Friday, November 30, 2012


The rain have moved in a tad, the cold wind was blowing off the Minch but the roof had to be finished. It had only taken 5 years to get done!

It's not alone in having its roof fixed, Roy and Zig had there's done in a particularly wet period, hence the water stain on their ceiling!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Dogs Eh?

An island track.

I did like dogs. A bit anyway. I came round to them when my pal Victor asked Eve & I to look after  Rocky and Frank for a few months while he was away in the Antipodes. We did and really quite enjoyed the experience.

Then there's Ghriet whom I walk at least once a week. A south African speaking collie of this parish who is bonkers but she likes me. A barking dog as it happens. And of course we should not forget Zig, owner of Roy who I see at least once a week over coffee. Like you do. Zig likes me too I believe.

But I am going off them

The other day Mrs 'Up Yours' lost 6 of her chickens to a slavering beast from the village and only saved the rest it seems because of a brave James [my hero] who went out with a golf-club and frightened the dog away. Now, MiLud I have have been bitten by this same slavering beasts brother who came at me like something out of a horror film, fangs flying. Took a piece out of the knee of my jeans [but missed my leg] before trying to sink its teeth into my 'upper-leg' where I now have four tooth-shaped and sore bruises  Luckily the skin had not been pierced [I had it checked at hospital] but I feel rather shaken up I can tell you. And I've gone off dogs. Slavering beasts of dogs like these Staff-cross things anyway.

I shall be walking another way around the village in future. Having said that, I notice that a beast with flippers came up behind me the other day when I was taking a portrait of a road!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sustaining or not

Floods eh? Major floods every other year? Normal? Me thinks not. Me thinks it is merely a further indication that Climate Change is well and truly moving – aided magnificently by the human race.

It’s not just the floods either – think ice-cap melt, think drought in other areas and the like. Change everywhere at what seems to be unprecedented rates. Of course, if the Gaia theory is correct – and I suspect it has a great deal of credence – then the biosphere will [eventually] correct itself. Only don’t expect that to happen any time soon – and don’t expect if to remain inhabitable by the human race whilst it sorts itself out. [Gosh, I sound like a preacher here – apologies].

We can only blame ourselves for this situation – we have modified the world to such an extent that we are too over-crowded and too intent on using up a great deal of our resources with the entropic effect and the accompanying degradation of our biosphere. This will, no doubt I think lead to increased shortages of food and fresh water – with the obvious increases in prices and availability. [although no doubt some will prosper further enhancing the gulf between have's and have-nots. Further enhancing the possibility of unrest etc]

To my mind, this is exacerbated by the system of trading we have adopted which by its very nature is resource consuming and ultimately unsustainable in the long term. What I am referring to is Consumer Capitalism and its sustainability – at least in its current form. I mean, a system based on gambling?? Nonsense!

Excuse me for the rant. It annoys me, worries me and I could go on. But we [including me] are all hooked on consuming - buying, owning things merely for strategic display, travelling at will wherever - all which doesn't exactly help those who come after us. Our descendants.

There I have said it. badly probably but I have said it all the same and I might say it again - but better.

I shall top it all by posting a print I made yesterday of William - on Adox MCC paper taken with a knackered and now retired Kiev60 and HP5 at his lovely home in Cromor.

Just William

PS> There is so much on the interweb about this subject I shan't link. I'm sure you can find it.

Monday, November 26, 2012


Just past midnight this morning, villagers gathered down towards the Cladach Giordail – the beach down the steep track at the south end of the place. A dark secluded beach surrounded by cliffs and the cold sea. A haunting sound crept over the moor as villagers commenced a chanting as the trial of the blackdog commenced. A huge fire was lit on the beach as the choir of chanters raised their voices as the four legged beast, looking sullen and confused was led down.

 Gratuitous portrait of a road.

This was the first animal trial in the village for a while and people were wanting an end to the uncertainty about the chicken massacre of a few days earlier.  To be sure they reached the right verdict, the weighing machine had been taken out of storage, its creaky wooden beam set up on the edge of the water. Tradition has it that the accused must be weighed against the beasts which it apparently had slain – only since these had already been buried, the chickens owner substituted her steam-powered steel duck. – called Steam-punk. It sat serenely on the beam, steam silently exiting its rusty beak as the black dog was lowered onto the other end. My hair stood on end as the chanting raised to a crescendo while steam-punk and black dog came to an uneasy balance. Then the breeze blew and steam-punk toppled off the beam and was lost in the sea. The villagers stood in stunned silence.

But I think it all was a dream. I haven’t been sleeping so well you see. There are no remnants of a fire on the beach, Mrs 'Up-Yours' hasn't a steam-punk duck - yet - and all is well in the village. Nearly.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

William; and Gemma

Woodlands Cafe

Twas lovely today. I know the mainland is taking a battering rain-wise but here it's been lovely. I mean, the sun shone and not even a breeze to ruffle the feathers. I don't have feathers as it happens but you get the idea.

Eve took off on her bike for a ride down towards Cromor today and I followed a little later in the horseless carriage  Have a look here and here, you can see the sort of place Cromor is. Oh, you could look here too - I been to Cromor before you see. In fact, look there first. If you have already looked at the other links you'll just have to unlook them.

William and Gemma live in Cromor. I don't know why. Perhaps they like it there - I do, Eve does too. We wish we lived there in fact but we don't, so we visit. Drink tea, eat stuff and talk. William likes to talk too.

We took a stroll along the little road to the nearby isle of whatever it's called but I can't remember. You know, the one that used to be owned by Charlie Barley [do check out the history of Charlie Barley on this site; it is very interesting] but now is owned by someone I can't tell you about. That one. Ben, William's doggie, finished with coughing up his lunch and ran his little legs off chasing rabbits. He didn't catch any. He never does I'm told - which I found surprising since one rabbit ran between Ben's legs at one point.

We had a lovely day and everything. :-)

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Paxette blur

I tentatively await a call from my sister in Somerset as she builds a fortress to keep the flood water at bay and out of the house. It's already been in twice this year! Despite rain  we are very lucky here that in the main it all runs off into the sea quite quickly. The rivers and streams can run wild though .

Actually the sun shone today - once it dawned. The night was especially long as I just couldn't sleep. Tired, Eve and I went for a coffee morning over at the Oiseval Gallery with the Coelynes. That soon got me into the groove, brought a smile and set me up for the day. Then it was off for a wee stroll in the castle grounds, a warm Mocha in The Woodlands cafe where we met Mr & Mrs Grass and their son Dan - who was asleep again. Seems like the holiday in Turkey fair wore him out! Mr Grass showed me his new-to-him Ziess 6x6 which looked rather tasty - and it had film in it. Mmm, I wonder if Toots has a film camera with him o'er on t'mainland??

The it was off to Mr & Mrs Windy to deliver another 6x6 camera - a Bronica of Mrs Coelyne's that Mr Windy covets. Not sure Mrs Windy was quite so keen - but we drank their tea, chatted about this and that but NOT the camera.

What a lovely day and lovely friends we have here :-)

Friday, November 23, 2012

You know, I have a couple of personages in mind I'd like to point a proper camera at - one with film and everything. Not sure why but Kate Rusby comes to mind. Maybe it's because I'm a listening to her at the mo as I write. What a voice - what a lovely image I could perhaps make!

Another whom I'd like to have a 'go at' is the wonderful Tim Andrews who has loads of photographisers snapping at him over the years - ever since he started with Parkinsons. A great series of images can be seen on his blog here. Well worth a few moments of your time I can tell you,

Meanwhile, I re-discovered an old camera lurking on the mantle-shelf in the warming room. A lovely little thing but with heavily scratched lens. It looked at me nicely and I do believe it actually winked at me. So I took him out and finished the hugely out of date film within. The Cafe in town was there and so was Mr Windy. I snapped.
Development was guesswork - a slosh of this or maybe that for as long as dozed in front of the fire - and I love the 'alternative results.

 Mr Windy

Cafe talk

Postscript; It seem the culprit dog from yesterday's massacre has been caught and awaits his fate - whatever that will be.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

ooh dear


I saw the aftermath of a massacre today. Dead and dying chickens all over the place. A dog got wind of Mrs 'Up yours' chickens and created havoc till young golf-club wielding James came to the rescue, frightening the slavering beast off. It was a black dog with a heart on it's collar. As if....

James is my new hero.

I've had better days

Just back from the dentist. My dentist is excellent - a Polish lady who smiles a lot and does her work excellently. She managed to save another tooth that had seen better days with some fine reaming out of an old post I'd made years back when I worked in the business. But today, the old crown once taken off exposed some bad news which requires extra work which may or may not save it. Now, I sit trying to sip my coffee, wiping the dribbles from my numb lip.

It's raining too. And my sisters house has been flooded - for the second time of late.
What a morning!

The image is a cyanotype of a lith print from a digital neg. I like it1!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


It's the wine that does it. Well, wine tannin anyway. Turns the blue of the cyanotype print to this 'orrible purple shade. Not sure I like it really but it's an addiction of mine - throw the print in some 'stuff' or other to change its colour from the original. Tea is best but this is cheaper. This old Neg was on Shanghai 5x7 made with several close-up lens' taped together in the FKD.

I do similar with silver gelatin prints - dunking them in sepia or tea.

The weather has closed in rather. Wind and rain is here and meant to be getting worse over the next few hours. I've tied things down outside so one doesn't have to chase them round the island.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Toots; in the pink

You see, I did get the cyanotype done. On good old cartridge paper and toned in wine tannin. I almost like it.
The neg is a 5x7 Shanghai 100 taken with the FKD 'camera' that's held together with elastic bands and the like. It works though - even with no shutter. Luckily, Toots is away at the moment so can't see I have used this old image. Pre-marriage and all that.

The oil-print was less successful - particularly the one I had cooking yesterday. It cooked under UV light well enough but I became impatient and soaked the print - as one has to do - in water that was too warm. The gelatin melted and fell off! Perhaps an idea for an emulsion lift someday. If only.

The sun is shinig bright this morning so a stroll on the beach is on the menu.

Monday, November 19, 2012


 Mr Windy

Toots Wilson

Yep it's raining. Rained all last night and looks like it's going to rain all day.

Bin out collecting papers, bread milk etc for the village shoppe this morning - windscreen wipers on overtime - and now picture making calls. Cartridge paper has already been coated with a new cyanotype mix since I gave the last lot to Lucrecia. Since you ask, Lucrecia is not her real name but she has been known to me as that for years now as she fits the name perfectly - and not Flynn as she was christened.

As I write I have another oil-print exposing. What a phaff that's turning out to be. A disaster as big as my gum prints - which don't work for me either. But I keep trying. This time I did three coats of gelatin on the paper and one of Pot. Dichromate.  Later, when I have washed it, dried it and wetted it again the oil-based ink will be applied. There might even be an image at the end of it. Wonders never cease!

In the meantime, I'm wondering if Toots had a rough ferry crossing this morning as there is a bit of a blow - force 8-9 they say. He's off down to wettish Cumbria for a few days leaving his new wife to mind the gaff. 

I posted the snap of Mr Windy as I like it. And it might encourage him to re-start posting on Windy Wandering Blog.

Another blog I see from time to time even gave this blog a mention :-) Try unknown photos blog for yourself.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A tad tardy

I don't know why but I awoke with a heavy heart this morning. The sun was shining, my dear Eve was here but something, just something was bringing me low. A walk in the breeze was required and that we did on Point - that great lump of land we can see o'er the bay from here. Up to the lighthouse, round the cliff-edge and back. Lovely. I felt better then.

It was almost as good as a stroll on a beach.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Norm

I met Norm. I often meet Norm and I often get to hear about his 'book' - slowly making it's way towards completion - or should I say 'towards starting'? Not sure really but I enjoy the chat and the company all the same.

 Norm; doing his film star pose


I took a turn around the metropolis that is Stornoway finishing the roll of film I had in the camera. There was this 'tag' on the wall of Stag Bakeries. No idea what it means but I like it. Just hope it's not rude!

Thursday, November 15, 2012


I called in to check on the newly retired Toots the other day. I knew he was getting in the swing of the non-working thing when I caught him talking to the boys on the see-saw!

Then Toots gazed over towards the road to check on the neighbouring piggies. He couldn't see them for the fog. That worried him. He went inside and made a cup of tea to wash down the Tunnocks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Stornoway lith

That'll learn you [as they used to say down Briftol way]. Eh?

Yes, you should have said you liked the last two snaps - as Iain did - then I would have shown something else just to be contrary. Now only Iain liked them up I'm having to assume you all like them and give you one more.

It does gives you the essence of Stornoway . Now the rain has arrived with a vengance, the wind breezes in off the harbour and the peoples dodge from cafe to pub, shoppe to car. A a few walk a bit. This is they.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The next day

It's got to me a bit, the tooth that is. Yay yay yay! I mean, it's a bit sensitive. Seen the tooth doctor who prodded it this way and that but it's covered in gold so goodness knows what's underneath. No doubt it's wrong though and no doubt it will cost me money - and pain. I shall keep you informed.

Just excuse me while I read 'The Overcoat' By Gogol. Have you nothing you to do for a few moments?

Good isn't it?

You still here?

I posted this snap elsewhere - and some people liked it. It wasn't even real. Just a neg scan but since then the darkroom called me so now we have a hard-copy on silver gelatin. I like it.

Fingering his chanter; holding up the wall.

Oh dear, pick me up off the floor! I can just imagine the guffawing of a certain Coelyne at this print. I know, I know, I can hardly see the thing myself. And its waxed. Stopped short of giving it a full Brazilian but waxed all the same. It's on old Agfa Portriga - sepia-ed - with my own mix a chems. Hence the 'texture'.

Like it?
If so, please say so. :-)

Sunday, November 11, 2012


Tree; a tintype by Carl Radford

Remembrance Sunday.

I will remember those who gave their lives, those who lost their loved ones and those who are injured, mentally and physically.

There must be a better way than war.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

We are all artists here!

Of course you don't believe it. I really didn't expect you to.

The islands here are crawling with artists of one sort or another. Painters, potters, photographizers and other art-creating genres starting with other letters of the alphabet. And before you start on me, yes, photographizing can be [but not always is] art. There I've said it. Luckily for me I do have acquaintances who agree with me. They have the faith.

Now, in town, Stornoway don't you know - is a pop-up shop. Eh? In Stornoway? Yep. And well worth a visit too. The shop is being run by the Create it Collective. I love collectives me I do. And this one is no exception being full of lovely things - painting, cards, pottery and more. Delicious. And it's there - in that snap above [no, that snap is not Art] in the shop between The Criterion bar [yellow] and the pink shoppe. Open Saturdays till End of December me thinks.

The Russian plastic Cosmic Symbol camera got a shot at these snaps - along with some old Agfa film. Cheap as chips [cheaper in fact] camera with interesting exposure system - that works rather well - unlike the focus!. I got the Criterion ok though and caught Toots Wilson as he ambled down to The County on his last day of work for a meal of freshly slaughtered tomatoes or something with colleagues who had respectfully dropped back as I shot.

Toots; The last day of work.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Slavich and Polywarmtone

The darkroom got a visitation today. William had bought me coffee in An Lanntair so he could get a chance to show me his crutches. Since I was suitably impressed, I left and returned home with the intention of sleeping. The night before had been long - and without much sleep. But the notion of sloshing some warm chemicals about in the dark got the better of me.

As it happens, I have been gifted some fine papers for Lithing - and I already had a couple around the place so I entered into the session with Slavich Unibrom and Forte Polywarmtone. Not that I started with this neg but I ended with it. I like it and that's what counts.

Butty Bus - Russian paper style

Slavich Unibrom is an interesting Russian cold tone paper and gives some fantastic rsults once you know how to use it. On that score I need more practice although the first print does have something about it. Although I'm not sure what! All the same, I  like it. But not as much as the print on Forte Polywarmtone - all sloshed in Rollei-Creative chems.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

Mischief behind doors

Well, they were Belgians weren't they?

The man who accused the islanders of 'mischief behind closed doors' that is. He's probably right mind you but, a Belgian?

Yep, I Love Sarah apparently. I don't actually, I love Eve. But that's another thing entirely.

Then there were the Scottish dancers. Not Highland fling sort of thing more a Highland Fling sort of thing. With added Clachan Bar. [you'll have to follow the links to get my gist]. Excellent - although my tinnitus is playing up a bit today. Look, there's a trailer for the show here - you'll see what I mean. Yes, yes, go and look now. Remided me of an evening in the Lewis Bar some years ago.

Toots, the retiree

This followed a wet day on the beach with recent retiree Toots Wilson who, enjoying his new found freedom was snapping here and there on the beach with me to keep him company. I took the plastic fantastic 50p camera I have but after seeing the wonderful textures in the piles of storm-feed sea-weed on the beach, I shot home for the Hasselblad for another go. The films are sloshing about in chemicals as I write. I did develop the plastic cam film last night tho. See, that's Toots, the retiree above.

Sammi the seal was keen to join celebrating Toot's freedom by bringing seven of his mates along and followed us along the beach. Many thanks Sammi, Mr Toots enjoyed you being there.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Marbles, lens' and all that

Just in case you thought I've lost it, here's a snap taken today showing that I have little to lose :-)
The old FKD large format 'camera' complete with elastic bands and kindling wood to keep the thing from falling apart came out the box. Testing was done with some out of date resin photo paper whilst the lens - was put together with 3 close up lens I found lurking about the place. Not sure what strength they are but in total probably about +6 - if that means anything to you. Works tho - whatever it means.

I know I don't look seductive. Without marbles,  hardly animated in fact. But I am alive and well since you ask!

I believe!

Yes, I believe.

It's the sort of question that one gets asked around this island. My pal The Artist formerly known as Jon got asked that at 10am in the morning the other day whilst queuing up for tickets. Granted it was tickets for the Dawkins lecture in An Lanntair but still.....

As it happens, I listened to the talk on the local radio - and the other one before it by a Minister of some ilk - but not the local ilk it seems. He wasn't a creationist after all. That meant he got a bit in the ear at one time from the live audience. Oh well, I found it fascinating  And Prof Dawkins was interesting too. A fantastic speaker - so much so that the Wee Frees would be keen on having him preach - if only he believed. But, he's agnostic.

Vandyke print of an old camera [still wet] 

I believe my pals I work with have The Faith. Same book different beliefs though. How does that work then? Belief that's how.

Yes, I believe.
Not the "I believe" of some, or any over-dogmatic grouping based on some reading of a book. I believe in belief itself. Belief itself is the key. It keeps you on track, sane and healthy. Yes, I believe that.
I think.

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Around the place


Alison is now in France. No idea where but we think she is enjoying herself before flitting off to NZ for Christmas where Vic and Gwyneth already are. Cyclists get about a bit. She was here a few weeks back on a whistle stop visit from t'mainland. She used to be Mr Brailsford's PA at the Manchester Velodrome [where I was coach taking opportunities to take snaps of people like Graeme Obree ] till a few weeks back - then she was saved :-)

The sea is still here looking cold and steely. The clouds are here too but we have no snow. It's on the mainland mountains; I can see from here some 40 miles away.

Textures on the snaps come from the commercially developed film! I rather like it; you know, some people add this to their pics to give them more authenticity!

Last of the colour for a while! Yep, it's Rodel harbour.

Saturday, November 03, 2012


"Have you just been doing the Zombie thing? " I was asked somewhat surprisingly this lunchtime on leaving An Lanntair. My hair was a little out of place granted. My jeans a tad old and my eye-liner not as well applied as it might be but, a Zombie? Eh? Did I look tired, half-alive or something?

There was a plethora of Bodach around the place on account of the fine film about the fishing boat Providence we'd just been gazing at. Maybe it was the contrast between myself and them. Or maybe it was because there had been a Zombie flash mob outside just before. Something like this perhaps.

I smiled sweetly. As sweetly as I could anyway. As sweetly as I could without baring my fangs and sinking them into her neck that is.

 The Boys in An Lanntair

I do have friends you know. Some of them still talk to me too.I think these two do.

And another, Mrs Toots who married this year and with whom I, Eve and the Coelynes will be doing dining out with to celebrate Toots' retirement. Toots is coming too. How good is that?

Very good.

I am so pleased that Mick & Bee of the good ship Hannah came through Hurricane Sandy safe and well. We were thinking about you bobbing about over there.

Thursday, November 01, 2012


On what proved a whistle stop visit of four days, the Hunters have now left the island. All is quiet and no-longer am I being rebuked by dogs three for dancing, singing or just being. No I have no snaps of them. Why Would I snap them up after all? I spent years working with their owners, travelling with their owners and that's enough for anyone.

Still, twas lovely seeing them all, Lucrecia and I spent spent happy hours snapping here and there, developing, printing and just looking. Nice.

It wasn't always dry.

The Crofter has been feeding the coows

The house is very quiet now as my dear Eve and I relax.