Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Doing and reporting

I shouldn't be surprised that I can't report everything I do and see, but my fantasy is that I could do that. :-) I have a few hundred photos so far, and anyone who wants to look directly at them is welcome to do so. I'm usually a day or two behind on getting them uploaded, too, but here are some links.

London the first few days:
Edinburgh and thereabout:
Yarrow Valley (still uploading, as I write this):

I'll add a page to this blog with links like this, rather than add other blog posts. I think you'll have the option to view those as a slideshow, and also to leave comments on individual photos if you want to. Sorry if there are duplicates, or seeming duplicates. I don't mind if people post them, and it's okay to link directly if you want to (to use my image urls directly; I pay my photobucket bills).

People in the photos or owners of the places pictured are very welcome to take and do whatever they want with those photos of themselves and their houses, and THANK YOU for the opportunity to see them and save images to share with my family and friends, and to help me remember later on.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Went to church, played the organ

I was up early, so went over to the church to return some things I had taken to read and look at. Newsletters, and a music book with notation I didn't recognize.

I played the organ. It's an electric organ from the later 20th century. The hymnbooks were older. I looked for things I knew and then thought to let the books show me something else. I played things I had never heard, and thought "probably this church has heard them" (and heard them played much better, too). I played one that had the tune name "St. Ethelreda." It sounded 18th century to me, maybe. Older chords in a couple of places. Spooky to a major resolution. Older than the organ; newer than the walls.

The book near the organ had been cut horizontally so it could be like a flip book, different tunes with different lyrics or services. All the tunes were on the top halves of pages.

The chance to be in an old church by myself at 7:00 a.m. was powerful with or without it having been Scotland. But there it is. It was Yarrow Kirk. What a special thing.

Deb Lewis sent a quote to go with this page:
"Listen, and for organ music thou wilt ever, as of old, hear the Morning Stars sing together." ~Thomas Carlyle

View of the church this morning, and view of those same windows from the organ bench:

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Yarrow Manse

Here's where I'm staying. I've been here since Kirsten drove me here from Edinburgh on Friday.

View from the east,and windows on the top floor are the room I'm in. It's "an attic room," sort of, but it's also as big as many living rooms are. Two beds, table, beautiful big windows.

In the morning when it's dark, it's only dark because of this:

Here's what's outside:

At the top of the stairs, there's a skylight, through which the church shows:

A past fashion, concerning death

A 17th Century fashion, concerning death, in Scotland, it seems:

The top one was at the Scottish National Museum:

The other three are between here and the church behind the house where I'm staying with the Siroky family (Samuel Siroky, the minister of the parish, and his wife Ester and their six very cool kids).

No-nonsense breakfast cereal

Red fruit.

Just eat it.

Zoom Saves World

Well, not "saves," but can make the world look better. Because without the zoom, it was framed thusly:

Guilt by bad association

So I'm walking down this road in Edinburgh, by myself, and find that SOMEone or SOMEthing has done THIS, without any respect for cultural symbolism, on a thistle:

And I think to myself "I bet it was one of those scofflaw Staffies. I walked another four blocks thinking of the sad state of Scotland (or at least that neighborhood, which wasn't really so bad) and came upon THE GUILTY PARTY HIMSELF:

Right outside the post office, which was my own destination, is the dog I think might possibly have done that deed.

Maybe not. But it's my story, and I have pictures to prove it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Concert in Selkirk

Because the page will eventually disappear, I've brought these bits, but tonight I got to hear a really great concert:

HAYDN Symphony No 70 in D
WEBER Clarinet Concerto No 1
BEETHOVEN Symphony No 3 'Erocia'
Exciting young American conductor Jonathan Schiffman makes his SCO debut with a thrilling programme. Beethoven’s 3rd Symphony was inspired by Napoleon, whom the composer saw as a benefactor of mankind and a life-enriching hero. His view changed, however, when Napoleon pronounced himself Emperor, causing Beethoven to tear the dedication from his manuscript. Nevertheless, the symphony retains its great heroic power and emotional depth. The SCO’s virtuoso Principal Clarinet Maximiliano Martín is the soloist in the poetic concerto by Carl Maria von Weber, a composer of glorious music too often overshadowed by his great contemporaries.
“Schiffman has it all: a beautiful and precise technique, stage presence, and a natural authority...” La Provence, France
“Martín was a virtuosic tour de force” The Scotsman

Moms, boys and chickens

Location of these chickens: SE corner of the front garden of Yarrow Manse, near the intersection of those two roads.

Millionaire Genius Guy

A millionaire genius in his Alpha Romeo:

Alan in the rental car the insurance company gave him temporarily, watching his children at the playground without getting out of that warm place. And it is an Alpha Romeo. And he might be a genius. I don't know him well enough to gauge.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The fine print

We were at an indoor play place yesterday. The food was better than I've ever seen in such a place, and I studied the menu a long time. But the best find was on the ketchup package.

Instead of listing long scary names of preservatives, they give you a code to look up if you care. But after the codes, was this mysterious entry: "Tomato Ketchup Spice." After the water, sugar, tomato paste, thickener, salt and (I assume) vinegar, what else IS there to ketchup? Something secret.

And it also might potentially have a touch of everything anyone in the U.K. has ever thought they might be allergic to. It's quite dangerous for a little bitty squirt of potato-dip.

That pitcher is squash. Not squash the vegetable, but squash the fruity drink. Black currant, this one was. Kids like it. It's better than Kool-aid.


Julie told me when I was first here that now in London kids can't carry knives, and so they were getting Staffordshire Terriers. We saw one with some boys.

In Edinburgh I saw a teenager with one that was straining at the leash, and he went into the store but left the dog tied outside. The dog seemed friendly then, and I'm sorry I didn't get a better shot:

He looked like a pit bull in the face.

Here's an article already five years old: How did the Staffordshire terrier fall in with the wrong crowd?
The Staffordshire terrier is fast becoming the weapon of choice for urban thugs. Malcolm Macalister Hall reports

wikipedia sez...

Very Yellow Car

The lights, bumpers and mirror are not like any I know, so either they were different in the UK, or this has adaptations, or maybe it's before 1959. If anyone can date it or comment, I'd like to know. Sorry I couldn't get a good shot of the dashboard. It was dark in that garage, and I didn't want to be in trouble for sticking my nose into someone else's car. I couldn't see whether it had a fuel gauge.

(Edinburgh, 26 May 2011)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Surprising image

Today I took a quickie photo of a cafe where I've eaten twice, as we happened to be walking by. My only concern was to aim high, so that two people sitting in the window didn't feel like I was taking their picture. I just wanted the name of the restaurant, really.

When I looked at the photo, I saw what I had caught in the reflection.

The Museum of Childhood

I've broken a rule. Not a legislative ruling, so I wasn't in danger of deportation, just of ejection from a museum. But I didn't see the "no photography" sign until I had already taken a dozen photos, so I figured "In for 1p, in for one of those fat little coins that remind me of a nickel," and I took a few more.

Their official site is missing, but here's what Wikipedia has to link, and a good photo of their sign: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Museum_of_Childhood_(Edinburgh)

Here are some of my ill-gotten images:

OH wait... that snakes and ladders drinking game was in a "dollar shop," a discount store near there. I use shops as museums also, and got confused. Filed it with other snakes and ladders games.

Grafitti, Edinburgh style

Easter art, in chalk all along a church. I love the flapping angel. She's wearing plaid, looks like.

If someone were to want to wear plaid, just to wear plaid, holy smokes, this is your source. Ladies' tights everywhere, but even this:

I've never heard anyone say "What I really need is some tartan high heels," but if and when I hear it, I'm ready with helpful advice.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tuesday, Scotland, unwell

I have a cold, but I'm not very ill.  I sound worse than I feel.
I did want to leave a note here, though, saying I will get more photos up in a few days.  Internet access might be sparse for the rest of the week, and I'll be seeing exciting things in Edinburgh, or sleeping off a cold, rather than leaving notes here (I hope).

So.... gratuitous photo so this will not be all text...

and there are a few more at my regular blog.

Monday, May 23, 2011

I was going to France to see this chicken

It wasn't the only reason, but I was looking forward to meeting the renowned Mirabelle. I've been forwarded this note, and the photos were worth sharing.

We mourn the passing of our favorite chicken.

Mirabelle was very comfortable around people, and would love to come into our house to look for food and to crap everywhere. She was so pretty that we sometimes didn't mind! She enjoyed being held and would make the cutest little cooing noises.

Alas, she didn't always want to sleep in the barn with the other chickens. Saturday night, she apparently wanted to sleep behind the house and either she was Raptured up to heaven on the appointed day or a fox took her. Sophie and I followed a trail of the odd feather here and there to down along the river and into a clearing of the neighbors field and it looks like it was probably the latter.

We'll miss you, Mirabelle! Nothing can replace her, but I think we'll look into getting one or two adorable little chicks next week anyway.


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hundred-year-old autograph book

105 years old, but some of the writing is from later years.

Bruce Curtis, my host, has a "Writing Album" that belonged to Ethel Curtis, who was his great aunt (I think; someone at grandmother-level). There are some beautiful things in here—sentiments, scripts, drawings, paintings, some glued in or mounted in slits for the corners, but several (including the music) entirely done by hand in the already-bound book. She had some very artistic friends/relatives.

These can be enlarged by clicking, and represent about half or what's in the book.


A couple of the pages refer to a school whose name I couldn't make out, but Bruce could, and I googled it. There's a photo of a classroom at the school in about those days. Could be one of those girls is Ethel. HOW WONDERFUL, though, to see a room, and some people in clothing that might look right for the period of the writing.