Thursday, 19 August 2010

Skywatch Friday - violin and rabbit

As seen from the A9 south of Dalwhinnie, a woman wearing a crinoline, playing a violin. That south-bound journey a couple of weeks ago was a good one for clouds. Below, near Kingussie. Does anyone else see a rabbit?

And looking almost good as new, but minus a roof, Ruthven barracks at Kingussie. Completed in 1721 after the Jacobite uprising of 1715, it was one of four fortified barracks designed to help subdue the Scots.

More skies around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The dig

Not sure what will happen if you do push food through the bars. They seem to have brought their own, so they can't be starving.

The dig is taking place in the quadrangle of the University of Edinburgh's Old College. The current buildings date from 1789, and were built on top of Kirk O'Fields, the site of the murder in 1567 of Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary Queen of Scots.

Two skeletons have been uncovered, found in the coffin-shaped indentations immediately to the right of the green netting in the shot below. With the naked eye, but less so in a photo, you can make out the indentations where the bones lay. The remains have now been interred in a graveyard. There's no suggestion that I've seen that the remains were those of Darnley and his valet, and I think they're likely to remain unidentified after so long.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

12 kuvaa /photos - my walk to work August

Has anything changed since July? There's a very faint feeling of autumn in the air - not all the time, but during the day there will be a moment when the sun is lower, or when you realise that the birds have stopped singing. But the trees are still green, and on the days when the sun breaks through it still seems like summer.

While I was taking this shot I heard a noise on the parapet of the bridge to my left.

I wish I could have captured the look of horror on the squirrel's face. Its eyes positively bulged at the sight of me. Before I could get a second, closer shot, it turned and headed back the way it had come. The interaction of woman with camera and squirrel had caught the attention of a few passers-by, and it was only when there was a ripple of laughter did I realise that I'd been watched while watching the squirrel.

This is the last in the 12 kuvaa/photos series for this year. I missed the start of the series, so I only have 11 of the 12 photos. I'll be transferring the monthly photo to my allotment blog for the next series.











Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Hydrants - the holiday collection

As you'll see from my sidebar, I'm a collector of fire hydrants. The French variety is so different from the Scottish one that I had to add to the collection. You can imagine my long-suffering family as I took these shots. Above, a hydrant with a view at Biarritz. Below, an ordinary, workaday, been-around-a-bit hydrant in Soussans.

Below, a hydrant in Basque country. Note the street sign in French and Basque.

Finally, my favourite, from the mountain village of Sare: the new, plastic, streamlined hydrant, in its own little alcove. A sort of hydrant shrine.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Skywatch Friday - Scots on holiday

Can I stretch the boundaries of this blog to the south west of France? On the grounds that the photos were taken by Scots? Or because this Scot needs a reminder of sun and blue sky, on an evening where we've drawn the curtains by 9.30 pm and the rain clouds are pressing down on Edinburgh?

Above, the beach at Lacanau, to the west of Bordeaux. Part of the long, single stretch of sand that runs from above Bordeaux right down to the Spanish border.

Below, a plane advertises the nearest Aqualand. I have to admit that my children have not visited the museums and galleries of Paris, but are familiar with the Aqualands at le bassin d'Arcachon and Cap d'Agde in France, and Algarve in Portugal. Oh the shame.

The lovely beach at St Jean de Luz, near the Spanish border, on a day that was hot for us Scots, but evidently not for the French.

Below, the same beach on a day of acceptable temperatures.

Squadrons of clouds move in across the bay at Biarritz.

Looking across the border to the mountains of Spain.

If you're ever down that way, La Maison de Soussans, near Bordeaux, and Les Sables, in Les Landes, are lovely, welcoming places to stay. And for the most divine French food we've ever eaten, the Restaurant de la Nivelle, in the Basque country.

More skies from across the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Home from the hill

The first signs of civilisation begin to appear. Above, Mar Lodge in its fourth incarnation. The third Lodge had its foundation stone laid by Queen Victoria, but was destroyed in a fire in 1991. It's now owned by the National Trust, with accommodation available for holiday let. I daresay the weary hikers looked longingly at it on their way past.

Below, the end is in sight as Braemar appears over the brow of the hill.

And home from holiday, to Edinburgh crowded with visitors on the brink of the annual International Festival. It's vibrant, fun, crazy, and after living here through 25 Festivals heading for the hills seems like a good idea.


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