Thursday 30 January 2014

I need cheering up!

What better way than having a tour around where I am so fortunate to live.

Pennan.  North of Fraserburgh.  Famous as it featured in the film 'Local Hero', starring Burt Lancaster.  He was head of an American Oil Company who wanted to buy up the village and turn it into an oil refinery.  The only way of communication between head office and the henchman sent to the village was by a ,now iconic,red phone box.  Which is still there. (Although it was a different one used by the cameraman!)   To my readers outwith the U.K. our red telephone boxes were all removed by the telephone company and replaced by boring grey efforts.  But the one in Pennan was allowed to remain.

More important, the pub,also featured in the film is still there.  For such a small village quite an achievement also!

Crovie below.  Pronounced round here as Crivie.

Pennan has a road that goes past the houses.  Along the edge of the sea.  Crovie has no road.  Just a path.

Youngest daughter keeping well away from the edge.
 So, when the inhabitants have been shopping, they park at the other end from this picture, and unload their cars into a wheelbarrow. 

Cormorant drying its wings.(Very like me doing my physio, tho I have to bring my bingo wings round to the front and then above my head.)

The road in to Crovie.

Notice how the houses are gable end on to the sea.  Most of us would think I want a view of the sea from my house.  Well, no you don't.  Not that close to the sea.  Pretty calm today but there are other days.  Most of any windows onto the sea have shutters also.

Same cormorant,now semaphoring the ships.  These,I think, have had containers on them and have delivered them to the oil rigs.  Masses of these toing and froing while the sea is calm -ish.

So why do I need cheering up.  Well.  To keep it brief.  When you give of yourself to help others, there is always some bullying b'stard being nasty, and dropping big hints that you are on the make.  

Perhaps when my muscles continue to grow (more wonderful physio today} ......but no, once a pacifist,always a pacifist.

Am now cheered up.  Ahhhhhh.

Tuesday 28 January 2014

Exercise. Who me? No way!

Today was my first proper session at the lung diseases physiotherapy clinic.

Many years ago I played Squash and swam quite a lot.  Though not at the same time.

Then I was pregnant for the next . what seemed like, ten years.  And, for some time after that, exercise was chasing kids around.  Or vice versa.

I  could race up the road with a double buggy and a child hanging on on each side in a force 10 gale.  Do the egg and spoon at school sports. Be in charge of 20 toddlers at a playschool,now anyone ever done this knows how physically taxing this can be, never mind the effort required in beating them into submission.

Later years it was moving kids into student accommodation, usually up at least three flights of stairs...

Gardening.  Painting and Decorating.  Making beds and cleaning guest rooms and ensuites in the latter years and walking miles up and down corridors in our b&b.

Then you get told a) You have swine flu (and smoking since you were 10 hasnt helped.) and you now have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).

Now most people pack up, pack in everything.  But I didnt know this.  And carried on.  And gradually got slower and slower.  COPD doesnt kill you it is "Life limiting".  Hmm.  But nobody told me that I could do something about this.  Until now.

 So today I walked,I did steps,I did cycling,though I didn't go anywhere,I did arm stretches and knee bends and lots of other things with WEIGHTS on legs, arms and had to lift the bloody things as well, apparently this is what air hostesses do?  No, that one puzzled me too. As I dont know any air hostesses.  We also warmed up and then warmed down.

 Now I have to say I was very humbled.  There were other people on the course.  Lovely, lovely people.  Three had their own oxygen supply that they carried around with them, like a handbag.  There were people who began the exercise and could not finish.  Struggling to breathe.  But we all got to the end.

I absolutely loved it all.  And we all felt so great at the end. 

I met the DP for coffee at the Lighthouse Museum later and I went up the stairs to the cafe without hauling myself up the banister and then spending 5 minutes gasping for air.  

Apparently he and the Manager are now planning me doing a sponsored climb of Ben Nevis in aid of the Lighthouse.  What???????

Monday 27 January 2014

Ha ha.

Sorry to involve you in my trials and tribulations,but I have to practice on someone.

Yesterday we had our 25,000 visitor to the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

I was the 24,999 th.  So got roped in to do the presentation.

 Our chef, Kip, cooked the lady her lunch, and her partner, all free.  I handed over the wine.

Why is new technology harder than the old?


The DP has the main computer in the office up stairs.  With wifi I sit downstairs in our bedroom and use my laptop.  Domestic harmony.

So when my laptop decided to freeze me out, at the weekend,and when I HAD LOADS TO DO, there was little option.  

Why do they change things?  If I wanted to spend the day playing x box or whatever -fine.  But finding some way of writing a report, letter, poster, uploading photographs.  NO!
 This new laptop is the pits.

Deep breath, I will get there,and just to prove it ....... 

One Snooty Coo.

And one curious Stoat just begun.

I am now off totry to upload other photos for your felectaion.  The other problemis you hasve to resally bwsh the keys.


Apologies for the break in transmission.

My lap top died. My tablet wont upload pics. Getting to grips with new laptop. Back soon.

Monday 20 January 2014

Perseverance, didnt know I had it in me!

I do hope I am not boring you all with my struggles with art.  Today I had a success!!  I have twice today got a "Fantastic!"

Remember the *~##+^ dog.

 I am sure it is a lovely dog.  But this is all I had to go on.  

One part of the learning curve and an imagined slap round the head from my art teacher was to measure.  Perspective does not just apply to buildings.  One should always measure distances between eyes, and then to noses etc etc.  Aaargh.

It is not in my nature to persevere.  My nature is to say "Thats it, not doing it again, I do 
 not do things again.  Just the once, if it dont work, tough. BIN."   

Perhaps I am finally growing up, heaven forfend.  But this dog I was so disgusted with myself I did not bin it.  I left it, picked it up, looked at it, put it down again.  Took a deep breath and  - had another go.  Okay I had to use gouache. Which, unlike watercolour, does cover anything in its path.
Finally.  The dog became recognisable to its owner.

The boxing hares from yesterday.  Fantastic.  Still waiting for the verdict on the Hairy Coo.  

But you can't have everything.  Am well pleased.  At learning and accepting a new word.  Perseverance.

Sunday 19 January 2014

Sunday storms - and rants.

The bad weather, that a lot of my blogging friends have been experiencing,  finally arrived here.  We have seen some very big swells in the sea.   Today we had the wind and the rain inland.  I think every down pipe and gutter was rattling, not in tune either.

I felt as if I was marooned down the shedudio.  One side I could not see out of as the rain lashed down and it was very dark.

So I brightened things up!  

 Commissions.  Beginning to hate them.  

I use watercolour.  Unlike oil or acrylic paints once its on the paper there is little you can do.  Remember the Oyster Catchers all asleep, so standing on one leg?  Well that was fairly easy to add the second leg requested.  But you cannot paint over most colours once applied.  Sometimes you can lift paint depending on, again, the colour.  Some stain and are permanent.  

So to be asked "Can you make them thinner, more twisted?"  

Well, no, I have to start again.  

This is the sixth and last, I shall do no more.  If he doesnt like this one then he can s** 0**  !

This began as a "I have a space to fill.....! "  Well this is a bit bigger than his measly space I can tell you.  Ha!

So - silly me, I take another commission.  " I would like a Coo for a friends birthday."

I haven't done many coos.  So I trawled through the DP's photos and did this.

"We are not amused."

Neither was the woman who asked for a coo.  Wants a Hairy Coo.........

SO!!!!  I began the above, not finished.  And if she asks me to remove the horns.....

The following are a record of the DP's brave, nay foolhardy, photos of todays weather.

You can see from this picture why there is a harbour, safe harbour, where the sea is calm within the protective walls.

 The above is one big boat but the waves are bigger.

Kinnaird Head, with the Wine Tower right on the edge.

 And finally our nearest village, Cairnbulg/Inverallochy where the wreck the Sovereign has been just off shore since 18th December 2005.  The mightier the storms it  shifts a bit.  But remains a good perch for Cormorants when its not quite so wild.

Thursday 16 January 2014


Today I had to walk up and down a corridor, very similar to this.  I had 6 minutes, could stop, collapse, at any time.  

There were markers, big round circles, two placed on the floor, and I had to go from on to the other and back again.  I did it!  
And was then informed I had walked 363 yards.  

Now this may not seem much to most of you fit people.  But, hopefully, none of you have Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) which I do.  I was diagnosed about three years ago.  Given various inhalers and have six monthly blow jobs/tests and struggled (wo)manfully on.  

Discovered I could not walk very far and certainly could not walk and talk at the same time.  My life became very minimal, when family came I declined to accompany them to the beach, the play park, anywhere as I would have to sit and wait for them all to go and come back againl

Then I was invited on to this Physiotherapy Boot Camp.  Must have decided I was worth saving.

I was asked "What would you like to do that you feel you cannot."  

No.  Never ever wanted to do that.

But I do want to run with my grandchildren on a beach, or even just walk to the waters edge and back again.

 I want to get up a ladder and paint ceilings, walls, for longer than 5 minutes.  In fact I cannot even lift the ladders out to even start...

I want to walk there and back again.


 Climb to the top of the Lighthouse again.

And I want to have the wellie to get out in my garden again and do more than just yank out a weed and then collapse like a weed pulled out!

Well - it would seem that I shall be able to do all this.   

I am to be taught how to breathe, cough, never knew there was a style in coughing, I will ride a bike, step exercise, etc.  

Why oh why have I just wasted 3 years thinking this was  slow suffocation????

When is the next Olympics?

Tuesday 14 January 2014

Apologies to Anonymous.

On the 19th December 2012 A Sense of History was the blog post title.  In amongst I put up a photograph of Inverallochy Castle. 

As an artist and as my partner is a photographer I am always careful to give credit to the person who took the photograph and trust that in turn anyone reproducing my images or those of the Dawn Patroller are also given credit.

Then  - and indeed today I have tried to find the name of the actual photographer without success.

However, to Anonymous, I have removed said photograph.  Perhaps if you had given your name I could have then given due credit.  And direct apologies.

There are many photographers around here in the North East of Scotland who have depicted this ruin.  Should I need to mention it again, as I am sure I will being proud of what we have around us, I will ensure I use one of their photographs as I know who they are and can therefore give them due recognition and have received their permission.

Sunday 12 January 2014

Its exciting int it?!

There is always something to see in the sea.  Not being au fait with a lot of the ships I have no idea what this is.  I do know we have had a Russian war ship moving about being shadowed by 'one of ours'.    In fact they all exchanged New Years greetings.  (So much for the scaremongering of the Daily Mail.)


Now this picture you have to have very good eye sight.    That is a Heron flying left to right.

This is for all of you who take pleasure from seeing washing on a line.

Usually to be seen beneath the washing is this magnificent Curlew.  No idea why.  They are usually in flocks.

Back on land and in the countryside.  It's that time of year again.


Here they come.  Past our front garden.

Into the neep field .
At the moment fencing is channelling them to the edge of the field, to the left.  But eventually the fence will be moved and we will be able to enjoy their antics.

Ploughing has been going on elsewhere, and will continue, and sowing next.  The cows and their calves will be out into the field when the grass starts to grow.  In between are the fields with burgeoning ewes and lambs will be arriving.

Told you - its exciting.

Friday 10 January 2014

Night Out!

The Dawn Patroller is a member of Fraserburgh Photographic Society.  Each year the Society has an evening when partners are allowed in and the idea is is that we scoff everything that each has left over from the Christmas, and more importantly here, the Ne'er Day (New Years Day) festivities.  Well, I dont know about you but there is never anything left.

 So its off to T**** .  And seeing what the rest of the Society brought they did the same.  Altho there were some very strange sandwiches which we were told were minced ham (?) and egg.  An interesting taste. ..... Not sure of the texture....or if they were left over.....
But there was plenty wine, cheese and biscuits.  Sausage rolls, quiche, crisps and peanuts. (The latter donors, we know who you are, cheapskates.)

The highlight of the evening is the slide show.  One year it was "This is the building that was bombed, here is another building that was bombed, " and so on.  Did you know Fraserburgh was the second place to London that had the most bombs dropped?  Well, neither did I, but on their way home the nasty Nazis jettisoned any old bomb they had left.  On Fraserburgh.  Now some people think that is still a good idea.

Anyway last night was on the 1960s and 1970s.

 No - this was in the 1930s, one of the posters produced by the railways to promote train travel.  But in the era we were looking at we still had trains and a train station.

 The buses looked like this.

Kids looked like this, no change there then.


 And Fraserburgh had THE BEATLES!!!!!!  Before they were famous, and pre Ringo too and not sure about the one on the right.

(I also saw the Beatles before they were famous, but they did have Ringo. )

Now I have a confession to make.  None of these pictures were seen last night.  No.  We had photograph after photograph of Fraserburgh Gala throughout the two decades with various people saying " Is that Alex/Donald/Sandy/ Moira/Mhairi ?" followed by a detailed account of how, when and from what they died and what a splendid funeral they did or didnt have.

So I leave you with yet another photograph that we didnt see last night.


Wednesday 8 January 2014

Life and Death.

The deer above was discovered by the Dawn Patroller.  It had been hit by a car.  The car had not stopped.  

Deer do get hit by cars.  They jump over fences and walls, from trees. No road sense at all.  But this one was found with fields on either side.  Surely the driver would have seen it coming.  Not if he/she was driving like a maniac. 

One of the farmers, on his way to feed his cattle, stopped and tied up the deer's forelegs so it wouldn't do any more damage to itself, the back leg is broken.  And the DP sat with it.  Meanwhile I was phoning for someone to come out to it.  What a farce.  I phoned 101.  Scottish Police.  Where in Scotland?  They sent someone out from the other side of Aberdeen, 40 miles plus and two hours later..... the deer was put out of its misery.  Next time I will phone our vet and pay...

Then there is life.

 How joyously funny are these Whooper Swans?  The first photo is cropped so I can do a painting.

Now my moment of panic, and worrying about death.

The Three Musketeers.  Mum, son, and friend.  They are across the big barley field in their own grass field.  This afternoon I noticed 'friend' was not in the field.  He/she (not on intimate terms) was wandering around the owners garden. 

I phoned.  No reply.  I was just about to get in the car and drive round and ..... well not sure!  I am used to horses from years back.  But.  

Fortunately they returned home and I breathed a big sigh of relief.  (They later phoned to say they had our missed call and to explain said horse was tethered!)  (Could have told me I had visions of it ending up like the deer.)


So.  Back to fun.  This is a painting I did using just the brush and paints.  Loose painting its called.  Great fun.  I needed it after trying to please the person who has commissioned a painting.  No pressure, oh yes there is, and this painting relieved it quite a lot.

The one below is the finished commissioned painting.  But I have another one on the go, just in case.

Living in the countryside one is constantly reminded of death - and life.