Friday, August 31, 2012

Portrait of a lane

I shall be going to the Lewis Photographica [continuing] coffee meeting in the morning. It is a fine affair were ideas are exchanged, coffee drank and fruit consumed.. Sometimes we look at photographs. Imagine?

This image will not be one of them. I don't do landscapes but I did do this portrait of a country lane. Just before I toook these portraits of Ellen & Paul Hunter. All with the Hasselblad.

An English Lane 

 An English [not Welsh] Rose [ahem]

A born Hunter

Bin away

 See how much fun we had

Had a fab time and everything. going here and there visiting peoples related and not. Viewing Kelvingrove museum/gallery and the Hepworth/Moore gallery in Wakefield. How good was that? Very as it happens. We had a fine time.


Shopping; we did a little of that too. The tent we were residing in became waterlogged on account of the excessive wetness. We got another lovely one in a sale. A sale in a shop that is. Shopping is not fun. But the snap I took I like. That's the best bit about shopping in an indoors shopping arena, one can snap away at will - unless the strong arm of the over-zealous security guard gets to you. They didn't. But they could have. I could have been writing this from the dungeons of a department store. Oh, the thought ails me.

This is not the tent

It is so nice to be back though.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

There is a niche in the market

We are back! Back from swanning round GB in search of people to talk to and drink tea with. Via Ullapool on the way home since the Tarbert ferry broke down yesterday - meaning another 130 miles driving on t'mainland and a 3 am arrival home this morning. So no, I have no snaps to show yet!

But it has come to my notice that there is a niche in the market. A market that is dwindling I grant you and is creating havoc with over-consumption of 'stuff' leading to the disrupted weather patterns no-doubt [I will expand on this at a later date I'm afraid]. Still,  whilst strechting my legs and after emptying my bladder on the log journey at various ghastly places , the newstands took my interest. So many magizines to be had these days. Practical houseboating, knitting, psychology - electronic imaging buying [always buying, very little using] and so on. And that makes it difficult to buy something should you want to. Rouleur drops on my mat from time to time at home so I wouldn't buy that even though it's brill. I like mags with nice photos but most photo mags are just about buying some over-pixelled imaging device. I want to see creative snaps. Blur, colour even. eh? Something interesting anyway.

What we need is Practical Magazine Buying mag. Brilliant! Inspiration on my part I think. I shall sit back now while someone nicks the idea and puts it into production adding to the destruction of the planet as habitable by humans. That way I could browse the thing at the newstand and come up with Oh Comely without having to look at every bit of trash on the stand! While we can still breathe and eat that is.

BTW; this mag has lovely images - and a lot of them film based :-)

Friday, August 17, 2012

Batty by name

In the veg patch

Mr and Mrs Batty have a fine garden all neatly rowed, tied and growing. There's a tunnel of netting, walls of netting, and lone nets. Plants too. And a big pile of what I hope is merely compost. They spend hours in the garden doing 'things' and generally enjoying themselves while keeping themselves fed and flowered up.

We visit from time to time. Sometimes to tend the little veg patch we have been loaned here and sometimes just to drink tea and pass the time of day. Either way it's enjoyable. I suggest the Battys may well be just looking at the garden today as it is, at long last, raining!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


It's amazing how much fun one can have with water and washing up liquid. Such simple things have now been monetised - like so much of life - and I succumbed to it and bought a bubble stick. Ms Sophie loved it running hither and thither in the Toot's garden chasing the bubbles. Seemed quite reasonable thing to do at the time.

Sophie and bubbles

Twas lovely to see Sophie and her mum Deborah over on the island from Scotland on a visit to grandma Toots and hubby. But surely not as lovely as being with Eve - anywhere. Here in Ullapool.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

another year

Another has passed since Mrs Up Yours had a birthday - which means that today of all days she was celebrating in the village shoppe - on account that she was working [at least, that's what she calls it]..

I had decided that such an auspicious occasion should be marked by an 'official' portrait sitting. The sun has been shining bright yet again so took the Ensign Box camera loaded with East German photo paper and ordered Mrs UY to sit - still. She did -  although I moved a bit. I then slaved in the darkroom [in the heat of the day I might add]to produce this masterpiece using my newly developed technique. Mrs Up Yours birthday girl called it 'interesting'. Can you imagine. Has she no appreciation eh? Obviously not!

Birthday girl
Have a great day Mrs U-Y.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

One of those days

I'm a bit cranky today - as one of my friends might say. It's too hot and I'm cranky.

Still, I have developed a new technique for you all - especially The Coelyns over at Oiseval Gallery.

I shall be taking portraits commissions soon :-)

Peering into the future

I suppose you want to know how to make such a masterpiece? Eh?
1. load a box camera with fibre photo paper.
2. Shoot
3. Develop in weak developer taking care not to overdo the dark bits.
wash it.
4. split the paper to tear off a good bit making it thinner.
5. stick it in enlarger and print.


Getting ready for Ullapool

Eve & Mr Windy on Tandem

We have a tandem. In fact we have two although I'm not sure where the track one currently is. Still, our bogstandard lavender coloured beast is now in the safe hands of Mr Windy who, having fettled it, is now steering Eve on training runs prior to the Ullapool cyclosportive in a few weeks. All goes well at the moment. The weather is being kind too.

Monday, August 13, 2012


 Hampton Court

Same place, with added purple

As we arrived, he left.

Lapwing pootled into Hampton Court, the warm sun beating down. We went to see the Olympic cycling time trial preparations - to see where Lord Wiggins might reign. The day before the event. Lots of people and things. Soldiers too - and how pleasant they were.

 Waiting for Lord Wiggins

We went back to the course for the event, near Kingston Bridge where we ended up. People everywhere - talking to each other and everything.

 Still waiting for Lord Wiggins.

After Lord Wiggins won!

We met Ailsa on the bridge - with seemingly lots of friends. No idea who they were but they were up for it - whatever it was.

Can you imagine?

 More smoked salmon?


Scenes from  a Thames boat - Lapwing - champagne and smoked salmon optional.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Did I tell you about Maisy?


I came blinking out of the darkroom earlier after a particularly fruitless hour to find Ms Maisy sat just here as in this snap. It's where she goes when she wants food. So we have the finest food in stock for her since the sad demise of Mr Pushhkin.

Ms Maisy was the friend of Katie over t'road but she upped sticks and went to live the highlife in Stornoway. Then Alasdair fed Ms Maisy but sadly he passed on to another place so Ms Maisy came under our auspices. Which, as you might imagine, we are very happy about. Only she is somewhat difficult to get to know. One can't get within a metre of her and she would never step over the threshold either. But I think she smiles a bit when the food comes out.

Friday, August 10, 2012


Mrs Up Yours McIver 

The bike got an airing yesterday as I rode gently about the village waving to all and sundry, smiling and everything. I espied Mrs Up Yours playing gardening in her extensive estate, pulling manically at weeds and anything else by the look of it.

I shouted a greeting. Nothing. No response at all. I moved closer, and called again. Still nothing. Then I waved in front of her boat-race, the ear-plugs came out and Mrs Up-Yours was there. Talking and all that. I had to go and have a look at her new chicks - all spiky and fluffy and looking lovely. Lots of them. Mrs Chicken [forgive me, I forgot her name] had been very busy.
I smiled weakly, took a snap and moved on quickly.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Mr Wiggins won!

Yep, we were there when Mr Wiggins won the road time trial event. Didn't you see me? I was the one without the flag, with camera and shouting.
Ah well, here's some snaps from the plastic Holga camera. Complete with real light leaks!

Raising the flag at Iwo Kingston Bridge

 Waiting for Mr Wiggins [and others]

 Gossiping to Ailsa

 Here's Mr Wiggins!!!!!

 Listening to the Sea Horse radio to see if Mr Wiggins was fast enough.

He's Won. Mr Wiggins has won!

Lovely. What a fab day and met Ailsa McWhinnie and hubby too. See books by Ailsa here and web-site here. We had never met before but felt I had known her all my life. What a lovely couple of people. Have a look at the Paris-Roubaix images on Aisla's website here. Brilliant :-)

Looking out, Looking in; Lapwing

Now, I know nothing about boats. Well, maybe a bit. The ferry here to the island is horrible in rough weather and breaks down a lot. On the other hand Lapwing, the boat in the care of Fleur and Gren is graceful, comfortable and fun to be on. Even if it does take a lot of up keep and sounds like a London bus when under way. Apparently she came from Doncaster way but she sits upon the Thames very happily I can tell you. No doubt Fleur will come along and fill in the details.

We dined aboard her, drank champagne aboard her and sailed aboard her. What more does one want?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

London doesn't like me.

Olympic road race excitement

Tell me, you who have experience of the world, who have travelled, seen, been and done. Tell me why Australians always seem to want to set up a BBQ. Even though rain is threatening, they are by the side of a road and hoard of cyclists are due past [very briefly] ? Eh, Tell me?

As a result of which I got excited. As a result of the imminent arrival of fast cyclists that is. Not as a result of Aussies; do you understand me?

 Still-movie of moments in some time or other

And I end up with these. Still-movies of moments in some time or other. This is something interesting above although I know not what. This is what happens when I leave this delightful island go to London. Near London. Ham actually. Yes, Ham, that's where I went.

I met Muna too. A good friend from Uni and mother of Aara and Layla. You see, London doesn't like me. I get too over-excited. Too over-clickable. Over-clicked the Holga and everything. Now, at home I'm cranky. Crook or something colonial like that.


With Aara. Or is it Layla?

 Is that you Fleur? Is that you?

And Fleur, flower of Ham, mandolinist, maker of films, driver of boat, provider of bed. Sitter on seat - probably. Tweaker of bikes and enthusiasm finder. Did you fed up with my over-excitement? Did you?

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Murder in Ham

I'm a wanting to think about considering to learn a musical instrument. I tried the Uke but it didn't agree with me. The fingers kept getting tangled and what have you. And I was humiliated by Dr Michael Hutchinson who started learning up the Uke about the same time as I acquired mine but threw a mean jazz Uke jam when he paid a visit to our lodgings in Ham the other day. I can manage a chord or one at most!

To be honest, I'm not sure why I want to learn up some musical thing. I can't even sing - as evidenced here where I murdered 'Nellie' as Eve sang beautifully. My experience of doing things musical has not been a happy one, but like my dear departed Mater, I feel that now, the prime of my life, is as good as any for trying again with something.

Grenville on the other hand can play a multitude of instruments - guitar, fiddle and accordion [as seen in link above] - the latter instrument which I fondled hopefully in the probable false expectation that it may just be a Sparky to me. I did make it squawk a bit and that encouraged me. The thing even emitted a polka like noise at one time although I wasn't sure that I meant it that way. Still, I must be able to play something so I have been looking to make a small purchase. Of an accordion with hardly any buttons but lots of tunefulness. Eh?

Round Ham way is rather more interesting than I wanted to believe. There's a big river nearby - Thames - with lots of boats, boatyards and a few islands. Some of which have both boats and boatyards on. Eel Pie island is one such place. Claustrophobic but interesting place. Home to Trevor Bayliss - whom we did meet. I took some snaps while I was there. This is one. Nice eh? Could be Hong-Kong or somewhere!

Eel Pie

On tother side, the north side of the land - not the island - are some fine gardens and statues. I snapped them up too. Well worth a visit. You can read about those here.

Orleans statuary

More Orleans statuary. However, those at the front are real people.

Monday, August 06, 2012

In/On tandem

Eh? Hampton Court. Where-else?

I took this snap whilst surveying the cycling time trial course at the London thing. Since then GB cyclists are winning - a lot. Is there a connection?

And today Evelyn and Mr Windy have been out on the tandem ready for the Ullapool cyclosportive in September. :-)

Sunday, August 05, 2012

Bike races

Homage to Robert Capa

Have you ever been to watch a cycle race. You know, the ones outdoor where riders in Lycra [and before that wool] whoosh past in a second after you have been waiting for hours by the side of the road. Unless you are on a big mountain where the riders are more strung out and take a while to go past. Well, I have. A few times. A few too many times really. But maybe that was because it's 'my' sport.

Since we were down in Richmond with our lovely friends Fleur and Gren, we took it upon ourselves to watch the road cycling events. On the day of the men's event the weather was warm. The ferry ride to the north side of the Thames took us to Marble Hill house area where, an hour or so before the passing of the race - the early part f the race, we picked our spot by a bus shelter. We cheered everything that moved on bicycles - kids, mums, dad, messengers - everyone really. We laughed and smiled and people and laughed with us. Even PC Plod had a laugh and a smile.Soon the Aussies from the house over the road had set  up the obligatory BBQ. Flags appeared from balconies and the roadside filled up. A lot.

Fleur tests the flag.

Then they came - the Police motorcycle display team and a lost pizza-delivery boy on his little Honda hotly pursued by a hundred or so cyclists on lumps of carbon-fibre. Going fast. So fast that they were gone before they came. Almost. We cheered though.

Later Richmond Park beckoned. It was even more crowded there but I did meet up with one of my sisters up from Somerset for the day. Big crowds, nice people to meet. Fantastic atmosphere. As usual we didn't see much but then you go for the atmosphere don't you?
Some people went higher than others to see over the hoards in front.

Bin and done that.

We met our good friends Muna, Richard and the girls too - flying along on their Bikies no doubt training for the Olympics in 12 years time. Wonderful

Aara in training. [my fav snap of the moment ]

Saturday, August 04, 2012

In The Rak with Baaba Maal.

Back in the old days, many years ago when life was good, everything was cheap and music was brill, Grenville, with whom we were staying near Richmond in Londinium, recorded a single with his punk band The Cut-outs. Gren was working on Swap-shop at the time as a set designer but they were short of a band. Being a muso in his spare time, he put together a band and they played a set on the show - with a fab backdrop designed by himself and paid for by the show. The other band  was something like the Monkees and they played with a black backdrop because Gren had spent all the money on their own set. Like you do.

Mr Grenville Horner. Post-punk period.

The set went well, and they got a call to sign for some record company or other - but they turned them down as they all wanted a life! However, they did get to record a single produced by the great John Leckie at Rak Studios- owned by Mickie Most .

Last week, while we were in London, Gren got a call from his mate John to come along and be an audience at the studio for a recording with Baaba Maal, the Senegalese musician with his friends and performance poets Lemn Sissay, Zena Edwards and others.

We went. Brilliant! like being in some parallel universe. Young men in tight trousers, beautiful young things in African dress, musos and tech geeks twiddling knobs.

John Leckie introduces.

"More reverb on this one". "Loose some on the low end". No idea what they were on about but the results sounded brill. We drank the free drinks and nibbled the nibbles too whilst they caressed our ears with music and words. Loved it. I even shook hands with the great Mr Maal. How good is that?

I sneakily took some snaps while they were setting up. Slow film and a loud camera did not help :-)


. Congrats Messrs Wiggins, Burke, Clancy, Kennaugh, Thomas, Hoy,  Kenny, Hindes and Princess Victoria - Olympic golds and Worlds records too. And not forgetting Mr Froome who got a bronze. More to follow I am sure:-)

Grenville awaiting the Men's road race. Holga-ed
We are back.