Friday, June 29, 2012

Lovely peat stacks

This and last years Peats

Great lumps of  brown gold. Hewn from t'ground by the hands of a local crofter and neatly stacked outside their home. How cool is that? See how straight the edges are, how flat the top. It's still shrinking as it dries so it'll go more like it's neighbour in time. But it has a beauty all of it's own. It typifies the village where these things abound.

Taken with an old Koroll 24s and fomapan 400

BTW: if you get a moment, go and have a look at Bosse's blog. Wonderful alt photography

Thursday, June 28, 2012


George: A Fort

The scone looked back at me with a quizzical smirk. "No, I am not a scon" it confirmed. The waiter had been scornful, scornful in that sconful sort of looking down the bent nose way at me suggesting that me, a mere southerner would dare to come to such a place. Well, I did. I sliced happily into the scone, lathered the butter, jam layering on top and scoffed the lot. My tum settled in satisfaction. The young waiter bristled like a prison guard about to bring his power to bear on the unfortunate inmates.

The gloom gathered. Dark walls closed in. An occasional Army bod in tracksuit jogged by, muscles hid under layers of warm clothing. An air of foreboding presented itself and there were no dolphins to watch, to lift the heart. Trudging across the square we listened to the electric talking device about this and that. More of that than this really. That's the sort of place it is, stuck out on the sandy spit in the estuary, cannons placed strategically o'er the top of the strong, thick and foreboding walls. THAT's the sort of place I mean. Old and everything.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dupuytrens contracture

It's me 'and you know.

See here 
Look, it's the campsite we wus at. There's daisies and everything. And water where dolphins sometimes play. Clouds too. Me 'and 'urt too. But it's ok now.

Homage to Newman

Do you know Arnold Newman? If not you can see his work here. I love his image of Stravinsky - so simple but wonderful and tells you all about the man. See that here . Seeing we were away on t'mainland for a few days and there was music to be heard as well as the Wonderful Dalai Lama to listen to, we ended up in a pub. Doesn't one always?

We supped our halves of  2.8 - which  is a lovely ale I might add, and watched as the other end of the room gradually filled up with trumpeters, trombonists, a drummer. clarinettist, a singer and a host of others I can't recall. 16 in all I think wormed their way in and set up amidst the tables and beer. They were,  I noticed - on account of the big black banner hanging behind the drummers mush - the RMT Big Band or, Rooty ma Toot BB. How good were they? Very good. [eat your heart out Toots - beer and big band eh? ].

Anyway, since I didn't want to fight my may through the flailing brass, fearing for my tinnitus the idea of re-crating the Newman/Stravinsky snap was put on hold. It didn't help that the pianist in the set up was playing an electric thing and there was no light of note so my little XA camera shot left handed to save my operated-on-right-hand was not the ideal set up to achieve such a shot. Mr Newman used a 4x5 after all. And lights  and had control of the situation and everything.

I noticed then the people around me and started snapping away. and now I have a Homage to Newman / Bacon. Eh? How'diDoThat?
Many thanks to my Bacon stand-in. I hope he was meant to be there!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Victoria Pendleton in Inverness

Yes, I was surprised as well. Last time we bumped into Princess Victoria was at the Velodrome in Manchester where I used to work. She'd been round to home hoovering our stairs as it happens. No idea why if you are asking but she did. I notice she doesn't mention the incident on her website; I must ask her why she has omitted it!

Anyway, we were on t'mainland living the high-life, camping by the waterside in the rain and gadding around seeing the Dalai Lama and all that when , all of a sudden up popped Victoria. Granted twas only a cardboard sign this time - promoting her new range of Velos for women. Was lovely to see her all the same and the bikes look great too.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Flowers; Ghioradail Pier, North Tolsta

Yes, we have a pier. Only it's falling apart after 100 years being battered by the seas hereabout. The end is collapsing although it's still a nice place to sit on a warm day. Like The Crofter.

Not that the pier saw much use as it was in the wrong place! Now, where have I heard that before? Some local people did emigrate to CaNada from this beach during the clearances but whether they used the pier for that - who knows? Still, I like the place. and so does this old camera - Voigtlander Bessa II with Acros100

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

another snap

Going to Scaladale. Nice eh?

I took the Hasselblad as well as some 35mm cameras this day so I used it. 

Write again

No, I didn't write anything yesterday. I didn't have much to say and, I have a sore right hand since the quacks cut it about the other day. Lovely bandaging though.
 Riders enjoying the view - and the tailwind.

What's not to like?

Big up to the cycling massive here on the island for raising monies for MS on their Saturday ride - and to the others too who rode and ran a race of sorts. A lovely day with a strong tail wind most of the way. Sunny too. What more can one ask?

I shall be writing more soon - once my hand is less sore. I the meantime I shall continue to enjoy the continuing good weather we have :-)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Charity ride


 On the route


 Eve at the end of the ride - but not hers

Happy finishers

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Moz Art; A Requiem for Leopold Bloom

Mkgnao! Pushkin the cat said loudly. Or loudly as he could at his age. Which wasn't loudly at all. Hardly discernible really. But he bared his pink gums at her all the same. She watched curiously as Pushkin flashed his good eye at her, his sleek fur shining from hours of brushing by her.

" Does he want kidneys or giblets" She hears a disembodied voice cry from the kitchen. "We haven't got any" she replies a little tardily. [I cannot believe this . Eve's been listening to too much radio of late and Leopold Bloom has got to her. I mean, I know the book is interesting, the dramatisation wonderful but do we have live it?].

We'd been to listen to the Stornoway Singers. In An Lanntair you know. All glass, white walls and Norm sat in the bar. Hair spiked, smiled fixed ready for the greeting. We greeted him. As you do. The crowds were there, there to hear a requiem. Moz Art don't you know. Local musicians led by the lovely Cath Fish waving her arms like semaphore across the harbour in her velvet attire. The singers sang in time to the message. The band played too. Twas a grand old racket to behold. Fair sent a shiver down my spine and a tear to the eye. I pointed my matchbox at the sound. Capturing the soul of the evening, saving it for posterity. [While I sat on a book to help my posterior embrace the windiness in my tum].

And then we retired to bed exhausted and ready for refreshing sleep on a darker night then usual as Pushkin curled up on his chair below and dreamt the dreams of times past several lives no doubt but not nine not yet anyway.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Yes, it's colour. Of sorts.

Mr Crofter on the pier

It's not all black and white up here you know. The sea looks right loverly when the sun is out. So much so I loaded the Olympus XA2 with Chinese Lucky200 film and shot. Once through the sheep dip developer, I have colour. Well, a sort of colour anyway. The Lucky colour film is actually quite good but somehow the first image was, 'interesting' as they say. I didn't alter the scan as I rather like it that way. The Crofter doesn't always seem so off-colour as you can see here.

Eve, chillin.

On the other hand, I did sort this one on PS. I like this too.

Pier culture

But best of all, is in fact a B&W print of old Kodak Polymax RC paper soaked in sepia. Mr Crofter's coow. The texture arrived all by it'self!

Proper stuff

By; The Artist [formerly known as Jon]

I just noticed the title of the blog again! After all this time I see it's supposed to be a photo blog. Whatever that is. I shall try to keep on track.

The Artist is now back from the Aland Islands where he was 'doing' an artist residency. Apparently one has to 'be' while you are there so as to 'see' your art which you may or may create there or anywhere else for that matter. Seems like a goer to me.

The Artist, being the nice sort of artisty person he is took a couple of matchbox pinhole cameras with him and exposed them to the world while he was 'residing'. One 'camera' was loaded with Polypan-f and the other with Kodak Finegrain Positive. I'd forgotten that so when The Artist brought them back for developing I took the homoeopathic dilution of Rodinal route and chucked them in together for an hour. As it happens, they were a tad o'er exposed but I took the liberty of printing this little gem - and toned it with sepia. I love it!

I just hope The Artist doesn't mind me posting this 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Over The Minch

I was over The Minch yesterday with Eve meeting up with a pal from my dental days. Yes, I had dental days back then. Back 20 odd years that is. Flippin heck, time passes quickly eh? Anyway, Derek and Carolyne had a dog with them. Look, you can see it here looking for all the world like she had been cut in half. Luckily, it's merely a trick of the light or something. The dog is fine.

 Dog on path

I took the liberty of snapping her up with my Holga. Why not? I snapped Eve up too.

 Eve in sun
Had a lovely day and all that. I finished the film off today - meeting Ginty for the first time as Carolyn did something technical to him/her. I have never been so close to a huge horsey.

Ginty and Carolyne

Lovely imperfection

There's something wonderful when an imperfect print looks just lovely. And to me, this is one of those. A lith print made Tuesday on Agfa FB paper.

Yesterday we were in Ullapool on t'mainland meeting a pal from years back and what a lovely day that was too!


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Testing, testing

 What't'you try to tell me ? Eh?

I was testing ok? Ran two different films through the old Kodak Retinette today then developed them in Multigrade Developer. Why? I was testing.
It wasn't a good test as it happens but still got these two masterpieces.


Monday, June 11, 2012

The Zigster

The Zigster

The beach beckoned this afternoon. It's still sunny up here you see - albeit with a cool NE wind to accompany it. Yes, I know but we put up with it.

I went with The Zigster and his human Roy. Had a magnum on the way home bought from the local shoppe - Buth Tholastadh. We could had a hot drink too but it was way too nice for that!

Flamin Lewis

Photo courtesy of Mr Pip Taylor [second bike here]

Many years ago, even before I worked at the Manchester Velodrome, I was involved in cycling running the Floyds Bistro, Bedouin cycling team. I raced too in those days. Here's my team pal Shaun leading Pip Taylor in a race in Feltham - wherever that is! Good eh?

I post this as I hear the flame thing for London sports day has been on the island this morning. It was carried by Welsh-woman Kirsty Wade through Callanish Stones at sunrise [4am !]. The flame went out in the wee breeze, twice apparently. Luckily, a local produced his Swan Vestas and the day was saved. [probably].

I was out doing the shoppe run in van.  The village is celebrating by having the mains water off for a wee while. What's that all about then?

Saturday, June 09, 2012

How can you not like living here; especially when the sun is shining [which to be honest is not usually that often]

A neighbour

"I've not got sheep any more" he told me. "Got a great price for them at the sales though. They bought anything that was alive". Such was our conversation as I passed his gaff just up the road from here. The sun was shining again see and I'd been out around the village with a camera - as I do.

More neighbours

Oh look, there's Rose and her lad who live o'er the road. "Hello and everything". I say taking the yoof parlance [as I see it anyway].

I'd been down to snap up Hector's newly built peats as I said I would. As usual they look lovely. Really nice stack in between the previous years effort out side his house. I think Iseabail does most of the stack building to be honest.

 New stack

I mean, how lovely is that? I can't believe anyone doesn't marvel at these constructions. Surely they should engaged Iseabail and Hector to build a peat-stack at the Olympic park or something. Better than seeing the torch at some un-worldly hour as it trapses through Stornoway this coming Monday. If it doesn't get blown out in the brisk winds we have at the mo that is.

New between older

 Tractor and trailer [go together like Norman and Mailor]

Of course, one can't snap up Hector's stacks without snapping the tractor too. Complete with the ubiquitous double wheels for the peat moor.

A stack in situe

Friday, June 08, 2012

The sun has gone - hopefully not for long


After some weeks, the sun has gone, a few drops of rain came down and the wind is blowing. I went to Brevig Harbour and snapped it up. I should have gone in the darkroom but didn't feel up to it.

The house is growing

Despite the continuing dry and warmish weather, the new house just t'road is growing by the moment. The first floor is already done it seems and no doubt they will be moving in at the weekend. The builders seem to give me funny looks as I take snaps of the build every day. Surely they should know if one works in North Tolsta one is like to get snapped up!

The bus stop remains were it was. A hurricane didn't move it some years back. Probably it will still be there when we have eliminated ourselves from this planet - as surely we will do.

BTW; there's a nice blog started by Mr Windy who resides here on t'island. All about bikes and cameras! Look here

Thursday, June 07, 2012

I hate to say this but the sun is shining here

 Mrs someone I can't remember her name but I'm sure Mrs 'Up Yours' will put me right.

I met a new Tolsta resident yesterday at the Shoppe / PO . Very nice she is too - fielding Mrs 'Up Yours'  weird reposts with charm and calm understanding. I can't remember her name though. Rather remiss of me for which many apologies . But rest assured she related to Mrs new-house-up-the-road in some way or other that doesn't make sense to me. Still, welcome.


Meanwhile, back at Cragro Towers, Pushkin was taking in the air, sniffing Eve's old boot and wondering where he should lie to get away from the smell. He chose his usual spot just outside under the window out of the cool wind. Wise move.

But the sun is still shining!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Raising a house

There was a crane in the village today. Raising a house walls. Hopefully, it will take a shorter time to finish than it's neighbour did.

Duel at dawn

My dear Eve contemplates the future

Pah! You 'Up Yours' Mrs woman!

A duel eh? At dawn? Not sure I can get up that early at this time of year as it happens. When is dawn anyway? 

4.25 am !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You have got to be joking. I'm still snuggled up to Lord Wiesmier and Eve at that time of morning. Otherwise your head would be as wet as that seal I saw in the sea yesterday. And he was wet, believe me. And your hat as tat as that whatever you were trying to sell me.

There. Be suitably warned Mrs 'Up Yours'. !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Five years on, a normal day on the island.

 Mrs  'Up Yours' MacIver tries to sell me some tat.

No, I didn't buy it. Do I look daft? We may be celebrating five wonderful years in North-Tolsta but this we didn't need. At least, I don't think I need it only I'm not actually sure what I was being sold. Tat obviously, but what sort of tat I don't know.

 The school walks to the beach

Meanwhile, back home I notice the school walking to a beach to have a barbi or perhaps roast a teacher on a spit or something like that. The held up the car that was trying to go down the road anyway.  They are just passing the Crofter's pad on the left - that's why they are all walking quickly :-)

 The Crofter basks in the sun while earning a crust - so someone can bite a crust!

The Crofter waves as they pass [feels like Blue Velvet movie as I write] and the school breaks en-masse into a trot.

Knowledge and Safety

Stuart wasn't impressed. Neither was the rabbit in his garden - or his son for that matter. Their garden is almost cleared ready for the trampoline - no doubt concreted in to stop it disappearing into the sea behind the house.

Iseabail making the peat-stack

I notice that Iseabail and Hector have almost finished their lovely peat-stacks ready for my annual picture taking of the beasts. They are, it has to be said, a work of art.

Royston and Ziggy

Meanwhile, a quick visit to Royston and Ziggy to see they were well as can be. They were I'm pleased to say.

Such was my morning five years after arriving here.

We are still here.... 5 years on.

Sun on roof

What do you mean, I'm running out of ideas? I haven't even started yet!
No doubt a week looking at the images of Mr Coelyne teased this one out. Nothing like his mind, merely the essence of Coelyne here.

And no I didn't look at / listen to the concert that was happening in London last night since you ask. But I am listening to Jazz on 3 on the play-it-again-Sam thing of the BBC see here. Robert Glasper don't you know. I didn't.

Monday, June 04, 2012

It's now My time!

There's a new house just arrived up t'road on the back of a lorry. In bits. You know the sort of thing, wood panels soon to be looking like a housey shape. I'm assured the housey will be proper Island shape and not one of those nondescript affairs that proliferate these days. Nevertheless, the lorry blocked the road for an hour to unload. Just as well it's quiet round here!

 Homage to Donata Wenders

I now have my life back after a pleasant week selling wonderful prints and chatting to visitors at the Oiseval Gallery. I love the chatting to visitors bit especially. Such interesting people in the main. Obviously, I had a few moments to myself from time to time so I took the Recesky tlr 'camera' and some Polypan-f film. No doubt The Coelyns will be after these images for the gallery!

 The Gallery is OPEN. So good I snapped it thrice

 The flag is flying

The things are not doing anything

Crakin aren't they?