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Upmanship

Should time weigh heavy on your hands, I can recommend looking up the word “up” in a dictionary.  Hithered there on a quest for the etymology of upholster, I was reminded of swan upping – driving the swans upstream so that they may be coralled and identified.  Given that these avian grandes dâmes might be a bit uppity, one might give up easily.  Uptear and upthrow are actual words,  whilst upmaking is the practice of filling a ship’s bilges before is launched.

Upholster is a back formation (it says here) from uphold.  As ever, I am uplifted by this increase in my lexicography.

Just in case that leaves you in an uppish frame of mind, here’s a tear jerker. 

Unabridged

Here’s a challenge.

The Flock in the Firth

As Eh cam owre the Forth rail brig

Eh saw frae oot o Fife

a farrachin o starlins’ trig

as the thochts o ane waukrife

 

Lyk sheelock fae a thrashin mill

they mirlieit the nicht

atween thi brigs, as tho ate fill ut

wi wan shammade o flicht

 

Lyk a sark that’s bealin i thi breeze

this ram stam scarnach oan

a norrie birled wi siccan ease

as a skatir by’ur lone.

 

Ut seemd as tho a michty scroosh

o sparlins fae thi flair

o Forth hud fur a skirr gead whoosh

intil thi deeps o air

 

Ut seemd as tho a page o wurds

at sum parafflin nemm,

has aa at wance been cheengd tae burds

an werr marginin thi faem

 

Thi mirk held mair nor myriads

aa sherrickin the stream,

in spirlin splores, in sklents, in scads,

lyk Hitchcock’s wuddendreme

 

Ly Egypt’s kas, or Dante’s braw

adulters in Hell,

sae mony starlins i thi blaw

o Scoatlan rose and fell

 

Eh slid ablow this skavie flock

and ontae Fife’s blank page,

Eh wrote: they are thi parrymauk

o starnies in a rage.

W.S. Herbert

farrachin: bustling, waukrife: unable to sleep; sheelock: chaff; mirlieit: speckled; shammade; lacework; sark: shirt; bealin: moving agitatedly; ram stam: head strong; scarnach: great number of people or things; norrie: whim; birld; spun; by ‘ur lone: by herself; scroosh: disreputable horad; sparlin: smelt( a freshwater fish found in the Forth and the Tay); skirr: jape; parafflin: flourishing, as in the end of a signature; marginin: marking the margin; mirk: dark; sherrickin: amassing to abuse:  spirling splores: lively adventures; sklents: angles; scads: in great quantities; wuddendreme: nightmare; skavie: ruching; parrymauk: double; starnies: stars (starn also means ‘starling’).

The Poetry of Birds, ed. Simon Armitage and Tim Dee, Penguin Books 2011. 

 

Back on the road

Bamse
The Seafarer, by William Lamb, F.R.S.A.
A Snipe. Honest.
Lunan Bay
Seal skeleton
Snowdrops, House of Dun

Last  week found us in Montrose, to visit the Basin and its wintering residents.   Timing was either spot on or spot off; coinciding as we did with that time in late winter when there is enough daylight to evince notions of venturing further afield, only to find out that most places of interest are still shut.  Honourable mentions therefore to the Basin visitor centre, the gardens of House of Dun, Brechin Town House, Montrose Museum and Art Gallery, and the Aircraft Museum.  They were open and staffed.

A high spring tide meant that the birds hiding on the Basin foreshore were forced to reveal themselves,  giving us a fine view of a wisp of snipe, nine in total.  (And also giving me the opportunity for legitimate use of a collective noun).   Other highlights included various sculptures, and it should not go unmentioned that everyone we spoke to was pleasant and helpful.

If you do not know the story of Bamse, read the book.

Due to my misinterpretation of the rules for the honesty box in the Aircraft Museum tearoom, we were entitled to rather more biscuits than were consumed.  However, in the presence of so many sobering reminders of the real cost of war…

There was an excellent exhibition of sea themed paintings at the gallery in town, including many by famous son William Lamb.  I have yet to find a sculpture trail or map, but I believe much of his work is dotted around the environs.

 

Erithacus rubecula

Robin

This must have been a template given to me by a teacher to colour in, or possibly a tracing.  My draughtmanship has never been this good.  Evidence of my early love of the avian world.

 

A la recherche…

Family photographs from our paternal line, for which no detail is available, but before saying goodbye to these I thought I would give them a last outing here.

Victoriana 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victoriana 2

January February

Well, January had a lot happening but none of it for recording here, thank you. Went for a walk round Townhill Loch yesterday, after the washing machine was replaced.  Sometimes a wee walk and some wildlife makes all the difference.  There were loads of birds but mostly they were too fast for the camera operator.

Mallards
Blackheaded gulls, Cormorants and Mallards
Blackheaded gulls, Cormorants and Mallards
Male Goosanders
Path
Townhill Loch
Cormorant on a pole

So long 2018

Despite the obvious, including the most appalling lack of prudent and effective leadership on both sides of the pond, leading to who knows what clusterbourach* in 2019,  we have had some excellent adventures this year.  We have visited places we had never thought to look for previously, as we sought out new horizons, or to be precise, car charging points.   Some, like Coldstream, are a delight, with a beautiful park on the river and a cosy pub with log fires right next door.  (Soft drinks available).   Others may prioritise the functional over the aesthetic, particularly those in multi story car parks, but if they work, and are not already in use, or ICEd***, that’s all that matters, and we can have a blether while we wait. Or not.  Other trips with chums and family have been grand fun, catching up and meeting new folks, and if we happened to go to Africa for the first time then we kept really quiet about it. **

Yesterday my school chums and I ate loads of food then went for a walk.  That’s a good way to end a year.

Aberdour 1
Aberdour 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*my politics are a mystery, especially to me, but the National reported this, so it gets the credit.   A bourach is a mess, clusterbourach references a much ruder term coined, I think, by the American army.

**that is so far from the truth.

***parking space for EV^ taken up by car using fossil fuel, or Internal Combustion Engine.

^Electric vehicle.  It’s a whole new world.

Land o’ the Peh

To Dundee, thence to meet up with Philip and Jacqui,  and to assess at first hand the V&A museum which opened its doors recently, after the usual amount of controversy associated with any groundbreaking arts-led enterprise.

It’s a bold building, with excellent views along the Tay and over to Fife.  The Scottish design gallery had some very interesting exhibits and I would like to go back early on in the day, mid week, so that I could see more.

We hope that the hundreds more who will visit, venture out to enjoy what else is on offer in this unique and interesting city.    We also made a sideways jump to the McManus Galleries, and again I would like to go back and spend more time there.

I have looked up the deal for the Birds of Africa picture below, the ship Uganda is indeed the same one as I sailed on in 1970.   It was an educational cruise and the schoolchildren lived in dormitories.  We were not allowed anywhere near the grandeur of the grown ups’ dining rooms and we drank nothing but apple juice for 10 days, which explains why I have been ambivalent about that drink ever since.  Had great fun though, even if I was sick as a dog going through the Bay of Biscay.

Tay Bridge through the V&A
BIrds of Africa, from the Uganda
Dancer with Three Seagulls, Marcello Mascherini, bronze panel 1959.
Reflections
V&A entrance
Exterior, V&A
Salon, from the Cruise liners exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oak panel, Titanic

 

On the Beach

Yesterday, being Dad’s third anniversary and with the commemorations for the cessation of hostilities in 1918 being very much on our minds,  we did what most families do; got together for a  meal and then went for a walk.

Below, Fiona, Callum, Lily, Les, Ali, Ally and Paul.  Were I more confident with the timer I would have got myself in there too, but my efforts in Durham proved to me that more  work is required in that area.  We had a lovely afternoon and spoke of many things,  like cabbages and kings, ending on an impromptu lecture on meteorites.  Long ago, on a similar visit, Michaela opined “Youse would never get bored here.” She was right.

Aberdour, 10.11.18