Sunday, 20 December 2009

Festive Royal Mail

On the top deck of a bus on my way up to Morningside yesterday afternoon, as the bus inched its way along Princes Street, I fell asleep. Well, it was warm and fuggy, the bus was full, and the skies outside were darkening. When I opened my eyes the bus was at the west end of Princes Street and the world outside was completely white.

Up in Morningside I came across this Christmassy Royal Mail van, and started to take a photo. One of the postmen came hurrying up to me to ask what was wrong. He obviously feared that I was gathering evidence for some wrongdoing (and looking at it now I can see that the van is parked on double yellow lines = no parking). But when I told him that I wanted the photo because his van looked so festive, he positively beamed, and banged on the door to get his mate to wait while I fiddled with my camera. I can just imagine them, back at the depot, telling their colleagues how a crazy woman took a photo of their van.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Present ideas

Looking for that last-minute gift for the man who has everything? How about this festive sporran?

And no, we won't be buying our son a sporran like this when we get his kilt outfit next month. Killjoys, I hear you say.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

View from the Bridge

A more scenic view of Cockenzie Power Station - the two chimneys on the horizon to the right of the shot. This was taken from Edinburgh's North Bridge, looking out across the jumble of the Old Town to the misty blue Firth of Forth and the coast of East Lothian. The sun is just rising, at 9.00 a.m.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

12 kuvaa/photos - my walk to work December

A foggy week, beginning with rose-tinted morning mist on Tuesday, and ending with thick-as-cotton-wool freezing fog on Friday. December's shot of Edinburgh Castle and the Water of Leith was taken at 8.25 a.m. on Tuesday 8 December.

November's shot:

And October's:

The mist on Tuesday was low enough for the skyline of Calton Hill and Arthur's Seat to be visible.

The 12 kuvaa/photos site is here.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Skywatch Friday - Rainbow over Scotland Street

Now whose flat in Scotland Street is harbouring the pot of gold?

Skies from across the world are at the Skywatch Friday site.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Kilt shopping

There's so much to decide on when buying a kilt. Which tartan - first of all which clan, and then whether ancient, modern, muted or hunting? What type of jacket - Prince Charlie, Argyll, tweed? Hose - white, black or lovat? Sporran - leather, semi-dress or dress? What type of knife - a sgian dubh or a dirk? And the basic question - what quality and weight of kilt?

We're buying a kilt for our son, now that we think he's stopped growing upwards. The first step was to visit kiltmakers to look at quality, workmanship and price. We've decided to go for a hand stitched kilt rather than a machine stitched one. I took several shots like the one below as a reference. These pleats are hand stitched, as are the waistband and belt loops.

More on the kilt saga in due course. The young man himself is away at university, so we have to find a slot in his diary for further shopping.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Chalmers Church of Scotland

Interiors within the Protestant Church of Scotland are usually plain, even austere. Chalmers Church of Scotland in Port Seton is anything but. Built in 1904 in the fishing and coal mining community of Port Seton, it has become known as the 'fishermen's church' because of the elaborate stencilling of fish and waves of the sea throughout the interior, and because of the shape of the building which resembles the hull of a boat.

I discover again the limitations of my photography skills. Taking shots of the interior of the church in artificial light at the end of a dark November afternoon was a challenge too far, but I was kindly given permission to take some photos so I persevered. The shot above towards the Chancel shows some of the original fish stencilling. Apart from the local fishing connection it refers to the secret sign used by early Christians during the times of persecution. The fishing boat has no religous significance, but is a reminder of the fishing community who worshipped here.

The steps leading up to the pulpit have on one side this carving of fishermen hauling in their nets. The men each have a different expression - I'd guess they were very different characters. They remind me of the little Vikings Oliver Postgate created for his Noggin the Nog sagas. Of course as Scottish east coast fishermen they're probably in direct lineage from the Vikings.

I took other photos, but they really didn't come out. Nor did photos of the exterior, as I was buffeted by a gale force wind and driving rain.

Our daughter was part of a clarsach and song recital in the church, along with her teacher and another student. After the recital tea and home baking were laid on in the church hall, with tables set with the Women's Guild china and tartan napkins and ribbons in honour of St Andrew's Day. I longed to take a photo of the festive tables, but it wouldn't have been appropriate (i.e. people would have thought I was weird, and more importantly our daughter would have been mortified). But I did catch this shot of an embroidery made by the Guild for the centenary of the church. The strip lights in the hallway don't enhance it, but if you can ignore these it's a lovely interpretation of church life, with all the youth organisations to the right of the church building. The burning bush on the left is the symbol of the Church of Scotland.


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