The winter sun just hangs over the ridge of the Coolags. Its setting will seal the shortest day of the year, the winter solstice.
So wrote George Mackay Brown, the observant eye of the great Orkney poet seeking out the touch of magic conjured up by the Neolithic architects who created Maeshowe with hard-hewn rock and a knowing eye on the heavens. Continue reading
Bliss. Blogging in the sun, sitting outside with birds singing, bees humming, light breeze ruffling sea-shore sounds from the aspen leaves and only the distant hiss of hot tyres on the M90 across the fields reminding me that tiresome hustle and bustle goes on beyond Pond Cottage. Continue reading
Ah, the typewriter. I’m sitting, hands on laptop keyboard, staring at the screen but my mind’s eye looks back to an old Royal machine in a long-ago newsroom where I sit, fingers poised above firm round buttons, piles of screwed up copy paper on the floor, staring into the middle distance, waiting for words. Continue reading
This is the hat that I did not wear to meet the Queen. I did not wear any other hat and I did not meet the Queen. But I got near. As a would-be republican I have not been flaunting the invitation but yesterday Ray and I went to our first Royal Garden Party at Balmoral. Just us and 2000 others. Continue reading
Dear Diary (if I may call you that), I have been neglecting you badly over the last month or two. But I have not been idle.
During May I walked 104 miles during the Great British Walking Challenge. On the hypothetical journey from John O Groats to Lands End that would have taken me roughly as far as Alness. In fact many of the miles were up and down Leith Walk, helping to plan another Open Space event (Your Vision for Leith Walk?) that kept me from attending to my blog.
One of these days I will work out a way to write a blog that I can comfortably copy and paste across several websites (somehow it never feels quite right). But at least I did manage to make a connection between the Open Space event and the guest blog Ray wrote a year ago about the shameful state of Leith Walk.
And I also found a link between the Great British Walking Challenge organised by the charity Living Streets and my new day job on Walking Heads – we both want to get people out walking after all. At the end of the month I was very chuffed to discover Living Streets has quoted my Walking Heads blog posts in their newsletter and elsewhere also mention the fact that I lobbied my local MSP about their campaign for safer and smoother pavements. On my way up and down Leith Walk I could hardly fail to notice the state of the ground beneath my feet.
So in a way, Dear Diary, it has all made some kind of sense. But next month I hope to get back to spending some time with you. For once I need to stay in more.
Mad weather. I take my morning coffee out to join Beth basking in an upside down season. The other day I heard geese flying over, there are red leaves piled up on the ground and a robin sits on the wheelbarrow watching me watching him. All the signs of late September are staring me in the face but the thermometer says something quite different. Summer has finally arrived as nature dumps autumn on the back doorstep.
Kev, Ziggy and Tommy enjoy the band
Proud parents have followed FOUND the band to all kinds of places. We missed the Small Isles Festival on Eigg but made it to T in the Park, and a container gig (no kidding) in a car park plus sundry clubs in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. We were away when Lauren Laverne played their new chocolate single on BBC 6. Still not kidding – we saw, heard and ate the proof at the Cupar bakery where the brilliantly bonkers confection was made. Just listen to this and marvel…
Just to show I don’t spend all my time photographing litter. Here’s my attempt at origami pelicans to hang on the Poetry Tree in the Poetry Garden in St Andrew Square. So, you don’t know about the Poetry Garden? More about that later – right now I better go and pack for the trip to Oslo tomorrow. The forecast says its warm and wet. But judging from the price of booze it will be pretty dry as far as we are concerned.
Does social media connect or separate communities? (With apologies to Ian Hamilton Finlay and Little Sparta)
Distraction. I should be working but Googling alerts me to a poll on the Guardian’s Edinburgh blog. Should the Old Odeon become a Wetherspoons pub? By the time I vote (no, of course) and leave a comment the story has slipped down screen and out of sight.
What’s the news today? To find out, I have several choices. I can scan the latest electronic updates in my inbox; I can flit through Twitter or other social media gatherings in cyberspace; or I can take my newspaper and cup of coffee into the garden and sit in the sun while real birds twitter in the trees. Continue reading