WRITE CHOICES AND ASPIRATIONS

A selection of work written over the last couple of years.

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Retired now, so it could be anything, from anywhere.   Plus lots of photographs.

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Abreast of the Times

Posted on October 18, 2016 at 9:50 AM Comments comments (0)

It’s not that often these days that something irritates me enough to have a rant about it, but here goes.

I am so fed up of self righteous looking women standing in front of a camera and banging on about it being a “woman’s right” to breastfeed in public. Who the hell cares? Women have been breastfeeding in public since time began, without all the hoo ha of the present brigade of latte quaffing, knee bouncing protesters.

Perhaps they should all go and spend a week with the truly inspirational Amanda Owen, who somehow manages to juggle bringing up 8 bairns, with herding 700 Swaledales on a remote farm in the Yorkshire Dales.

Amanda just gets up and gets on with it, usually with a child strapped to her back. I’m sure she has fed her baby in some pretty unusual places, but I’m also sure she is not in public places that often, as her life and love is in the wilds of Yorkshire.

What she has done is produce 8 delightful children who know the true values of life. I’m sure i pads and mobile phones are not in their conversation, but they work as a team, have learnt all there is to know about animal husbandry and best of all appreciate the beauty of what is all around.

I have fed all my children in some peculiar places, discreet corners, point to points in the back of a landrover, whatever. I never considered it my right and if anyone had objected, I would have simply moved.

If my postman delivered mail while I was in the throes of breastfeeding, he simply went outside and chopped some kindling or put the kettle on. Those were indeed the days, when strunting about rights and making a fuss about nothing were treated with the contempt they deserve.

But in defence of all this focus on public breastfeeding, why doesn’t the media just shut up. It’s like a stuck record. Most women, believe it or not, prefer to do this discreetly, so why make such a song and dance about it in the first place. It’s the most natural thing in the world, and anyone who truly objects, really needs to get a life.

End of rant. Feel better now.

 


Hurry up Springtime

Posted on February 2, 2016 at 11:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I haven't posted anything for ages on here, but feel in the mood for a bit of a rant. 

Reason for the rant is the proposal to transfer oil ship to ship in the Moray Firth.   When you start reading the speed at which this stuff gets pumped in comparison to the seconds it takes to shut it all down, it's not difficult to understand why so many people who care about this wonderful area are getting so upset.


If these transfers take place within the confines of a harbour, then at least there's some chance of doing just exactly that, "confining" it.   But no, they want to risk the safety and indeed lives of our wonderful bottlenose dolphins, our seals and all the other deightful wildlife that makes this area so special.



The start of 2016 seems to have been full of doom and gloom, but I am glad to say that  the usual rubbish about it being the worst winter for 50 years blah blah, have been proved wrong.   Whatever happens now, we have had little snow.   Sadly many areas have been badly affected by flooding, but up here we've been relatively lucky.,

On a lighter note, I've had a couple of short stories published recently, and indeed the most recent one got mentioned on the front page of People's Friend, so more than happy with that.

The best thing that's happened in the last few months, is undoubtedly the visit from my brother with his wife Glenda. My new sister in law.   She is lovely.   The boy done good.



Holding court at Findhorn Bay


Big brother.   So good to see ya.



ONe of the highlights of my brother's trip was a trip that ended in Plockton, after an overnight stop at Glenelg in a log cabin.   The Glenelg Inn, doesn't disappoint, a wonderful setting and good food.   Restaurant was very busy  and yet it is literally in the middle of nowhere.   Plockton of course is ever beautiful and we picked a perfect day to end up there after the obligatory Eilean Donan...


He does so love Eilean Donan.    Too many tourists for me!!  Beautiful setting but the interior has been drastically altered which kinda kills the historic angle.


The shores of Loch Maree.



Uncle with three of his four nieces at Findochty


Quiet evening at Glenelg


We had the perfect day at Plockton.  Such a beautiful place, even if half the houses are second homes.



Sadly all this seems like a distant memory, but at least we made the memories.  And boy were we lucky with the weather.   Haste ye back.


Now looking forward to Sprintime and some sunshine.  If only peace and stability could come with it for the world.   So many haunted faces, so many questions.  Refugees fleeing for a better life, others intent on destroying it.   Why?

PROCRASTINATION

Posted on August 18, 2015 at 9:30 AM Comments comments (0)

There are many things I should be doing, like finishing the needle felt picture I started last night, making a pom pom for a hat that I have made for a friend, sorting out all my felting wool, for that matter sorting out my knitting wool, finishing a pair of socks that are on the needles and most definitely weeding out another story to send off to a magazine.   And I will get round to all these things but not right now.

I was reminded only this morning of the bravery of one woman .   That woman was Irena Sendler. A  Polish woman who saved the lives of more than 2000 children during World War 11.  How come she has never really been given the recognition she so deserves.   Nominated for a Nobel Peace prize but not selected, yet Al Gore won one for a slide show on global warming???   I'm glad that at least she lived to a ripe old age. I hope you get time to research her story.


I've had my usual trip to Norway but unlike last year, there was no swimming in the great outdoors.   It simply rained nearly every day.   I did however meet some wonderful goats.



For some reason or other, one poor girl was getting totally bullied by the others.   They all seemed to gang up on her, but as in most walks of life there appeared to be a ringleader in the hate campaign.   I hope her day got better.





One of my favourite places near where my daughter lives is Fjaerland (a book town).   There is such an aura of tranquility about the place.   A few turfed houses at the top end of the village must surely be worth a lot of money.   It is nice to see the Hotel Mundal now open again.   I keep promising myself an overnight stop there.



The glacier en route to Fjaerland seems ot be decreasing in size, but is still spectacular.




MoFossen is also spectacular.    My daughter often walks her dogs there as it is very near to her home.



Normally we would be swimming here but not this year.,



When I told my elder granddaughter that it was too wet for the trampoline, this was her answer.   Have you ever seen anyone doing backward flips with an oilskin coat and a pair of wellies on?  No?   Neither have I.



Whatever the weather it's just nice to spend time with your family.    This year was no exception.


But then it was back to good old blighty and more rain.


But I came back to the news that Peoples' Friend are publishing one of my short stories soon, so that was a nice surprise.


I also came back to some amazing skies.





I also came across some gorgeous pigs on 17th who were enjoying a wonderful mixture of sunshine and mud.




Well it's time to get on with it and stop procrastinating on here.

There's still a lot of standing barley that waves like a gentle ocean on the breeze.   Soon the combines will be throbbing their way across acre upon acre.   It takes me back to the days of being the catcher, driving alongside, making sure I was in exactly the right place and collecting the grain as the huge yellow monster spilled out its innards.   By the time you stepped down the from the tractor late at night (or once the moisture came down, whichever came first) your skin felt itchy with tiny particles of harvested barley.   Never was a shower or bath more welcome before you flopped into bed ready to go again the next day providing the sun kept shining.    Happy days.



And finally, this old photography lark is a strange affair.  I do it because I HAVE to.  It's a bit like writing.   I do it, when something tells me I need to write about something.   It's just one of those things.   I don't care what anyone else is doing.   It's not about how expensive your camera is or what you think is the right or wrong thing to read.  

In the photography world there are two types, the ones who just wish you weren't there, ignore you, because they are infinitely better than you, (or that's what they think) and there are the friendly ones who understand your passion and share it with you.  

I mind my own business but occasionally meet a kindred spirit, that just "gets it".   I met such a person recently, just a guy minding his own business but who was willing to say hello and share a few tips without any prompting.   So refreshing.

Same goes for the writing world.   There are those who consider themselves superior, look down their noses at the likes of Dan Brown and James Patterson and claim to have only read the kind of books that would quite frankly put me to sleep.  Yet in the writing world I have met so many interesting and unique people who will be friends for life.   It's all about getting the balance and never thinking you're better than that poor person hanging on to the side of that boat who prays for a better life for himself and his terrified children.

SEPTEMBER'S BEEN AND GONE

Posted on October 4, 2014 at 11:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Well that'll teach me.   I posted photographs and rattled on a bit but at the end I pressed "Done" instead of publish and everything vanished except Bow Fiddle, so we'll start again.

September has been a lovely month with a referendum flung in half way through.   I wont dwell on the referendum, suffice to say thank God it's over and common sense prevailed. 

There's been all sorts of things going on, unexploded mine found in a trawlerman's nets just to mention one.  That brought out the bomb disposal unit adding a bit of excitement to my normal stroll to the end of the pier.   And there was me thinking it was just a bunch of lads out on a jolly.   It was all dealt with swiftly and without any problems.  The skipper had the sense to photograph the mine and send the result through his phone so the bomb unit knew exactly what they were dealing with.  Well done that skipper.

I also had a very pleasant visit from my youngest daughter who treated her sister and me to a dolphin spotting boat trip.   The results were fabulous, it really was a fabulous day.   We were all dog tired after being up watching the results of the referendum roll in but this soon brought us all back to life.

The sunsets and wild skies have been fabulous this month.   I really am very lucky to live where I do.   I'll add some to the end of this.


The fabulous Bow Fiddle Rock at Portknockie.



This was also the month that The Shambelurklers Return was published.   I was delighted to contribute 3 stories to this little publication with all proceeds going to autistic children.   It's all thanks to the efforts of Mariti Meredith who seems to have 30 hours in ever day.  Well done that woman, and thankyou.  Jose is giving his paw of approval to aforementioned book .


These jellyfish were prolific in the harbour in the earlier part of the month.  Quite amazing looking creatures.



One of many dolphins we spotted on our boat trip.   What a wonderful day.   The boat itself was such a thrill.   It had worried me quite a bit that the boat was not that safe.   HOw wrong could I be.   It was one of those rubber dinghy type things, but they are very safe.  After all the RNLI  used them.  In fact, as we banked the waves on the way out I found it quite thrilling.   It reminded me of riding a horse across an undulating field.   Really super.  The staff at North 58 based at Findhorn, are true professionals with an abundance of knowledge on all things sea life wise.  Thankyou so much Rona and North 58, it was a very memorable day for me, and such an upbeat thing to do after all the turmoil of the referendum.



So lovely that seals turned up to say hello to Rona while she was here.   They really make you smile.   Just endearing creatures and so inquisitive.



Just one of many dramatic skies in September.



A lovely wistful sunset.


The bomb disposal boys on their way to diffuse the mine.   Well done the boys.



The beautiful Dulsie Bridge.   Really out in the middle of nowhere and yet well supported by both locals and tourists.   Well worth a visit.   Apart from the yappy dog somewhere in the distance on a farm steading!!   But wear sensible shoes as the track down to the river is quite rough with tree roots.   However my daughter made it in flip flops!!  Not to be recommended .


On a lighter note, I was inspired to write a cheeky poem after witnessing a rude old dear in the local shop. I am glad I no longer have to deal with the public on a daily basis.


MISS BOSSY BOOTS

 

What is it with old ladies,

a certain shade of grey,

who think the world belongs to them

and don’t care what they say.

 

I witnessed such a creature

who wore a pointed cap

she thrust the door wide open

and filled the entire gap.

 

“There’s naewhere fur the dug” she moaned

and gave a deathly stare

as if it was her legal right

to leave him anywhere.

 

The polite staff directed her,

“it’s just outside the door”

she turned and tied her dog up

then stomped across the floor.

 

I proceeded with my purchase

engaging in some chat,

and then a voice boomed “nae white loaf?”

and that put paid to that.

 

I smiled at the assistant

and raised an eyebrow too,

then left her with Miss Bossy Boots,

before the air turned blue.

 

I’m glad that I was courteous,

said pleased and thankyou too,

my message to Miss Bossy Boots

is, thank God I’m not like you.  :)

 

 

 



THE OLD HOUSE

Posted on May 5, 2014 at 6:00 PM Comments comments (0)

I came across this beautiful old house recently.   How can something so beautiful, end up like this.   Before I reached home I'd found these words going round my head.

There appears to be lots of controversy surrounding this property but what I do know that in its day it was a very grand house indeed.  finally destroyed by fire but various plans afoot, including building houses within its grounds UGGGGH!!


I've also discovered that my little friend Jose has a penchant for Monkey World!!

Day out to Findochty and Port Gordon

Posted on March 28, 2014 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes when the sun is shining it's a good idea to grab the moment and just head off somewhere new.   That's exactly what I did with my third daughter last Thursday.

It was raining when we left but as you can see from this shot of Findochty, the weather improved the further east we went.   It was nice enough to sit on a bench for a while.

We went as far as Buckie where aforementioned daughter befriended a very fat muscovy duck.    The afternoon was rounded off with a nice coffee and scone at Christie's garden centre at Fochabers.  


  You can see from the above that the duck was certainly not starving and probably getting fed from all the houses nearby plus passing visitors.   He certainly was very humanised.    It was a day of birds, as there was a lovely scarlet parakeet called Charley at the garden centre.    He spoke quite well, but when daughter went to speak to him a little later, he turned his rear end round and shat all over her new boots.    Excellent aim through the bars of his cage.    We laughed about his cheek all the way home .   Naughty Charley!! :)


Duffus Castle and a dust storm

Posted on March 16, 2014 at 1:55 PM Comments comments (2)

I've been meaning to investigate Duffus Castle for a wee while now, so today seemed as good as any.    Looking out the window I could see the winds were still with us.   It's been a howling wind for about 3 days now.   You really notice when youj're in bed at night and the cat sits staring into nowhere with a swishy tail.

It was only when I was driving I noticed that the winds were much higher than I thought.   when I took the turning for the castle I became engulfed in a sandstorm that any desert would have been proud of.

A tiny cottage literally disappeared before me and I thought about the window cleaning when the winds stop.

One thing I have learned since living on the coast is that my windows are rarely clean.   No sooner have they been washed and the winds seem to pick up out of spite and spite their catchment of sand across every surface they encounter.

I had to use both feet to kick open my car door and watch for it crashing back against my shins.   The original castle site dated back to the 11th century but the current one has its origins in the 14th.   There's a kitchen wall that made me smile as it has a waste opening at the side.   No doubt it just went crashing down into the moat or whatever was there then.

The wind was so intense it literally forced me down the hill I was trying to ascend, but with "heid doon" I eventually conquered my challenge with a relieved sigh.   The fields around were all throwing up dust making for a curious vista.

If it hadn't been so windy and I hadn't been alone I would have ventured up the steps but didn't think it was such a good idea in such extreme conditions so bottled out.

Drove back round by Lossiemouth which from the distance was also engulfed in a dust storm.   The Harbour Inn looked hammered so decided to head back and perhaps grab a lazy bite in my hometown. (I really felt like a roast after watching Michel Roux earlier on the telly) En route I stopped at the lovely old cinema building which is now Grampain Furnishers.   An amazing aladdin's cave with all sorts of interesting furniture, lamps etc.   Was so chuffed to find exactly what I have been looking for, a slightly quirky mirror made from driftwood.

All in all a successful mission, although local eaterie had nothing like a roast to offer.  What a scunner!! :(   I did however indulge in a glass of vino with a light snack and tottered homeward intent on hanging said mirror.




This is the little house that was in the eye of the dust storm.




A Blustery March Day

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 6:40 AM Comments comments (0)

It's hard to believe that for the rest of this week I've been laid low with some sort of flu type virus.  But recovered now.   I had to take a short trip into Lossiemouth to find a birthday present for my daughter.   There's a nice little shop down at the harbour which always comes up with something nice.  Winds were high and biting.

On the way home I discovered a new coffee stop that I really like.   Light and airy, nothing pretentious but down a track that leads to a golf course and just across from that is the sea.   It'll be great in the summer as it has a nice area of decking.   Food was served with a smile and the home baking excellent, so well done the Tee Shack.   Spelt that way obviously because of the golf course involvement.

Posted first photo is of Lossiemouth marina.    The second is of a busy cormorant who was paddling and diving athletically in Hopeman harbour and the lovely string of genuine beach huts are at Hopeman also.    Hard to imagine them all occupied with kids running in and out and down to the beach when it's so cold right now.   High on the hill behind these beach huts is an imposing looking house that I once was invited to work in as a housekeeper.    If my memory is correct I think they were offering pretty poor money for what would be a hard job, so I declined.   I think I made the right decision, but I do envy them their wonderful views across the Moray Firth.

There's another rugby international on today and I'm hoping Scotland can put up a better show than they have been of late.

Daughter no 3 has just phoned to say she's getting her passport renewed and planning a sunshine holiday.   I don't blame her in this present climate.

Still lots of people in the south of England who are looking at flooded fields and devastated homes.   Some are left with nothing.   Will they ever recover or is life changed forever.    Fields are ruined, cattle cannot get out of temporary sheds and yet the media seems to have somehow forgotten them.

I cannot believe how excited I felt when I found my first tulip sprouting.   I planted them last autumn.    Roll on Springtime.

And how could I nearly forget to mention the happiest news of late.   I have a new sister.

Congratulations to my brother who has taken the plunge with the lovely Glenda, I know they are going to be truly happy.   I really hope I can make it out to Texas to see some of that magnificient countryside.





Settled in by a log fire

Posted on February 13, 2014 at 7:40 AM Comments comments (0)

I can't believe how long it is since I last put an entry in this blog.

This is an amazing area for photography and most days with decent light sees me out with my camera.

Now retired so don't need to worry about sleeping in any more.   The 7a.m. rise is no more.  I was rarely properly awake til 9 a.m. when I served my first customer.

My move back north went well and I am lucky enough to live somewhere that still has a working harbour, albeit smaller boats that mainly harvest squid.

The delight is most definitely the seals that frequent the harbour area and if they don't appear here they can usually be found just round the corner at Findhorn.

The sunsets are amazing and occasionally we are lucky enough to see the Northern Lights.

I have a new member in the household in the shape of an eccentric cat called Jose.   I am considering changing his name to Hamish but nothing decided on that one yet.

He prefers to sit upstairs but comes down and is very sociable in the evenings.

And while I sit enjoying the warmth of an open fire, my heart goes out to the poor people in the south who are struggling against the floods and seeing their lovely homes ruined.   Such an awful winter for them.



WHO THINKS UP THESE THINGS?

Posted on October 30, 2012 at 7:45 PM Comments comments (0)

So yet again the government is thinking up some ridiculous scheme to penalise the motorist yet again.   this time it's motorway usage.   I get so fed up of all this.

It will only mean that the B roads will get clogged up and then we'll get accidents.


Then we have Royal Mail with their £75,000,000 investment into extending their parcel services.   What?   I just don't get it.

Couriers are everywhere because they are cheaper, so why does Royal Mail think that everyone will suddenly use them?


I'm finding lots more people posting abroad using surface mail this year, and who can blame them? 

Glad I'm not in America right now.  

Just posting this favourite shot of Perthshire.   Love the colours.   In fact the colours this week have really exploded.  Another week and they will be past their best.




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