Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Paved with gold

What's this? Bank notes littering the streets of Edinburgh?

Big ones, too.

Sadly they're only leading the way to the Museum on the Mound.

This being Scotland, someone's tried to peel one off the pavement, just in case it might be real.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Doors Open Day 2009

All across Scotland this weekend doors normally closed were open to the public. Lighthouses, former nuclear bunkers, castles that are private homes, masonic temples are just a few of the places that could be visited free of charge.

This is one normally closed door that I spotted as I passed the Sheriff Court - a Reliance prison van. It was full of eager public, with a British queue waiting outside, and unfortunately I didn't have time to wait.

Next year, we've decided, we must make some time for visiting the open doors. The city centre was thronged with people, Doors Open Day brochure in hand, happily intent in that special way that the Scots have when they're getting something for nothing.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


2009 is the Year of Homecoming for Scots from all over the world. In my own home village tonight will see young and old, natives and exiles enjoying traditional entertainment and delicacies in the community hall. Wish I was there.

* 'weel kent' = well known. Stovies are a traditional, rib-sticking dish which provides fuel on which to dance the night away.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Skywatch Friday - show it like it is

After two weeks of indian summer, autumn set in today with lowering skies and drizzle. Arthur's Seat disappears into the mist at the left of the shot, while the monuments on Calton Hill look as unexciting as the tenement flats in the foreground.

It was a bit of a relief, actually. This is real.

Other skies, some of them blue, at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009


Depends how you feel about dental treatment. This is my dentist's welcoming door. It's almost worth going for the comfortable chairs and selection of magazines in the waiting room - titles such as 'Country Life', which I'd never spend money on but which are strangely compulsive if someone else has.

Monday, 21 September 2009

The best of Dunkeld

Sometimes you have high hopes of a place for photo opportunities - a 14th century cathedral beside a fast-flowing river, a 'lovely village of largely whitewashed shops, cottages and hotels' with 'a fascinating collection of shops' as the Undiscovered Scotland site describes it. Road signs point the way to Birnam, scene of 'though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane' from Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'.

And out of all that I got - nutmeg graters. They were in the window of a 'fascinating shop' (read twee kitchenware for Aga cookers). But somehow I was so disconcerted to find myself a tourist in my own country that I couldn't take a photo of the obvious. We'll have to go back out of season.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Tropical remnants

Just an ordinary September day in Edinburgh.

Very ordinary.

With Festival remnants, we can still dream.

Life is busy just now - posting here and enjoying other blogs I can just squeeze in, but I won't be able to comment much for a while. So many blogs to enjoy, so little time!

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Calm morning

Looking towards the Killin end of Loch Tay.

Ben Lawers with a morning cap of cloud.

The line coming down the hillside is pipes carrying water to the hydro power station at the loch side.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Skywatch Friday - Loch Tay

Evening on Loch Tay in late August. A flat grey sky, bringing rain from the West. A good evening for midges. [Edited in response to a comment asking 'what are midges?'. They're a tiny, ferocious biting insect. Read about them here . They're so much a part of Scottish life that there's an on-line midge forecast here. Looking at it today, 19 September, I see that this weekend my daughter is in the area with the highest warning. Luckily she'll be out on the sea for the most part. But the evening in a tent....]

More Skywatch shots from around the world are here.

Oops! Should have said - photo credits to my husband.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Loch Tay

Looking down onto Loch Tay from Ben Lawers. The University of Edinburgh's field centre, Firbush Point, is where our family cool canoeing takes place. The harbour is at the right in the shot below.

I prefer the hills to the water.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Cool canoeing

My son (reclining) and a friend canoeing on Loch Tay at the end of August. The loch seems to be going downhill. I think this is because the photographer (my husband) was juggling a canoe and camera.

And when the sun comes out in Scotland, no matter where you are, you have to bask.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Not on-message

Last week I posted a shot of someone's heartfelt exclamation that the Edinburgh Festival was over for another year. Now I see that it was thought not to be 'on-message' in the week when innocent, impressionable students return to the campus.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Late harvest

Since mid August this field of oats has been standing ready to be cut, but the weather has been capricious. One day of sun, followed by one of rain - not enough drying time to allow the combine to start cutting. The field is right outside my father's house, and as a grain merchant (still doing some trading in his 80's) he's been keeping watch on its progress. At last this week there's been a spell of dry weather, and the combine worked through the night in the fields beside the River Spey.

I miss the harvest now, living in the city. Who needs TV when you can watch the grain change colour outside your door? Here's the same field in July.

Oats grow well in the cooler climate of upper Speyside. A whole lot of porridge in the fields.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Skywatch Friday - one o'clock gun

The wispy cloud and mist over the castle battlements are from the firing of the one o'clock gun yesterday. I pulled my camera out just a bit too late for best effect, but the bang was still echoing around Princes Street in a city emptied of Festival crowds and with the invasion of university and further education college students only just starting.

I never noticed before how many chimneys Edinburgh Castle has.

Skywatch Friday is here.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

What I missed

A few remnants of the Festival let me see what delights I've missed.

Monday, 7 September 2009


Just across the road from the department of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh the Festival Fringe generates a lively encampment of food stalls and a beer garden, complete with fairy lights and competing music. About 50 yards away is the Udderbelly - an extremely large, very purple tent in the shape of an upside-down cow complete with legs and, of course, an udder. A venue for comedy, dance, music and theatre.

Now it's all gone for another year, and someone has been moved to express their feelings.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Golf course wildlife

Fast - and I don't blame it, given the notices posted on fence posts round about.

And slow. The revenge of the mole.

This is the 9 hole golf course at Rothes. Lovingly tended, once a field. And uphill, like many of the courses on Speyside.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Skywatch Friday - University halls

Once home of a girls' school called St Trinnean's (the inspiration for Ronald Searle's St Trinian's books and later films) , St Leonard's Hall is now a conference venue at the University of Edinburgh's Pollock Halls site.

Moving on architecturally from the 1870's, the shot above and the next two below show Holland House hall of residence. Yes, shame about the dark foreground above, but I'll get all these exposure thingies sorted out eventually.

And coming right up to date - Chancellor's Court, with Salisbury Crags behind.

Chancellor's Court with the rather more utilitarian Grant House in the background - oh, and Arthur's Seat.

No students yet - that'll be next weekend. Meantime, preparations for the influx continue.

Visit the Skywatch Friday site to see more skies around the world.


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