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.
Townhill Loch today. Some bizarre stuff going down, which we assuaged with a nice cup of tea and biscuit.
Aberdour beach just before sunset in February, after a long week at work.
Saw this exhibition yesterday, small but interesting (who said eclectic?) collection of paintings by the Glasgow Boys, including Arthur Melville, E A Hornel, George Henry and William J Kennedy. Fife has some wonderful artworks to behold, in amongst the various legacies of mining, farming, fishing and Royal politics.
This song has nothing to do with light, except perhaps its seasonal absence.
*On the same dictionary page, lumpen as in proletariat, from Germanic Lumpus, a rag. And lunette, from lunus, which is the official name for the middle of the hairline at the back of your neck. And you thought it meant spectacles on a stick. Ha.
Adj sesquipedal or sesquipedalian (of objects or words) a foot and a half long — of words, very long and pedantic. [L. sesqui — semisque —semis, half a unit, que, and] © Chambers Concise Dictionary 1991
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.
After 8 Mince played to raise money for West Fife Guide Dogs on Friday, which was fun, as many of the canine superstars were in attendance, and some even joined in the singing. Here we all are with Innes the puppy, many thanks to Karen Yates for the picture.
Yes, I did have to be helped up from that pose, but in my defence I had just stood for an hour in a fairly cramped space, wondering what was going to happen when I started playing the penny whistle in a room full of dogs.*
*Nothing. They are very well trained, you know.
On Sunday, after long and careful planning, we met Diana, Caroline and Nigel for a return trip to the Isle of May. Last time we took Caroline & Nigel’s daughters and it was a rough old ride there and back; the girls had envisioned a genteel turn in an enclosed cruiser and were slightly traumatised by the full on drenching, nowhere to hide experience of the RiB. Caroline nobly took the alternate option of sailing on the Princess, with the remit of being at the head of the queue for teas and coffees when we disembarked.
It was like gliding on the way out. I kept shouting to Nigel “This time last year we were crying,” but the return journey reminded us of the thalassic power beneath; we Christened it the Cellardyke Exfoliation Experience and I was encrusted with salt by the time we made landfall.
Happily the queue for the chipper was not too long and Diana had also prepared some salads and pudding. The isle itself was packed with birds, and if the pictures are similar to last year’s, then that’s a bonus. Count included guillemot, razorbill, shag, cormorant, eider duck, arctic tern, puffin, pied wagtail, kittiwake, greater and lesser black backed gull, black headed gull, herring gull, oyster catcher and bunnies. The Arctic terns had not laid many eggs yet, so were not aggressive, indeed they were very shy and I only saw one.
To Kirkcaldy, thence to attend the opening of the latest exhibition curated by Fife Contemporary Art & Craft, Limomolum, which we spent all morning practising saying, only to find out that the whole point is that you can’t say it. Further down the road, after excellent tea, coffee, wee cake and quick chat with Diana, we found an appropriate commemoration outside Fife Council Chambers. What an interesting example of public architecture that building is. I support most varieties of interpretation, I consider graffiti to be a valid medium of expression and I heartily applaud the prospect of a citizenship spire in Dunfermline, having viewed the artwork around the proposal earlier this week – catch it here. But, as for the edifice otherwise known as Kirkcaldy Town House – jury is out as far as the metal superstructure goes, I’m afraid. All views my own.
Before that, we went to St David’s Harbour, since both of us were in need of a decent walk. Some examples of urban street art are noted below, whilst, O unbridl’d joy, our first arctic tern of the year, alongside an oyster catcher, a black headed gull and a flock of little ringed plovers. Our unalloyed pleasure was slightly tempered by that fact I had to listen to Paul singing “Torn between two plovers, feeling like a fool”, but, into each life a little rain yada yada .
“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time”
Currently playing Johnny Cash on repeat as we are learning a medley of his tunes. Hadn’t realised that he changes key for each verse in Walk the Line.
Some pictures below, we sat in a restaurant on George IV Bridge as a protest march went by, and then we went to a very storm tossed Aberdour beach.
Lastly, meet Dolly, my bullfinch, made from reclaimed tin by the hugely talented Barbara Franc. The weird shadow below is me holding up my phone, since you ask.
We broke the rules yesterday and walked along a new (to us) section of the Loch Leven path. So now I am busy looking at maps and local history websites to find the stories behind the places we saw. We walked from Loch Leven’s Larder (café is fine, staff lovely, but the retail side of things has gone stratospheric price-wise, I don’t care who made a notebook, I’m not paying £38 for it) to Burleigh Sands. On looking into Burleigh Castle I read that the local landowner’s son was sent abroad to “forget” about a love affair with a local lass, who subsequently married the headmaster of Inverkeithing. When son returned, he was furious and killed the headmaster. He was sentenced to death but managed to escape to the continent. He later returned, and joined the ill fated 1715 uprising.
There are standing stones on Orwell Farm, one of which was moved recently to reveal cremated human remains below. And the 19th century Horn of Thomanean Mausoleum marks the site of the old Orwell parish and Kirk, abandoned in 1729 once the centre of worship moved to Milnathort. Ebenezer Erskine, founder of the secession church movement, was minister at Portmoak nearby, during which tenure he buried his mother, wife and four children. I associate him with Stirling, and many Erskine churches throughout Scotland, some named after his mother. I didn’t know he had gone through such a tragic time. More here.