Category Archives: Arts

Toothsome

I think most of us are experiencing sleep issues during lockdown.  For me, it’s a mix of wakefulness, wild dreams, dozing instead of non REM, sensitivity to the early dawn, and so on.  One aspect is that I wake up, frequently, singing. Many tunes wash through my cerebral cortex, I would love to say that each one is a celestial aria, worthy of the greats, but in fact they are usually monotonous three note riffs which would not occasion any loss of sleep for a Novello nominee. You may experience something similar.

However, I defy anyone to tell me that they also sprang  to wakefulness today at 03:15, singing “Hey, hey!  I’m a bicuspid!” * Takes that dream about all your teeth falling out to a whole new level.

I was laughing so hard I had to decant to the spare room.

*tune available on request.

 

 

 

Notes from my perch

Occasionally my wanderings on the internet surprise even me.  Today I found out that James Dick, a successful business man who was born in Kilmarnock and moved to Glasgow, developed the school gym shoe known by various names over the UK.  He and his brother had experimented with using Gutta-percha to cover the soles of existing shoes.  This extremely useful form of latex, brought over from Malaysia, was responsible for the central Scotland name of gutties, or plimsolls if you were being posh.  I know that when Elspeth went to teach in Gloucestershire, she found out that they were called daps.  My research suggests that the shoes were developed by several manufacturers but our man became a wealthy philanthropist, while an institute in his home town bears his brother’s name.

From Wikipedia:-

The word gutta-percha comes from the plant’s name in Malay: getah translates as ‘latex‘. Percha or perca is an older name for Sumatra.

In other news, the magnificent Elbow continue to release a new live track every Friday at 12 noon, this week it’s Lippy Kids with the backing proved by alumni of Manchester’s Halle Youth Chorus.  The Halle Orchestra is the band’s first choice for string accompaniment etc.  Rosemary recalls going to their concerts when she lived in Longton.

Elbow’s frontman and lyricist Guy Garvey is amongst other things a keen ornithologist, and he would doubtless be the first to spot the link here, which is in Passerines, or perching birds.  Although the birds referred to in Lippy Kids are crows, I feel sure that sparrows are just at the edge of the picture here.

The terms “passerine” and “Passeriformes” are derived from the scientific name of the house sparrow, Passer domesticus, and ultimately from the  Latin passer, which refers to sparrows and similar small birds.

….and if you think all that is convoluted, wait until you hear about last night’s dreams.  Here’s a nice osprey  to make everything better.

https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/osprey-cam/

Lastly, welcome to the family Leo Thomson, a wee brother for Ellie.

 

 

 

Disembarkadero

My liking for train travel is well documented, I have been reminded of this during lockdown by two separate emails, both from subscriber lists.

The National Railway Museum in York is a fascinating destination for normal times,  I have mentioned before the thrill of sharing the same space as these leviathans of steam power.  I am always delighted to see large reproductions of the classic rail travel posters, deliberately evocative and romantic.  Whilst neither term would describe train travel just now, I was none the less intrigued to see a re-imagination of these artworks, on the Museum’s website.  Sample below gives a flavour of this.

Scotland rail travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Waterstone’s bookshop (other bookshops are available) came news of a new train travel opus,  which looks like a grand way to escape the current everyday for a few hours.  Review here – no prizes for originality in the article title, but oh, how different it must be from the 07:09 to Edinburgh Waverley.

Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure (Paperback)
Around the World in 80 Trains: A 45,000-Mile Adventure

Down the rabbit hole

Today is the bicentenary of the birth of John Tenniel,  artitst and cartoonist, noted for Punch and of course Alice in Wonderland.  From the entry in Wikipedia:-

“Tenniel’s “grotesque” was one reason why Lewis Carroll wanted Tenniel as his illustrator for the Alice books, in the sense of imparting a disturbing sense that the real world may have ceased to be reliable.

What on earth would he make of that world today?

Balladeers

It’s Fife’s worst kept secret that the 100th new Lidl* store in Scotland will be opened here.  In a marketing coup they have nobbled Burns’ Night (Day?) for the occasion, and have also, allegedly, secured the services of musician KT Tunstall for the event.  KT is indeed currently working with the brand Lidl Live, and is performing in Edinburgh that same night, so the signs would appear to be in alignment.  If it were needed, this is a reminder of her first performance on Jools Holland …Later.

*other supermarkets are available.  Aldi’s nearest store is giving away £5 vouchers in the Press.   Lastly, a song which is relevant.

December birds

In the interest of sharing musical gems, absolutely no apologies for reposting this.

Anent nothing, walked past 60+ curlew feeding on the local football pitches, alongside oyster catchers, lesser black backed gulls, wood pigeons and carrion crows.

20th anniversary of the folk club tomorrow.  Looking forward to it.

Wide awake

It seemed like a good idea to go to  England on the day of the Rugby World Cup Final, so we found ourselves in Wakefield, after a stress free train trip with added random acts of kindness.

Our stay was in the hotel in Holmfield Park.  We’ll need to go back to see the rhubarb sculpture, which I would have sought out had I known about it.  The grounds were well stocked with mature trees which put on a stunning autumnal display, augmented by the fireworks display at night which we also did not see, but certainly heard.

On the Sunday we managed to get ourselves and luggage to the Hepworth Museum.  This houses a permanent display of the works of Dame Barbara Hepworth, sculptor and native of the town.  The building, designed by architect David Chipperfield,* sits astride the river Calder, and the full length windows in the building give excellent vistas of the river,  in particular the weir.    It also houses exhibitions, currently on show are works of the young David Hockney and Alan Davie.  It opened in 2011 and it’s free  to visit, has storage lockers and a decent café.

Trip home was also on time, and smooth. Thanks to Tickety Split and a rail card bought with Tesco points, we saved over 50% of the original cost.

*cracking pictures if you follow the arrow on this link.

Life size maquette for work commissioned by John Lewis (Head office)
River Calder weir
Grounds of Holmfield house
Autumn 1
Autumn 2
Autumn 3

Glasgow style

As part of the on-going (and why not?) celebrations of our advanced old age, the 59ers hied to the fair environs of Glasgow on Monday, there to partake in an ethical jewellery making session, using reclaimed materials.  Led by Stefanie Cheong,  we spent a hugely enjoyable day learning how to choose, shape, solder and fashion our own silver rings.  The day passed very quickly as we were fully involved in the creative process aided by copious cups of Earl Grey, and a lunch provided by Diana.  There may also have been cake.   I was genuinely intrigued to see the end products, especially as I have a rep for being fairly maladroit in these situations.  My chums have a bit more flair!  I’m delighted with mine, every aspect of it was of my choosing.

Once I receive a picture of me I will add one in!

Paul and I had been to Glasgow on Saturday, to see Still Game at the Hydro.   We stopped off at the Riverside Museum first, and enjoyed a look round the exhibits, which spark off so many memories.   We were there the weekend it opened., back in 2011.  I posted pictures about it then and noted that everyone who passed the horse drawn hearse was clapping* the (fake) horses’ heads.  Happy to report that the noses of these fine beasts are just about threadbare by now, seems the folk memory of cuddies in the streets runs deep.

*”clapping” is Scottish for showing tactile appreciation of an animal.    “Can Ah clap yir dug, mister?”

Horse
Welcome to the Studio
Caroline prepping for soldering
Diana
Finished products
Glasgow stalwarts

Random

So, à propos of nothing, here is a picture of Barbie as Darth Vader.

 

Barbie Doll dressed to look a little bit like Darth Vader from Star Wars
Barbie x Star Wars

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sold by a firm in Dalgety Bay called darksidetoys, found when looking for something completely different.  That might be serendipitous.

A conversation with my cousins recalled this song. it’s great when a childhood memory is corroborated, although quite why I would have fixated on this song is anyone’s guess, when at 6 years old this was my party piece.   Sung with the excellent acoustics of the hall in Shieldhill schoolhouse,  it must have been quite the venue emptier.