Monday, 29 July 2013

Summer reading

The bliss of summer reading.  A comfortable chair under the apple tree, white clouds sailing in a blue sky, and new worlds to get lost in.  And wonderfully, all these diverse titles are from the city library.

First in the pile, and last to be read, 'I May Be Some Time', by Francis Spufford.  I love the same author's 'The Child That Books Built', and have been wanting to read more of his writing.  With a subtitle of 'Ice and the English Imagination', it's obviously towards the literary end of the spectrum, and so I've saved it for when I have time to appreciate its abstract concepts. 

Next, an attempt to understand something of bio-dynamic growing principles.  I'm not much the wiser after reading this book.  I am pretty much already on the organic wavelength, but I struggled with the more mystical aspects such as burying powdered quartz in a cow horn over the winter to make a 'preparation' for use as a plant spray.  Although I might try sowing and harvesting according to the phases of the moon (if I make a huge effort to get organised), I don't see myself stirring bio-dynamic preparations in a bucket of water for an hour, while creating vortices in opposite directions.

More Francis Spufford!  This time an account of the Soviet planned economy cast as fictionalised documentary.  Absolutely fascinating.

And from one Communist state to another, this account of life inside North Korea.  Extremes of famine, disastrous central economic planning (again), and the god-like worship of the leader.

And finally, a book I borrow from time to time so that I can savour Monty Don's account of the passing seasons in his garden.

It always amazes me in home and lifestyle magazines that so many homes are featured which have no bookcases.  Not a single book.  No books in the bedrooms, dining room, living room, bathroom, hall...Thinking of a blogging friend at Writing from Scotland who is moving house very soon - I hope you get your books moved safely, Christine.

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Skywatch Friday - just another Speyside sunset

Two minutes from my Dad's house, through fields of ripening barley, we have this sunset.  I would swap the whole Edinburgh International Festival which will have descended on the city by the time we get home, for one of these.

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday.

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

In mid Speyside Duathlon

No, not taking part, but spectating-while-going-for-a-walk.  My husband nearly entered the race, being on an upward trajectory with his running and cycling.  However a reality check of the number of uphill sections of the route versus current state of training led to the (wise) decision to aim for next year's race.  And given the soaring temperatures on Sunday morning (at least 23 degrees C), I think that was very wise indeed.

So instead we walked part of the route and were overtaken by runners on their way back to the starting point, where they would change over to their bikes.  This section of the race went through the 'Dounie', a wooded glen which eventually leads to the water source for Glenrothes distillery.  

The race did look very hard work in that heat.  There were cooler sections in the shade of trees, where we came across a carpet of dewy spiders' webs.  It reminded me of the unearthly beauty of the Old Straight Track in Alan Garner's 'The Moon of Gomrath'. 

Looking back up the Dounie to a windy summer sky.  

Competitors setting off on the cycling part of the route, past the warehouses of Glenrothes distillery.  If I could bring you the scents accompanying this photo you would be able to breathe deeply of maturing whisky.  Mmmm...

I have to admit I'm not entirely happy about the prospect of my husband doing the cycling part of the race next year.  Narrow Scottish roads, with their twists and turns, are not particularly designed for cyclists.  Still some family discussions to be had, I think.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Longing for Speyside

The heat has reached even Scotland, and the city is stifling.  I am longing for the North and an escape to Speyside, although it looks as if the heat will follow us there.

Meantime I am refreshing myself by looking at photos I took when we were last up in June.   Perhaps the sunny yellow of the broom was foreshadowing our proper summer.

Friday, 12 July 2013

Skywatch Friday - sailing cloud

After all the ceremony and celebrations of our recent graduation in the family, here's a calmer scene of summer skies over Edinburgh, and a cloud going for a sail.  He - somehow I think it's a 'he' - was all alone.  No other cloud family members in the sky.

He attracted a little line of admirers among commuters walking along North BridgeNice to think that he's been captured digitally on a dozen or so cameras, although whether he survives the inevitable cull that is part of taking too many digital photos is another question.  But I'm glad to record him here for whatever small part of posterity is possible in blogdom.

More skies from around the world are at Skywatch Friday, which entered its seventh year yesterday.


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