All posts by admin


Aberdour beach just before sunset in February, after a long week at work.

Hill and train line
Paul by the river












Saw this exhibition yesterday,  small but interesting (who said eclectic?) collection of paintings by the Glasgow Boys, including Arthur Melville, E A Hornel, George Henry and William J Kennedy.   Fife has some wonderful artworks to behold, in amongst the various legacies of mining, farming, fishing and Royal politics.

We also hope to visit Lumen, site specific light installations in Edinburgh.  A lumen, as we all know, is a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source.  It’s Latin for light. *

This song has nothing to do with light, except perhaps its seasonal absence.

*On the same dictionary page, lumpen as in proletariat, from Germanic Lumpus, a rag.  And lunette, from lunus, which is the official name for the middle of the hairline at the back of your neck.   And you thought it meant spectacles on a stick.  Ha.


Thanks to Fiona Cook who found this gem in the Fraser family archives.

Dad baking bread, early 80s









Fiona told me that she was quite young when this was taken.  i can see that the cupboard behind Dad still has the yellow paint,  before Mum rendered it white with wooden edging.   There’s also the brooms in the corner which fell over every single  time the door was opened.   Dad enjoyed his bread making very much.








Also from Luxembourg, Bluebell the horse, made by Dad.




To Edinburgh once more, and the Braid Hills Hotel Library,  thence to mark the joint anniversaries of Rosemary and Michaela.  A fine meal ensued, in most convivial surroundings.

My camera technique is rather lacking just now, split as it is between a DSLR, a old Fuji Finepix and the phone, none of which had the flash switched on, so we are grateful to Sarah for her lovely shot of the birthday girls.

Rosemary & Michaela

Elspeth’s big birthday weekend

Here’s a smile that sums up the weekend.  Happy birthday Elspeth, thanks for a wonderful weekend.   Picture credits are various, with so many phones and cameras,  also the men got short shrift by virtue of being the photographers, thanks due in no small amount to Paul, Colin, Thierry and Ross.

Ali with Ellie, Bertrange 28 January 2018.









Elspeth, Ellie and Kerry









Hiding out in Luxembourg, Les, Pat and Kirsty
Fiona, Emma and Kerry




Adj sesquipedal or sesquipedalian (of objects or words) a foot and a half long — of words, very long and pedantic.  [L. sesquisemisquesemis, half a unit, que, and] © Chambers Concise Dictionary 1991

Hello 2018!  Woke up with that word floating about my head.  I have always liked its rhythm, and I quickly realised to my utter chagrin that I did not know what it meant, so off to the dictionary room I hied myself, with all possible haste, whilst maintaining the silence of the hour (04:20).

BTW wishes everyone a peaceful, happy, healthy and prosperous new year,  one without fake news and duplicity would be nice, but let’s not be carried away.

Here’s a pre-decimal conundrum —  why did Paul’s dad choose to paint a cottage ever so slightly differently for this stamp illustration?

Ulster thatch 1
Ulster thatch 2












I have looked this one up, since it was one I did not have in my collection.  I think it would have been most unlikely that a stamp valued at 1/6 (one shilling and sixpence), the equivalent of several pounds today, would have come my way, unless used to post a gift.  The decimal equivalent of 7½ pence gives no clue as to its real value.  It was one of a set depicting house claddings* from the four countries of the UK.  I have several copies of the Fife Harling (5d), but neither the Cotswold Limestone (9d) nor the Welsh Stucco (1s).  That must have hurt at the time; one of the chief joys, for me, of stamp collecting is possessing all the members of the set.   One job I had in John Menzies involved logging sets of OCR** documents posted in from all over Britain.  Heavy parcels used lots of stamps; it took me less than a day to amass a full set whenever there was a new issue.  Happy times.

Meanwhile, having had to admit to myself that I have lost my camera, I am researching the purchase of a replacement.  I do not often lose things, and in the upheaval of the festive season that is not a statement made lightly.  Yes, I have a more than adequate camera on my phone but the faff involved in finding and sharing a picture is major.  Hopefully I may then return to posting swathes of credible photo journalism (ha ha, that would be nice).

I have resisted the lure of the teapot for long enough, and there are calendars to change.   Onwards and upwards!

* sounds boring but isn’t.  Stamp collecting makes you look at things differently.  Philately will get you everywhere.

**Optical Character Recognition.  It was very new at the time and in one of those timey wimey twists, the documents were sent to a building which would become the home of RBS Registrars from 1988 – 97, my Sighthill office home for 9 years.


Thanks to Colin Hay for the picture of the band taken last night,  when After 8 Mince played a Christmas gig for our local chums.  Special thanks to everyone for turning up on a freezing cold night, and to the ladies for serving the refreshments.








Also cheers to my old school chum Campbell for this, the 13 Yule Lads of Iceland.  

Yule lads









Ex Africa semper aliquid novi.

Button it

Well, having looked up buttons on Wiki I found myself, within five seconds, analysing my hands for a possible  deformity known as boutonnière’s.  Beware the internet my son, to paraphrase Lewis Carroll.   Did you know that the word chortle comes from his poem?  I didn’t.  So, on to the matter in hand, a creative project has unfurled before me, that has not happened in a long time.  I still have mum’s button box, and have decided to liberate some of the contents.  Finished articles may or may not be revealed soon.


We have finally made the leap from a diesel powered car to an electric one.   Friends are already learning not to ask us how we travelled when we meet up…..  suffice to say it requires a whole new attitude to travelling.  We’ve been to a few places not usually on our our map, especially football stadiums, and have encountered some interesting attitudes.   Some people take it as a personal affront and a (literally) silent  criticism of those driving petrol and diesel vehicles. it isn’t, it’s simply our choice, and yes we do know that the electricity used to charge the battery is still 80% derived from fossil fuel sources.   It’s also very difficult not to make awful puns all the time, and I have  already made up a playlist on Spotify.  This may or may not show up below.  Anyway, adventures beckon!


Elsewhere, we took a very busy train into Edinburgh last night for a free mini gig, Karine Polwart was launching her new album at Coda Music on Bank Street, we were entertained to five (six?) tracks and some chat from the lady herself, on the first evening that we have been in to see the festive lights, it was all quite magical.  The album is A Pocket of Wind Resistance and it showcases most of the material from her recent stage show.  We were fortunate enough to see this  in 2016 and since she is one of my all time favourite singer songwriters, I was so delighted that tears may have been shed.  But, oh yes, there’s a but, I would have been foolish and naïve to expect that everyone there would understand the concept of queuing, on a cold, dark night in November, in Scotland, for a free gig with no seats.  So for the folk who moaned their faces off in said queue, I hope that you were uplifted by the end.

We had intended to treat ourselves to a snifter in our favourite pub, but it and all those around were hoachin’, so we trotted off home instead.

Note re Spotify list – I have not listened to the Raffles the Dog track and its inclusion is somewhat of a mystery to me*.  It may therefore be a Parental Advisory number.   Some of the other songs are very rude too.

RIP Malcolm Young.

*The car is a Nissan Leaf.  I toyed with the idea of naming after an infamous thief (tea-leaf) but Raffles just doesn’t fit.