What kind of times are they, when
A talk about trees is almost a crime
Because it implies silence about so many horrors
A catalogue in the post. Not so very long ago that would have brought a promise of armchair gardening. Happy hours leafing through pages of plants I was unlikely to grow, winter evenings plotting summer crops; neat rows of common garden stuff in exotic colours: purple beans, black carrots, blue potatoes. I’d mark the pages diligently and forget to send my order until it was almost too late to sow the seeds. Continue reading
With rich irony the latest exhibition at Inverleith House is titled I Still Believe in Miracles. But no miracle is likely to save the art gallery from closure after the doors shut on a show celebrating 30 years at the heart of contemporary art in Edinburgh. Continue reading
Soay bay: photograph by Jemma Cholawo
Because it’s Friday…a trip to another world, not so very far away as the seagull flies. After writing the last post about Island on The Edge, I heard from Anne Cholawo in an email with a link to her YouTube film about her life on Soay. Continue reading
Oddly, almost eerily, quiet today. For nights over the last week the house has rocked with angry sound. First Gertrude then Henry came rattling at the windows, hammering on the doors, playing merry hell round the chimneys. The latest storms have blown over but surely Imogen will not be far behind? Continue reading
It’s not everyone’s idea of escape. A force 7 gale lashed the boat as we crossed the stormy Sound of Eigg. But we were leaving all visible signs of the general election on the mainland and I welcomed that thought even as I closed my eyes and got my head down, praying I wouldn’t need the poly bag thoughtfully provided by the crew.
No fuss, no fanfare. Without a tweet or a peep from the press, an invisible shift in the Scottish landscape took place in the early hours of this morning.
“Many of the smaller ones perched on my hat, and when I carried my gun on my shoulder would sit on the muzzle. During my stay I killed forty-five all of which I skinned carefully.”
I really wish I hadn’t read that extract from David Douglas’s diary describing the birds he killed during his few days on the Galapagos Islands in 1824. Douglas happens to be a bit of a hero of mine. I get a powerful kick looking up into the huge trees he brought back from his travels in what was then the wild woods of the Pacific North West. He went to such trouble to collect seed without destroying the forest it is sad to discover he was blasting eagles and owls and other grand feathered things off the face of the mountain. But I guess no-one is perfect. Continue reading
Is the NHS equipped to deal with floods, gales and heatwaves of extreme weather? A deadly serious question is posed in a quiet corner of the Houses of Parliament. While the media fulminates in a flash storm conjured by David Cameron during Prime Ministers Questions, the Environmental Audit Select Committee contemplates a more fearful threat than Ed Milliband ‘crawling to power on Alex Salmond’s coat tails’. Continue reading
It’s not much after four in the afternoon and the winter sun has set way to the west of Edinburgh castle. At the end of November the city is ready for a long dark night but birds are singing in East Princes Street Gardens as if dawn was breaking. And no wonder. The sky is ablaze with 200,000 Christmas lights. Continue reading
Scottish floods 2006
Sustainable flood management enables communities to adapt to the realities of climate change. Restoring natural defences against flooding brings social, economic and environmental benefits to the whole community.
Pity the people of Somerset Levels. The last thing they need as the weather report threatens more rain and gales, is a rush of politicians anxious to pour blame on the other party. And they certainly don’t need some smart-arse copywriter at the other end of the country blowing the dust off an old manual on natural flood management in Scotland. Continue reading