Sunday, November 28, 2010

The door to my study

The door to my study, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Experimentation with off picture flash.

My study is a small room accessed through our main sitting room, a room layout common in Scottish 17th Century Houses, (both also on the firsr floor, again not uncommon for Scottish houses of that era.)

The piles of books are looking for a home though.

And this is a mirror image of a mirror image so to speak. I've used a photo editing programme to mirror the image, so that it "reflects" what we would see looking this way in the real world. Confused? Join the club.

Friday, November 26, 2010

That toffee chew look

That toffee chew look, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Those of us of a certain age will remember McCowan’s Highland Toffee.....

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Autumn wood

Autumn wood, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Along the Ladies walk - Cromarty.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

There is a storm coming

There is a storm coming, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Looking west along the Black Isle

Saturday, November 13, 2010

In the morning sun

In the morning sun, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Winter is here, and the firth is slowing filling up with rigs.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A sailor of the great war

A sailor of the great war, originally uploaded by ccgd.

It was a few years ago, and I’d just returned from Stornoway on a very bumpy morning November flight, wedged in the window seat by a very large lady and enveloped by her overpowering perfume. The cramped conditions, the turbulance and queasiness caused by her scent made reading the weekly Hebridean paper difficult, but two items caught my eye. It was with a jolt that I read that the death had been announced of the last survivor of the Iolair disaster on the 1st of January 1919, where hundreds of returning Lewis servicemen had drowned within sight of Stornoway after their ship sank just yards from the shore.

You see, on the previous day I’d stood at the WW2 fortifications at Arnish point, and looked at the rocks where she had gone down, and thought of them and my own Grandfather, whose ship had also floundered in the same storm, but further North in the Faroe Islands.

He had survived, just as he had survived three years of Atlantic convoys and U Boats, and Family stories have him staggering miles in a snow storm dressed only in trousers and a vest to raise the alarm, nursing a wound that would indirectly lead to his death by drowning ten years later off the East African Coast.

The second news item was a small announcement that, after eighty years of fund raising (yes eighty years) a war memorial would be raised in a small Uist township to its dead of both wars. It says a lot about the relative poverty of the Islands, and one townships collective memory and determination that a war memorial was being completed in the last year of the 20th Century.

So, back in the office and still feeling slightly queasy, I wandered down to a local shop to buy my lunchtime sandwich and yogurt. I was in the queue behind a slight elderly lady buying a very carefully selected mixture of sweets, obviously one of the few treats that she allowed herself, or her pension allowed. But it was when she opened her purse to pay for the purchase, that I saw – just for a flash – a creased, old sepia photograph of a young man, in the uniform of a Highland regiment of 1939, either the Camerons or Seathforths. He had a strong face, with a shy smile, and that glimpse told me her life story.

A Fiancé, a Husband, or a brother, one of the young men of the Highlands who had left for France with the 51st , and never come home, perhaps lost in the retreat or at St Valery, or died in a Polish POW camp, or like my Mothers Cousin, killed in the western desert at El Alamein. Or perhaps I was wrong, and he was sitting at home at that moment, in front of the fire hale and hearty with his P&J.

But no, she had the bird like movements that you only see in the very old, and the nervousness and shyness that goes with elderly ladies who have lived on their own for a very long time.

Someone who has lived with the legacy and loss of war for a very long time.

So its for her, and the ever smaller band of people like here, that we remember 11:00 on the 11th day of the 11th Month.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Turbine and Platform

Turbine and Platform, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Circling the Beatrice No 1 Wind Turbine, with the Alpha and Bravo Beatrice Platforms in the background, flaring some major gas.

Strangely enough Ruth and I saw (and photographed) one of the Beatrice platforms being towed through the English Channel in the summer of 1979 as we returned from Normandy form our Honeymoon.


I took this shot at sundown the 4th of November in the Moray Firth, on a trip out to the wind farm with some Hong Kong based energy specialists.

Blast those dirty windows and reflections in the perspex. Now I know why they take the doors of helicopters when taking serious aerial shots.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Kids and stones

Kids and stones, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Bonfire night - after the fireworks Cromarty folk tend to congregate around the last of the bonfire on the beach.

Small boys and stone throwing into the fire then tend to figure prominently in the rest of the evenings activities. It's a rock hitting burning straw thing.

Fun. Dangerous but Fun.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Moray Firth sunset

Moray Firth sunset, originally uploaded by ccgd.

Circling around the Beatrice Demonstrator Wind-farm as the sun sets.

Hellish light, just between the showers, dirty windows on the chopper, but I do like flying in Helicopters.