Monday, 22 June 2009

sister's birthday, sailing and visiting

it was my sister's birthday last week. late again - i managed to allow myself to be late so that i could find things to send her - all the way over there in the USA, so far away.. i worried i would not know what she likes any more, i wouldnt know what interests her, what she likes wearing, what colour is her favorite. but then i thought what i sent would just be wee 'thoughts' and a memory or two from me and the UK! i think she was quite pleased!
a picture of us sitting near the Pentland Hills outside Edinburgh years ago, we were with our parents, who we both miss a lot still and probably always will.

sailing one weekend with cousins in the Firth of Forth - racing! first time i have done that.

Newburgh, Fife:
then this weekend just gone to Newburgh in Fife with a pal who had just bought a house there - a small country town on the edge of the river Tay, near Perth. there is a view of the River from her garden where you can just make out the reed bed which is grown and harvested still for all the thatched roofs.

the local Games were on that day, and we saw a bit of the dancing competition, and also the piping competition, and some last minute practicing in the car park.

we wandered down by the river to the tiny yacht club, and found a mum with her two wee ones learning to swim in the river.

it was a lovely weekend.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Kids in Taxis

Every year the Edinburgh taxis spend a day taking Edinburgh kids out in their taxis, they decorate their taxis, fill them with kids, and go about town tooting their horns. today was such a day. the children had all been armed with huge water pistols and anyone unwise enough to be standing on the pavements waving were drenched for their trouble!!
i think the taxis take the kids somewhere nice for the day, not sure but i expect so.

Saturday, 6 June 2009

A Bug and A Bird

A curoius bug. sitting in George Square gardens recently, reading my book and eating an apple, i looked down
and there on my skirt is this bug - like a lady bird but all the wrong colours. what happened - did it wake up
that day and just think "all this red and black is just so not me" - or is it just not a ladybird at all.
silly question, i know.

earlier i had been eating a sandwich and i noticed a slight scratching about and a soft peep...peep... behind me very close. i slowly turned round to find a blackbird poking about there, so i carefully crumbled up tiny bits of bread and threw behind. at first he was a bit nervous and hopped away, but then he came back again and now and again utterd another couple of peep... peeps.. and got used to my back throws of crumbs.

with the weather now being so much warmer, i have been able to have windows wide open. several mornings waking before the general hum and noise of the city takes on there has been a thrush singing. unbelievable, but true. it has cheered me up a lot reminding me of the year I spent living in Iona; the winter in a house by the sea - come spring and a thrush took to sitting on the chimney pot above my bedroom and singing his heart out to wake me up in the morning. i loved it. amazed to discover this happening in a busy street in town, i scoured the rooftops till i eventually spotted him, perched on a tv aerial high up on the roof of a tenement over the road.
What happy amazing beings they seem to be.

The Botanics and many Memories

my visit to the Botanics the other day - first one for such a long time - brought a lot of memories.

here's a picture; a blue Himalayan poppy, or two.

on arriving - going through the gates into the intense green, the bird song - i started to relax.
in the late 80s, i was visiting the Botanics regularly, especially with my partner Dave and a South African friend who was (is) a gardener - a Biodynamic gardener, Brian.

He loved the Blue Himalyan poppies, and i think they had only just been put into the Botanics, as they seemed unusual. Brian would often get me down to the Botanics because he wanted to see the herbaceous border, or he wanted to see the Azaeleas which were starting to bloom, and then the Himalayan Blue poppies - so now when i see them I just think of Brian.

Brian went back to South Africa eventually, and very soon after Mandela was released. i remember that because it was so momentous and i was so pleased for Brian as well. Dave, Brian and i used to hang out a lot. Brian & Dave were as different as chalk and cheese and i used to enjoy their winding each other up a lot. One time we headed off to a folk festival up in Angus, where we discovered there was an 'alternative' one in the hills where travelers parked their trucks and musicians played in their improvised stages with improvised sound systems, and people went about dabbing wode on each other - amongst other things.

i missed Brian dreadfully when he left. i knew it was right for him to go, to try and take part in his country's struggles or whatever, but i missed him a lot. He was at the flat with Dave and me that new year's eve my mother phoned to say my father had been taken into hospital.
Brian was always about, bright, cheery, sometimes depressed, quick to laugh, quick witted and comical, an easy arm round the shoulder and a great accent to imitate.

Going along the pathway up by the rockery, seeing the notices 'no picnics, no sunbathing, no dogs' (no dogs?!), on the grassy paths leading into the rockery for some reason brought to mind many visits to the Botanics in the 70s with Z and H and others, it was almost second nature to go down there in our free time. We would often sit in amongst the rockery, sunbathing with some food in those days; it was also reputed to be where Peter Caddy had his 'vision' that let to the start of Findhorn. I have a feeling that the rockery wasnt as formal as it is now. I might be mistaken.

Now i visit so rarely. I remember Z and H and I taking pictures of each other each in front of our favourite trees, in order to send to some healer or other - i dont remember what happened with them, i expect we forgot.

Healers and spiritualists and all that seemed quite normal to us in those days. we believed most things that seemed magical enough; things that were non materialistic, non scientific and non aggressive, in those days.

We still had dreams then, that the world could be changed, that everyone and everything could be healed and all wrongs righted.

we bought most of our clothes from the old clothes shops in Stockbridge - clothes from all decades from Edwardian to '50s, and we invented our own ways of wearing things. We threw away our bras (we didnt burn them!) and shared everything.

There were guardian angels, there were spirit guides, there were beings to help if you only asked. we believed in wholefoods, working in the first (contrary to some people's story) wholefood shop in Scotland, we had a big four ton truck which was painted green with our big yellow wholefood logo on the side. Those weird cranks who had a wholefood shop!

Sometimes we trucked it all the way down to London wholesalers to pick up sacks of wholefoods, sometimes we trucked it all the way up to Forres and Findhorn to deliver them theirs - when they were still a collection of caravans and a low wooden cafe place. we used to play music to truck to on the way; the Eagles, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils, others like that.

One time Z and i hired a mini van, grabbed a mattress for the back and a load of ordnance survey maps of the Borders and set off for a couple of weeks looking for land to buy so that we could all move to the country and grow the food we sold.

We decided to call in on all the big estates and ask them if they had any land they wanted to sell. we slept in the van, parked in fields, with the back doors open for our feet and fresh air, and one morning we were woken by a horse licking our feet. We stopped off at a local hotels and grabbed quick washes in their loo wash-hand basins, without being discovered. we played Bob Dylan's Pat Garret album a lot and we sang a lot.

Most people in their huge houses either didnt answer the door or werent very helpful. But there was one place who invited us in to their amazing 'pad' (mansion), terribly well to do and posh they were, and very interested in what we were doing. They gave us tea and cake and told us that it would be unlikely that anyone would sell a small amount of land, that we would be more likely to get lucky if we were to buy much larger amounts of land.

We wouldnt be able to afford that, so it wasnt any use. nice of them, though. and later we ended up somewhere way off the main road, down a track into a glen where a couple of our friends lived, far from anywhere. we went for a skinny dip in the burn.