

Inside less nicely in through the pinhole.

The Barking Dog is there somewhere. Trust me. She was doing my head in barking in that cave on Garry Beach while I patiently awaited the exposure - carefully calculated so as to get something on the film without TBD bringing the tinnitus on. I'm in the tother snap. See me there, posing oh so demurely. Or something.

It's amazing what fun one can have with a tiny hole in tin-foil and a box with film in it. Eh? I think the lith developer awaits when the weather cools off a bit. Yes, it's like southern Europe here this morning !

Had a fine meal in t'campervan of The Watson's down by the beach last night. How much fun was that? A lot of fun as it happens!

For the last few days there have been a shoal of fishing boats bobbing about in the North Minch and no doubt they will be there till the fish that are there are all gone! [and half of the catch has gone overboard as waste. What a way to treat the world's resources.]

I notice I have a few visitors most days. Please do feel free to leave your paw-print in the coments. Always nice to see something there and hear from others.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

More Snaps

Yay! The sun is shining and it's lovely and warm. Tempted me out on the old Argos road bike this morning  for a quick pootle round the village which was very nice indeed. Not sure the legs appreciated it mind you.

Prints on the table

As a result, the next darkroom session will be put back as I hate wasting good sunshine by sitting in the dark! Oh, well, the snaps from the wedding I recently went to will have to wait. I have a few prints done already thank goodness.

Mr Posse is back home asnd soon to be wandering down to Wales for the weekend. Mr Posse does nothing but surprise us! And recently has been no exception :-)

Mr Posse in the Summer Parlour

Monday, May 21, 2012

Crash in Tolsta

Crash in North Tolsta

Yes, a crash in North Tolsta. Happily, the vehicle was soon back on it's wheels and no-one got hurt. It all happened so quick you know. One moment the vehicle was happily going along, then the next it was on it's side. As I looked over I saw an up-turned air plane  too - but apparently that had landed earlier and was under inspection.  And I didn't manage to focus properly. Phew!

 Eve and David walking up/down from/to Bowglass

 David and Anne looking happy about almost seeing Golden Eagles

 Up here we were. 

David follows me down

The day before we had a wonderful stroll up from Bowglass and here's some snaps to prove it!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Watching eagles

 Hill St

There's almost a hill here. Maybe just a slope masquerading as a hill. But it is a street - North Tolsta style. I took these snaps on a stroll back from delivering the shoppe van to the next days driver. You can see what the village is s like if you are coming this way. And why shouldn't you? Well, if you were coming from this way you would have had to come across the moor. Eh?

 Just near there.

We have friends you know. And two of them are on-island as I write - although not in t'village since they reside in a campervan somewhere Valtos way tonight. Which is very nice. We met them today at Bowglass, North Harris as they were keen to see some Golden Eagles who live down that way. After a leisurely drive down - it's about thirty five miles don't you know - we arrived in the little car-park with two eagles circling above - one rather low and very visible. They are a magnificent bird which we do see regularly, living in these parts as we do. There's a pair who have a hutch just up the coast from the village here as it happens.

 Bus shelter. Should withstand a hurricane or a stroppy ram.

Twas lovely watching the birds circle round and then our friends arrived, we looked up again and the birds had gone! Of course we told Anne and Dave we had seen the birds - been hand feeding them in fact [I didn't tell them that but should have :-) ]. We walked up the path to look over loch Langavat  but only saw a couple of eagles high in the sky. Then it clouded over, we sat and took coffee then descended.  A terrific walk with lovely company.

The bus shelter

A walk round the village here is very nice too. The sea is very obvious - all wet and shiny and over there, just behind the bus shelter. Yes, that's sun creeping through the clouds. There's houses, peat stacks, a shoppe and post-office, a couple of churches [please don't read this if it's Sunday! ] and at least three old charabancs rusting away behind houses or out in a field!

 Peat stack, fence and the ubiquitous cement mixer

The sea, again.

Friday, May 18, 2012


Did I tell you there are beaches here? No? Well, there are beaches here. No longer can you suggest I have not told you there beaches here. My work is done.

Snap; no crackle, no pop.

This snap was taken behind the beach here near the village. You'll just have to imagine the beach all white and,..... and well, sandy I suppose. I took this snap here because that's where I was walking with The Dog that barks. I felt a picture coming on and gave into it. I have little ability to give up the opportunity to snap up something when it presents itself to me - even if it isn't a beach. Actually, particularly when it's not a beach. At least you see something here. There's not horizontal rain and howling wind. Come to think of it, the wind may have been howling hence the walk behind the beach!

I spent the morning today firstly playing with a little man while his mum chatted to her OU examiner on t'dog and bone. A hour well spent if I may say so since Mum did well, I got paid for being there and everyone was happy. Except for Thomas the Tank Engine whom I noticed on the tv there seems to have got himself in a spot of bother - in water actually. Must have been the news programme I suppose!

Secondly I visited the nice quack who listened to my tummy and found no end of abstract tunes. Nice tunes though I'm told - so that's alright then.

And the sun is shining. Remember that ?

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Oiseval and The Coelyns

The Coelyns [one day I may take a sharp snap - but then why should I? ]

Yes, yes, I did go over to the gallery in Brue. Why not? I get a lovely welcome, drink their tea and get to meet Mr & Mrs Smith who used to run the place. The Smiths came over for a little respite from mainland England where they now reside, to see chums and, do some work - taking pictures and what have you.

Had a grand time, thank you very much for asking. Ate cake too - the creamy gooey kind that is so popular in these parts. Met a nice cyclist lurking in a bus shelter eating. For the first day on his Barra - Butt cycling trip he hadn't had a headwind - or driving rain. Still, he wasn't to be disappointed as it threw it down not long after. I snapped the camera at him whilst the sun was momentarily shining - it's what proper photographers do you know. How many snaps have you seen of this place when it's pouring down eh? None. I rest my case Mi Lord.

Today the sun is shining [at the moment], Pushkin is dozing and I'm going out for a stroll to see The Crofter and find out what havoc is afoot.

toodle doo

PS. Late addition to the blog today. My dear Eve, backing singer in our band "Nine ways to wind people up". Wabi-Sabi shot from the UW&S.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012


Yes, it is May. You wouldn't believe it really. I took off to Stornoway this morning in the shop van for the paper / coop run in lovely sunshine. Granted it showed only 3C on the dashboard but at least the sun was shining. I turned my back on it to warm up whilst waiting for Billy to count out the P&J's. No doubt my pals in their camper in the Uists would have woken with a light mood for the day ahead. Well, that will have been dashed as on my walk around the village recently from there to there and then here, the almost snowy rain started. And it's still cold. Very cold

A Scalpay lighthouse chair on which I didn't sit.

Mr Bentham was on good form this morning - doling out the Jaffa cakes like they were going out of fashion.   He lives there. He hasn't been checking on here to see what I have been saying about him or what photos of him I have posted - obviously. 

The Tolsta Shoppe supremo, Mrs 'Up Yours' MacIver is in the chicken-house though. It seems that everyone bar me has read her new sci-fi novelette. Apparently I'm deemed 'too intellectual' ! Imagine!

I was flooded with three comments from yesterdays posts - thanks to Ms ookIain and Ian for this - I shall remember you in my will :-) . I staying with 'normal' on the blog front - as if I knew what normal was.

I came down these. I could have gone up too. 

So, now as I write I wonder if Mr Pushkin will come back to sleep off his morning stroll in front of the fire. Will I go over to the Oiseval Gallery after my morning meditation? I think I might.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My dance teacher doesn't rate me

My dance teacher makes sure my dear Eve is not frightened in The Cave.

I used to look forward to my classes; thirty secs of teaching every two months or so. I could take that, it didn't over-burden me and my little old leggies. Only that thirty seconds seems to have plummeted somewhat. Perhaps it's because Ms Smit, for that is her name, disapproves of my 'moves'. I'm not smooth enough, elegant enough or doing the right steps. Apart from that she is very pleased with my dancing, I think.

Ms Smit explains how rock is made.

To be completely honest, Ms Smit doesn't rate me at all and that hurts. I am a sensitive soul under this ragged exterior you know. Maybe I should start learning photography instead !

On that note; I was wondering which direction - if any - this little bloggertte should go. Do you want to read and see what I eat? What I hear? What I think? Or shall I go on as 'normal' - whatever that is!

BTW; I note folks at the Butty Bus has been looking here. Pay them a a visit when you are passing by.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Summer is coming !

You can tell when summer is on its way when the wet weather gear comes out again after being put away for a week or so.
The rain lashed down yesterday, the wind blew hard too but surprise surprise, the ferry went to the mainland and back - not I'd have wanted to be on it though.

 Eve and Mr Posse enjoy the windy walk!

Down to the beach.

Mr Posse was still here so, we chatted the morning away, did some 'stuff' and then ventured out when the rain eased a bit. Twas lovely - the walk down cemetery road to a beach hereabouts. Breezy but really lovely.

Had a text message from some pals who are on their way up here from the southern isles " marooned on Barra; force 10 gales and no ferries". Ah well, at least they are getting the full island experience!

Saturday was a little better - as it is today. Warmish too. Eve and Mr Posse took to their bikes then and we met Mr Windy in The Woodlands cafe after a lovely coffee with Mr & Mrs Toots! How lovely was that?

 Before the ride,or was it after?

 Mr Windy casts a critical eye into my Olympus XA2

Hopefully the weather will have settled to our usual [whatever that is] by the time Ms ook arrives!

Stornoway sunshine

See, the sun can shine [for a short time ]

Sunday, May 13, 2012

All gale-y



All cosied up he was, that nice Mr Possee. 

I'd ventured downstairs eventually as the gale raged outside and peeped into the Summer Parlour where he was still slumbering. And why not since the day is horrible outside. He did get up and as I write he's tinkering with bikes - just for a change. Eve sits reading the paper in front of t'fire, Pushkin is sleeping off his morning stroll round the kitchen in front of the Rayburn while I eye the Giro and their lovely weather!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Lith walk

I managed a few moments in the darkroom yesterday and this was one of the test prints. I love it. Mrs Toots to be walks into the registrars office with her handsome son Jamie.

Taken with an OM1n with Orwo n4 film developed in lc29. Printed on old Orwo bn11 paper with Rollei Creative Lith developer.

Do you like it?

Thursday, May 10, 2012


No, nothing!
You see, I have been in the darkroom Lith printing of all things. Before that I was out with Mrs Toots doing important things. Obviusly I have had no time to look at any images today - apart from those in the darkroom - and they are not dry yet. And I have a couple of miscreants to see tonight. Eh?

Apart from that I have nothing. Apart from that.

 Oh, and this. From that walk. Obviously.

Unsuspecting cove walks into obscurity

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

I took a stroll

 I saw this man

The urbane delights of Stornoway drew me today. I needed a change in scenery away from sheeps and grass but didn't have the time to get off-island. The sun was shining and the people only had four layers of clothing on. I took the Kodak Retinette 1a for company loaded with some really slow Fine Grained Positive film. Why not?

 People, doing things, but not many things.

I strolled this way and that. Took refreshment in the lantern and snapped a few images. This is some of they.

The old boat had moved - a bit.

 Boats were being painted all over the harbour.

See, new paint and what have you.

yep, it was time to go home!