Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Before it becomes 2015 I thought I would just do a post.
Reading the last one over just now made me smile; what an optimistic and naive state of mind I was in then.
Three months after that vote I am aware of the division between the 'yes' voters and the 'no'. There has been anger and hurt and a fair bit of horrid stuff going on. But one thing strikes me - both sides have the strong belief in their being Right, both sides look eagerly for anything that proves their rightness thus I feel blinding themselves to the shades of grey that life is, instead only seeing black and white.
So to both sides - is this the Scotland we want? Is it time to grow up and stop the arguments, the statements that only contain the truths to suit the arguments, and somehow work together to find common ground.
That is my rant - and I have to say not All yes and no people are behaving this way.

Happy Hogmanay to all, may yer lum always reek (is it?!)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

18th September 2014

The day dawned at last. Whether I feel ready to vote or not, at last it is time to do so and as with the coming of any deadline I feel relieved.
I have read and discussed and watched as much as I can on both sides of the argument and I finally decided late last night, my decision didn't change when I woke this morning. So I have voted.

I want to send all good wishes to everyone, whatever they vote. The fact is this is a momentous vote because we have the freedom to vote what we want, what our conscience decides, and this is quite something. Also, all our votes will count.
So the outcome will be a fair and square one, made by us all, together - whether we vote yes or no.

I hope, whatever the outcome, that others in the UK will feel encouraged to stand up for their regions in whatever way as well.

Peace to all.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Time flies

It is now September - such a lot seems to have happened since last blog post, but seeming isn't always  
how things are.
As we all know we are at the end of a long debate and campaign(s) for the referendum on whether scotland should be independent or not.
The debate has caught fire - it seems no one really expected such a massive involvement of practically everyone in scotland and beyond.  If nothing else it is getting people talking, people are getting politicised who had never been before, or had given up.  There will be change of some sort which ever way the vote goes.
Meanwhile the situation in the Middle East is going from bad to worse, China still oppresses Tibet, and the situation in The Ukraine is pretty bad also, that's not counting places I have forgotten about just now who are going through horribly awful times.

I have been quite distressed recently, so much negativity coming from some English - (not all) there does not seem to be much understanding about what the Yes voters in Scotland actually want and feel and what they don't want or feel.  I am always for anyone having their right to be independent, have their own voice, etc, and it is distressing to find such a lot of unpleasant anti independence stuff bandied about. Mind you there has also been the same from he pro side on Facebook and that is also distressing.

I am English, lived here since 1970, and fully support the Yes vote, but I also care about my English family, and it is difficult to stomach the prospect of such a degree of acrimony between the two countries, which I fear will happen which ever way the vote goes. I am contemplating spoiling my vote, I just can't see how to vote, I feel so emotional about it that it's hard to be rational.  I feel torn. I love scotland, always have since I came here and always felt it should be independent.  But if my friends and family can't understand, if they take it personally and feel scotland is doing it against them - (they are not) then it makes me feel very sad and so I feel torn.

Having such a peripatetic childhood has it's effects.  I remember which ever country we lived in wanting to belong there, wanting to be like the indigenous people and the feeling of being an outsider was always quite strong and I tried to find ways to belong. It was much easier as a child, although I didn't appreciate that at the time. And then it was very traumatic to leave a country, the people, the language, the customs and ways of that country, the smells, the landscapes and their gods and shrines.  And even though nothing and nowhere remains the same, all that is a part of me.

It is still fairly similar now (perhaps not the gods and shrines) - wanting to belong, but the sense of being an outsider never really changes, tho I have never learned to speak like the Scots. I suspect this might have a bit of a bearing on why I find this impending vote so distressing. It feels somehow
personal.  I don't feel ready to vote yet!

I just thought I would write about it a bit anyway.

All for now.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

working in the library

I came into the NLS cafe with laptop to do some writing, only to discover all sots of activities going on.  Upstairs apparently is a lot of interesting material which normally would not be accessible, and there is a group of people knitting in a corner and also some arts and crafts.  I have not been up to see it all yet, owing to wanting to get on with writing.  Might do so later though.

The wildflowers along the bank of the canal are really taking off now

Vetch and Meadowsweet my favourites, and like catching the reflections in the water as well.

Still writing about our time in Greece, using some of my father's old slides.  Hopefully will finish it one day and put it up here.
After that I will start on the same thing with Thailand.  The plan is to 'do' all the countries I was brought up in but whether I will or not is another matter.  It was supposed to be as a record for any of the nephews and niece who one day after I am gone might find themselves curious.

All for now.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

6 Degrees West

When I sat down to write today I had not thought I would be doing a blog, but you know how it is when on-line, one thing leads to another and you end up in a different space from the one you had thought you would be in.

So this time I noticed a post by a group of artists which I clicked on and read.  This is 6 Degrees West
who had a residency on Inch Kenneth Island, the work was exhibited at An Lanntair last year.
The group's blog is worth a good look and I wanted to share it.  Each artist's very individual approach to exploring the Island, it's history, mythology and geology, creating a very diverse, informative, and most of all - I found - moving body of work, much of it resonating very much with my own interests (geology, history, myth - layering of time, etc) and emotional attachments to that area of the Inner Hebrides.

Going through a rather stagnant and frustratingly un-self-confident time in my studio practice, I resolved recently to start making bus journeys to Borders areas, east coast sea areas, just be in different spaces, explore different town/land-scapes and try to find my 'place' again artistically. Living permanently now as I do here in the East of Scotland I need to engage with it.  Sometimes it is helpful to try to make the best of what is, and even transform difficulties into creative expression.  I just hope I can live up to my words.

The thing about being alone is to keep going, to keep jogging oneself out of ruts (if possible!) and find out what holds the interest, even, dare I hope - find a passion again.  No, not a Man!! Not relying on anyone else, but a subject, a thing, and then to commit to it.  At this age I keep feeling there isn't much time - silly because I don't know how much time there is, who does.  I guess it is a 'senior' age type feeling.

Another thing I notice, I seem always to remember a past time with good memories and think how happy was that time, then the realisation that it wasn't all so good, and the bad times were quite dire.  But it struck me - do we only remember the good times and then have to concede that there were also not so good, and wouldn't it be nice if we only remembered good times and just forgot the not so good altogether.

The idea that to 'go over' bad times is to relive them and reinforce them is a valid idea, however, it seems that for some people this does not work.  Sometimes in later life the things we resolve not to dwell on come crashing into our consciousness demanding to be dealt with.  I have found with age that I understand now how fragile the ability to control the mind becomes, and how one must work harder at it and I wish I had worked harder at it when I was younger.

So with all these thoughts going on, 6 degrees west is a great antidote and a real inspiration.
Thanks guys!

Wednesday, 23 April 2014


In the 1950s we had a few years in Athens.  This was our house.  Well, it was the BOAC house.

This was our dog - Brakky - on the roof.  Brakky apparently means little dog .. can't remember what language but not Greek i don't think.
The roof was like another room - used a lot.

 not sure what this 'plane is - might be a Viscount.

view from our roof

There were a lot of parties, and a lot of dressing up
this is my mother (far right of the group, hat, pipe and pint) and other assorted women dressed as men

This is my father (skinny one at the back with shades and a plait) and other assorted men
dressed as women

I had a 'thing' about Peter Pan - forever. this is me as Peter Pan, notice my shadow.  The friend is Bo Peep.

For some reason a pillar box is what my father chose to be this time

We also travelled to other parts of Greece - sometimes only my parents went, like to here below
and the following 3 photos which MIGHT be Epidaurus, but i can't be sure as Pa has not left any notes with the photos (slides). If anyone recognises - please let me know!

And we went to a few of the islands ..

Again, I don't know where these places are ..

 And we also used to go inland to the countryside and up the local mountain which I can't remember the name of but used to be quite a scary drive on hairpin bends with sheer drops over one side. No photos of that though.

Although this one isn't exactly inland - it could be mainland, or island

A mixture of island and mainland photos (I think)

there are rather a lot of slides, as my father was a keen photographer. Unfortunately a lot of them are starting to deteriorate, which is why we decided to try and get them scanned - a job I volunteered to do, but I quite like the way they are.  I have tried to de-pink some of them as they aged the colour went funny, however others are fine, i think depending on the film my father used.

There are a lot more, i won't put them all up, but want to put a few more later, just for interest.
Will probably write a wee bit more later about memories, if i can get some coherent writing done.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

My India Mother

My India family are actually Scottish.  We met in Calcutta where we were all living at the time, but had not at that point become 'my India' family.
I was a dreadful teenager spending a lot of time at the swimming club or over at their house, when I wasn't working.
It was the '60s and we had all left school.  The music we had was any album anyone had managed to bring out from the UK, and not having access to a lot of money - let alone internet and iPods - they were not many.  I remember the Beach Boys, Sgt Pepper and Their Satanic Majesties were played a lot.

Eventually, and I suppose inevitably, the boys were sent to the UK to start careers.  I had taken up with the middle boy by then, and missed him a lot after he had gone.
My parents went on various trips to Kashmir and Darjeeling and I was sent to stay with my future 'India family'.  Mum was very much an extra mum to me, and I enjoyed living there.

My India mum was 99 this January.  She did not make 100.  Her funeral was last week, a moving service with 2 brothers in law each doing their own eulogy.  A long wake afterwards with many relatives and champagne and Indian food.  She would have been pleased I think.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Been co-opted as an aunt by next door's young tom, Munro.  Just caught him here as he stretched from a long snooze on the sofa, time to go out again he reckoned.  I was also going out 15 mins later, and felt a slight pang as I saw him waiting at his own front door, with no-one home. Wondering about making him a wee nest in my shed with a cat flap. Maybe thats a bit over the top!! Will speak to his mums :-)

Actually had a sunny day yesterday, took advantage and did a load of washing that could be hung out.  so used to having a pulley for sheets, I recently made the mistake of tumble drying sheets - mistake because of huge cost and also because they come out so creased that i felt compelled to iron them - so they sat in a corner for ages, until yesterday when i managed to iron on the new table i have, what a palaver. but no space to keep an ironing board, which isn't a problem usually because i never iron. and will not be tumble drying sheets again.

Got the ladder out, tried to hang another bird feeder in the tree but branches are far too high.  Had the bright idea to use my walking stick, put the feeder on that and tried to hook it onto a branch, but it fell off and all the seed scattered all over the grass.  Gave up in disgust.  How can a tree manage with its branches so high up? It is really inconsiderate of it, although I suspect it was hacked by a person at some point - no proof of that though.

Monday - cleaning loos day, so am off to do that, having been tempted into a cafe I pass on the way there, this is me having a displacement activity moment.  Always dread the loos, but its good when they are done.

Have severely over-spent recently, which is a nuisance as I have decided I need a new shed - a bigger shed for which there is room in the shed space.  Will have to save up for it.  Always seems to be saving up for something these days!  Most of which has been achieved it has to be said.

Must go clean....

Friday, 14 February 2014

The drains are playing up, smell-wise. Not pleasant but hopefully easily sorted. Will have to wait and see.
Other news is that i have a few more photos to put up

 A walk home early evening through the park and a couple more of the garden, looking forward to spring and summer when sleeping plants wake!

Keep having ideas about what I'd like to plant, and then remembering I need to wait to see what is there first and that means waiting a year - well - roughly - i may not be that strict.
It is quite odd having to get a bus every time I want to go anywhere - well, anywhere that is not for a walk along the canal or up the hill - both of which are pleasant.

Looking after neighbours' cats this weekend! Munro is the young ginger who has taken to visiting me fairly often and is now quite at home and knows where to find his tin foil balls to play with in the flat! He is very sweet and quite voiceferous.  The other one is a lovely tortie who is quite shy and has not yet had the courage to visit, she is older and more mature, will get a photo one day.

A pal who visited recently and I put a bird feeder up in the cherry tree and the other day i actually saw a few birds feeding, but i have not seen any since.  I do believe cats and birds can coexist.  I was trying to hang up another feeder this morning with seeds in it but just couldn't reach relevant branches in the tree.  The tree has been chopped back by someone in rather a haphazard manner leaving it's branches rather oddly angled and high up the trunk.  It needs another trim but no idea how that is to be done without getting a tree surgeon to do a proper job.  Anyway, apparently it is lovely and has edible cherries.  I do think there ought to be a rowan in the garden as well, but don't really think it is feasible in such a small space.  Also want one of those shrubs whose branches go deep red and orange in winter.  Need hollyhocks, delphiniums, stock, pentsemon not sure how to spell that, sunflowers, larkspur, scabious, plus of course the usual annuals - poppies, nasturtium, sweet peas, etc. scabious might be an annual, can't remember.  other stuff too, but of course will have to wait till later in the year to see...... etc.  Oh, and I want wisteria.

Built an Ikea table yesterday.  Finally got the table after scouring as many 2nd hand places and charity shops as I could manage, and ended up with this.  It was unbelievably heavy and I couldn't even lift it in the shop.  Instructions said it needed 2 people.  Anyway I decided to start building it and get as far as I could on my own before calling on the neighbours.  I finished it, managed on my own. Very good.  Trouble is now the sitting room looks rather crowded.  There is still an amount of sorting out and finding homes for things to be done though, so this is not the final layout.
Overall I am pleased with my little house, a bit like a cottage although it is actually a ground floor flat.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

The end of an era in my life, 28 & 1/2 years of several phases of my life based in one place.  That place now left and being demolished and re-designed, it will become unrecognisable as far as I am concerned.  I find I am not interested, being quite taken up with interest in my new place.  The interest is more historical.
A few pictures I took the day before I left, just to record it.  (below)

 Not really terribly interesting, apart from to me as a record.

More interesting are photos of the garden, below

All for now!

Monday, 3 February 2014

a new year - february, of course it is Chinese new year - The Horse

So here is another bit of writing, recording, once again after a long spell of nothing.
But I have moved house; after 28 1/2 years in one flat, I finally moved!
I was planning to blog a bit about it all but found it was enough to cope with just the whole process of moving etc without blogging as well.

So I moved and a week later a very close and dear friend had a cardiac arrest, was resuscitated and in intensive care — after a triple by-pass and 2 weeks was allowed home having recovered enough incredibly quickly.

It has all been very intense.  Another very good pal came to stay a couple of nights as well, which was very nice. It is a slow old process getting the new flat into shape — finding places to put things, it is a much smaller place but no walls are falling down and everything works and there is a small garden, so I am very lucky.

For roughly 2 years I have been saving up for a new laptop to replace my ancient one. I was doing a bit of typing transcript from a video.  It was laborious and difficult on the old windows XP laptop, that was when I resolved to get a new one.  So this is it! But have not yet migrated everything onto it, so there are no photos yet.  Also it's a Mac, which I will need to get used to.  I like it so far.

Have an interview - must go.