Sunday, 27 September 2015

Wayfarers All

Illustration by Arthur Rackham for the chapter 'Wayfarers All', in 'The Wind in the Willows'

 "And you, you will come too, young brother; for the days pass and never return, and the South still waits for you.  Take the Adventure, heed the call, now ere the irrevocable moment passes! 'Tis but a banging of the door behind you, a blithesome step forward, and you are out of the old life and into the new!" Wayfarers All, 'The Wind in the Willows'.

We are missing our young people here.  One back at university, and one just left for a year in New Zealand.  No more clutter of shoes in the hall.  So many things that tug at the parental heartstrings, but of course they have to leave and take that 'blithesome step'.

Still, they do leave some things behind - and quite large things at that. 

We are custodians of the harp in a university year that's going to be too busy for much playing.  I'll have to remember to dust it (very) occasionally, in line with my approach to dusting in general. 

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Instant Instagram appeal

It's time to admit it: I've been seduced by Instagram.  It was the last thing I expected.  It started slowly, I suppose like all seductions.  An account opened out of curiosity, then a few tentative photos posted over several months, but without hashtags so that I wasn't visible.  Needless to say my children found this hilarious - what was the point of being on social media if I wasn't being social?  

A big breakthrough was when my son explained, very gently, that the 'instant' part of Instagram didn't need to be taken literally.  I had thought that it all needed to be done live - take the photo, sort out your hashtags, publish.  Of course when I'm out and about I don't have my reading glasses on and it's always too much of a fangle to fish in my bag for them, so I was squinting at this tiny screen trying to get everything done instantly.  Discovering that it's possible to post photos that I'd taken previously made me very happy indeed.  

So why have I been Instagramming away this summer and neglecting my blog?  Well, I spend five days a week in front of a computer screen, choosing words very carefully.  An ever so slightly misjudged word can have huge consequences in my workplace, and I feel as if my days are spent leafing through a mental Roget's Thesaurus.  When I get home the last thing I feel like doing is crafting more words in front of a screen.  Instagram is also much faster technically than Blogger.  Most of all, it's made for the posting of a single photo that doesn't need to carry the weight of a narrative.  My camera and phone memory cards are full of photos like this.  Interesting (I hope), perhaps quirky, things I'd like to share, but not enough to support a blog post. And I am loving discovering glimpses of other people's visual worlds through hashtags, in a much more agile and pick up/put downable way than blog hopping. I still love reading other people's narrative blogs, and wish I had more time for it.  In a way I'm returning to how I started this blog back in 2008, which was with the photos foremost and minimal text.  I will probably continue blogging, but it's a bit of a relief not to feel dutiful about it, and I'll have to see how the balance goes. Coincidentally, I read Stephanie Donaldson in Country Living this month giving the same reasons for why she is enjoying Instagram.

After all of that, here are some of the escapee photos from this summer.  A day of lochs and historic houses in the Borders.  Above, Talla Reservoir in high summer, grasses that are now bleached by autumn, blowing in the soft wind.  Below, Megget Reservoir, beautifully remote-seeming and yet pretty close to Edinburgh.

Below, Traquair House near Innerleithen.  A fascinating house to visit, with lovely gardens.

Traquair House

From the house looking up the driveway

The maze, from an upstairs window

Next time I have a story to tell I'll be back here, but you can catch up with the instant side of things on @occasionalscotland on Instagram, or use the Instagram button on my sidebar.


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