Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I shall be back in a week or so.....

The road to Phabail Pier

For those in trouble

See those whitish marks on the images? Look in the sky, you can see them there best. Ah yes, you see them now don't you. Eh? It's patina of the image. That's what I call it anyway. Comes from using badly stored out of date film. I used to have a stash of Perutz film that exhibited the same effects from time to time - but I only had paid three brass washers for them so that was ok. And I loved the results that emanated from it in the pinhole camera.

Art; but not as you know it.

I'd been hankering for an image of somewhere not too far from here for a while. A few weeks ago I shot down there when the mist was hereabouts and exposed a bit of film at 'it'. Only thing was, on developing the film the other day then printed it up in t'darkroom, I realised it was my 'patinated' film inside. Was I mad? Yes as it happens. Or perhaps no. Disappointed really. Yes that's it. Serves me right. 'Being' there is always going to be better than imaging it. No doubt the weather will be just lovely again today [it is as gaze outside] and this particular image making will have to wait till I return from away - when the image-making conditions will be just perfect. Until I get back. Again. I know what I'm talking about anyway.

 Phabail Pier

Not to be dismayed, the patinated film was loaded into the pinhole camera and off I went to Point to see Alex, my work colleague. Yes, I have to work you know - even though I am off shift this week as it happens. Down on Point there's a fine old pier - often used by yoof to jump off into the sea on  hot days [1 day in every 5 years or so]. See, there it is. All weirded up on account of my incompetence. 
I even walked to one side and shot another frame. You can see that one below. Good isn't it?

Phabail rocks

It is a rather nice place by all accounts. The rain started to gently fall, I thought of Steve Dilworth for some reason, [check this out NOW! ] and retreated to the horseless carriage that conveyed me there. But not before the world started to fall over. I went home. [and later out to work!!!!!].

The world falls over.

Then I went home.

At home again

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Yay. Brits Tour France; well.

Random cyclist in patriotic kit.

Welll, would you believe it. Mr Wiggly Braggins won the Tour de France with his GB run team compatriot Christopher Froome in second. Eh? How did that happen? Mr Cavendish won the last stage [again] as well as two others and all is well in the world of GB cycling.

Well done Bradley, Christopher and Mark plus the rest of the riders in the team at the race not forgetting Dave Brailsford and Rodney Ellingworth, the latter Mr Cavendish's coach and the team's tour de force. [Obviously, Rodney's visit to The Butty Bus in Leverburgh earlier in the year did the trick].

Saturday, July 21, 2012

No, I don't do landscapes. Or colour. But I do do colour landscapes. Apparently.

 Near Ullapool I

Near Ullapool II

I must have had a light head or something. Or maybe it was seeing the Dalai Lama that did it. The colour film was loaded into some old point and shoot cameras so I pointed and shot. Colour eh? What's that all about then?

I am scribing this while the good fellows of the TDF are doing their last days proper racing. Looks like there maybe a Gb rider wining - and second - and several stage wins too. Who would have thought that? Not me but I am so very proud of them.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I have a new friend

 Ginty and Mrs Bac Pharmacy do their thing

 Large feet

Fun family

I have a new friend although she probably doesn't realise it yet. Ginty was messing around in her field with Mrs Bac Pharmacy atop and Mr Bac pharmacy running around in front. What was all that about I thought? Sauntering over, camera tucked under my arm, I ventured a 'hello'. 

Why not? I know them, sort of. Seen Ginty eating her oats or whatever she eats. Or licks. Might be succulent Horse Licks; seen those for sale in Bac Pharmacy and was tempted to buy some just to see what it was. I didn't mind you. Have you seen this stuff? Uncle Jimmys Licky Thing. What all that about?  Mrs Bac Pharmacy thinks I'm bonkers and talks too much anyway! Instead, I feigned interest in some cream or other then bought it and left quickly.

Mr B-P shot off after a while, pretending work or some such nonsense leaving me to walk around the field place with Ginty behind and Mrs B-P atop. Ginty is very happy to follow behind someone walking but less keen on going alone - with Mrs B-P on-top so to speak. Lovely horse mind you. Very whatever horses are. You know, licky I suppose. And kind. With big hard feet and everything.

But Ginty is my friend even if she doesn't realise it. Yet.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

What you get when you find the beeswax you forgot you had

Brazilionised Print

I was wandering in a daze round our warming room, now sadly vacated by dear Mr Pushhkin, when I espied a pot with a small block of beeswax therein. No, it''s not from my sisters 20 hives [although not for the want of asking ! ] but bought some time back. I love the smell of warmed wax. Fair thrills the cockles or something. Think it may hark back to the days when I used wax everyday in my job of tooth-maker - and now I am no longer chained to the bench the smell of proper beeswax is thrilling.  Did I not tell you about me tooth-making? Good, not going to either.

Waxing a print is such a lovely process. The smell, the hands on feeling, the warmth, the sheen, the patina and everything. Yes, I have done it before. See here for details. Eh? No, go and look before you read on. Not sure how much it enhances the print but who cares? 
It's all about the getting there that counts Eh? 

Now go and listen to this [magical no less]. I'll wait.

Feel better now? I do. I shall go for a stroll in our continuing sunshine now :-)

Roads. Hereabouts.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012



Yay! A lith print I really like. Not sure it will please The Coelyns at the Oiseval Gallery [which is, I might add surreptitiously, well worth a visit] but then their standards are rather high. I dedicate the print to the late Mr Pushhkin who I'm, sad to say would have turned his pretty little nose up at this. Still, it's for him and everything. Always everything.

Obviously, it's Stornoway. And a man with stick - although the stick is not obvious in this scan of the print - obviously I meant it that way. I did, honest.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

His tail wags no more

Mr Pushhkin

The delightful Mr Pushhkin passed away in the early hours of this morning after a long and fulfilled life. An itinerant gentleman when he strolled into our lives - matted and bedraggled - he quickly settled into home life hogging the the comfiest chair nearest the warmth of the Rayburn. Mr Pushhkin was a 'beautiful boy' who relished a good brush-up that transformed his previously matted hair into a shiny, soft and lovely coat. 

Although unwell, Mr Pushhkin always kept his sense of decorum and obvious regalness. Eventually he succumbed to his very advanced years and ailments while dispensing love and affection to the last. His actual age is somewhat of a mystery although we suspect he was born some when around the 1470s.

He will be sorely missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

No flowers please; donations to Cats Protection

Monday, July 16, 2012


I bumped into Donald the other day. This Donald above. He'd done a bit of over-whittling cutting into his hand between the thumb and forefinger after finishing his whittling stick. Or something.
Anyway, he's on the mend now

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Heb Celt Fest


Yes, yes, I went down to see what was going on. Although someone put a hex on my Soviet medium format camera and only 1 image appeared on this roll of film! And this was 'interesting' too. It illustrates the Festival through the eyes of a festival goer having just staggered out of the man-cresh in McNeils. I think it illustrates it all very well.

Friday, July 13, 2012


"Cut out that racket will you"!

I didn't say that. I couldn't. It was a chap I hadn't seen for a while who has been living on his lovely little boat down the Uists way. Working, sleeping, that sort of thing. And learning the fiddle by all accounts. I'd heard Gerald's mandolin picking out in Crobeg [and here]at the Barbi some years back but didn't even know he sawed the fiddle - or whatever one says.

 Gerald; on the quayside.


Gerald had been manning a stall promoting sailing in the traditional fishing boats we have up this way. All part of the Sail Hebrides thing that's happening while the Heb Celt festival is going on. Lots of boats going round, in and out, racket from the Festival tents and Gerald over by the fishing quay doing his thing. That's the sort of thing we have you know. And it's still dry up here!
I sat in that chair there, the one on the right listening to the catchy tune emanating from the fiddle. I can't say I recognised it but I liked it all the same. Then we chatted - we worked for the same company for a while but he wisely got out!

Eve and I did go to a concert last night as part of the festivities and were so impressed we came home at half time. I shan't tell you who we went to hear! A lovely week though.Look, below you can see it's proper nice. Boatee in front of t'tent thing which is in front of the old castle they are working on to stop it falling down. Wonder if them Proclaimer lads will bring the walls down - and then scram 500 miles away? 

Stornoway today

Thursday, July 12, 2012

The lith printing has been getting in the way of snapping to be honest. Time I sorted the car after it wouldn't start yesterday [something to do with the key but don't understand], not walked the dog then listened to the Tour de France on t'radio, looked at the result of the tour of Poland where Ben Swift won, I didn't have any time or energy left to snap up let alone go in the darkroom again.
The Barking Dog; albeit on a quiet, barkless day.

Only I did get to go in Toots' proto-darkroom [aka; the garage glory-hole] later on to help move the piles of this and that from here to there and back again. In between here and there we laid a sheet of plastic and person-handled an enlarger - about the size of a small car and twice as heavy - into place. I suggested the wooden rails approach which even  Mr Toots acknowledged was a good one. You can rest easy now Mr Coelyne, the deed is done! As is me - feeling a bit cream-crackered this morning !

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Ensconced in darkness

Flowers in the window

Ensconced I was. In there while the sun didn't shine outside for a change. It was Lith printing that took me in there. I love doing that process I must say. You just shove the neg in, shine the light on some old out of date darkroom paper, throw it in lith developer and voila', you have a print. If you take it out on time, and if the shining bit was just the right length of time and the wind in in the west that is.

Since there was some Forte Elegance FB paper lurking about the place, I used that for this print of the flowers - complete with horizontal line from the pinhole camera! Obviously, that's so no-one can fake the print.

Mr Pushhkin

Then I threw some Agfa MCC under the enlarger with a negative impression of Mr Pushhkin below. Look how it came out. Doesn't he look regal? I think he's probably royalty or something - I treat him as if he were anyway, just in case. I showed this print to His Highness Pushhkin and he indicated he liked it and could show it to others. So here it is.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Missed it

No, I've no idea what it is either - but I do like it. Came out of the pinhole camera today. Thought there might be an image of Pushhkin in there but no, there was this. To be honest, there was an image of dear old Pushhkin, but I showed it to him, he asked me not to blog it. I respect that.

I emerged into unexpected sunshine as I stumbled out of the darkroom today. Still not much rain here. I spent an hour or so making Lith prints - which, I might add, I may get round to showing here. If I like them when they dry.

Meanwhile I'm enjoying the Brits riding in the tdf with Mr Wiggins leading and Mr Froome in third place at the time of writing. Brilliant riding. I shall be listening to the results as they come in - on t'radio.

Sunday, July 08, 2012


I notice my rant yesterday elicited little interest. Par for the course when it comes to the demise of human existence on this planet I suppose. Especially when it might mean we drive less, fly less and consume less to possibly subvert this probable disaster.

So, today has a little 'sport' going on. There's pretend sport like car racing in the rain somewhere in the UK, some sort of tennis going on with a Scotsman involved plus; The Tour de France with a GB based team leading the team section, a Brit [although born in Belgium] Wiggly Braggins leading overall and Brit Chris Frome [although born in Namibia] leading the mountains classification. Not bad eh? There in the mountains again today - a little matter of 157 kms over 7 mountains.

 The new house in the village 

The new house in the village continues to grow ever bigger! One day I'll take a proper camera over there instead of the Ultra Wide and Slim used to take this snap!

Sonja - OT.

My hand is healing well now thank you helped by excellent work by OT Sonja whom I snapped up here with the UW&S in her castle so to speak. I take Sonja's Barking Dog out for a walk sometimes and my 'dance teacher' is her young daughter Karmiena. How good is that?

The Barking Dog and my dance teacher

Saturday, July 07, 2012



I've had to stop listening to t'radio this morning due to an over-dose of moaning thereon. And to an over-dose of tennis related hype too. The moaning was about the weather. There's rain in Engerland and Wales, lots of it I'm hearing. The racing car thing at Silverstone is in all sorts of trouble as the fields are flooded. It does seem a bit harsh on the event to blame them for this situation since this amount of rain at this time of year has until till now been rather unprecedented. The event organisers get little sympathy from me though since their sport hardly helps the climate change situation that is most likely fuelling these weather events. We have it seems, messed up the planet's climate good and proper and we will just have to suffer the consequences of more unpredictable and extreme weather events around the globe with the effect or rising food prices as well as damage to the infrastructure [ and heaven forbid; the economy! ]. There's a nice article here if you would like to read it.

In the Us there are terrible droughts and here on our island we have a small one too. North Tolsta has been named as a drought area on the island although I hear that the lochen that holds our water has water in it but the concrete header tank at the 'top' of the village has a leaking liner which means a lot of the water is going to waste. The water board in question are aware of this and apparently have plans to mend it - at last.

Mind you my former sport, cycle racing is not immune to accusations of enhancing the climate change scenario as for example, in the tdf - beset yesterday with countless crashes- has so many support vehicles that one could easily think it was a car and coach race! It isn't being help by the UCI - the world regulatory body for cycle racing -  trying and succeeding in modelling it's programme of events on F1 by 'forcing' teams to ride events all over the world. For example, to qualify for the Olympics, track cyclists have to qualify by achieving points at World Cup events - in Kazakhstan, China, UK and Columbia in this last series.

Well, I feel better now. As you see above on my snap - taken with the Ilford Sporti with Rollei400s film and printed on Fotospeed RC paper in the darkroom - that the weather here has been foggy for days - till this morning. Now the wind is blowing!

To cheer you up, go and look at the FOTO8 Summer show here.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Cycle racing

Waiting for the Amstel Gold [race].

I love bike racing. It's hard sport full of nere-do-wells and what have you as well as riders with egos as big as the Eiffel tower. And nice, clean riding riders with whom I worked in the past - some of whom are riding the Tour de France this year and others who are riding the Tour of Poland soon. It's all go eh?

Mr Windy has a fine cycling photo blog here that I have been watching and that inspired me to dig around and find some of my images. The famous Wiesmier neg filing scheme precludes me from showing TDF snaps - they are probably down the back of the settee - but I have two favourites for you delectation. Above a typical scene of Dutch enthusiasts awaiting the arrival of the Amstel race in lovely Valkenburg , which, that year was won by Frank Schleck - currently riding the TDF too. I love these kinds of cycling events snaps, reminds me of the excellent images in Rouleur magazine.


And then to Mildenhall, home of the best grass track racing in the Uk currently. The racing is organised by Max Pendleton, father of current Olympic cycling sprint champion Victoria Pendleton - who used to ride this event a lot but seems to have other things to do these days! That's dear Eve racing too - in white. Grass track racing was not Eve's best discipline but she did love taking part and had such a lot of fun - as I did once!

Meanwhile, the village here is still shrouded in fog! But it is still warm.

For those who like such things; the top snap was taken with a Voigtlander Perkeo and the lower snap with some 35mm camera or other!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

I shouldn't do that

I took the Zorki6 out for a stroll yesterday. He's quieter than the dog I borrow for a walkies and more interesting. Although Ghriet can be good company she produces nothing more than a smell and a pile on the ground. The Zorki on the other hand smells not at all. Not even that ex-Soviet yak-string sort of smell that they are so famous for. Even more famous for than the images they can make. That's unfair of course since the Zorki 6 with a Jupiter 8 is a fine box with glass - and it is with the Industar 61 as well. But I prefer the tarty looks of the Jupiter. That's just the way I am.

This is the .........

The sun was shining again. So much so it might be bordering on boring. Weeks of it now. There's even a little water shortage !  No wind here either but luckily the midges have more sense than lurk hereabouts. The road beckoned. The children out on the bikes all helmeted up - how sensible they are. When I was at that age that sort of helmet hadn't even been invented Eh?

Forgive me if my mind is shaking a bit while I write this but I'm listening to Late Junction on Radio3 and this particular squawkiness is, as they say down Manchester way "Doing me 'ead in " (McGoff 1999-2006).

And that bit is for.......

I have just noticed in the Guardian, that Marxism 2012 is soon on. Do let me know what happened if any of you are going. I would love to know! I mean, the wonderful Dr David Harvey is speaking ! He did my 'ead in while I was trying to 'do' me Phd. Which I didn't. 'Do' that is. Well, I did do it, I just didn't finish it. Got distracted by life and the enigma of capital. As you do. Anyway, start here.

Happy weaver

Going back to yesterday, all hot and close. Did I say hot?  I was wandering down t'road, Zorki6 in hand, pink satchel hanging from my shoulder. I stopped at the huge new house being built and had a thought. Eh? Me? Thinking ? Yes.

I stood and shot. Several times as it happens. Then the film ran out! Botheration. I was still walking down the road at this point.

I'm rambling on here. Suffice to say, I took the film home later and found these images from a visit of The Watson's from Saddleworth earlier in the year - out at the local tweed weavers!

Must not leave a camera with used film in it for so long. Ah well, nice surprise though.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

A letter

Horse. Outside.

Dear children,

I am as you know a little older than I used to be. A little frailer and somewhat slower and quieter too. This does not mean I don't know what I want. I does not mean either that you should not know what I want although that does seem to be the case at the moment.

When I sit by the door, it means I want to go out.
When I sit by my food dish, I want feeding.
When I silently shout, I am angry.
When I wag my tail, I am alive.
At all other times assume I want a brush or a fuss.

I am grateful for your kind hospitality but don't let it go to your heads.

Yours truly
Mr Pushhkin.

PS. Please note the spelling of my name.
PPS. Please no more pictures of me. Use a snap of a horse of something.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012


Sea. And land.

This is what it looks like. Just down t'road the other day - and this morning as it happens. Whilst I was walking on the beach. With a borrowed dog. A noisy dog who doesn't know when it's time to stop barking.

See, that's clear water there. And fish in it and seals and all. And sometimes Orca whales, dolphins and sea birds bobbing on the top. They find it easy to do that. Moving this way and that, making a life. 

The ferry doesn't like though. It's stopped. Again, for rather longer than it's meant to. So, if you want to go to those mountains that wrinkle the skyline, you'll have to fly or swim with the fishes. And everything. Always everything.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Doing OK

Mr Pushkin

I mean Mr Pushkin is doing OK; our 640 year old cat who adopted us a few months ago. Despite a few health concerns, visit to cat doctor and what have you, it's love and will-power that keeps him going. We are very happy he does.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

It's started

Window on the world. Well, on a wall at Fort George anyway

There we were, supping a glass of irn bru or something with The Artist formerly known as Jon who had come for a very welcome short visit. The ink was received with pleasure and later applied albeit unsuccessfully to my first Oilprint. Or Oilsmudge in my case. Eh? Then The Artist was introduced to The Crofter. Why not?

Whilst we were enjoying the moment, exchanging musings and tales of places been and peoples met, The Race had begun over there in Italy. Yes, Italy. The Tour of Italy cycle race for women. Brillaint. Wish I could be there to witness it as we have some fine GB riders who should do well as the race progresses.

Maybe not quite as well as the great Wiggly Braggins . He's doing another race in France for the boys and started as favourite. You can see what's going on here. Mr Braggins Sir was second in the prologue yesterday which is a whole lot better than winning it as it happens. Mr Cancellara who did win it is not an overall contender and, Mr Braggins' team will not have a yellow leaders jersey to defend. Complicated isn't it? Not really. Give it a look and you'll soon be hooked.

Meanwhile the Scottish based pro cycling team Endura are riding brilliantly and winning a stage in the Czech Tour. The Tour of Poland starts soon with another squad from Mr Braggins' team. Then in Venezuela there's another stage race starting just as the Tour of Quinghai Lake in China comes to its closing stages and where a pal from my Velodrome days is working as helper/gofor for the Iranian team I think! It's all go in the Pro cycling world.

I notice too that Ms Pendleton, she who once hoovered our stairs, is appearing in all manner of adverts for this and that as she nears her last race on the track in London. 

Here, I will go for a stroll in the sunshine soon!