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Play well

The word “lego” is derived from the Danish words “leg godt”, meaning “play well”.  Really enjoyed seeing these Lego sculptures at Edinburgh Zoo, on a rather close and muggy summer’s day.

All the models were of sea creatures, which brought this tune to mind.  Stick with it for the chorus harmonies.

Eye of Squid
Ray

 

Housekeeping

Everyone who knows us will be aware that we have had a veritable social whirl this summer, with two family weddings and a Diamond Wedding for family friends.  I have thought long and hard about putting up pictures of these events, and have decided to refrain.  The main players in these events do not have social media profiles, therefore it’s a point of philosophical debate as to whether I am morally entitled to share  their images.    It’s also really difficult to select just one or two from hundreds.  So, I shall thank Nick and Beki for the wedding in Norfolk and Emma and Thierry for the wedding in Brussels.  Both days were the occasion of much joy, some tears, and the chance to blether, laugh and catch up.   Congratulations also to Eveline and Eddie on a notable anniversary.

Wall sconce, Hotel de Ville, Brussels
Hydrangea, Domaine Al Poudre, Belgium
Oxnead Hall gardens
Allium, Oxnead Hall
Peacock and crow, Prestonfield House

 

Confluence

For some reason I have been singing this in my head for the past few days.  I happen to think that the Blue Nile were peerless in their heyday,  I even managed to see them perform live once.  Inadvertently they were the reason why we went to hear Karen Matheson last  month,  and when Paul Buchanan appeared on the David Bowie tribute I was both surprised and delighted, although sad, because his vocals were a superb foil for Bowie’s work.

Over the rivers

North of the Tay and south of the Forth,  the weekend saw us in cahoots with Rieko as we visited some old and new haunts.  First to Dundee, there to see the V&A, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. The exterior is a delight to photograph, especially now that the gardens are flourishing.   Next door the RRS Discovery was interesting and if it was a bit chilly, then it only served to remind of the privations experienced on the expedition to Antarctica.  After a pit stop at the DCA, we called in at Dundee train station so that the lady herself could make some arrangements. Of course the randomly allocated ticket clerk was bi-lingual and of course her other language was Japanese.   That made a potentially protracted transaction simple.

Home via the supermarket for essential supplies, and ginger pork cooked by our guest.  Next day, after yet another instance of Kirsty knows best saw us traversing one of West Lothian’s more challenging farm roads,   we finally arrived at Hopetoun House.   This beautiful mansion, a tourist attraction in its own right,  is enjoying a boom due to its being a film location for Outlander.  It’s a glorious example of two styles of Scottish led architecture,  designed by William Bruce and then altered and extended by William Adam. We had an interesting tour, a chat with the guides, and I was even able to tell them a thing they did not know*, which does not happen often.

There were views of the three  bridges from the roof terrace, but for my money the best views are on the return journey, since the road is almost at sea level and the vistas are not occluded.

The next destination was new to us, Midhope House, also a filming location for Outlander,  derelict but atmospheric. I’m going to have to watch the series now, if only to find out how they erased the telegraph poles from the long shots.

Blackness Castle was brisk and busy, those floors are still made of bedrock and it’s no place for your Manolos, but it offers an insight into medieval life, as viewed from the river.  And after a brief call to the farm shop (Blue Murder Cheese, Badger beers) it was home again to beautiful sushi and then an early night.

As ever it’s a grand opportunity to see your own country from the point of view of a tourist, and a foreign visitor.    There could be more in the way of  multi lingual information, disabled access is not always clearly indicated, some staff assume that you have already read a 16 page induction leaflet on how their premises operate,  but mostly it’s endlessly fascinating and of course beauty lurks round the most unexpected corners.

*the roof terrace has been open since the 80s.

V&A with alliums
Rieko and Paul at V&A with RRS Discovery behind
RRS Discovery
Hopetoun House
Me at Hopetoun House
The bridges
Midhope Castle
Blackness Castle

59er Diners ….

…was the best quiz team name, as voted by Julia.  We had a weekend away with the 59ers, back to glorious Perthshire, with its trees and bonny flowers.  A visit to the ceramics festival at Scone proved a success,  I think we all opened our wallets or purses at some point, rain did not stop play.  The ospreys at the Loch of the Lowes were on form, as were the cakes in the tea rooms of Dunkeld.     But mostly we talked, blethered, chatted, caught up, hung out, and just enjoyed each other’s company, especially round the dining table.

Gargoyle at Old Kirk
Garden
Deer at Scone
Woodpecker
Osprey, Loch of the Lowes
Bell Tower, Old Kirk
Finial

Robin Reliant

 I rely on you

I rely on you
like a Skoda needs suspension
like the aged need a pension
like a trampoline needs tension
like a bungee jump needs apprehension
I rely on you
like a camera needs a shutter
like a gambler needs a flutter
like a golfer needs a putter
like a buttered scone involves some butter
I rely on you
like an acrobat needs ice cool nerve
like a hairpin needs a drastic curve
like an HGV needs endless derv
like an outside left needs a body swerve
I rely on you
like a handyman needs pliers
like an auctioneer needs buyers
like a laundromat needs driers
like The Good Life needed Richard Briers
I rely on you
like a water vole needs water
like a brick outhouse needs mortar
like a lemming to the slaughter
Ryan’s just Ryan without his daughter
I rely on you

© H Presley 1994

Kenning Yew

Up in Kenmore with the folk club, A8M, celebrations, music and jaunts.  For some reflection we visited the Fortingall Yew; debate rages, quietly, about its age but it’s definitely very old*. It felt pretty humbling and impressive to be in its company.  I note from Wiki that part of it has changed gender.  Mum always said there is nothing new under the sun.  She would have enjoyed the pre-dinner-drinks drinks  in our posh verandah room.

When I’ve done my work of day,

And I row my boat away,
Doon the waters of Loch Tay,
As the evening light is fading
And I look upon Ben Lawers
Where the after glory glows;
And I think on two bright eyes
And the melting mouth below.

She’s my beauteous nighean ruadh,
My joy and sorrow too;
And although she is untrue,
Well I cannot live without her,
For my heart’s a boat in tow,
And I’d give the world to know
Why she means to let me go,
As I sing horee horo.

Nighean ruadh, your lovely hair
Has more glamour I declare
Than all the tresses rare
‘tween Killin and Aberfeldy.
Be they lint white, brown or gold,
Be they blacker than the sloe,
They are worth no more to me
Than the melting flake of snow.

Her eyes are like the gleam
O’ the sunlight on the stream;
And the songs the fairies sing
Seem like songs she sings at milking.
But my heart is full of woe,
For last night she bade me go
And the tears begin to flow,
As I sing horee, horo.

She’s my beauteous nighean ruadh,
My joy and sorrow too
And although she is untrue,
Well I cannot live without her.
For my heart’s a boat in tow
And I’d give the world to know,
Why she means to let me go
As I sing horee horo.

*3 – 5000 years.

Fortingall Yew tree
A8M, Kenmore
Room and terrace
Kenmore Bridge
Some cards

 

Going coastal

Aberdour Silver Sands

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evening walk on the sands.  Recent storm activity has eroded the beach,  but it will return.

This picture came out as if it had been painted, no rendering by me, I think I was moving too fast and the phone has done its best.   There is actually a redshank in this picture but it’s way too well camouflaged to see.

Aberdour Silver Sands 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some music to listen to, no prizes for guessing….

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.