27 June 2017

Big old Darwin and little old me in Darwin College


This part of the college is the house in Cambridge that used to belong to the Darwin family, beginning with one of his sons

The walk to Grantchester


Through Grantchester Meadows, which some may recall as the title of a track by Pink Floyd


And to the Green Man pub, below, where the last time I visited it, 39 years ago, the beautiful actress Susannah York was sitting next to me; although there is not much more to tell of that encounter than what I have just told, and anyway my beautiful, and much younger than Susannah, lady was with me so Susannah was just a sideshow.


Then just as I returned to Cambridge a thunderstorm struck so I had to take refuge from the deluge in another pub... for about two hours... It was only just after lunchtime but I felt I had to sample their offerings to justify taking their shelter. Sigh... They sold me Schiehallion beer, which the young English fellow behind the bar thought I might have pronounced wrongly, until I said, "Listen mate I live within sight of the mountain Schiehallion that the beer is named after, and I have climbed it twice, and the beer is brewed not too far south of my house and..." At which point he asked me to educate him about how to pronounce it properly. Teaching job done.

23 June 2017

To the course the long way

Not to play golf but just to enjoy the longer walk via the East bank for a change and sit in the sunshine on the bench outside the clubhouse accompanied only by 500 ml of "triple-hopped strong malt" India Pale Ale, to celebrate the final day of my part-time academic duties, until September. Students are generally fine but a mutual break from each other is healthy, although on my way back into town I did meet two who are scheduled to encounter my particular brand of teaching for the first time in September. During a brief exchange I informed them to expect to be going "up a level" from what they had just completed, but then told them not to worry. I am not sure they were convinced, and were perhaps concerned by the reek of triple-hopped beer. I may need to work on my pastoral reassurance skills and professional demeanour. We got a fine day.




22 June 2017

Water of Leith Walkway near Roseburn


Hot day sunny haze of leaf and water and light - everything needed for life really, especially with a bottle of cold cider waiting in a pub not far away.

19 June 2017

Another Royal Visit by Her Magnificence


She visits most of the houses of our little road, and acts as if she owns them all

Princes Street people

A pipe band competition, a plethora of nationalities mingling placidly among plants and pleasantness and peace... What could possibly perturb our world? Perhaps the newspaper tucked under my arm?


18 June 2017

Two bright gardens and a dark bottle

From my garden in Perthshire this morning to Princes Street garden in Edinburgh this afternoon, via a bottle of the very fine Dark Dunter, on a hot and sunny Sunday



17 June 2017

Her Magnificence deigns to pose

No matter how dependent they may become on you for comfort, sustenance and entertainment, cats still manage to convey the impression that they are doing you a favour by bestowing upon you the great gift of their company and tolerance

14 June 2017

The South Inch, Perth

In ancient days used for burning people who were not really witches, military archery practice, and where in 1652 Oliver Cromwell commissioned a fortified citadel be built for his troops. Nowadays it is the peaceful parkland I walk through to return to my car after golf. A small audience of readers also know it as being traversed by the road where a Lady Lord met her unfortunate demise in the not yet prize-winning novel Sample 717. Two rather oddly dressed beings known as Adrig and Edrig have been reputed to converse in unintelligible squeaky noises here as well. A fine place.

13 June 2017

Lines

At the bottom of my garden...

... water heads towards the River Tay, while the weather is warm but very wet today, the air full of summer mist, the water washing everything and everybody on its way.


7 June 2017

Coffee Dog

The dog sits happily on her man's lap while he reads right through the newspaper and enjoys his coffee. She wags her tail steadily, but faster for regular customers, as she watches each person arrive and each person leave. Everyone and everything gets careful examination. She looks over at me from time to time, thinking "Him again," perhaps, or perhaps not; but it is a scene of peace and mutual contentment as the life of the city swirls around and comes and goes.

6 June 2017

More from the fossil hunter

My son sends us further photos of his discoveries, following on from this earlier one, and a couple of fine views of the location and himself. He has had a good trip to England's "Jurassic Coast". He says the third photo is at "Maiden Castle, largest iron age hill fort in Europe"




Photos courtesy of David Scott

Belhaven Black

This place recently seems to be veering toward becoming a beer review blog, but I like the images of everyday life within pubs, even though beer for me is not literally an "every day" event and is only ever one pint a day - well or on Sunday was two 330 ml bottles which is admittedly slightly over one pint. Anyway, I can report from today's research that Belhaven Black Scottish Stout is a perfectly acceptable beverage, but probably not one I would go to again, unless in a crisis, given the availability of plenty somewhat superior brews. I know that you needed to know that, or at least "Sean Jeating" did, probably.

4 June 2017

Porter to Portobello

According to Professor Wikipedia "Porter is a dark style of beer developed in London from well-hopped beers made from brown malt. The name was first recorded in the 18th century, and is thought to come from its popularity with street and river porters." I am becoming very keen on porters. Today's came from California, were consumed in Musselburgh, then metabolised on a walk to Portobello.


The Venue

Venue - noun: The place where something happens. Origin: Late 16th century, from Old French, literally ‘a coming’, feminine past participle of venir ‘come’ from Latin venire

3 June 2017

Old evidence

My son is currently fossil hunting near Lyme Regis. He cracked open a rock and found this fossil when a curved shell-like portion fell cleanly away. Imprinted evidence of ancient life. I don't know what it is, but it is nice.


Plenty ammonite fossils around too:


Photos courtesy of David Scott

31 May 2017

Pond life

Are these coots in the first picture? Anyway whatever we call them they are what they are, which could be called anything and would make no difference. But the significant issue to me was that the mother was tirelessly catching tiny black fish and feeding them to her children even though the children were demonstrably able to catch and feed for themselves; thus in that little mother bird I saw the behaviour my own dear lady displays every time she journeys round town with our daughter who now earns about twice as much as her mother. Much animal behaviour is universal.



30 May 2017

A woman walks in

Four guys chatting...
Woman arrives... 
One guy loses all interest in chatting to guys
and three guys look slightly glum.


28 May 2017

Names awaited

A visit to the Black Watch regiment museum at Balhousie Castle is of personal relevance to me as at the age of 19 my father landed with the Black Watch in Normandy a few days after the D-Day landings and soldiered his way through France, Belgium and Holland until finishing deep within Germany. The most poignant moment, however, was standing in front of this memorial to the dead from much more recent and more questionable campaigns, and looking at that empty slab at the middle right that has been erected to bear the names of young men or women, currently still full of life, or perhaps who are not even men or women yet but are running carefree around Scotland as youngsters. The presumption that the names will inevitably arrive once the half-full slab at the middle left is filled is disturbing.