Saturday 31 March 2012

Local Artists Gallery

At the Scottish National Lighthouse Museum.

I'm in!!!!

Ethel West above, superb artist.  Camellias and Rhodedendrons.  Watercolour.

Isobel Gregory, acrylic on canvas.

 and moi.

Another of Ethels, pastels.

And finally Mother Nature out of the window of the cafe, wherein is our exhibition.

Whether I come back down to earth today or of wine may help.

Friday 30 March 2012

Scottish Lighthouse Museum.

The first time the museum has closed during the winter.  It re-opens on Sunday 1st April.

The front of the building above and the entrance door below.

Inside the museum are some lenses from other lighthouses.

Here is a view of the actual lighthouse which was the first lighthouse built on mainland Scotland in 1787 on top of a 16th century castle, by the Northern Lighthouse Company.


To the front of the picture are the drying poles (fishing net drying).  Most with their knitted jackets which was one of the challenges set by the Friends of the Lighthouse (the Knitting Nancies).  This year you may remember we challenged people to knit a fish.  And ended up with over 600 of the damn things.

This is the staircase inside the lighthouse. Imagine going up and down that a few times a day.


Most important as far as I am concerned is - the cafe.  Imagine sitting in there and looking out over the North Sea.  Magic.

Now a bit of serious stuff.

The museum has two distinct and equally important elements. The most obvious is the attractive stone building designed in the early 1990s specifically to house the lighthouse museum. Here you find the visitor reception, a café with magnificent sea views, and an excellent shop carrying a variety of goods including a good range of books focussing particularly on lighthouses and seafaring more widely across Scotland.
The museum building is also home to a series of galleries telling the story of Scottish lighthouses. It does so in a particularly compelling and engaging way, using sound recordings and, especially, carefully controlled dynamic lighting effects to bring to life the galleries and the exhibits within them.
It is easy to think of lighthouses as (usually) tall (usually) white buildings which (usually) occupy scenic or even spectacular coastal locations: because that is what visitors tend to see when travelling around Scotland. It is all too easy to forget that the buildings are only the means to an end, a way of carrying a mechanism that can transmit beams of light out to sea to warn seafarers of dangerous areas of coastline or simply help them locate their position more effectively. Lighthouses are really all about light. It is therefore highly fitting that the museum is also all about light. From your first encounter with full size lighthouse lenses on the ground floor and through much of the rest of the building, moving beams of light literally illuminate many of the items on view.

Now we come to the scary bit.  The cafe displays pictures from local artists.  I have been asked to bring in some of my work.

I full expect to be told, sorry go away and keep trying.  

Whether my work gets on to a wall there or here, I shall be visiting the Scottish Lighthouse Museum, every Tuesday 10.30. coffee .  This is when we sort out what our next challenge will be.

Thursday 29 March 2012

Moving on.

Something that is not moving on, hopefully, despite the increase of not native bluebells.  I think this is a proper Scottish Bluebell.

We have a strong North West wind here today.  As it hasnt rained for quite a long time, the wind is lifting the soil from the fields that have been ploughed and moving it on.

If you click on the picture you should be able to see the red haze above the trees which is a field's top soil lifted and moved.

Again, click on the picture and you should be able to see the haze of the soil moving to the right.  All very spooky and we are so glad we dont wash our cars that often, as everything is now covered in a fine film of dust.

This is the house I moved on from to here.  Greenbrae Bed and Breakfast.  The Dawn Patroller and I set this up in 2003.  We moved out last April and today was my first visit back.  It was our meeting of the Best of Banffshire and Buchan Bed and Breakfasts.  Although now retired from b&b I am still secretary of the group.  The couple who bought Greenbrae from us are also doing b&b.  They have made many alterations and the part of the house that they use for bed and breakfast is amazing.

So much so that as we all gathered in the guest breakfast room for our meeting I said, "What the bloody hell are you all doing in my bedroom?"
 My ensuite is now a kitchen.

Moving on - all change.

Not everything changes - glass of wine required as going back not always a calming experience, cheers.

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Wednesday - yet more witterings.

My Summer House/Drinking Den/Art Studio/Opera Theatre is now fully re-roofed!  Yay.

However I still have to paint it!  I never thought that I could have given them the green paint.  They have treated it with as it was before (because I never did get round to painting the roof)  so fair dos.  But I could kick myself.

Bit of a drama this morning.  The 'new' car wouldn't start!  The DP shot off to the vets in mine which imperilled me with missing my art class. (Puzzle cat having another antibiotic jab.)  However he was back.  We had a go with the jump leads, turns out they have passed their sell by date.  I went off to my art class and meanwhile the garage/seller came and got it going and left us with our old car and took the new one away to get it sorted.  It was the battery, fingers crossed as we all agreed the battery looked new.  Hmmm.  Collecting it tomorrow.

The next drama was on my way home from art class I called in the supermarket for the paper and lottery ticket and a bottle of wine.  A gust of wind caught my car door and hit the best kept car in the car park.  While I licked the marks off I had a lecture from this dear old man, probably the same age as me but he had gone into cardigans in a big way, about wind, parking in small spaces, dont get upset dear, I can polish that out on my daily buffeting, and so on.  But after I had kissed his highly polished brogues a couple of times he  said he didnt want my address or phone number.  "Dont worry your pretty little head, "  obviously going blind.

Poor Mother Nature, she really doesnt know whether she is coming or going.

Tulips flowering fully whilst daffodils do, and cherry blossom also?  Goodness.

Unfortunately the grass is as tall as the miniature daffodils.  So the DP is huffing and puffing to get into the mindset of mowing the lawns.  Fortunately ?  The weather is to revert to normal at the weekend indeed snow is forecast north of us.  

Tuesday 27 March 2012



The Dawn Patroller's car, the one below, has recently had a fair bit of money thrown at it.  I say thrown as you might as well throw your money in the air when it comes to cars.

We tend to run them into the ground figuratively speaking.  So do get our moneys worth out of them.  
Where we lived before was more inland and had deeper snow, so a four by four was essential .  
We were also used to having big cars as we had four children to transport. And when they moved to university lots of goods and chattels to be transported.

We do need room for baby car seats now,  but twice a year filling a car up with people and babies is a bit of a silly reason for having a large car.  And we do still have two cars.  
We are not on a bus route.  So if one car has a problem we are stuck.  So we need two cars.  We also like our independence of each other.

So let me introduce you to our latest.

Suzuki Alta.  The car tax is £30.  Can you believe that?  I am now looking squint eyed at my Honda HR-V, which I love, mainly as I can see over walls.  But should I be paying a shit load of money just to see over walls?  

Definitely that time of year again.  This is a house sparrow.  The nest box is on our electric pole which quite clearly states on the yellow notice you can just see, "Danger of Death".
This is but one reason for a)not putting nest box on pole.  Also b) house sparrows prefer terrace houses/nest boxes in which to nest.  But then sparrows can't read.  Nor are they members of the RSPB who state that house sparrows prefer terraced nest boxes.

 Sunrise this morning, with gorse which has bloomed the whole winter.  This is an artistic photograph courtesy of the DP.  Presumably his flash lit up the gorse. 

 And at last we begin to see lambs in this neck of the woods.

And a Rook heading straight for the photographer.

Could be change there to the DP!

Monday 26 March 2012

Monday Mixture.

Cairnbulg Castle.  I have mentioned this one before.  It is privately owned and is a couple of miles from us, towards Fraserburgh.

 Privately owned and lived in.  I may well have stood next to them in the checkout at Tescos.

 Cruden Bay's take on Up Helly Ha.  Well, that is the intention.  Bit of a way to go yet though.

Our next task at Art Class is reflections.

 I first thought these were lovely beach huts.  Oh no, they are containers, metal, rusty containers.  Yeugh.  We just do not do pretty harbours here do we.

Still not sure what to do.

I have done a drawing of a poor bedraggled fox who appears to be stuck in a pond.  Probably not able to move as some silly idiot was taking a photo of him.  Hmm.

So there you are, a real mixture.  Just to add to the pot Puzzle cat has gone back a couple of steps. If he's not careful I'll have him stuffed.  Now you know I dont mean that!

Sunday 25 March 2012

Sunday sorting.

What a beautiful day!  24 degrees.  Nature gone mad.

I decided it was well time to sort out the summer house/shed/studio/drinking den.

 This mirror is huge.  And heavy.  I got it as far as propped up on the sink, which is left of here and lower.  Then I got a chair, stood on it, managed to just hook the mirror wire on to the screw and then adjust.  I then had to sit down for five minutes.

To the right is my beautiful kist, chest of drawers, containing fabrics.  On top are the IKEA drawers with sewing bits in, threads, buttons, ribbons.  Another set with seed packets and another set that is currently EMPTY.
Also the music centre, tape, cd player and retro radio, which on Sunday afternoons comes into its own, as I love Elaine Paige and then Johnny Walker, sounds of the seventies.  Which to be honest I hadnt realised was such a good decade music wise.

Minerva, present as always.  And what has been my painting table over the winter but should now be going back outside.

Barbecue at the ready.

And my 'new painting table'.  
With glass of red.

Reward for sorting.  Any excuse.

The large table is about to go back outside for the summer along with the six chairs that have been sheltering at the back of the summer house.

 They will be going out here and the square table and its chairs will be finding a new home.  Yet to be decided.

Now do you really wonder why I am so cross about this hair do?
Sunday sorting will be continued during the week as I a)wonder what my hairdresser has against me and b)what I can do to sort it.

Saturday 24 March 2012

Saturday Special.

This morning we decided to try to find this place.

Successful after a few wrong turnings.
My excuse was that it was quite misty.  Nearer the coast, where we are, the sun had already begun to 'burn it off'.  But heading towards New Pitsligo, where apparently there is a 'cold spot', it hadn't.  When it snows its always deeper there too.

 This photo

The man who has built this place, mostly from recycled stuff, is a bus fanatic.  He has two double deckers in a huge hangar like building.  He is doing them up and I think his plan is to tour the world in one of them.

The Last Bus Cafe is near New Pitsligo, but actually in the middle of the countryside.  There would have been beautiful views from the cafe, see below, had it not been for the mist.  Which drifted around making it all very spooky.

 The wooden building on the left of the picture is the loo.  One of those ecologically good ones.  Not sure if clothes pegs for your nose are provided.

Now I have to apologise.  Once inside I did not take any pictures as I was just so gob smacked.  All recycled stuff it is constructed from, but you would never think that.

You can see the shape of the building - octagon?  Inside, no its no good, I am going to have to go back again to take pictures, and have another of the best coffee/cappuccino I have ever had and a slice of banana cake to die for.
Listening to slow jazz from a 78 , (a 78!  there were stacks of them, and old film posters.) gazing out of the window at the trees, catkins, gorse, broom, Scots pine, watching the owner bring out of his range cooker cakes, buns, and the smell of the lentil soup on the hob preparing for lunch.  I had to be dragged out and slapped.  I was totally gone.  (do you think he puts hash in his home bakes?)

Course it turned out he was from Yorkshire.

I gave him a stern look, you never know when you are going to bump into an old boyfriend do you?  And there were many.  I practised a lot.  He also gave me a stern look.  But neither of us recognised each other.  So we chatted away.  

He opened last May, its open 24 hours seven days a week.  There is a large bell to ring should you wish to have a coffee and a cake at midnight.  They also have live music sessions.  What a gem.

My Saturday was so special I forgot about my hair, apart from when I had that fleeting thought, is this an ex, what the hell do I look like.

Friday 23 March 2012

What a week....

Let us pause for a moment and contemplate some calming images provided by nature.

Morning sky.


A new born calf.  (And Mum, thinking, just as I did, "Why doesn't she look like me?")

Whoo.  Backwards and forwards to the vet with Puzzle cat, who remained a Puzzle.  But all solved today, well, fingers crossed.  The Dawn Patroller had to negotiate Aberdeen rush hour including the infamous Haudegain roundabout.  (My spelling of this will be rectified shortly by Christine.)  Puzzle was duly delivered to be aneasthetised and have a camera put down.  Posh and expensive vets.

What did they find?  A lump of GRASS and a bit of fur.  Stuck on his soft palate.  This lump of grass and bit of fur has cost me a lot of  money.  However they did give us this lump, neatly packaged in an evidence bag.  So could I frame it and do a Damien Hirst and make some money back?  
Please be grateful dear friends I have not posted a picture of it on the blog.  
Sorely tempted.
Still dont understand why its taken weeks and a lot of money to find this.  Next time its a crochet hook.

I also had yet another birthday.  When your cards say this

Which is true.
But this one is even more true!

Oh we also had a visitation from daughter number two.  The one who landed me with Puzzle cat in the first place.  So presumably its not me she came to visit but the cat.  He was her cat, but rented accommodation did not allow furry four paws.  

She and the Dawn Patroller took him and whilst waiting for him to be examined went to Aberdeen Beach Boulevard and saw....

My week however, took an even more downward turn when I had my hair done.
No longer blonde I am a boring brown and it hasnt settled down after a couple of washes. In between ministering to sick cats, having the odd glass of wine, I have been in the shower.  And seriously considering contacting a sheep shearer.