‘A Walk On The Breakwater’
‘A Walk On The Breakwater’
‘Out Through The Arch’
…houses, the sea, the afternoon sky; all framed by a masonry rainbow…arches are always optimistic!
…bright red flowers creeping up your walls,your stony exterior obscured by that which brightens the day like a smile….
‘Unfinished’ Edinburgh, October 2019
There’s nothing like being corralled in one’s home during lockdown to cause a longing review of your travel pics.
This shot of Edinburgh’s National Monument of Scotland atop Calton Hill is a particular favourite.
The Monument is a wonderful exemplar of overreaching ambition unmet in actual performance!
Intended as “A Memorial of the Past and Incentive to the Past and Future Heroism of the Men of Scotland ” (phew!), construction of the grand edifice began in 1826 but stopped in 1829 owing to the cash drying up.
It has apparently earned nicknames such as “Scotland’s Folly” , Edinburgh’s Disgrace”, and best of all “The Pride and Poverty of Scotland”.
A bit harsh really.
As I stood in the drizzle gazing at the Grecian columns framing the grey sky, I had a sneaking admiration for those who started something so grand it just could not be completed.
Been there, done (or not quite done) that!
‘View Over The Old Town’ Edinburgh, October 2019
‘Lighthouse On The Rock’
…during troubled, or even dangerous times, we are grateful for signifiers of hope and light, and those things that are certain and safe…
Skylight, Edinburgh Waverley Station
The restored ceiling and glass work of the ticket hall at Edinburgh’s principal rail hub is a wonder, that escapes due attention as travellers scurry for their trains, or the exits.
If they do glance up, it is only as far as the electronic schedule boards announcing arrivals, departures and British Rail’s inevitable delays.
My own hurried phone photograph was an exposure fail, but it serves to emphasise the ceiling’s stunning design.
In silhouette, the dome appears as a great eye.
I wonder how many sojourners have passed under the skylight’s gaze?
How much motion silently observed from above?
I didn’t have time to look up again, but am glad I did in that moment, before moving for the exit, eyes ahead.
‘So, Now We Just Wait…’
Boats on a tidal shore at Kinghorn, Scotland (shot last October).
Each waiting for the tide and an able captain.
Waiting – it’s never easy.
And uncertainty is a prick of a thing…
Calton Hill, Edinburgh October 2019
This hotchpotch building, with its quiltwork of bricks and windows caught my eye in Scotland late last year.
It’s as if there was more than one hand in the plans, or perhaps the cash ran dry at some point and they started up again later, with whatever was around at the time.
Much is made of having a focused “design for life”.
In reality though, most of our somewhat random lives resemble this sort of thing, more so than any sleek, linear design!
Window Boxes, Edinburgh October 2019
Calton Hill, Edinburgh October 2019
Queensferry Crossing, Scotland
This stunning modern suspension bridge over the Firth of Forth was certainly worth a picture, as we crossed over it late last year( don’t worry, I took this photo from the passenger seat! ).
As I have been filling my musical boots with vintage sounds of late, may I take you on a transatlantic leap to the somewhat older but equally stellar Brooklyn Bridge, which I was fortunate to have walked over as a young bloke.
Artwork of it features on the cover of a 1982 album ‘The Bridge’, by jazz/fusion keyboardist David Sancious. Sancious may be better known to rockers as an early member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.
A YouTube link to the sublime title track ,an old favourite of mine, is below, if you have the time to embark on a sprawling aural trip of your own…
A break in the clouds as they sweep through.
The old houses by the shore gleam in the temporary sunlight.
The rocks below the seawall are the inscrutable guardians of these shifting scenes, waiting for the rising tide.
Chimney Tops, Pittenweem, Scotland
Albeit a bit of a global warming horror show, I was delighted at this rooftops vista in Fife.
Rows and rows of chimney pots like soldiers on parade. Dozens of the buggers! And hundreds more throughout the village…
It wasn’t cold enough in mid-autumn for smoke to have been puffing from the chimneys.
Had it been, the ghost of my coal mining grandfather would surely have smiled…
A worn but perfunctory warning on the side of a concrete lobster tank on a Fife harbourside.
In my mind’s eye I picture a time when the sign was freshly painted, and when the lobsters were more abundant than they, sadly, are today.
A tank full of delicious, thrashing, spiny crustaceans…
And then a young Gordon or Alistair, or somesuch, ignoring the warning, reaching in , almost losing a finger or two in the tank, and screaming pitifully for his ma….
In the previous post Boxed In ,I touched on the boxes that we end up in.
In my recent travels in Scotland, I came across this ancient stone version in a cemetery at St. Andrews. Pretty impressive; nicely ergonomically tapered and contoured to fit the deceased’s head. Top design marks.
I suspect it was for someone of some importance. You wouldn’t go to all that bother for a regular dude or dudess.
Important person or not, as the pop-punk bard Wreckless Eric once said,” there’s only one destination in the final taxi”.
And on that cheery note, I too shall depart…
I took a photo at dusk from the harbour wall at Pittenweem on my recent visit to the Scottish village.
The weather outside the harbour was getting rough, with the wind and the sea up, and the rain beginning to fall again.
But looking back to the town, things appeared calmer.
The saying “safe harbour” sprang to mind.
I could see the light of the place we were staying (at centre top) and headed back to its comfort.
(In the failing light the photo was a technical failure so I salvaged it (like a sunken ship!) and made this abstract picture, that captures for me the moment).
All my life I have had fascination with maps and cartography (the mapmaker’s art). I have a geography degree that hasn’t earned me a cent, but I don’t care.
As a child, I would pore over atlases and maps with their linear representations of different parts of the world – seas, mountains, rivers ,deserts, towns and cities.
I would get lost in those pages and charts, but a good lost, y’know ?
I took this photo of an old map on my recent travels in Scotland. It depicts Fife and its coastline. Heights in feet, depths in fathoms, as it was, but nothing out of the ordinary.
It’s really a guide to the lost and endangered, or maybe a series of warnings to prevent yourself getting in those predicaments in the first place.
Beacons, lights, storm signals and lifeboats(!) and their locations.
Because (and I say this from harsh experience),when you are truly lost (the bad lost), you need external direction and you must heed the signals that you receive from around you.
You might have a moral compass, but you ,alone, cannot be your own map…
Heal you that is…
Graffiti on a stone wall by the sea in Fife’s East Neuk proclaims the possible healing powers of Christ.
As I have stated here before, I am no theologian, so cannot affirm the truth of the painted statement, or otherwise.
But I do know that the sea has magical healing effects.
Not just in the salt and minerals in the sea that assist with wounds (I once had cause to wash out a bleeding wound after been nastily bitten on the leg by a dog on a beach).
It is in the constant nature and rhythm of the ocean tides , the freshness of the salt air’s tang and the might and power of the waves.
For it has been my comforter as long as I can remember, the magnetic thing that draws me to itself without effort.
No day is worse for gazing upon a marine expanse, no mood so forlorn that it is not uplifted.
There is no logical explanation, so in that I sense am in the same proverbial boat as the Christians!