Colzium etc….some photos….

Just a few random shots from the ‘Non-Driving Day Out’ Blog….sorry about the contrast in some of the shots….very-intense, rather-low sun to blame….Click on the link below to see some more of our lovely scenery…..You Lucky People!

Light and dark in the overgrown paths

Light and dark in the overgrown paths

Lots of cones about

Lots of cones about

A particularly-large cone

A particularly-large cone

Colour disappearing from the leaves....

Colour disappearing from the leaves….

Almost transparent....

Almost transparent….

Looking like an up-turned boat.....

Looking like an up-turned boat…..

Just imaging having to trim these trees!

Just imaging having to trim these trees!

Dated....

Dated….

Friendly dog with four tennis balls

Friendly dog with four tennis balls

The burn...

The burn…

Could not resist the colour of the water...

Could not resist the colour of the water…

Ripening for winter.....

Ripening for winter…..

A shady nook....

A shady nook….

Proudly standing....

Proudly standing….

Sun changed within a minute.....

Sun changed within a minute…..

Feeling rather uncomfortable.....

Feeling rather uncomfortable…..

Still uncomfortable!......

Still uncomfortable!……

Good lady beside our Quite-Quirky Juke.....

Good lady beside our Quite-Quirky Juke…..

From the summit of the Tak-Ma-Doon Road...in the heat-haze

From the summit of the Tak-Ma-Doon Road…in the heat-haze

Not the slightest idea….

The old Irish Homestead, which has seen better days

The old Irish Homestead, which had seen better days, but still very much part of my childhood.

The Scottish ancestral home, near Inverness, Scotland

Foulis Castle, the Scottish ancestral home, near Inverness, Scotland, which we have visited many times

s I have become older, I have become more interested in my back-ground. Where have we fitted-into the world, what influence have our great-grandparents had on who we are. And what influence have we individually had on our succeeding generations. Besides our blood family, there are also many other circles within which we move, our neighbours, club memberships, school friends, and work colleagues, to name but a few. So do we have an influence on all these folk?

Then there are those far-off relatives-by-marriage whom we have never met, and are unlikely to meet. However we are duty-bound to at least use one ear when listening to the intricacies of the relationship when relayed by someone close. Social media has brought many of these people within communication range, but we will still not meet them in the flesh.

No, I am mainly concerned about my own recent, and not so recent, predecessors and their close families, …….my DNA, if you will.

I am fortunate in that those before me were able to utilise the clan system, and the known history (from about 1100 ad) to document the earliest ancesters right through to my grandparents on my father’s side. This info was available to me through family publications….so no real problems there.

Luckily I knew my maternal grandparents well and many aunts, uncles and cousins, but my paternal grandparents had both passed-on before I could know them, even as a child.

So I was able to get into the history of a well-to-do Scottish land-owning family, and the life of a small Irish farming family, but even then I have only scratched the surface. I know nothing of their daily lives and how that influenced their approach to life. Did it make them ‘harder’ if life was difficult, and would this percolate into the ethos of the family, and the behaviour of their descendents?

Images of more than two or three generations back are limited so we cannot see, or image whether our facial features, skills, attributes etc are discernible as part of a long line. Very strange, that we are part of this long lineage, and yet, we are only in connection with a maximum of two generations on either side of ours.

Presumably, future generations will be asking the same questions as we do, but I hope that the work I have been doing on digitising all the available photos, documents etc into some form of logical order for generations to come will prove hopeful……

STOP PRESS!

newspaper

I’ve recently appeared twice in the press. I’m afraid it was not in the big nationals, or even Hello magazine. And I am glad it isn’t in the Obituary section! No, the reports and quotations were to do with my great little choir Angelus Singers.

It followed our appearance at one of the churches in Ballachulish near Glencoe (see a previous blog).  The local press there (The Oban Times ) published a very large colourful photo with a two line report….I think they were trying to fill a lot of space! Our local paper here (the Kirkintilloch Herald) has just published a small black-and-white photo with a quite extensive report, …..I think they also were trying to fill up non-used advertising space! Several copies have been purchased for some reason, by the Lady of the House!

Have you e ver cringed at, or been proud of, any references to you in the Press…..come on spill the beans!

Remember, remember…..

Recently, we have had the local noises of fireworks, as people, for some strange reason, let off excessive numbers of fireworks. Is it to ward-off evil spirits, or just some kind of ‘last-fling’ at the end of Spring?  Why should we want to remember the Fifth of November, anyway?

This morning, at the Cathedral, we remembered the fallen, in a very gentle way, with no blazing trumpets, but a simple selection of hymns, Peter Maxwell-Davies’ moving ‘Farewell to Stromness’ played on the piano, and Frikki Walker’s ‘Prayer for Peace’.

This afternoon, with the foul weather, we started to clear out some old photographs. No easy task! We thought we would get rid of a lot, but it feels rather uncomfortable to destroy images of ones we knew, and maybe even more so, those we didn’t know, as they were before our time. So we compromise by getting some destroyed, some scanned-into the computer, and others to be sent-off to relations who might not have copies, and would welcome them, and even more to be passed on to the Glasgow’s People Palace. This is because the Lady’s forebears were famous in the Glasgow East-End Ministry, and were great supporters of the working people of the area. 

And so we have had a period of recalling those who at various times have passed-on. And what memories will we leave behind, and how will people sum-up our attitude to life and others (as they will)? Happy, pleasant, annoying, snobby, short-tempered, truthful, reliable, patient?

So it behoves us to remember this whenever we interact with someone we love, or someone we have just met for the first time…because we are laying down how we will be remembered long after we are gone. How would you like to be remembered? …..maybe I will just go down as a long-winder old blogger!!

Snap!

I’ve at long last made a start on clearing out the ‘photo box’ which we got from the family home now that the ‘old folks’ have passed-on.

There are many hundreds of snapshots-in-time recorded. I imagine that many have not seen the light of day for many decades, and unfortunately many are now of no historical value because there is no record of names, locations or dates to give a clue as to why they were thought valuable enough to keep in a box for over 50 years.

Some are obviously of severe old great-grandparents staring out at us from the 19th century. Stiff collars and suits for the men, and long dresses and rolled-up hair-styles for the ladies. Even our grandparents and parents dresses relatively formally for holidays. I even have a photo of my father ploughing with a shirt and tie!

The early photos were obviously relatively expensive and only taken for specific reasons and occasions. They appear to be of high quality and the detail is remarkable. The only problem is that we cannot easily see behind the starched image, and it is only within the last 50 years that we begin to see a relaxation in the photos. Photography had become cheaper, with the Kodak Brownie camera with the miniature photos, and although they were all in black-and-white we could imagine the colour.

Now that digital photography is in the hands of everyone, we can take hundreds of photos on holiday and then select what we want to retain, so that we only keep the very best to put on a disc or send to friends. But how often will we look at them? It’s also difficult to carry the laptop around to show photos to friends or work colleagues.

So we will have recorded a marvellous fund of historical information for future generations of the family and those who want to research the past. But are they the ones we would like to keep to record our existence?

We had a great evening!

Despite the cynical views of barbecues I gave on last blog, we had a lovely time last weekend when the choir got together for an end of season get-together.

The evening was not exactly balmy, but pleasantly mild; the cooking was, as one might expect, superb (from your’s truly); the preparation, presentation and consumption of food and liquid went as planned; the conversation flowed well with no-one left in a corner; the midges had gone away for their holidays; and the evening finished with a good old ‘sing-song’ round the piano (as you would xpect from a choir).

So when are we going to do it again, before the winter sets-in!

So far and yet so near

Brother, who is married and lives in Australia, has just had his 60th birthday, and, as requested, has sent me a very nice family photo including his wife and children. I was almost tempted to ask him why the photo did not come upside down, but that is too corny even for me!

He went to the antipodes on UK Decimalisation Day (probably to escape the horrible word, PENCE), and thinks nothing of the long flights back for funerals. It is strange to note that even with being so close as children, who played well together, we have spent most of our lives as far apart as is presently possible, and have built-up relationships, and pursued careers unknown and un-connected to one another.

Yet when we do meet again, we seem to just settle-in again as if nothing had happened.

There is one other interesting point. When writing the obituary for our mother, I e-mailed him to see if there were any specific points or memories he wanted brought to mind, and he sent me over his version of our childhood. There were some important points on which the facts seemed to differ from my recollection and diary, but at this stage in our lives it makes no difference, but does show that we can observe happenings from different viewpoints, and carry that view all our lives.

We still hope that we might take the long journey over, and resolve who was right about the various parts of our childhood, if someone could knock me out for the 36 hours of travelling!

‘I KNOW MY GEOGRAPHY’ AWARD!

So I gave you a few extra days to rethink, but I have to  congratulate the last commenter, Daffy, on being right. It is the ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle, and not Lindisfarne (lovely as it is) as it is further north. We have never been over to Lindisfarne as we have always just missed the tide, which covers the causeway.

One place (plaice) worth visiting near there is Craster, a tiny fishing port with a marvellous smokery and fish restaurant. The above was a simple offering we had one day….no bottle of vinegar available!

We stayed at the old coaching inn, the Mason’s Arms, in Rennington, again quite close,….well worth the journey to stay in the marvellous outhouses converted into suites.  British accommodation and catering can be tremendous!

So I award DAFFY a personal driver to Northumberland, a slap-up meal at Crabster, and a weekend at the Mason’s Arms….and off course, a framed photo, on the wall, of her favourite Angel!