Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Do you remember

Do you remember taking the primus stove on your picnics?

Hooded Crow

The hooded crow (Corvus cornix) (also called hoodie in Scotland) is a Eurasian bird species in the Corvus genus. Widely distributed, it is also known locally as Scotch crow and Danish crow. In Ireland it is called caróg liath or grey crow, just as in the Slavic languages and in Danish. In German it is called "mist crow" ("Nebelkrähe"). Found across Northern, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe, as well as parts of the Middle East, it is an ashy grey bird with black head, throat, wings, tail, and thigh feathers, as well as a black bill, eyes, and feet. Like other corvids, it is an omnivorous and opportunistic forager and feeder.

It is so similar in morphology and habits to the carrion crow (Corvus corone), for many years they were considered by most authorities to be geographical races of one species. Hybridization observed where their ranges overlapped added weight to this view. However, since 2002, the hooded crow has been elevated to full species status after closer observation; the hybridisation was less than expected and hybrids had decreased vigour. Within the hooded crow species, four subspecies are recognized, with one, the Mesopotamian crow, possibly distinct enough to warrant species status itself.

Sunday, 15 October 2017


I recognise this varnish - it's Ron Seal

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The Willows

When we moved into our house it had no name, only a confusing number – 1A.
Confusing because 1A would normally come after no 1.  Ours is the first house in th road and therefore comes before no 1.  And on the electoral register it comes after all the other numbers, right at the other end of the road, so no one can ever find it.

So we gave it a name.  There was a medium sized (now huge) Weeping Willow in the front garden and we planted another there and a Corkscrew Willow in the back garden.  And we called the house The Willows.

What we did not know was that in Chinese a ‘House of Willow’ is a brothel.  I wonder what our Chinese neighbours thought of the name?  Perhaps we should have put up a notice like this one that I found on the Internet!

In traditional Chinese symbolism, a young girl is a 'Tender willow and fresh flower'.  

And there are lots of traditions concerning the ability of the willow to repel ghosts and the giving of a willow branch to encourage someone to stay.

The Dictionary of Chinese Symbols: Hidden Symbols in Chinese Life and Thought (Routledge) also informs one that “The willow, much valued as firewood, is a symbol of spring.  As spring is the season of erotic awakenings, the phrase ‘Willow feelings and flower wishes’ means sexual desire;  Looking for flowers and buying willows’ means visiting a prostitute; ‘Flowers and willows by the wayside’ are prostitutes; and ‘Sleeping among flowers and reposing beneath willows’ is a term for visiting a brothel.  

My Facebook friend, author Ann Chin, points out that since we are not in China it doesn’t matter that we live at The Willows but I still find it most amusing!

Friday, 29 September 2017

Stornoway Carnival Parade - August 2017

The Carnival is Over...

Sunday, 24 September 2017

The Summer

I spent a wonderful summer with GB, part of which was at his home on the Isle of Lewis.  I already want to go back.  I miss....

Road names in Gaelic...

Attractive ruins...

Big skies...




Passing places on the narrow roads...

Sheep including Hebridean Sheep.......

Road signs that you don't get on Merseyside...



Offshore islands....


and so much more.

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Monday, 18 September 2017


One advantage of having no laptop for a while was that I got to know lotsvof new things about my phone.  One of those was how to use Android art apps to play with photos.
These were some of the results...

Thursday, 14 September 2017

The Callanish Stones

The Callanish Stones (or "Callanish I", Clachan Chalanais or Tursachan Chalanais in Scottish Gaelic) are an arrangement of standing stones placed in a cruciform pattern with a central stone circle. The central monolith is 4.8 metres high.

They were erected in the late Neolithic era, between 2900 and 2600 BC, and were a focus for ritual activity during the Bronze Age. They are near the village of Callanish (Gaelic: Calanais) on the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides, Scotland and are one of my favourite places to go to when I am visiting GB, as I did this summer.

There are at least nineteen other circles and standing stones in the Callanish area.

On the path between the visitor centre and the stones is a memorial bench with one of the best views of any such bench, anywhere in the UK.

David Booth, from Stornoway, was reported missing by his family on 31 May 2013 while known to be travelling in India.  Police in India said the 28 year old’s body was found in the Kullu area.   Mr Booth's family said: "David was a loving son, brother, uncle, nephew, brother-in-law and friend.  He was a gentle soul and loved life, especially travelling the world to places like Brazil, Eastern Europe and India, where he made many friends.   He'll be sorely missed by all that knew him and we take comfort that he died having lived such a full life and in a country he loved travelling in."

Alongside the path are a variety of wild flowers, just a few of which I photographed while we were there this time.


Croft and field dividers on Lewis are mostly wire fences with regular wooden fence posts but around Callanish there are also plenty of dry stone walls, built to an impeccable standard.

Behind GB in the next picture is The Sleeping Beauty, also known as the 'Cailleach Na Mointeach' or 'Old woman of the moors', a skyline of a woman's prone form.

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