Monday morning I accepted an invitation to visit Douglas Irvine's workshop and studio in Fraserburgh. I took along two of my paintings for him to frame.
Instead I had an art class. T'was wonderful to have someone give constructive criticism and point out how I could (vastly) improve the two pictures. What is more Doug had talked himself out of some business, not going to have the pictures framed, until I have done the extra work, how refreshing is that.
And he made me coffee.
I mentioned that at our art group our next topic was sport, and that as I was fed up of the Olympics, I was going to do pigeon racing. Coming from Yorkshire I remember the lofts around (and the s*** on everyone's roof.) I was struggling to get a picture from the internet that hit the spot. (Like a g spot to an artist.)
"Get in your car!" he shouted, locked up his work shop, and we were off. Round all the back streets of the Broch, "Park there, no-ones going in there or coming out."
So I parked across the entrance to a yard. Inside which was
The Scottish version of a pigeon loft.
Doug bashed on a door in the corner and out came this wonderful smiling chap.
After introductions and explanations were made, the lovely chap shot into the shed and brought out this beautiful bird, and they both posed.
One of the birds above is a great champion, can't remember which one, but he is now retired. In fact they are all retired as our human pigeon racer is also retired.
But still very proud of his beautiful birds, and rightly so. Beautifully kept, he did say, "They need a clean out, " Well I think their loft/coop was somewhat cleaner than my house.
I took lots more photos and have done loads of drawings and paintings. I hope to be able to give one to this lovely man.
I drove us back to Doug's framing workshop. He then proceeded to bring out all these piles of prints of old photographs. Knowing my fascination of the history of the Broch (Fraserburgh) out they came . I was drooling.
Then, in walks this chap with only one arm.
And, for I dont know how long, I listened to him, looking over the photographs, explaining about the fishing, the boats, when steam replaced sail, what the fish barrels were made of then (willow) and how that changed, (metal bands) and see this building above and the horse and cart going round the corner. Well horse and carts transporting the herring couldn't see round the corner so they kept crashing into each other, so they removed the corner of the building ! How amazing is that!
You do not need television, or dvds, you cannot beat the real thing. Listening to someone who knows, who remembers, who lived it, who lost his arm in a winch, threw it in the wheel house and carried on fishing . (So tales tell?)
I said to the man "You should tape all this that you are telling me."
He said, "Ach there are hundreds of books about the herring fishing."
Me, "But nothing beats hearing a voice who remembers."
How lucky am I to live here today and hear the tales of yesterday.