Frozen gorge, Argyll, Scotland.
The ice and snow added to the deadening of sound, making the gorge oddly eerie. Further up the gorge is a cave where Bonnie Prince Charlie is said to have hidden. (I have noticed that nearly every cave in Scotland hid Charlie at one point or another… Perhaps he was simply a speleologist, and misunderstood by all?)
I’m currently reading Northern Lights by George Mackay Brown, and thoroughly enjoying it. Then I happened upon this photo earlier today, taken a few years ago in Edinburgh, outside the Writers’ Museum. Oddly, a copy of Hamnavoe has lurked in my drafts folder on tumblr for months.
Time to post both, methinks.
GMB, and his work, both come into my novel (it would be difficult to set a story partly in Stromness without a mention of the Bard of Orkney).
I remember seeing him around the town when I lived there, and when I went to Stromness Academy. Some years ago now.
My father passed with his penny letters
Through closes opening and shutting like legends
When barbarous with gulls
Hamnavoe’s morning broke
On the salt and tar steps. Herring boats,
Puffing red sails, the tillers
Of cold horizons, leaned
Down the gull-gaunt tide
And threw dark nets on sudden silver harvests.
A stallion at the sweet fountain
Dredged water, and touched
Fire from steel-kissed cobbles.
Hard on noon four bearded merchants
Past the pipe-spitting pier-head strolled,
Holy with greed, chanting
Their slow grave jargon.
A tinker keened like a tartan gull
At cuithe-hung doors. A crofter lass
Trudged through the lavish dung
In a dream of corn-stalks and milk.
In the Arctic Whaler three blue elbows fell,
Regular as waves, from beards spumy with porter,
Till the amber day ebbed out
To its black dregs.
The boats drove furrows homeward, like ploughmen
In blizzards of gulls. Gaelic fisher-girls
Flashed knife and dirge
Over drifts of herring.
And boys with penny wands lured gleams
From tangled veins of the flood. Houses went blind
Up one steep close, for a
Grief by the shrouded nets.
The kirk, in a gale of psalms, went heaving through
A tumult of roofs, freighted for heaven. And lovers
Unblessed by steeples lay under
The buttered bannock of the moon.
He quenched his lantern, leaving the last door.
Because of his gay poverty that kept
My seapink innocence
From the worm and black wind;
And because, under equality’s sun,
All things wear now to a common soiling,
In the fire of images
Gladly I put my hand
To save that day for him.
George Mackay Brown
In between making my Christmas presents I’ve been sorting through old photos. I’ve now uploaded over sixty to Tumblr, and I’ll be putting them in a queue over the coming days, and quite possibly weeks.
Expect some random images, not sure how many I’ll post each day yet, given that I want to keep posting other things too (when I get the time)…
I did warn you there may be more puppy photos…
This was taken by Mum on Sunday, featuring Orlando The Hellpuppy, and yours truly (showing my best side!). Also displaying the old castle at Keiss (which I’ve shared here several times before), the new castle at Keiss, and a second world war gun emplacement en route.
Algy, who is very wise indeed, recently had his assistant post the following comment on a piece I’d scribbled:
"Algy has come to realise that followers of a blog really want to see that content, and miss it when it’s absent. The most important thing for the blogger is to keep posting (so long as others are interested), even if you can’t keep up with messages. "
And he is right - content is all for the blogger. So I’ve spent a wee while looking through the many thousands (over 27k) of photos I have taken since I went digital, pondering what to post and get my proverbial backside in gear.
I now have a list of ideas to choose from. Earlier today Roo posted a photo of some tiny fungi on a tree and, given that “tree bark and flora” was on said list, I thought it fitting I choose this topic first.
All of the following photos are of birch (Betula sp) bark, and attendant growth, and all were taken on the west coast of Scotland, in the Knoydart National Scenic Area. This is temperate rainforest, and everything is always damp. The proliferation of moss, lichen, liverworts, algae, fungi etc is quite something to behold.
Some of these photos were taken on my camera, but most are old cameraphone shots, and not as high quality.
As I’ve already said, I’ve not been on the internet much of late - this has left rather a lot of catching up on my favourite tumblrs to be done. I have to say, you do all post beautiful things (of course, this is why I follow).
I truly appreciate those of you who carefully curate and tend your collections, but I especially love seeing your own works - whether words, photos or art in any of its many other forms. So many of you are hugely talented, and it is inspiring to share in that. Thank you all, people should thank one another more I think.
Wick Salt Cellars (Daytime)
There are seven old salt cellars down by Wick Harbour, dating from Wick’s years as a prominent herring town. Seven years ago gates were created for each of the cellars by artists, using drawings and sketches by Wick schoolchildren. Each night the cellars are lit up from inside.
All pictures taken during a warm and tranquil late November day and early evening, using a fisheye lens setting.
My sister, Lydia, snapped this.