Category Archives: Kirsty

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.

Jingle jangle

Here we go, month 12,  the official run down is ON, and now I start to find out about all the holes in that preparation, which I was so convinced was complete.  So, it’s back on with the big coat and off to the shops.

Here are two tunes which run round my head at this time.

River   

Winter

 

 

Catch Mac22

It wasn’t planned, but I fell into writing up some family history today.   There has been a lot of information retained from Windsor Road, which was my father’s home pre-marriage, and my aunt’s until her death earlier this year. .

I have often read of huge families in the pre war years, but it hits home when you document your own ancestors.

So here’s to Dinah Melville Miller, who bore 11 children within the space of 22 years, and raised her granddaughter too, if the census is anything to go by.   In a two roomed house.

Dinah was our great great grandmother.

I have also resolved, for myself at least, the conundrum surrounding the identity of “Uncle Lawson”.   I was never sure who this was.   It’s another given that first names were rarely unique,  my father was technically Alexander Miller VI (at least), so the practice of naming a child Lawson when the surname of a large part of the family was also Lawson, means that it is a particularly tortuous process to define which Lawson is under discussion.    I have not uncovered anyone called Lawson Lawson…..yet.

I love my family dearly, but their reluctance to use commas in sentences also adds to the confusion.  Legends on the back of photos such as “This is my cousin Robert Janet and I frae Uncle Alex” take a little untangling, although it’s great that they are there at all.

Sideswipe

“If buying a caravan is the answer it must be a pretty stupid question.”

Quoted out of context but it just made me laugh.

Reading an article by Jay Rayner on what to take to a self catering holiday home, and nodding my head.  Yes to sharp knives, no to glass chopping boards – they are immediately tucked away until we leave*, but in addition to Jay’s list I would propose a tea cosy (never present), and apron (ditto), and extra tea towels because the one they provide is just simply inadequate, plus what do you use when it’s in the wash?  Other items are often thought of just in the nick of late.  The most recent stay in a property was one of the finest ever, but I did have to look up You Tube to find out how the tin opener worked.

 

 

 

*because 1) they are scary 2) they are noisy 3) they are breakable 4) they are just wrong.

Ironmoulder

Neither my father nor my aunt recalled the name of any foundry in which their father worked.  I have found this detail via Scotland’s People.  See record no. 1920, employee 54.

ScotlandsPeople  (think you have to click twice to see it).

The foundry,  Forth and Clyde and Sunnyside, has an information page here.  It closed the year my Grandpa died, 1963.

As mentioned previously on BTW, he worked in munitions during the Second World War, and did not speak of it. How he coped with the stress of doing that while his son was on active service for six years, I simply do not know.  I think I have mentioned elsewhere that the badge below was given to him, as an essential worker during the First War,  to stop him being challenged by the sort of people who today hide behind a keyboard.

Brass badge worn by people performing essentail non military work inthe first World War
AM munitions worker

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other items he made include the boot scraper, now curated by my sister, and a peever*, which sadly we never found.

 

*Peever – small block of iron, used to play Beds, or hopscotch as the the Southerners would have it.  A gird was chalked on the pavement or school playground, and the players had to hop around the grid, kicking the peever forwards in a prescribed manner.

Less fortunate children made do with a tobacco tin filled with earth.  It fills me with delight to see that the kids in our street are still playing this.  Who’s to say an OAP doesn’t have a wee hop herself if it’s early doors?

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

 

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.