Friday, May 21, 2010

Auld Reekie Connections, Street Poetry

Posted by Picasa

Haiku for a poet long dead remembered after his death:

Robert Fergusson, 1750-1774

Poetry prevails
beyond a brief, Bedlammed life
flowered words in stone

Just off the Canongate road on the way to take photos for a friend's school assignment and just before my camera battery wore out, I met a poet in bronze. He lived a short life--after falling down stairs at his place of work after his father's death meant he had to stop his education--he spent his last years in Bedlam. But other poets loved him and remembered him and now there is a bronze statue of him so lifelike as he is stopped midstride that I felt obliged to stop and chat with him and add just a few words to the few in the stone that now circumscribes his life.

You can tell it was a sunny day--it was a two poem day

Blackbird singing now
connects summer here and there
summer then and now
I saw a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Calton cemetery atop the memorial for Scottish-American soldiers and helped an old man in a wheelchair scootch up the hill to the bus stop in his wheelchair. The old veterans home is just opposite Holyrood. If we send them to war --I leave it to you to decide if we should, but if we do, then we must look after them--not just the memorials but the living testament to our actions.
In the evening I sat with a woman from South Africa and we knit together. Her grandmother taught her to knit as many grannies do, and I told her about my idea for intergenerational knitting and she liked it. Perhaps when she goes back home to South Africa she'll start an intergenerational knit group in her bead shop. I like to think that she might.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Auld Reekie Connections

The wind let us fly here. A friend challenged me to come up with connections--things that bring us together or keep us apart.

And I must do it in 5 mins before my time runs out in internet cafe

Twin set and pearls--J Peterman T shirt

Registered --Not

Inside our B and B looking out on Japanese tourists with cameras, soon the roles reversed I'll be there with my camera.

OK, R. One down out of 4 was it? And 3 mins to spare.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Waiting on the Wind

Posted by Picasa

The phrase--depending on which way the wind blows-- has a whole new meaning now that we sit under the volcanic dust cloud from Iceland. As I type this, Heathrow is open, but Edinburgh airport is closed. Since I want to fly from here to Edinburgh Wednesday morning, I care more about Edinburgh than Heathrow, which may have its own troubles with an industrial action by British Airways, even if the cloud passes it by.

The one hour air trip rather than a 7 hour train ride was intended to be a treat for my friend and myself. I love the train, but having recently spent a day going and another day coming back for one day spent in Glasgow, the idea of an hour on a plane instead had awhich way definite appeal.

So for now we're waiting to see which way the wind blows.

Monday, May 10, 2010

We Go A Viking

In case anyone wonders about the variety of language up here. To Orcadians, this bird is a bonxie. In the more proper language, it is a Skua --a Great Skua, I believe. I left the photo relatively uncropped because I want to give you a taste of how big and empty the hills are. This bonxie and a couple others were cruising low about our ears, presumably because they had nests near by. Even skuas--notoriously aggressive killing machines (Ask any gull!) can be fond parents, so I have dubbed this the "bonxie madonna."

Hoy is one of the smaller but still inhabited of the 60 or so Orkney Islands. We were part of a pre-season one-off excursion to Hoy. Some folks went to the cemetery there; others went to walk to the landward side of the Old Man of Hoy--a famous rock stack. We managed to get a last minute place on the peedy bus down to Rackwick, where we walked down to the beach. I say still inhabited because Rackwick currently has a year-round population of 6.

While Morris rested in the lee of a stone dyke, I tried to find a way to the beach that did not involve scrabbling over huge red and blue boulders jumbled on the beach. In that search I found this handmade bridge, which is even more rickety than it looks in the photo. It was not secured in any way other than habit to the jumble of rocks beneath it, but habits up here can be very enduring, so I gave it a chance and was rewarded first of all with a lovely view of the peat-coloured water in a hurry to get to the shore and then a graceful sandy slope down to the beach.

Even on the higher ground--a no man's land between the waves and the boulders and the cliffs beyond, there were small cousins of the boulders on the beach. I could have adopted each and every one of those lovely rocks, but I managed to pick up only one to come home with me. Rackwick blue I called the smooth dark blue stones. I had seen a few stones in this colour on the beach at Isauld, but here they seemed to predominate. A dense, smooth rock that slipped easily into my pocket though its weight pulled my jacket a kilter just to let me know it was still there.

It was hard to choose which of the beach shots to share. But the lovely colours of the sand here just kept coming up. I tried to imagine the billions of waves with their sometimes fierce intensity that had pummeled the coloured boulders into these coloured sands.

Posted by Picasa

Thursday, May 06, 2010

On the Rocks Again

Posted by Picasa

As I was planting out the first of the refugees of my Noah's Ark of plants from the old garden, I couldn't help but notice how many stones there were in the soil. My first "published" writing in Scotland was a letter to Kitchen Garden magazine --with photos-- about how I was de-rocking the soil for a kitchen garden

Along the way to courgettes and several failed attempts at tomatoes, I also sacrificed an elbow to that garden of rocks. Years ago, I lost my right elbow to tennis. This time my left elbow gave in after too much rocking and digging in the rich clay earth. I fretted just a bit about that as I dug contentedly in the soil. As long as I do it in small doses.... but that's what getting older means, isn't it?

The first of the lupines went in yesterday. The rain sliding down the window tells me my elbow will have a rest today. And I console myself that the rain will be good for the transplant.