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Showing posts from October, 2013

That's another month gone!

I can't believe October has been and gone already.  Halloween had been duly observed by the ghoulish troops next door, although North Berwick shuts up shop at 8pm so they didn't get a huge haul.  

I spent today in Edinburgh.  I started off by having a wander round the churchyard at Greyfriars Kirk, whilst waiting for the Museum of Scotland to open at 10.00.  I was in the church last weekend for an exquisite concert performed by The Sixteen.  Edinburgh was the last stop on their Choral Pilgrimage (http://www.thesixteen.com/page/2013-concert-programme).  

There are some great views of the city from the churchyard and some very substantial tombs.  
And of course there is Bobby, still waiting.
At 10.00 I crossed the road to join my fellow students from the Leith School of Art.  We have been out and about today and I have spent the day in the Museum doing some colour studies of this vista!

I daresay the thought has crossed your mind that this could be anywhere and why would I not choose…

Quote for today

'When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.'

I've been on a school trip today!  
My grandchildren's school asked for volunteers to go along and make up the numbers to keep an eye on P5 during their visit to the birthplace of John Muir.  Who's that I imagine you saying.  Well, stand by, he was a totally awesome man and I can't believe that although he was born in 1838 in the UK, Dunbar to be precise, he isn't really known here.  However in America, where he emigrated with his family in 1849, he is still a legend.  He was a naturalist, inventor (eat your heart out Wallace and Gromit), conservationist, traveller - everything.  He had been a child with a thirst for knowledge, an enquiring mind and a love of the natural world which had been engendered by his grandfather.  He started life in a quiet and unspectacular way in a small Scottish coastal town and ended up as a hugely respected man on another continent.  http…

A Tuesday morning in Autumn

There are no special plans for today.  It's just a normal Tuesday.  Just before eight o'clock this morning I walked down the drive with the (grand)children to wait for the school bus.  It's a bright sunny day with a cold wind blowing across the fields.  We played the usual round of guessing games and had a competition to stare each other out.  The wind catching the corner of our eyes made it tricky and there were one or two disappointed losers!  

After the children were whisked away to school on the bus, I walked round the block with Tilly. The sky is a lovely washed pale blue today and I saw a small squadron of swans, twelve in all, flying along a couple of fields away.  They are fabulous birds and the shape of their flight always reminds me of Concord.  There were also the familiar skeins of geese on their daily Autumn commute, their V-shaped flight pattern constantly changing as they nattered and chattered their way across the sky.

I am relieved to know that the weather d…

Spicing things up a bit

... in the kitchen!  

Have you come across Seasoned Pioneers? (http://www.seasonedpioneers.co.uk)  It's a brilliant company selling spices from all around the world, online.  I heard a programme about it on the radio some years ago.  It all began with a young chap who loved to travel and every time he got home his backpack was full of wonderful spices which were not available in the UK, and that gave him the idea for his company based in the Wirral.  
You can find a handful of their spices and mixes (e.g. Ras-El Hanout, barbeque rubs, sauces etc) in some supermarkets but the range they offer from their website is jaw dropping.  You can take a little trip round the world just from the comfort of your laptop, picking up recipes on the way.  The spices are sold in small quantities in dinky ziplock sachets so that the contents stay fresh for as long as possible.  If, like me, your mind is turning to a spot of cooking in preparation for Christmas (cake, pudding, mincemeat etc) then you m…

It's not all over yet!

It's 22 October and my sweet peas are still flowering.  They have been on the go since July and they have been a real treat.  I have just picked these and although they are very wet from the heavy rain this morning, their spirit is undaunted.  There are more buds to come and I just hope they get a chance to do their thing before a sharp frost gets them.
And they still offer a faint smell of summer too.

Sunday morning saunter

I was awake in the night and the moon was casting a sharp silver fragment of light on to the floor, where the curtains were just apart. It reminded me of a poem I learnt when I was very young, 'Silver' by Walter de la Mare


Slowly, silently, now the moon Walks the night in her silver shoon; This way, and that, she peers, and sees Silver fruit upon silver trees; ...
I have often wondered what 'shoon' meant and I suppose it is obvious really, if you think about it! Anyway, I looked it up and it is plural for shoes.  An archaic word.

This morning has been beautiful.  Mellow Autumn colour, a soft southerly breeze and the sunshine beckoned to Tilly and me to take a walk.  I checked the tide times and as there was going to be a good expanse of beach we went off to Belhaven.  Others had the same idea.  It is a vast beach but even so we managed to cross paths with dogs, seabirds, a cyclist and a couple of horses.
Man Friday and Mrs Friday were there, braving a bare foot walk through t…

Autumn

I am going to let Autumn speak for herself.  She is here in all her glory and no observational chat from me is going to add anything to what is going on around us at the moment!  It's all just too wonderful for words!  I hope you enjoy these photos taken over the last two or three weeks.





One step at a time

I was in Edinburgh recently.  I had to get from Waverley Station to the Museum of Scotland and decided to go up the Scotsman Steps, which I hadn't used for many years.  I was a bit dubious about taking this route because the last time I climbed the steps, which bring you out on North Bridge by the Scotsman Hotel, the enclosed staircase was clearly being used by a rather unsavoury collection of people who thought it was some kind of public loo.  Not nice.  Imagine my surprise, and relief, to find that the more enclosed spaces were not unpleasant and furthermore the steps themselves looked rather more interesting than the last time I climbed them.
As recently as 2011 the steps were re-laid using a variety of 104 different marbles.  The colours were beautiful.
The step below is my favourite.
The swirl in the blue and green step below looks a bit like Hokusai's woodcut image The Great Wave off Kanagawa - at a stretch! The next step reminds me of a cave painting. If you are visiting Edi…

Spud Watch's last gasp

I felt suspicious at the beginning of August when I saw the spud field I have been watching being sprayed.  There are many potato fields in this part of the world and generally speaking the only attention they normally receive during the growing season is a jet of water, to make up for the lack of rain.  When I saw a tractor working its way up and down the field with two long arms extending out over the rows of plants, emitting a fine spray, I thought something was up.  A week or so later, once the plants had turned brown, there were a couple of signs at either end of the field to warn people not to walk on the land.  The plants were destined to become seed potatoes.  I assume the spray was to knock off any lurking bugs.

In due course they harvested the spuds, ready for them to fight another day next year and the field looked a bit sad.  It had held so much promise but I suppose potatoes have to come from somewhere and it is entirely reasonable that these should be seed potatoes!  Sham…