The lonely sea and the sky …

The first four images were taken on the return from Eilean Glas along the Out End Road. Unlike MacCaig we were not “greeted all the way”, just a hearty hello from one dog walker – he had an English accent.  In the afternoon we drove the road from Tarbert to Leverburgh, following a circular route around South Harris.

Dream home ... Tied up... One of the two ... The road to ... Towards Luskentyre ...

There are only two images from the southern tour; the storm that was gathering over Taransay and Luskentyre broke over Scarista, Leverburgh and the circular road north back to Tarbert.  This only served to instill a desperate urge to return.  South Harris is the most spectacular of the small islands and there is more to see, not least the sandy graveyard at Luskentyre:

She was buckets
and water flouncing into them.
She was winds pouring wetly
round house-ends.
She was brown eggs, black skirts
and a keeper of threepennybits
in a teapot.

Aunt Julia spoke Gaelic
very loud and very fast.
By the time I had learned
a little, she lay
silenced in the absolute black
of a sandy grave
at Luskentyre. But I hear her still, welcoming me
with a seagull’s voice
across a hundred yards
of peatscrapes and lazybeds
and getting angry, getting angry
with so many questions
unanswered.

Norman MacCaig – an extract from his poem Aunt Julia, March 1967.

Then it was north again and the twelve mile road out from near Ardasaigh to Hushinish.

The beach at ...The beach at ...The beach at ...The beach at ...The beach at ...Slipway ...

In this last image, a house on the small island of Scarp is just visible, top left.

In 1934, the island was the location for the launch of Scotland’s first mail rocket.  On July 28th the islanders gathered on the eastern shore of Scarp to witness events. Gerhard Zucker, the inventor of the system, pressed the launch button, there was an explosion, a flash of flame and when the dust settled, all that remained was a shattered launch pad and scattered smouldering letters that never left the island.

A second launch was attempted at Amhuinnsuidhe Castle some weeks later.  This was equally unsuccessful so the islanders of Scarp never got their superfast broadband connection to the mainland.  At one time there were thirty two families living on the island and now there are none – if Zucker had succeeded maybe things would have worked out differently.

A film loosely based on these events was released in 2006.  Directed by Stephen Whittaker and starring Ulrich Thomsen, Shauna Macdonald, Kevin McKidd and Patrick Malahide, the film was given a limited release in Scotland.

Rocket Post-film poster

 

 

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Slow TV

This is my personal contribution to the current trend for Slow TV – a routine drive out to Corbridge for petrol (and back).  It may not be as good as a canal trip along the Kennet and Avon, nor as engrossing as the Sami and their reindeer but there are highlights – a friendly postman, kamikaze pedestrians and an ancient tractor – see if you can see them before the motion sickness kicks in.  Has Beethoven’s 9th (royalty free) ever sounded better 😝

Corbridge ...

This is really just an exercise in testing and getting used to a GoPro camera which is small enough to put anywhere – on the dash, attached to a crash helmet and one day, maybe, mounted on a drone.

In the meantime enjoy the continuing diabolical weather in Northumberland and the heavy mist along the Military Road – the prayers have yet to be answered 😡

Do you see …

… what I see.  This is a collection of mostly autumnal images taken near home over the last week. My happy place is out and about in Northumberland and then sat in front of my two 19 inch screens dabbling with Photoshop and On1.  The screen on my left produces the brightest and cleanest image whilst the one on my right is slightly fuzzier with a yellow tinge. In other words, what I see and what you see will depend on the devices we use for viewing.  I could calibrate the screens but unless everyone does the same, what would be the point.

All of this is academic except that last night I viewed the fourth image on a Lenovo tablet and it looked like an explosion in a paint factory.  I have a tendency to over-saturate and my Fuji X100s is set up to emulate Fujichrome Velvia which, as it says on Wiki, “many see its high color saturation as unrealistic”. Hence the original question – do you see what I see – we will never know (the motorcycle was taken with a smartphone, there being nowhere convenient to carry a camera on this particular set of wheels):

Rowan berries ... Today is a dull day ... Call of the Wild ... Early morning rain ... Autumn, a time for ... Pots and Paws ...

A week of change …

This is a collection of images from a week of change.  Down the Birkey Burn there are signs of leaf fall and the woodman has been wielding his axe.  In expectation of some autumnal rides, the Scrambler has been fitted with a new FEK (fender eliminator kit) and front indicators to replace the ugly chrome originals.  The sun has emerged but the temperature has dropped so the Elise has got its hat on and walks down the Tyne and Derwent have been illuminated by a bright low sun.  The competitive golf season is near an end for another year – change is in the air.

Messin' about ... Walk along ... FEK installed today ... Woodman spare that tree ... The Birkey Burn ... Perfect morning ... So much neater ...

Style is Eternal

Yesterday was a glorious late summer’s day so we headed south over the moors to Bernard Castle and the Yves St Laurent exhibition at the Bowes Museum. Not exactly a boys day out but fun can be had by pushing the Fuji in the near dark. The results are more sinister than the curator or YSL might intend although not entirely inconsistent with Helmut Newton’s iconic street image of Le Smoking tuxedo. Whilst I was wandering about being ‘creative’, the good lady was entranced by the exhibits.

By good fortune the Mondrian Collection also provides a useful hook for this week’s photo challenge – grid:

YSL at the Bowes Museum ...

... Isn't elegance about completely forgetting what one is wearing.  Or, as in this case, completely forgetting to wear anything at all.

... Transparence

... Spectaculaire

... Transparence

... YSL

 

Monochromatic

Monochromatic:

1. Having or appearing to have only one colour.
2. Of or composed of radiation of only one wavelength: monochromatic light.
3. Done in monochrome: monochromatic paintings.
4. Exhibiting monochromatism.
5. Unvarying or dull: “the more prosaic and monochromatic aspects of communist life” (Amy Tan).

This is detail from the sea wall at Helmsdale, a town that sits on the edge of the North Sea and the river estuary from which it takes its name (or vice versa).  The major A9 trunk road through the town once took a circuitous route through its streets, crossing the river by an elegant stone bridge.  A concrete bridge that would suit any motorway, anywhere in the world, now swoops across the mouth of the estuary in a single bound, by-passing much of the town.  The peace that has descended on its streets is probably welcome by many of its residents but perhaps not so much by its traders.  The golf course has seen better days and the talk at other clubs was of financial collapse. Its destiny may have been determined by the arrival of the dull, monochromatic bridge.

The first of these images fits the bill but the second, less so. I must learn to stop dabbling with saturation:

Monochromatic ... Monochromatic ...

Beating time …

Alice Pleasance Liddell was the primary inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass.

The connection between Alice Liddell and this image is temporal but I am not permitted to say how, people get tetchy about time:

The Hatter said, tossing his head contemptuously. `I dare say you never even spoke to Time!’
`Perhaps not,’ Alice cautiously replied: `but I know I have to beat time when I learn music.’
`Ah! that accounts for it,’ said the Hatter. `He won’t stand beating. Now, if you only kept on good terms with him, he’d do almost anything you liked with the clock.

The other connection is that I cannot look at this image without being reminded of Charles Dodgon’s favourite young friend.  But for the vagaries of time and place it might have been Pamela’s Adventures in Wonderland.

004-Pam-wordpress

I am biased of course – Pam is my wife who grew up to be like this.