?

Log in

No account? Create an account
News from Nowhere [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
shewhomust

[ website | The Shadow Gallery ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Things that please the eye [Jun. 19th, 2018|10:39 am]
shewhomust
[Tags|, ]

It was [personal profile] durham_rambler who spotted the lapwing outside the Window on Wild Lindisfarne building:

Lapwing


"That's new!" we said. We were returning from the village the long way round, via the harbour, where there were signs of dramatically increased activity (lots of lobster pots - no, whatever you're thinking, lots and lots of lobster pots, and boat trailers too), and I was thinking ambivalent thoughts about change and newness. But here was a new thing which was entirely cheering.

Later, D. returned from a walk around the dunes with reports of more willow sculptures, and I asked the internet: sculptures by Anna Turnbull, it seems, arranged along a nature trail.

On the Nature TrailCollapse )

Anya Gallaccio at Lindisfarne CastleCollapse )

[personal profile] durham_rambler wanted to lunch at the Ship; I wanted to go to Pilgrims. So we did both: scampi and crab sandwiches at the Ship, then cake and coffee at Pilgrims (with ice cream from the shop next door for [personal profile] durham_rambler. We knew better than to take our cake into the courtyard.

The visual treat of the day, though, came in the evening: I was sitting at the kitchen table sorting the day's photos, when I realised there was something odd about the light coming through the window. Sunset? Yes, but laid across thunderous rainclouds, and then, a rainbow. I wrestled open the side door, and I could see the whole semicircle glowing above the fields.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

60° North [Jun. 18th, 2018|09:43 am]
shewhomust
[Tags|, ]

There is great pleasure to be had in lying down outside. On a sun-drenched beach or a cold Shetland hillside, wrapped up warm or in shorts and a T-shirt, a doze in the open air is rarely a bad idea. Wild sleeping is as rejuvenating an activity as wild swimming, and it has the major benefit of being a lot less wet.


Malachy Tallack relaxes in Greenland.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

After the storm [Jun. 17th, 2018|11:09 am]
shewhomust
[Tags|, ]

I went out after dinner for a breath of air and a quick tour of inspection. We were, as D. had claimed, surrounded by lakes:

After the storm


At least, the lane that leads away from our door was a sequence of puddles. I hadn't been planning to go that way, but I paused to enjoy the view of Lindisfarne Castle (still wrapped, but open again to visitors) and the more distant Bamburgh, quite clear on the horizon. For once we don't see that view from anywhere in the house, as there are no windows in the end wall. The air was scented with wet blossom: elder and hawthorn and I thought I recognised flowering currant, though I couldn't see that.

And the seals were calling to each other, a constant loud moaning. At first I thought I must be hearing wood pigeons, surely the seals couldn't be so insistently audible, here in the centre of the island? But I followed the sound. On the beachCollapse )

An evening well spent.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

English summer [Jun. 16th, 2018|05:53 pm]
shewhomust
[Tags|, ]

It seems like no time - and it is, indeed, just ten days - since our return from Scotland, but we are already away from home again, on Lindisfarne for our traditional midsummer visit. I didn't feel stressed about this short turnaround, I felt that I was making good, steady progress, doing such worky tasks as had to be done, getting through the laundry, emptying the fridge - right up to the last minute when I realised that yes, this was all good and steady and would be completed about two days after the deadline. So I cut some corners and discarded some inessentials, and by the time D. and [personal profile] valydiarosada arrived (having struggled with roadworks all the way) I was ready to put dinner on the table and open a bottle of wine. I'd have been happier if I'd started the packing before this morning, but it all got done eventually, and if anything essential has been left behind, its absence has not yet been discovered - except, of course, for [personal profile] durham_rambler's overnight bag, which we spotted just as we reached the Team Valley, and had to go back for...

Another year, another "cottage". We are staying at St Coombs Farmhouse, just along the road, and a little further on, from where we stayed last year. It is large and rambling, with a big kitchen which is warmed by an Aga, and a second kitchen with a conventional cooker in case you are nervous of the Aga. Before the week is over, I hope to engage with the beast, but not yet.

I have spent most of the afternoon sitting in the conservatory, reading the paper while the sky darkened and the rain began. Then came the rumblings of thunder and a faint flash of lightning, then heavier rain clattering on the glass roof above us, and swirling of the roof in visible gusts. The storm came closer, the thunder louder and the flashes brighter - and then it stopped, more abruptly than it had started. D. has been out, and reports that we are surrounded by lakes, but he is probably exaggerating, and anyway, the sun is shining.

Time to think about cooking.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

The friends of Jeremy Thorpe [Jun. 14th, 2018|12:55 pm]
shewhomust
[Tags|]

Back from holiday, we watched over three consecutive evenings the three episodes of A Very English Scandal that we had missed while we were away. The title doesn't make much sense to me: I'd expect a 'very English' scandal to involve sedate impropriety among the teacups (and probably to have a financial aspect, too). Guns, shooting and unkindness to dogs aren't, in that sense, terribly English (although the sheer incompetence of the conspiracy probably is). Scandal as farce, motivated by fear of exposure? That would be very English, but it doesn't quite describe the situation: Thorpe's behaviour suggests that the flirtation with discovery adds a certain frisson to his affair, right up to the point where he comes too close to the edge, and falls into tragedy.

Not that this account plays the story as tragedy: the sharp one-liners, the constant jaunty music, everything tells us we are dealing with comedy, albeit a very comedy. Nobody dies (except Rinka), and the closing what happened next? sequence shows Norman Scott still alive, still surrounded by dogs, still without a National Insurance card.

Which was all very entertaining. We wouldn't have watched it quite so fast if we hadn't been enjoying it, though this treatment may not have done it any favours. It would have been a fine once-a-week treat to round off the weekend, but three successive evenings of comedy may have been too much for my palate: blame my perpetual difficulties with comedy. It's not that I don't like it, just that I always want more.

Perhaps that's why I felt a bit let down by the last episode. This may have been inevitable: the resolution is rarely as satisfying as the set-up ("the coffee never tastes as good as it smells," says [personal profile] desperance). Of course, I knew all along how it ended, as was surely intended (A Very English Scandal would be a good example to look at when thinking about spoilers, what they are and when they matter). The reminder at the opening of each episode "Based on a true story" understates the effort it makes to persuade the viewer of its fidelity to the facts of the case. And not just in the careful dates and locations attached to events. I was immensely impressed by the physical likenesses to historical personages, not just the main characters but walk-on parts (when Jeremy Thorpe is shown talking to the Lord Chancellor, I recognised Quintin Hogg at once). Private conversations must surely have been invented, but from the mouths of these likenesses they were convincing.

Hugh Grant's Jeremy Thorpe was a tremendous performance. Yet - and perhaps this was the reveal I was subconsciously hoping for, and which never came - the character never quite made sense. I felt as if I were watching some Shakespearian anti-hero (I'd like to see Hugh Grant's Richard III) with all the great speeches and bravura moments, all the inconsistencies and non sequiturs which cause me to struggle with Shakespeare. Thorpe getting a thrill from taking his boyfriend to his mother's house I can understand, but his numerous compromising letters not so much. (It doesn't seem to have occurred to anyone at any point to burn those letters: what did Peter Bessell think he was doing leaving them to be discovered at some time in the future?) Thorpe striding around demanding "Will no-one rid me of this meddlesome beast?" I can understand, but actually expecting that the 'friends' to whom he entrusted the task were suited to carrying it out, seriously? The drama also plays up a contrast by selecting moments in the House of Commons where Thorpe takes a strongly ethical line (and this is presumably a matter of record, though it's not what I remember of him!) to stand against his
unscrupulous ambition.

In the end what stays with me is the portrait of Thorpe as a man without friends. He has political rivals, and he has people who can be useful to him. His courtroom repudiation of David Holmes is particularly cruel. But the only person we never see him abandon is Peter Bessell, and in the end it is Bessell who declines to protect Thorpe. Ironically, it may also be Bessell who, by making a deal whereby the fee for his story was increased if Thorpe was convicted, secured his acquittal.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

In place of a photograph [Jun. 11th, 2018|09:58 pm]
shewhomust
[Tags|, ]

Having temporarily disabled my camera, I don't have a satisfactory photo of the window in Cromarty which took my fancy. It was displaying three stickers:

  • The first carried the word 'Yes' in a bold, clear typeface.

  • The second had the word 'Yes' in the same face, but with 'still' inserted above it in a handwritten style.

  • The third had been similarly edited to read 'More Yes than ever'.


Fair enough.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

The 100 Steps [Jun. 11th, 2018|09:55 pm]
shewhomust
[Tags|, , ]

As I promised when I posted about Cromarty, here's a picture post about the local walk known as 'the hundred steps'. It climbs from the shore to the headland via a number of actual steps: I didn't count them, but suspect there are more than a hundred, and our host thought likewise, but it's a good name, so let's not spoil it.

Blue door


I don't have a good photo of the actual start of the walk, down by the jetty. Instead, here's a door - not that we'll be going through it, but it's still a good signifier of beginnings and departures, isn't it?

So follow me through the cut, and we'll be on our way...Collapse )

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
link1 comment|post comment

Quotation of the Day [Jun. 11th, 2018|10:36 am]
shewhomust
[Tags|, ]

Nothing like the act of eating for equalising men. Dying is nothing to it. The philosopher dies sententiously - the pharisee ostentatiously - the simple-hearted humbly - the poor idiot blindly, as the sparrow falls to the ground; the philosopher and idiot, publican and pharisee, all eat after the same fashion - given an equally good digestion.

Mrs Gaskell, North and South


This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

Home again, jiggety jig [Jun. 8th, 2018|12:35 pm]
shewhomust
[Tags|, , ]

It's a comfortable two-day journey home from Orkney, even with an unplanned deadline: a meeting called for the evening of our return which [personal profile] durham_rambler had hoped (and requested) would be later in the week. All through the drive south, I anticipated that this would at least give me a quiet evening for one last holiday post, about the trip home, before I embarked on my interminable catch-up posts. Only of course I spent the evening unpacking and doing laundry and a little urgent work and...

So it goes. Well, then, a brief retrospective: we had a lovely time, and I will write about it at length later, because I enjoy doing that, and because several times while we were away I wanted to refresh my memory about previous visits, and was frustrated when I hadn't recorded what I wanted to know.

We didn't see any puffins: the place where we had been promised there were many puffins was reached by a cliff-edge path which was so narrow and uneven and close to a sheer drop that I simply refused. Later we confirmed that there was indeed another route (as I had remembered, see above), but too late to try it out. We didn't see any primula scotica either, on this trip, so that's the two fails.

We did, on the other hand, succeed at quiet enjoyment of reading, keeping up with posting here and watching silly early evening television: a constant pleasure of our days on Westray was sitting together on the sofa in our little 'apartment' and warching first Pointless and then Richard Osman's House of Games (an interesting piece of programming there).

Now to go back to the beginning of the story, and start filling in the gaps. I have already patched in a couple of photos which I didn't manage to upload at the time, but there is more - much more - where that came from!

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

Back on Mainland [Jun. 3rd, 2018|07:19 pm]
shewhomust
[Tags|, , , ]

Backtracking: yesterday was another misty morning on Westray. Was the mist heavier than before, or did it just seem that way because we were up early to catch the ferry? And then driving down to the bay at the south of the island? By the time we sailed, the haar was rising from the land, but out at sea it wrapped us like a blanket,and we couldn't see the islands we were passing.

Mainland was sunny, though, and busy, especially compared to more rural Westray. We spent the morning dashing about, for reasons, and getting lost, for no good reason. It had its high points, including coffee in the magnificent emporium that is the Old Library, and a winding drive down back roads to the Harray pottery, where I bought a tiny pottery mouse (it is entirely not the sort of thing I buy, but I did, anyway). Still, I was glad to reach Stromness, to make contact with the Ferry Inn (where we are staying a couple of nights), to find somewhere to park the car, to lunch on crab salad at Julia's Bistro.

After lunch we walked the length of Stromness, one long street "uncoiled like a sailors rope from North to South," as everyone quotes George Mackay as saying.

We started at the Pier Arts CentreCollapse )

Back along the street, with its many changes of name, and its glimpses of the sea between adjacent houses:

Street scene


To the Museum as I said this morning. We were disappointed to discover that the current exhibition about the Ness of Brodgar is not an overview of progress of excavations and discoveries, but an exhibition of contemporary artists and craftspeople inspired by the discoveries. This was very mixed, and most of it didn't impress me at all, but on the other hand, one of the contributors was jeweller Ola Gorie, whose Ness of Brodgar I thought was some of the best stuff she's done in ages (by all means read this as 'most to my taste') and it turns out there's a story behind it, too. There's also a video combining sound recordings and interviews at the dig with paintings and sketchings by the artist in residence, which I didn't get much out of until I returned this morning, and watched it in peace.

It's a wonderful museum in the traditional mode, full of Stuff, and rather than list the many, many treasures, I recommend a visit.

We continued to the South End, and sat for a while on one of the seats near the cannon, watching a small black duck disappearing and reappearing on the clear water. On the way back, I was quite surprised the the bookshop was still open. I hadn't planned to visit, but they had a poster in the window promoting the books of Frances Hardinge, and this is a good thing and should be encouraged, so I went in and completed my collection, and bought a couple of other books as well, because these things happen. Then we collapsed in our room until dinner time.

And now it's dinner time again - back to the Ferry Inn, because we enjoyed it last night.

This entry cross-posted from Dreamwidth: comments always welcome, at either location.
linkpost comment

navigation
[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]