Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dalek Jubilee

Warning: you are now entering the wilder reaches of Jubilee fever.  I wonder if Mrs Queen knows about the Dalek celebrations of her Jubilee?  This is the City of Edinburgh Libraries Dalek at the Central Library.  

Doctor Who is such a global export that I'm sure Daleks will be familiar to many.  Just in case, you can read about them here.  In a nutshell, they're an alien mutant race which famously invaded Britain despite their inability to go up or down stairs.  I am of the generation which hid behind the sofa when they appeared on TV waving their little sink-plungers (sorry, death rays) while threatening to 'exterminate!' in their chilling metallic voices.

There is, I discover, a Dr Who episode called 'Jubilee'.  This is all getting very in-joke-ish.  The Queen and Prince Philip seem to be having a jolly time despite it all.

Apologies for the blue-ish tinge of the photos.  I set my camera to 'tungsten' setting for indoor shots, but it seems that the light was half indoor, half natural light.  The central lending room is a lovely light spaceI'll remember that next time I take a photo of the library Dalek.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Jubilee - and those dogs

No royal motif is left unexploited in the wave of Jubilee merchandise that is upon us.  The Queen's corgis feature in surprising manifestations.  Above, a Jubilee corgi cracker.

The limited edition Jubilee Marmite is now on sale - as the poster says, it's a love-it-or-hate-it thing.  I love it, and will be buying my supply very soon before it sells out.  Not too sure how long I can keep it tho - might not be a good souvenir to pass on to the grandchildren.

This blurry shot of the Jubilee crackers in Marks & Spencer was the result of a case of 'security-itis', that phenomenon well known to bloggers.  I was happily framing the shot, and already planning the next one I would take (a winning composition of my 6ft plus son standing under a Jubilee crown pinata - apologies to Spanish speakers, I can't find the right accent to go over the 'n'), when a store manager materialised and stopped me in my tracks.  Quite what the security aspect was I can't think.  If I wanted to manufacture my own counterfeit corgi crackers all I had to do was buy a box and take them apart.  I would have thought M&S would be glad of the publicity - export orders streaming in from across blogland for corgi crackers. 

You'll see more Jubilee gems at Writing from Scotland, as well as a tale of being in a Royal presence.  Christine has also featured the Ma'amite - it's irresistible!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

May snow

In the past week we've been hurtled from grudging spring into summer.  Heading north on the A9 last Saturday the hills around the Drumochter Pass were all snow-capped and the birch trees by the side of the road showed only the faintest green.

Note the electricity pylons - they're soon to be replaced by a new power line which will make a very definite visual imprint on the landscape. 

Above, the Cairngorms with late season snow which has seen a rush to the ski slopes after a pretty dismal season otherwise.  Much skiing in kilts, if not in bikinis.

Below, just a glimpse of snow in the background, and one of my favourite houses on the journey.  The little loch is a mass of wild water lilies later in the summer.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Jubilee - Solar Queen

Preparations for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in June are gathering pace.  There are some 'tasteful' retail opportunities out there.  One of my favourites is this Solar Queen (or Reine Solaire, presumably for the Canadian market).  Place Her Majesty in a sunny spot and she'll respond with a solar-powered wave of the hand.

Since I'm not of a separatist persuasion - proudly Scottish, yes, but also proudly British - I'll be featuring a few more Jubilee gems over the next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Mosaic Monday - Our Nation's Sons

Murals by Edinburgh College of Art student Joe Caslin, entitled 'Our Nation's Sons'.  Along the lines of 'the person behind the hoodie'.

This mural in the Cowgate was photographed from George IV Bridge.  You can see the other murals in the project at Joe's website. 

This is my contribution to Monday Murals at Oakland Daily Photo.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Auld Lang Syne in Poland

Unlike Easter two years ago, when blizzards and gales forced the cancellation of my daughter's school music tour to Orkney, this year's tour to Krackow in Poland went ahead.  

The chamber choir and orchestra programme was varied, ranging from Bach to contemporary Polish composer Gorecki.  They performed in the most beautiful churches, including Pope John Paul II's home church on the first anniversary of his canonisation and a church in a salt mine.  

Thrown into to the mix in the highlights link below are a couple of very different renditions of Auld Lang Syne - one at 35,000 feet.

Krackow tour highlights

Friday, 11 May 2012

Lamp post notices

With the Spring the lamp posts along my walk to work have blossomed with all sorts of notices.  There's the get fit/keep fit theme.

The standard missing pet theme.

And the personal and touching.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Skywatch Friday - Cloud chasing from the train

On a train journey recently from Leuchars (the station for St Andrews) to Edinburgh we seemed to chase this towering cloud along the shores of the Forth.

It was a day of micro climates.  The grey skies under which we'd left Edinburgh persisted until a few fields away from St Andrews.  All day in St Andrews the sun shone, making up for our stormy day of a few weeks ago.  But as Edinburgh came into view across the Forth on the return journey, we could see that it was not only still shrouded in gloom, but seemed to be deluged from the massive cloud above it. 

Taking photos from a moving train is very frustrating.  There's always something to get in the way, just as you frame a shot.  There are few empty spaces along this stretch of coast.  Above, quite by chance, I discovered that I'd also got a church and some flats.

And when you want to capture something, such as this boatyard below, it goes past in a blur.  What you can see quite clearly in this shot is the shape of Arthur's Seat across the water, behind the white building in the centre (which I think is probably Chancelot Flour Mill at the docks).

Now this is the shameful bit.  There are several islands in the Forth, and I'm not entirely sure which one this is.  It may be Inchkeith, which was used to quarantine plague (and syphilis) victims.  It was also apparently the site of a linguistic experiment by King James IV who in 1493 transported a dumb woman and two infants to the island in order to see which language the children would grow up speaking, with the hope that it might be the language of the gods. 

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Scottish Spring

This 'installation' at the University of Edinburgh's George Square campus sums up our weather this Spring.


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