Category Archives: Life

Spirits in the Glen

 

IMG_3382 LDR Vivid Colours.jpgWhen we walked through the gorge at Glen Nevis, the spirits were resting. These rocks literally have rockfaces. I see three. How many can you see?

The   wordpress photo challenge is Elemental. Very fitting.

Please do not use photography without permission.

Hogwarts Express

Hogwarts Express

on the Glenfinnan Viaduct

A timely challenge for the WordPress weekly photo challenge – not strictly a bridge I know, but a stunning viaduct which is a bridge for Harry Potter’s train to get him to Hogwarts.  We were here on Wednesday and the visibility was fabulous. Often it’s shrouded in mist, which adds atmosphere, but detracts from the view of the train.

And of course there is the added bonus that it bridges the gap between reality and fantasy – you did know Harry Potter was made up don’t you?

WordPress Photo challenge

Bitten by the Moth bug

I don’t always get round to sharing my handmade books which I make on Etsy – but this time I thought I would .  The book came about from a conversation with a wonderful customer, who often orders from me to gift to her ( numerous) grandchildren and friends.  One grandson had recently graduated and specialised in moths, and she was curious whether I could make a book to celebrate his interest.  That is always a great starting off point for me – someone else’s interest. It stimulates and challenges me to research a subject that I wouldn’t have necessarily considered.  This was going to test me, because I could not possibly tell this young man anything he didn’t know about his special interest.  But I decided that coming to it from the angle of art history may be a way in.  And it was.  I was blown away by the fine work that Wencelaus Hollar produced in 1646 in Flanders . I found the drawings in a collection by Gothard Monrad at Te Papa.

Gothard Monrad (1811–1887) was a prominent figure in nineteenth-century Denmark: a bishop in the Lutheran church, he was also a noted scholar and politician. Privately, he was a connoisseur of art, collecting fine prints by numerous European old masters and paintings by contemporary Danish artists.
Monrad’s collection includes engravings, etchings, and woodcuts, beginning with two engravings from the 1470s by Italian artist Andrea Mantegna. The collection’s sixteenth-century German engravings form a significant group, and include works by Albrecht Altdorfer, Albrecht Dürer, and the brothers Hans and Sebald Beham.
The collection has now been reassembled at Te Papa according to Bishop Monrad’s own catalogue of 1869.

Two facts I discovered about the Moth world that I will share – moths are among the most diverse and successful organisms on earth and scientists estimate there are 150,000 to more than 500,000 moth species. Wowzer!

I was delighted to send this little volume to my customer, and was thrilled to receive in return these lovely comments;

 

‘The MOTH book arrived safely and in fine time. How very astute you were for the covering of the moth pages. It is perfect for a young man, very handsome. As I look through the pages several times, I am beginning to wonder if John will appreciate this work as much as I do. Should I or should I not? Oh, I guess so, I will gift him with it with the stipulation I can view it off and on. I must quit looking through you web site, as I soon will spend all my pennies on your art. Thank you for this piece especially since I ordered it and you came through with flying colors

Appreciation is a wonderful thing!  So if you have any subject you want me to consider adding to my bookshelves over at Etsy, send me a line.  Or you could browse the items I make to order here  Coptic stitch books at Modestly at Etsy

 

Glasgow finds me bowled over.

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Street Art – Vettriano

Sure, it rained, but it didn’t matter.  Glasgow gets my vote. Anyone who reads my blog knows I get inspired by being in nature.  What is not as apparent is how cityscapes find a button to press too.  I was excited by Glasgow. The vibrancy of the city juxtaposed with the melancholy of erstwhile beautiful buildings showing the ravages of neglect. The city planners deserve some credit – it hands Glasgow to you on a plate. And it is unusual for me to enter the fashionable world of food ( the fashionable world of anything come to that) but at the risk of showing naive overenthusiasm, there is included a shout out for a restaurant that gave me an eating experience that thrilled my jaded palette.

We were on a budget so we stayed at EH Hostel, about ten minutes walk from the train station at Queen Street.  It looked as though the immediate area was a bit run down, but the room was clean and modern with a shower room, a toilet and a handbasin. We were using the room as a place to safely off load luggage and just for sleeping, so the fact the beds were bunks was fine – not the romantic get away destination though!. An added bonus was a t.v on the wall. And the total bill for two people over two nights was £83!

Two days weren’t enough – but we have done a great pre visit visit and will be returning very shortly.  We spent the day in the Kelvingrove gallery and museum – it was a fabulous example of how to create a space that inspires. I didn’t want to stop exploring. But my body did, so I stopped.  I have learnt that much  – I ignore the signs at my peril.

For shopaholics Glasgow is a go to city.  It is a joy just to wander down the wide streets and take it all in. Eat a take out sandwich in George Square and watch the world go by – even the police seemed chilled out, on horseback too.  Beautiful horses.

Bridges and architecture keep eyes wide open – it’s a city that wants to show off. The Clyde cut the city in two and the view from my eighth floor room was a wonder.

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Modern meets classic – beautifully

Kelvingrove gallery

An amazing installation!

IMG_8048IMG_8040Untitled-3Untitled4I need to mention the restaurant as I cannot recommend it highly enough, Dakhin, Candleriggs prides itself on being gluten free, and offering an Indian experience that is different to most. The food in influenced by  Southern India, and after having started with poppadums and chutnies that were delightfully light and flavoured to perfection, I progressed to starters of spinach and onion bhajiis – again beautifully light but satisfyingly tasty. The main dish was a perfect balance of flavours with tender chicken, complemented with a fragrant rice and gluten free pancake/breads that were to die for. I hadn’t thought of ordering them, but the waiter suggested we shared a rice and a bread dish. We were glad we did. And I couldn’t finish!! So unusually for restaurants that serve food perfectly flavoured and at a temperature that pleased even my husband ( he cannot abide cold plates and food that does not stay hot)  the servings were generous.  The only thing to add was the atmosphere – it was contemporary and openspaced with service that were genuinely friendly, willing to help, happy to explain . I have only praise for Dahkin and cannot wait to go again.  Book now!(and I don’t get paid to tell you!) Dahkin Restaurant, Candleriggs

 

How does it stop?

The spoken word   Anne CorrToday is another witness to atrocity.  Do you ask ‘When will it end?’ A normal response to the fear the terrorist provokes.  That fear of course is what he wants.  We are all afraid. The terrorists are the most afraid of all of us because they live in the midst of terror every moment.  And the real horror of it all is that we brought it on ourselves.  Mankind did this. We built ourselves a world where dogma and symbols form characters.  We discovered the science behind how things work and the result has catastrophic as well as magnificent consequences. I do not mean the world should not progress – the opposite is true- we have to play catch up and understand the results of shared consciousness that media and education plug into.  We need to understand the limitations of knowledge as well as the powers it bestows.

Without being simple, one cannot be sensitive – to the trees, to the birds, to the mountains, to the wind, to all the things which are going on about us in the world; if one is not simple one cannot be sensitive to the inward intimation of things. Most of us live so superficially, on the upper level of our consciousness; there we try to be thoughtful or intelligent, which is synonymous with being religious; there we try to make our minds simple, through compulsion, through discipline. But that is not simplicity. When we force the upper mind to be simple, such compulsion only hardens the mind, does not make the mind supple, clear, quick. To be simple in the whole, total process of our consciousness is extremely arduous; because there must be no inward reservation, there must be an eagerness to find out, to inquire into the process of our being, which means to be awake to every intimation, to every hint; to be aware of our fears, of our hopes, and to investigate and to be free of them more and more and more. Only then, when the mind and the heart are really simple, not encrusted, are we able to solve the many problems that confront us.

J.Krishnamurti

So how we choose to use our intelligence becomes the task.  To remain open to debate and to points of view that seem at odds to our own. To consciously live our lives when we make our decisions of how to live, how to treat the planet, how to respond to acts of terrorism.  The amazing happenstance of living in a country that allows freedom of thought and expression is a privilege that I am very aware of.  I treasure it. krish

Further reading    The First and Last Freedom

Heritage

Scotland 2014 Anne CorrCris's trees displatepurleigh footpath3

For me heritage is no one place but anywhere where I find trees.  The source of deep meditative restoration to my soul. And the very breath of life.

The Daily Post challenge – Heritage

 

Everything is interesting.

marcus Aurelius.jpg“What education should be about is endless curiosity about the nature of the world. I’d make Philosophy and Human Behaviour a compulsory subject. I wouldn’t bother to teach History; I think it’s pointless. History is just the record of human crime. It’s battles and murders and pogroms, but there’s a secret history and that’s the record of human goodness. The little acts of kindness aren’t recorded anywhere. Little deeds of altruism: The lady in the baker’s shop who runs after you saying, ‘Here you left a fiver on the counter.’ That sort of thing is never recorded, but that’s what actually keeps the world going.”  John Lloyd  ( writer of Q.I fame)

Fact : John Lloyd has more baftas than Judi Dench  !!!!!!!!!

Now I will let you know that I don’t agree with him about the pointlessness of History simply because it creates so much enquiry in me, but about everything else I have read about this man, I have a new hero.  A colleague John Mitchinson  on Q.I wrote “He has a proper philosophy, and he thinks about things in an astonishing amount of depth.’

And his philosophy? – a self confessed Stoic ( another reason to adore the man) he has summed up the necessities of life in three phrases, the first being ‘Be Kind’ , the second being, ‘Be Kind’ and the third being ‘ Be Kind’. Got to love that man.

And this is not a man who has not known unhappiness, hard work, or depression. Much like the rest of us. But this is a man who has worked tirelessly at the BBC to bring us laughter to lighten the load, and worked through his own demons by using his brain to stay curious. That was his way out of depression if I am reading it right.

“I feel really sorry for people who have no working philosophy. People don’t know what to do when they get depressed, or unhappy, when they feel they are belittled at work, when they feel their life is pointless. Where do they go? Unless you’re a happyclappy Alpha course person . . . That’s why it’s so easy to get mullah’ed into fundamentalism: because of the certainty.”

And if you want some more reasons to consider Mr Lloyds brilliant take on life – to remain as curious a creature as it is possible to be, then I recommend you fly across to this link which tells you more about the man than I can, inasmuch as it is a testament to his philosophy, his intelligence, his humour and his humanity. And I don’t even know the man.

Just brilliant stuff

Learn even more about him via a great article in the New Statesman by Helen Lewis, Article on John Lloyd by Helen Lewis

And finally – in the spirit of John LLoyd and with a nod to the illustration here is a thought from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations that is worth a moment or two of reflection in a busy day, a busy world.

One type of person, whenever he does someone else a good turn, is quick in calculating the favour done to him. Another is not so quick to do this; but in himself he thinks about the other person as owing him something and is conscious of what he has done. A third is in a sense not even conscious of what he has done, but is like a vine which has produced grapes and looks for nothing more once it has produced its own fruit, like a horse which has run a race, a dog which has followed the scent, or a bee which has made its honey. A person who has done something good does not make a big fuss about it, but goes on to the next action, as a vine goes on to produce grapes again in season. So you should be one of those who do this without in a sense being aware of doing so. (Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 5.6)