Saturday, 6 November 2010

another thought

i was reading a blog - a courageous person - and he was talking about learning languages, how other nationalities seem to learn English leaving those who speak only English  with no 'privacy' of language.
ok. so that is slightly convoluted - but it struck a note with me.
as a child being brought up all over the world i picked up the language of the current country with ease, almost without noticing. but also without noticing i forgot the language of the country we were in before that.
i always wanted to belong to the country we happened to be in at the time when i was old enough to realise there was a difference - i.e. they belonged there and i didnt. i suppose it would have been a child-like love affair with the country born out of a need to belong.  and thus having to leave the country was a traumatic world ending affair.

i never had that experience with UK. i was expected to belong here, but i never felt at home. i am not 'forgeign' to Britain, but i feel alien. i look and sound as though i 'belong' so my alien-ness is hidden.

anyway back to languages - i now wish i had remembered the languages i learned, and i think an understanding of a language which comes from learning it can give insight into the culture it is born of.
i think the misunderstanding of other cultures and the insistence that one's own is somehow 'right' or 'just' can lead to disasterous interactions.

so i would say to this person - learn languages - learn as many as you can! and try to visit the places.

i visited Spain a few years ago, having left there when i was 10, and found the language was starting to come back.  but not only the language; i had a few nights of very strange dreams when i first got there, the strangeness of deep 'connections' - i was going to say memories, but it is far deeper than that.

i have not travelled very much as an adult, strange in a way.  belonging has always been an issue, and roots or the lack of them.  so i suppose i stayed put.  reluctant to 'go back' to places i have loved to see how they have changed? probably. how narrow minded is that?
a task is to overcome it.

a pal in the here and now was born in Assam and still remembers more Hindi than i do.  we sometimes banter in Hindi as he reminds me of more words.

enough for now.
you know when you havent blogged for a long time and decide to start again; its the blank page syndrome - i sit here staring.
i thought when i 'retired' (cant believe that word applies to me) that i would have more time to do all the things i really must get done - my own projects.  i suppose i do have a bit more time, but somehow other things that have to be dealt with keep cropping up.
i have decided i just have to try and relax a bit more and take things as they come, and try not to feel that i havent got much time (said in irritated voice), because i probably have got lots of time.

the festival came and went and i took a couple of 'End of Festival' scenes :-
whats going on? since i last blogged on here - it appears they have removed any possibility of uploading photos from one's own computer - eh? why? is this correct - am i missing something.
it might be some kind of link broken in my computer. Monday, a computer pal is going to check computer out, maybe it will get sorted.
this is so boring i am compelled to stop and will attempt to find a subject with at least a modicum of interest to blog about next time.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

A few days of sunny warm weather, at last!
A week of having huge sticking plaster and then a grid drawn all over my back, having to wear tops which cover up to my neck, in dark colours.
Patch tests to discover if i am 'sensitive' to a whole load of things including dental things. Dreading finding it was my fillings, and more or less convinced it was.
Results yesterday - no reactors; not allergic to fillings!
now to get the grid off my back - big bath and scrubbing with back brush.

being at home more during this dental episode, as well as it being summer when i tend my window boxes, i observe more from my windows.

for example, i often see a yellow canary perching on the window of one of the opposite flats.  Yesterday i observed a person putting a cage in place, opening its door for the canary. 

the other morning there was a noisy curfuffle out in the street which turned out to be one of those large arms with a bucket at the end holding two men who were lifted right up to the top of the tenements to have a look at the roofs betwen the windows, gutters perhaps.  Then they were lowered again and it all went away.

so here are pics of my window observations:

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Thursday, 3 June 2010

a day on Loch Lomond

Islands in Loch Lomond. Looking south west fro...Image via Wikipedia

setting off on a rainy morning from Edinburgh, we 5 squished into a car with food and wet suits and set off for Loch Lomond. 
(forgot the ginger beer)
the closer we got the bigger the patch of blue in the sky became. we were watching it after i said my grandmother reckoned if there is enough blue in the sky to make a sailor's trousers, the sun will come out. eventually there was, and it did.
on board the boat we sped towards Wallaby island (where there are wallabies) but someone had got there first plus the good beachy bit was in the wind.
we set off for another island, where pals of some of our party had an old cottage.  they were there and invited us up. 
i was quite stunned by the place it had such an atmosphere, it was covered in bluebells and an awful lot of Yew trees.  magic.  apparently they were planted by Robert the Bruce 400 years ago.  the cottage is still more or less as it would have been when it was occupied by the farmer.  there are now deer on the island, inlcuding ticks which jumped on those of us who hadnt tucked jeans into socks and wandered about in the bracken.
we had a bar-b-que with the food we'd bought and lazed about before heading out for some ski-ing. 
we then returned for some more grub and eventually - about 10.30pm - we cleared up and left the lovely isle, sped across the loch as the sky turned a soft pink in the twightlight, and got home about 1am.

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Saturday, 15 May 2010

Wyndham, a visit

Wymondham AbbeyImage via Wikipedia
My sister in law and i visited a nearby small town called Wyndham.  There is a huge old Abbey there, a walk through woods by a small river. 

there is also a brilliant little clothes shop with tea shop (like Loopy Lorna's in Edinburgh but smaller) including an outside courtyard to sit in.  amazing clothes some of them created out of several other garments - quite individual.  just looking though.  we both wishes we were 20 years younger and slightly slimmer like we used to be!  The tea was good tho.  then next stop was the old fashioned sweetie shop were we bought real fruit jellies, some amazing mint things and some outstanding ginger cream things. 

Wymondham Abbey to give it its proper name, was first of all a monastery founded in 1107 by William D'Albini.  In 1448 it became an Abbey.  During the dissolution of Henry VIII the monastic buildings were demolished as well as part of the church - so it is now half its original size.

There are two wooden vaulted ceilings, one above the chapel, the main higher one obviously in the main church, which are quite outstanding.  anyway i always find the old architecture amazing, and the atmosphere in these ancient churches quite powerful.
The Abbey

and part of the ruins

a walk by the river through the woods

the old pub

and the arts centre (converted old church)

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Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Post election thoughts

Welcome Home Gordie!

So here i am on a train south to england, to visit brother and family. sitting with my laptop and free wifi on board. fab. not that long ago i didnt even have a landline. progress. it has to be said tho that to use the wifi service on the train you are required to have the patience of a saint.

I dont really need to go online now.  We have all this technology (just seen a heron in a tree) so we all expect to be able to use it as and when we desire. our demands increase as technology advances. our idea of our 'rights' change as technology advances, slightly, subtley perhaps, but they do.

i would rather be sitting here with sketchbook drawing, but, funny to say, this is easier.

So with the upheaval in the country after the election; and yesterday's outcome of a Lib-Con - or 'con-dem' as someone has dubbed it - coalition, many people are still waking up to what it all might mean.  Facebook has a 'they have no mandate to govern in Scotland' thing going, to which already 1,000s of people seem to have joined.  Including me.  I was looking at another facebook 'thing' called, i think - democracy in action - or something.  Anyway, i first of all clicked on the 'like' button, but as days went by in this hung parliament state, i read more and more comments the contents of which made me wish i could unclick the 'like' button. so many ill-informed comments which was sad, and a lot of just plain ignorant generalisations peppered with sweary-words.  No debate really, just little smatterings of people trying to have a debate in vain i fear, it just turned me right off.  I thought about democracy and realised this is it; and its what i believe in, including freedom of speech, so .. so be it.

oh and then there was another facebook 'thing' after the con-lib decision which was called something like 'fuck the english for voting in the conservatives' which at first i clicked the like button, then when i thought about it, i thought No, i will delete that on my page - thats not really what i feel.  I do feel they dont have much of a mandate in Scotland, but i dont hate the english for voting they way they voted - thats ridiculous.

We in Scotland just need to sort ourselves out and work out what we are doing.  anyone reading this - check out facebook and the page 'the tories have no mandate in scotland' (i think its called), you can click on it too.
unfortunately the argument will be that this was a UK general election in which case i suppose it has to be legal even tho there is only one tory MP in Scotland.. i still think its worth having some sort of voice or say in the matter tho, even if only through facebook.

I have a suspicion some of my relatives might be pleased to have the conservatives in, and hopeful that scotland's allowance from london will be stopped.  It might be, i have no idea.  Its just that they dont seem to realise it is partly for our oil London just walked in and grabbed, and partly (i think, may be mistaken here) for the far flung and poorly connected communities in the land.

so here i am now in England, at my bro's house. its great to see them all, but it was strange at Peterborough station where i had to change.  I was quite shocked at the state of the station for some reason i had thought Peterborough to be quite a big place, and fairly well to do - brother pointed out that they are, outside the town.
England does feel so different to Scotland, to me anyway. maybe its because of old memories and connections. 

An interesting thing on radio 4 which Michael Portillo is doing about democracy, its origins etc.. listened to the first one, will have to find the next on iplayer.

Friday, 30 April 2010

St. Andrew's

a visit to St. Andrew's with R. where an uncle was at university just after the war.huge beach and even a surfer having a go.

town from beach
Porter's lodge
part of Uni
more uni buildings
headland, east coast characteristics

Monday, 12 April 2010

More Spring

The Ferrari cars have multiplied! a whole family of them.
Pieces of glass from  glass artist friends, and seedlings.
Sunny weather, warm and i am missing the wee place i used to live in long ago in the Borders. own garden, hearing birdsong, seeing skies, summer sounds, planting seeds and pottering about in my nightie and a cuppa tea to see what had come up in the mornings. 
now, i plant seeds in a small propogator and wee pots put up on the part of the window that wont open (therefore cant be cleaned at this height). potting them on when they germinate and grow into wee seedlings. at least this way i can't pot on the seedlings of weeds by mistake. (i did that).
my good friend has written a lovely blog entry, giving me food for thought and some lovely memories of that wee place i used to live.  have a look -

now i find myself, once again, wandering about town looking for somewhere to 'be' in the sun with sketch book or newspaper - or just to sit. it reminds me of exactly the same thing i used to do before i moved me and my husband (ex now) out to that place in the Borders - nowhere with a bit of peace to go and be in sunny weather in town.
ho hum poor me!! never mind. will go to the library and damn the bloody sun! no no i dont mean it, honest.
La-dee-da! happy days!

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

spring, Susie's and trip to Glasgow

Spring was coming, but now the clocks have changed to BST the temperature has lowered, gales blow and snow is apparently on the way. 
while i was still under the impression spring was arriving, i had 'rescued' some flowers from a shop, not what i usually do - buy flowers - but the warmer air went to my head.
recently went through to Glasgow to go to the Art Fair opening; went early to miss peak train times and visited The Big Mac Shop - this is me outside it

a bit blurry - who took that!!
Glasgow's architecure is quite different form Edinburgh's, here is a bit of old grand architecture

recently went into Susie's diner for a coffee, Andrew was there, told me that it is closing in April. what a shock! Susie's (previously Seeds co-op cafe) has been so unique in Edinburgh for so long, many of us often used to meet up there to eat great food, you would always know someone when you went in.  it's basic, unpretentious, friendly with big helpings of affordable veggie food.  Well, i guess - well done Seeds and Susie's for lasting so long!  some pics below

meanwhile i had a biopsy in my mouth yesterday, a 'minor procedure' its called.  it didnt feel very minor to me at the time.  but of course, it is.  i can only eat mushy food which is causing me some consternation, how to sleep without accidentally damaging the stitches is also of concern which hopefully will pass soon. it isnt so sore today, so that is a good sign. 

i have been going to the new cafe in the national library - its really nice and you can take your laptop and plug it in or use their own computers - free wifi as long as you get a coffee or something.  good coffee for very reasonable prices.  i have also joined for a period of time so i can use thier online resources for research.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

the red car

in the street where i live there are many of those tourist shops with cheap so-called 'Scottish' tatt in them! mind, they are always full of tourists buying.
we also have a bit of a floor show - or should it be street show. sometimes one of the owners of all the shops turns up in his fancy car, parks it on the street.  first of all a few people will be seen photographing the car.  more people will stop and look, one or two even dare to touch.  the owner will appear and eventually you will see someone being allowed to sit in the driver's seat while their friend takes a picture of them, surrounded by the crowd that has grown quite considerably.  then naturally there will be one or two other people who will want to be photographed in said driver's seat.  and so it goes.  eventually the crowd thins. eventually the car sits quietly parked, its owner gone on to other business.

i know there are two cars this time, i think the owners might be brothers, but it is usually the soft top that all the commotion happens around.

no crowd, yet.

but it doesnt take long.

there; last photo, crowd thinning.

and now for some amazing pink trousers:
this way
and back..
 i used to wear things like that in the '80s.  it doesnt seem that long ago.

Monday, 8 March 2010

sunday wanderings and its International Women's Day today

International Women's Day today

a couple of Sundays ago it was vaguely sunny, and i wandered about with my camera.
here are a few bits and bobs.

i always look up at this tower on top of the library roof. i once saw two people actually walking about on that tiny balcony up there. this image probaly doesnt give the true height of the building because i am on a terrace opposite which is at least two stories higher than the street the library sits on.
i wandered down George IV Bridge to the Meadows.  a couple of guys playing guitar and singing, a few others sitting on the bench with a cello (case) - perhaps. people generally milling about - sun coming out makes a difference.

then i walked through to George Square, hoping they had opened the garden and took a pic of all the bikes parked round the fence.
the garden wasnt open.

the area is all university buildings - old, medium and new. 
one day last August a pal and i were walking past this building here and she stopped and said that it was her old school.  we went to look in through the door, and someone let us in to the main hall to see. 
its a university building now. it was George Watsons Ladies college.
another day, more recently, another pal and i were walking and she stopped and said exactly the same thing. i was quite surprised. we worked out that these two pals couldnt have known each other because of the age gap.  but still.  the things you find out about people you have known for years...
eventually got around to Chambers St and it was dusk, or twilight (whats the difference i wonder).

have always liked the Scottish Museum, think its quite sculptural. some people hate it.

so anyway - looking up.
looking up again - there is a restuarant up at the top with brilliant views.

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