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.
So. Just home from an all too brief trip to Slaley Hall, for the last time. Nothing lasts forever and we, as a group, have decided it’s time to move on. Journeying there for the first time by electric car, we called in at various chargers in the Borders towns. I was struck by the commemorative work in evidence for the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the official cessation of hostilities for World War 1, although God knows the seeds of World War 2 were being sown, even then. Anyway, in particular, Coldstream, a town with significant connections to the armed forces, had poppies everywhere, knitted, sewn, crocheted, fashioned out of metal, and in gardens. It was significant and notable.
Tonight, listening to a special edition of Antiques Roadshow being broadcast from Etaples, I noted a speech from an unnamed participant,which seemed, to me, to sum up so much of what is happening just now. Whatever you think of the BBC, they did broadcast this.
“Well, looking back in time, I think these people went through hell with the lid off, and I stand in awe of what they endured, and the price they paid, so that we could live in freedom. But looking forward, I would wish that every politician would come and visit a place like this so that they can learn what happens when politics fails.”
When politics fails.
Transcription my own.
Today is the 100th anniversary of the death of Wilfred Owen.
A busy and fruitful weekend: Saturday lunch in Cafe Portrait, where we narrowly missed Ali and Les. Then we strolled along the main streets before heading up to the museum on Chambers Street to view Tim Peake’s landing craft. Hied off to our café du jour, the Angus Fling, where Paul was able to stave off his hunger with a venison burger, whilst I had a more sedate, and rather good, scone. Tripped back down the road to Coda Music, where there was a new CD being launched, by Aidan O’Rourke, of LAU fame. We enjoyed a short concert, with James Robertson reading his stories and Kit Downes on the harmonium, plus Aidan on fiddle. They were all kind enough to sign my CD.
Sunday began with a swim, and a serendipitous trip to Loch Ore meadows, where the cafe was open ridiculously early for a marathon bicycle race. allowing us to sneak a cup of tea and a scrambled egg roll. A walk round the loch itself was followed by a sail on two fun boats. “Fun” was maybe not quite the order of the day since there was no wind to propel these sail boats, but we had a good time and the staff at the park could not have been kinder, or more helpful.
We had to wear wetsuits. No pictures exist of either of us in that garb. Nor will they.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.