Monday, 30 July 2012

Feed the Birds.

We feed the birds all year round.  Some people stop in the Summer thinking the birds have plenty without any supplements.  Wrong!  Those birds have come to rely on you.

We supply peanuts, sunflower seeds, wild bird seed, niger seed, fat balls and scraps from our food, toast, bacon rind, porridge, also from the cat food, left biscuits, all well soaked. (Cat biscuits swell in the stomach, ok for cats, not for birds, so make sure they are soaked and have expanded .)

Although we do have many starlings we have to wait till night fall for them all to gather up from all around and create this.  A Murmuration.

The Rooks, Crows and Jackdaws can be quite bullying.

But the Warblers are quite sweet.

And the Goldfinches are beautiful.

This year we had a tree creeper.  Not feeding on anything we provided, other than the tree he investigated.

Woodpeckers are regular visitors.

Okay, we get the doves, but not the Peacocks.

The pleasure we get from the birds is just fantastic.  We have seen lots of baby birds being shown the feeders and the water provided.

I have an unending panorama of subjects to paint and draw.

We send in our counts to the British Trust for Ornithology for their records, on a weekly basis.

25 different birds is our usual count.  What's yours?  If you have never looked before, why not!

And if the pheasants dont mop up the bits on the ground, there is always this wee chappie.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


Last week at Art Class I was drawing a poppy and other bits.  One of the members of the group was trying to remember the poem about poppies she had learned at school.

With the clues given I managed to establish it was from Tam O Shanter by Robert Burns.

So I then decided to do another Poppy in my favourite media, pen and watercolour.  With the quotation from the poem.

I then sat and read a few more of Mr Burns' poems and really got excited.

"Wee, sleekit, cow'rin, tim'rous beastie'
O, what a panic's in they breastie."  To a Mouse.  Robert Burns.

So I started a mouse.

Also on the drawing board, is a tawny owl.

"Sad bird of night, what sorrows call the forth, 
To vent thy plaints thus in the midnight hour."  To the Owl, Robert Burns.

And there's more.
To a Mountain Daisy.
Sonnet on hearing a Thrush.
On scaring some water fowl.
A red, red rose.
Address to the Woodlark.
Oh Bonny was yon Rosy Brier.

I am so excited....


My sister in law took this photograph.  And has given me permission to try and paint it.

So far I have drawn it and I think I have got it right!

I had to be dragged out of the shed/summerhoose/drinkingden/opera theatre to eat me tea.

Inspired I am.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Friday's Fun? Some of it.

A good reason for not cutting down/removing your thistles.

In the background of these two foxes larking about are masses of different coloured foxgloves.  Now why have not the foxes got the gloves on?!

Unfortunately this is not our wild flower meadow.  But one can dream...

That way to Africa.  What a poor Summer the Swallows have had.    It was boiling hot and sunny this morning, then suddenly the sky went black and it 'sheeted' with rain.  At least I do not have to water all my pots.

Poor Cait Sith.  Not allowed out.  Having managed to splice his mainbrace on something sharp.  He spent most of the day being sewn up at the vets.

He has to stay indoors for 24 hours, better still 48, no chance of that.  Or me getting any sleep.  I was expecting the bucket over the head, but no, see how he goes.....If he keeps nattering at the far he hasn't.  He also is convinced the Dawn Patroller is the devil incarnate as he took him to the vets.  But he is such a big cat, I can't lift him in the cat box.

No fun there then.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Thursdays Tribulations.

Our last morning of Kids Activities at the Lighthouse Museum, this Summer Holiday.  We will be back in October for 'Tattie Picking Weeks.'  Traditionally the schools close in October for the cheap labour i.e. kids to go picking Potatoes.  This no longer happens, kids picking tatties, but the schools in Scotland close for two weeks.  

The picture above is some of the art work that the children have placed into the Disc Covers.

Down in the Exhibition room at the Lighthouse Museum we entertained the kids and their carers.

Amongst the lenses of Lighthouses, exhibited, we helped them make masks.  Every time I looked in the lens direction I went blind.  For about five minutes.  Should I be taking out insurance?  Or just make sure I wear my sun glasses?

Foil sculptures.

And we all had a good time.

On my return we were going to sort more stuff out for the charity shop, but then discovered this toad in the garage.  So he/she was rescued and put outside into the wildflower meadow (lots of rye grass and weeds you dont want.)

Meanwhile, here is a buzzard on a straw bale.  Very common here in the North East, both Buzzards and Straw round bales.

My beautiful Agapanthus.  xxxx

These are the poppies I drew yesterday,at our art class, plus the Ladies Mantle and the blue thingys.  It was drawing only, no painting, so I used pencils and pens.

The problem with poppies is that once cut and brought in they open up, almost as you watch.

"But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed."

Rabbie Burns wrote this, its in his famous poem Tam O' Shanter.

This set me off .  I have now decided to do a series of paintings with words, based on his poems/songs.  He wrote about poppies, roses, daisies, mice, skylarks, owls, sheep, wowee!

Just adding to Thursdays Tribulations!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

A Farewell and a new Start.

Yesterday the Geriatric Gang met for coffee at the Mission.

Facing onto the harbour it is not exactly an enticing looking building.  

The Mission to Seafarers (formerly, The Missions to Seamen) is an international not-for-profit charity serving professional merchant sailors across the oceans. MtS main purpose is to provide Anglican chaplains to deliver Bibles and other Christian literature to ships and to offer spiritual and pastoral care to seafarers.

Inside all is warm and friendly. (and some of the customers are phwoar.) (Some are not.)
The food and drink (non alcoholic of course) is ridiculously cheap.  I paid 95p for a milky coffee.  Milky coffee is a very Scottish drink.  A spoonful of instant coffee and poured over with hot milk.  It is okay but not exactly a cappuccino.  No chocolate on top for a start.

My main reason for going to the mission was to bid a fond farewell to a person that has become very dear to me.

Murray Campbell is Senior Superintendent of the Fishermen's Mission based at Fraserburgh, and is just entering his 24th year of service to the Mission. His area extends from Fraserburgh to Dornoch and has has also oversight for Mallaig in the west coast.  He has seved in Mallaig (2), Lochinver, Aberdeen, Scrabster & Fraserburgh.  Prior to joining the Mission, Murray was European Buyer for Scottish Seafoods based at Annan.  Lossiemouth born, Murray has been President of the Moray Battalion of the Boys' Brigade, Session Clerk of his church, Football Referee and Referee Supervisor with the SFA and Member of the Central Buchan Rotary Club (Past President of Thurso Rotary Club) In 2010, Murray was elected Chairman of the North & East Scotland Port Welfare Committee. With a passion for helping others, he is an accredited professional Member of the IWO.

Way overdue he is now about to retire and move back to Lossiemouth.  I cannot really see him retiring as such.  I really can't.  But he wont be just up the road any more.

There are certain people who stand out in your life - Murray is one in mine.

Murray on the right.  Courtesy of the Fraserburgh Herald.

  I have no religion, I dont fish, or sail in boats, or play golf, or football.  None of that mattered to him.  A delightful person who made me laugh and who laughed with me.

I wish I could say I had packed so much into my life.

But, as with Murray, there is still loads of time left!

Monday, 23 July 2012


Is where our house is.  Craigellie is a part of Lonmay Parish which spreads far and wide.
A lot of the buildings are listed.  As are bits of them, like kennel block, churches, (we have quite a few), and walled gardens.  Craigellie House Walled Garden is listed.  How that affects a Garden I am unsure and must try and find out more.

Here are the latest pics from the Dawn Patroller of the Walled Garden and its valiant production of flowers despite no attention horticulturally from anyone.

I keep telling him to take a trowel and do a bit of thinning.  Do the garden good (remember the book, The Secret Garden?) and do ours some as well.  I have been known to take a cutting in a garden centre,.

But he has his principles. Unlike me.

Weather - well .  It just sheeted down.  It is warm, heavy, I am on the verge of struggling to breathe, but on the upside we get these sights at the end.

The above is a sort of squashed rainbow.  Never seen anything like that before in my life.

I got quite excited and asked, Is that the Northern Lights?  Only to be reminded we were facing South East.

Facing North West - the Sunset.

Facing South as the sun set, remember it does not get really dark here in the North East of Scotland.

Land of the Big Sky in Craigellie.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Winter in Summer and Rubbish on the tele.

At the end of the day one does want to relax and possibly watch the television.  No sex, no violence, no inane game shows, definitely no 'reality ' super tanned robots from darn Sarth.

The Dawn Patroller scrolled through what was on offer and suddenly said, "Ah ah."

We then watched well over an hour of absolutely fantastic entertainment.

You may have seen some weird advert for this chap, Andre Rieu.  His CD for sale.  At which I remember snorting.

But boy, oh boy, his concerts are something else.

The audience filled the town, there were hundreds and hundreds in the audience.  They were enjoying themselves.

As were the soloists, singers and the orchestra.

Brass musicians from miles around joined in and lined the streets.

The audience stood up and danced together.

The best night on t.v. I have experienced for a long, long time.

I thoroughly recommend it.  So if you are not interested in the Olympics, have a trawl through for Andre Rieu and enjoy.