Spring 2011

a week after the storms

and the evenings are getting better

This is more like it.

More like we expect, and feel entitled to expect, in a late West Highland spring. Nice wee bit o’ gloaming - a.k.a. l’heure bleue

from afternoon darkness, to brightness at midnight

some spring, this is

This was yesterday, about twenty past two in the afternoon, in Glencoe. Waterfalls blown upwards, or dashed aside on the rocks, beneath a dark, wintery sky, and with winds close to hurricane force

Glencoe - darkness shortly after noon

Then tonight, about ten days overdue, our first bright midnight sky of 2011

Fort William's First Bright Midnight of 2011

Note the Pole Star shining.
More rain forecast for tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow.

nifty & thrifty

spotted on the Longman Trading Estate in Inverness, earlier today....

Mini Cooper Convertible!!!
could this be the shape of things to come?(As usual, click the pic to enlarge)


choral interlude

annual trip to Ardrishaig on the shores of Loch Fyne

Ardrishaig Harbour

where the Crinan Canal links the Firth of Clyde to the Atlantic

The Crinan Canal at Ardrishaig

and where each year since we’ve been in these parts the sun has shone on the Kilmallie Singers’s away fixture with the Corran Singers

Messianic Choirs

This year was Handel’s Messiah.
It was a last time for Sheila MacCallum who says she will not be conducting the two choirs again.
It was also the first time Claire, our Alexander teacher - extreme left in this picture - had joined the choirs to blast out the trumpet parts.

from Alexander to Alec

to Kintaline Farm in Argyllshire

for our Alexander Technique lessons with Claire, who comes up from London several times a year to fix the postural problems of the west highland population

Kintaline Farm

Then on down to Oban, for lunch at Ee-usk, the pearl at the centre of the town’s claim to be “Seafood Capital of Scotland”

Oban Harbour

Jim spotted Mike Russell, ex-Minister of Education in the prorogued Scottish Parliament, settling down to lunch with a group of colleagues at the next table. When we saw that one of those present was non-other-than, Jim tried to sneak a wee photie of the ex-First Minister, Wee ‘Eck his-self

Politicos at Luncheon

This caught the man’s attention, and quick as a flash (none needed in Ee-usk on a day like this) he’s at our table, at our sides, ready for more picture-taking and keen to shoot the political breeze.

Ruth set out for him a programme of how-to-deal-with-Dave, having noticed he seemed quite restrained in his dealings with the current PMUK compared with his vituperation towards his Labour predecessor. He looked like he welcomed her advice

Ruth's new friend

Jim advised a rolling programme of independence, and indicated he’d be satisfied with a federal UK, not least since it might be the only way to bring democracy to England, as it looked like their electorate would be likely to reject the opportunity to take the incremental advantage of AV.


“Eck’s a good listener and a willing banterer, and seemed in no rush to get back to his seat at Mike Russell’s table.

We set him straight on a few things, and he may get one or two of our votes on May 5th. After all, he gives good schmooze!

could this be the last time

the last time we’ll look out the window and see

the world’s last ocean-going paddle steamer, the PS Waverley docking at the Fort William town pier?

Could be, because she’s under threat. The company of enthusiasts (Paddle Steamer Preservation Society) who bought the ship from Calmac for £1.00 in 1976 are having serious difficulty keeping her going with current fuel prices.

So this may be the last shot we’ll get of her reversing away from the pier, beginning her characteristic reverse U-turn across Loch Linnhe, before heading off down the loch to Oban and beyond. Let’s hope not….

You can see more about the PS Waverley, and maybe contribute to help her survive another year, here, and on her Facebook page here