Friday, May 31, 2013

What strikes me is there is nowhere to keep their sheeps

And I didn't see one sheeps while we were away - down here or up in them there hills with the snow and everything.

Up in them there mountains
Down there in the sun

I notice they still have to move things around though. Sometimes there's a boat and sometimes there's a man - usually a man too. Sometimes there's both. No sheeps though. I was ready with the Holga just in case.

There was also a man with a stripy shirt and a straw hat standing by his funny looking gondolabra boatee. I asked him if I could take his snap but he wasn't so keen on paying me the 10 Euros charge I was making!

We went and came home

We went here - among other places...

and came back to be greeted by Bob the Grumpy - among others.

That's what happens when you go away without permission!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

I like this track

What a lovely track. Fair warms the cockles of ones heart it does as it winds up the hill onto the moor.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Murdo, a hosepipe and the interconnector

I notice the huge windmill has been erected - sans wings at the moment. I'm rather disappointed that the thing looks nothing like the pictures I've seen of ones in the Netherlands and even England for goodness sakes. Still, it is a big one as they say and no doubt will make a nice whoosh as it slices through a passing eagles wing. The down side is, the lack of something called an inter-connector that precludes the power from the thing being sent over to the mainland where the poor dears need it.

The villagers are not easily put off it seems as Murdo, fresh from finding an old electric water-pump and some hose-pipe is putting plans together to open the Tolsta Colon Hydrotherapy Centre, pumping water at high pressure from the reservoir at the back and providing an interesting new service to locals, visitors and sheep alike.  Once the grant for the new shed to house the new centre has gone through, Murdo will be announcing the opening date. I shall be there for the opening day - with camera in hand. Watch this space - but not too closely.

In the meantime, you can feast your eyes on Tolsta's lovely surrounds. I got lost and wandered up this way and found a Meades mobile.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Every camera has their moment

The End;  with my Voigtlander Bessa 6x9 RF. 

I have a 'friend'. Just the one - other than Eve. And this 'friend' is going to Italy next week. Only she can't decide what camera of the many she has upstairs in the spare room to take. A 35mm is definite - maybe the Minolta505si an account of her ailing abilities to focus manual cameras. And a Zorki 4 so as to look 'cool' or something like that. Especially useful when posing on a mountain of the Giro D'Italia she is going to see. But my 'friend' is somewhat at odds with what medium format camera to take - bearing in minds she took too much gear to Cuba a while back and got really up-fed with carrying it all around.

She has a Hassie with 50mm lens - but it's it bulky and it's not so easy focussing this wide angle lens. And also a Kowa6 - but that's heavy and a bit fragile these days. So perhaps she should take the Agfa Record 6x9 or the Voigtlander Bessa 6x9 RF . Or perhaps the pinhole 6x6??? To be honest, she is doing me head in with all this. Please, please help my 'friend' out!

Maybe she should take the Olympus XA2 or the OM2n or the Pentax p30n or the Zorki6 or the Houghton Butcher box camera etc etc. Argh!

Friday, May 17, 2013

I take this snap from time to time. It pleases me somewhat.

See, that's Garry beach [ or Traigh Ghearadha if you are that way inclined]  with Eve installed on one of the benches. Twas a lovely evening down there last night with the soft sun warming our backs for a change. I shot the snap [with the Agfa Record 6x9, Foma400] and then sat down beside her. Without a spider.

Today though the sun is shining again, I find myself single-handedly destroying the biosphere - a least a little - as I drove to Stornoway and back. Twice, before 11am. Eh? Once for the shoppe and the second time for the .... shoppe as Mrs Up-Yours had forgotten to write the list completely. Poor dear, her head is in a a right stramash at the moment. Ah well, I have been known to forget things myself. Just the once mind you.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

We all do it from time to time

A snap of the castle that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE takes snap of. Including me

Yes, yes, apologies.

I was searching through the piles of negs on the settee behind me when I happened upon this one. And before you tell me, yes I have printed it before and yes, EVERYONE has a snap of  Eilean Donan castle. See here ! Ah, but have they got blotches on the print eh? No! Have they got an odd colour in the print eh? No! And have they printed it so dark one cannot see the flippin thing eh? No. See, mine's an original!

Have no idea why the scanner thing reflects itself in the glass. I think perhaps it's above its own station - which is just above [and below] the printers - to my left.

Snapped up with the Hasselblad, 50mm lens, some film or other and printed on Kentmere Fineprint and dunked [unevenly] in sepia.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Of course I didn't go there! What did you take me for, a tourist? I just said that to throw you off my scent.

I'm surprised the sea hasn't all poured away.

I've been past here this morning though, dodging the rain-drops. And that's a little easier than yesterday when it threw it down all day.

Of course I was tempted by the cake at the wonderful Morven Gallery that I attended with Toots Wilson. Toots was keen to buy the new Ian Lawson Harris Tweed book. It's a huge book so you can use it for insulation or flattening prints when you are up-fed with looking at it. It is lovely mind you, despite it not been made on proper film and everything. And if you go to the site here you can see a vid and all.

Anyway, I had some whisky-cake, Toots had some red cake with beetroot and didn't get the book cause it was all sold. New stock later this week so not all lost. Another opportunity for more cake perhaps? :-0

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yes, I may go there

I may go here today. It's just down the road you know. I can be there on my own and can't see the wind-turbine there either. But I may go elsewhere too as cake calls. Mr Toots called and asked me to eat it. I may have to.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


You know, this little hoosey where Eve and I plus HHHCB + 5 Kitlings  live is overrun by boxes at the moment. Can't seem to get rid of them since my old employer seems incapable of organising it. And most of the boxes contain their stuff.

For a while I didn't have the boxes - just the stuff - but a little trip up to see a man I know who likes to dress in fatigues soon rectified that. Of course, I can't tell you who this man is or, where he may live but I can show you snaps of his back. Otherwise I may have to... Oh, you know the rest!

Secret hideout. Only the sheeps know where it is.


A window

Sometimes a snap of a window with sunshine  is enough before you venture down to see Toots.


I shall be showing off my new Smit-made hairstylee.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Wind turbine

We have one in the village. It's the only one at the moment and organised by the community - or at least part of it at least. I'm neither for or against it - and certainly don't go as far as Mrs Up Yours does. I mean, I'm from Bath Spa don't you know.

However, what with the biosphere's highest CO2 measurements just been recorded and mans production of CO2 constantly increasing, we have at the very least to be seen to do something. My argument - complicated as it is - is based around the fact that we have a totally unsustainable over-consumerist capitalist society which, as it currently stands will aid its own destruction along with the biosphere's ability to sustain us. Yes, there are too many people of the planet. Yes, we all use too much energy, expect to fly from here to there at will, eat non-seasonal food all year round and so on. I could go on but I won't since you'll all be clicking off this post soon. And no, I don't think the soviet state had the answers. And no, politicians in the main are more interested in their own careers than this subject - and have to be by the nature of our British system. Particularly where economics is supposedly the most important aspect of life by far.

But I do think the Dalai Lama talks a lot of sense.

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Showtime in Tolsta

There's a show on tonight in Tolsta apparently. Just down the road at dusk it should be as Wilma attempts to catch Laclan's pal. Laclan being a cockerel and his pal the same. Only it's Laclan that has landed being caught at the moment - twice and not his pal. Why dusk? I asked the question myself. Apparently, it's because they might be sleepy! As if.. I'm sure The Crofter doesn't have this problem when it's time to wring  necks or whatever they do. Still, the family Wilma moved up from Bristol so what does one expect eh? So, don't forget this evening at dusk. I'll be there lurking in the bushes with my camera :-)

Just as well the sun is shining and it's all a bit warm up here - for a change. We can all sit around in comfort and watch the show!

I was busy in the darkroom yesterday. This was not the result! I wish it was. I mean, I started with this neg - taken with the kowa6 but having to work in the near dark and all. Mixed my stop with the fix and that does things no good at all. Apart from an interesting texture that is.

Maybe a start of a series of snaps; On Texting. Homage to Andre Kertesz 'On reading'

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Well, Mr M or MBT, here's your or rather my answer.

I notice from your comment that you have no idea about peats and the like. Well, let me tell you now, it's something that takes years to learn and I'm not the one to tell you. Don't you just go to Peats R Us in Stornoway and buy a stack? No maybe not, that doesn't seem right even to a simpleton like myself.

Ah yes, I seem to recall Mr Murdo Grazings in the village showing me where to cut the stuff. I remember that vaguely because I stubbed my boot on a rock and fell over on the peat track. Oh how I was miserabled up. Even more so when he indicated that I had to cut the stuff myself. Can you imagine? Eh ? Me, in wellies and all.

I notice that Mr Four Tractors does fine rides on the back on his trailer behind one of his tractors - probably the one without brakes - bringing in the peat things. You have to plead infirmity and then he brings his yoof along to load the peats - but don't tell anyone I told you that.

The best thing about the peats is building the stack. We have a few experts in the village for this - but you still have to do your own. The sense of community does not extend that far! Hector is the champ for me - but I couldn't say that in public because it might up-miserable others in the village. There used to be a competition hereabouts for the best stack but that seems to have gone the way of the Commer Van  last seen with it's steering wheel poking out the heather up on the muir. As if...

Burning the peats. Ha, ha. That's a new one on me. You'll be bringing some weed back from that place o'er the water next and telling me to set fire to it when rolled in paper and suck polluted air through it next! Ha Ha. Having said that, I did see an eerie glow and thick smoke over Road to Nowhere where I sometimes stroll with The Barking Dog a while back. Is that what you mean?

Our peats lay where we put them a year or so back after Mr F-T dis-loaded them. Some are in bags - that's the English way. We did have a stack of un-bagged peats but it caused some consternation with the neighbours - maybe it shouldn't look like a mushroom, or maybe they should be covered up on a Sunday - so we didn't repeat it.

Well, blow me down with a half-cocked tractor mounted air pump, they burn! Just tried the stuff in the fire thing. So much smoke mind you that there's a crowd gathered outside. Either they think we are on fire or,,,,, no, lets not go there.

I am exhausted now. Shall have to have a lay down to recover, yet I suppose you want a snap to look at eh? Well, Sir, not before you tell we where Annapolis is; can't find it on the map - not even as far down as Harris - and no-one goes there do they? Or Greenland? Is it there? Will you be in Stornoway for lunchtime?

Anyway, Sir M, here's your rather long-winded answer. You won't ask questions again will you ! Love to B and Toots.

When you arrive in Stornoway with your warble rope hanging off, a electrical wire broked or the engine in need of a tickle, this is the man you'll require. Gerald Hales; Marine Engineer, fiddle scraper and all round nice chap with a Cornish Crabber boat thing :-)

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

I have John Mayall caressing my earlobes


When you rummage around behind the Summer Parlour chair, the single one in the corner, not the settee/neg-file, you get to find all sorts of LP's. You know the sort of record thing that that gets scratched and all that. Only, these are not scratched, probably not been played for a while either but now we have a needle thing in our record player do-dah I can hear all sorts of stuff. Stuff being from ages ago when both Eve and I bought such things. I might even dig out Jimi Hendrix or Tom Waits in a moment!

In the meantime, while you search out some John Mayall, here's some more Tolsta peat snaps to look at.

Monday, May 06, 2013

Me heads in peats

No, we have not been cutting peats this year - what with my old bones, lack of energy, no visitors to do it for us - I could go on...

But others have been cutting and stacking so I can snap them up at will without having to venture too far. .

My little head has been turned by those there peats. And peat roads you understand. I'll show you some of those another day - when my scanner is behaving better.

Ok, here's one now. But don't look too long, I need to print this in the darkroom and everything so I don't want to spoil the surprise. Actually, these are just me practising. Seeing what stuff looks like in a snap and all that. I might just do them again when this and that are better and I'm using a thing to hold the camera in place - whatever you call them.

See, lovely portraits of places eh?

Saturday, May 04, 2013

Galleries, apple pie and a budding Murdina Pollock

Barbara and Coelyne of the Coeleynes were in fine form as we took mid-morning refreshment at the Oiseval Gallery in Brue. The Toots were away living it up in some hostel on the mainland. No doubt looking out through misted up windows at the rain outside. We, the Coelynes, Eve and I ate fruit and home-made scones and put the world to right - while looking through misted up windows at the rain outside. As we do. Did you notice the difference? My lith print that had been in the gallery sold too - which happied me up somewhat - and I hear it may be reappearing in a rather wonderful restaurant in Stornoway soon. That's three darkroom prints sold in a month! Eh? What's going on?

The Morven Gallery and cafe was our next stop. I booked my slice of lovely apple pie as I walked in so as not to be all miserabled up - like I was on another visit. But I took a tour of gallery before I ate it to look at the new Simon Rivett exhibition - and so good it is too. Colours all over the place. But my favourite artist showing was Gareth Watson, watercolourist. Brilliant, wonderful and what have you. Do check him out.

Then back to Stornoway town to get some Humbrol paint. Eve's new velo needs a slight touch up so to speak and this does the trick - we hope. Here I met the young lady whom I realised was budding Murdina Pollock as we discussed dropping paint onto paper on the floor before driving a tractor over it then a flock of Hebridean Sheeps. Perfect. The council are bound to buy that for their collection of art. I await with baited breath.

Friday, May 03, 2013

I would have shown you the Vandyke - but I didn't like it. And the cyanotype is still wet. So you get this...

This is what you get when you wake up with a headache. I can hardly see the Vandyke and the cyanotype - well, who knows?

But I have a got a snap of Harris to show you. A snap with Eve in. Lovely isn't it? Tis a pity they are building barn-like houses all over the shop.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Did I go up, or down?

Neither to be honest. Didn't go near the thing. Might be rusty or something and I'd be sprawling on the ground with The Barking Dog wondering what I was doing. That would never do. No, I turned my back on the steps and walked the other way, camera in hand.

But not exactly this way. It was too wet at the time. The 'rock' down this way is interesting though - a Stornoway Formation - eh? Look it up or, click on the link. I walked along the top - where I could see the sea and not feel it in my boots. The Barking Dog came too. Twas lovely. I might go again

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


See, I make proper snaps and everything. Just that I usually don't choose to.

Oh., excuse me while I go and pour some cold tea on a print in the darkroom.

We went to Harris. For the day you understand. For a coffee, or even a cup of tea. But...

A day out. Change of scenery and all that. A look-see at galleries, and a cup of warming tea, or coffee. So we went to Harris - just the bottom of this island with pretensions of singular identity. You know the sort.

Still, some nice peoples there, nice galleries and cafes - apparently  Only the first Gallery/Cafe we went to was shut - and it was meant to be open - that was Hebrides Art. Looks lovely from the outside, comes with nice reviews and everything but always seems to be shut! So we went down to the Temple cafe in Northton. By this time we were gasping for a cuppa. But that was shut too. You see, here it seems Monday is a quarter Sunday or something - at least till July - so lots of places are shut. Oh well, off to the Anchorage in Leverburgh. Yep, that was shut too. Luckily the ever-wonderful and welcoming Butty Bus at the same place was open and we squeezed ourselves in while Chris, the proprietor served up the excellent home-made leek and potato soup. We gazed out over the lifeboat bobbing in the harbour below and watched the rain lash on the windows of the bus. This eatery is no doubt worthy of a visit - a few times. Seemingly always open, lovely soups and often a place to meet the celebs.

Harris celebs

Then it was off to see Mr John Maher himself, found grovelling under his pal Peter's van welding it back into shape.  Peter was up from near Holmfirth, you know, Last of the Summer Whine country and all that. Up to enjoy the weather no doubt. Apparently Peter was The Buzzcock's tour manager [and photographer] - although why he didn't organise the Buzzcocks reunion tour in the Lewis Bar in Stornoway I don't know!

Peter Monks and John Maher. Cycling aficionados.

He smiled sweetly at me all the same as I pointed my Soviet camera at him and John. Both cycling mad and keen to meet Graeme Obree should he ever live up to his promise and come and visit the location of his uncle's home in Tarbert.

Not content with that we called in to the Mission House Studio in Finsbay on the way up the Golden Road. Totally terrific place, art-work and peoples. Get on your bike, cycle road the Golden road and call in to see Nickolai, Beka and the kids at the Studio.  Nickolai stood still while I pointed my piece of Soviet glass at him in a purposeful way. He was fiddling with a machine thing when we found him. Although he could have been having a doze in the studio.

Nickolai, striking a pose.