Category Archives: Fife

Mine of information

Tiny frog

Loch Ore on Sunday, this superb local amenity features a circular walk through a variety of ecosystems, including a beach, reed beds, meadow, fields of geese and woodlands.  Built on the land reclaimed from coal mining, it’s used for water sports and is the meeting place for the Newfoundland dog group.  Wee frog here the size of a thumbnail.  The children’s playpark acknowledges the industrial heritage.

Mute swans, pen and cob with cygnets
Loch Ore
Channel from the lochan

Mon petit chou

Update 14.05.2020 – Was NO-ONE going to point out the grammatical error in the title?

Biggest surprise of this week though was the delivery of advance vegetables,  in advance that is by about a week of when they were expected.

Nothing daunted*,  I have been farming out chunks of cabbage and leek, with some lovely recipes (and cakes) passed back in exchange.   To date we have had steamed cabbage, pickled cabbage, it’s going in the Scotch Broth, there’s coleslaw en route – and there’s still some left.  One chum has passed me a rumbledethumps recipe, another made turkey, leek & cabbage soup, then bubble and squeak.  The roast cabbage was a total failure and stank out the house for 24 hours.  A bay leaf was added to the steamed version, which successfully contained the odour.   There have been roasted carrots, leek mornay, banana breakfasts and clementine conferences.

Vegetable box

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I think those who had to listen to me squawking about those vegetables would detect the lie here….

Cabbage (Brassica oleracea) from the French caboche – head, Latin caput.

“The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
      To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
      Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
      And whether pigs have wings.’
Extract from The Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Carroll.

Flying Crooked – Poem by Robert Graves

 

The butterfly, the cabbage white,
(His honest idiocy of flight)
Will never now, it is too late,
Master the art of flying straight,
Yet has — who knows so well as I? —
A just sense of how not to fly:
He lurches here and here by guess
And God and hope and hopelessness.
Even the aerobatic swift
Has not his flying-crooked gift.
Robert Graves

Signalling failure

Well, here’s a thing, I thought that the discovery of flat wine bottles was going to be the most amazing find in my week, but no!  Scotrail has come to the rescue of those of us who are missing a daily commute, by posting real time films of various journeys.  Admittedly there’s a difference since it’s been filmed out the back of the cab (not for anyone who can’t sit with their back to the engine) but strangely welcome all the same.  One can either have a journey where it feels like one knows every blade of grass or the rails less travelled.  Apart from the timing and the overcrowding issues, I am a massive fan of rail travel, and this is the longest I have gone in my life without an orange and yellow ticket in my pocket.

 

January February

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.

Mallards
Blackheaded gulls, Cormorants and Mallards
Blackheaded gulls, Cormorants and Mallards
Male Goosanders
Path
Townhill Loch
Cormorant on a pole

Treemendous

Townhill Loch today.  Some bizarre stuff going down, which we assuaged with a nice cup of tea and biscuit.

Mute swan feeding
Sparkly loch
Half moon
Strawberry tree
Apple tree
Pear Tree
Cygnet and Mallard

 

 

 

Lightworks

Aberdour beach just before sunset in February, after a long week at work.

Hill and train line
Paul by the river

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

We also hope to visit Lumen, site specific light installations in Edinburgh.  A lumen, as we all know, is a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source.  It’s Latin for light. *

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.

Sesquipedalian

Adj sesquipedal or sesquipedalian (of objects or words) a foot and a half long — of words, very long and pedantic.  [L. sesquisemisquesemis, 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?

Ulster thatch 1
Ulster thatch 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Doggone

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.

A8M with Innes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Isle of May

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.

LBB Gull. Cormorants and Shag
Cliffs with razorbills and guillemots
Thrift on the roof
Eider duck nesting
Rusting iron
Window
Eider duck with ducklings
Eider drake
Puffins with Eider ducks
Walk to the lighthouse