Wednesday 31 August 2011

Leaf skeletons

This leaf was skeletonised by my grandmother = probably around a hundred years ago!

These dyed leaf skeleton book marks were given me by Thein Swee Lay - a Malaysian penpal I had when I was a child.

There is an article on how to skeletonise leaves here.

Another method is as follows:-
"To produce good specimens, put the leaves into a deep jar and cover over with soft water, which must not be changed; the jar to be put into a cool place. When, upon examination, the leaves are found to be quite soft, they must be carefully brushed in a plate of water with a camel's hair brush. Then they should be placed in a weak solution of chloride of lime for a short time, to whiten the fibres, and afterwards washed well in two or three waters, and dried carefully between sheets of blotting-paper or linen; after which they are ready for mounting.

All leaves will not answer for dissecting, but those that have been most successfully operated upon are the leaves of the Magnolia, Ivy, Pear, Rose, Holly, Orange, Poplar, Willow, Elm, Lime, Service-tree, Spanish and Horse Chestnut, and Oak. The last, however, should not be put into the same vessel as the others, as it affects them in an undesirable manner. Certain seed-vessels will also dissect admirably, such as the Stramonium, Winter Cherry, Poppy, etc."

(From Chest of Books.)

Tuesday 30 August 2011

The End... well not quite

Jo and I get the lunchtime ferry off Lewis and back to the mainland of Scotland. My six week holiday with GB in the Western Isles is at an end. Consolations include having a few thousand photos to sort and blog and the fact that we are not doing our usual rush home. This time we are ambling down the West coast of Scotland and through the Lake District, making a holiday of the journey itself. Now that my eyesight means we are reduced to one driver it makes it so much more comfortable for Jo not to have to rush.

As always, a big thank you to those who have made me so welcome on Lewis and, of course, to GB whose skill as a host is matched only by his kindness and the amount of effort he puts into making it a real break for me. I haven't washed a dish, cleaned a floor or made a made a meal for six weeks. It's been a fantastic break.

I am not one for chasing 'hotspots' and cyber-cafes (even if Jo would let me) so I shall be off-line for a week. I hope that during that time my fellow Bloglings stay safe and happy and I shall return once settled back home... In the mesntime I have left some scheduled postings to make you think I'm still around!

Take care,

The Law

In 1985 Which Magazine ran an article warning people that if you were buying something to give to someone else you had to be aware that they wouldn't have the same legal protection as you should things go wrong. Whilst campaigning for the law to be changed (I don't know if they were successful) they suggested that in the meantime a possible way around the law was to mark one's present with a gift tag along the following lines:-

Monday 29 August 2011

Sunday 28 August 2011

Thoughtful Sunday - Rules for Life

(Source unknown - please click to read)

Saturday 27 August 2011

I will lift up mine eyes

Friday 26 August 2011

Friday My Town Shoot-out

This week's Friday My Town Shoot-out subject is High 'n' Low. I'm not sure how other folk will interpret it but I have chosen to look down and up from a small area of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis where I am staying with my brother.

Looking High - the Town Hall clock.

Looking Low - the pavement.

Looking high - Boots the Chemist notice above the chemist door.

Looking low - a note on the pavement telling us the shop was 'Formerly occupied by MacPherson and Co, druggists'.

Looking high again - the Baltic Bookshop notice.

And looking low we are told the shop was formerly occipied by the Baltic Boot Store and Louis Bittiner.

And by Boots entrance we can look high at a signpost showing the way to various places.

And 'Low' - at its base - I love the fact that someone has added a bottle to this little walking man sign.

Why not visit the link to other bloggers and see what pictures they have chosen this week?

Thursday 25 August 2011

Flowers for Partner-who-drinks-tea

They're not from me. They're from GB's next door neighbour. For the second time running - the same thing happened in 2009 - she is leaving the Island on the ferry on the same day day Jo arrives on it. It's nothing personal, honest! Mind you, I think the flowers prove that.

Partner-who-drinks-tea will be here until next Tuesday when she and I depart back for home on Merseyside but we are ambling down through Scotland and having a few nights on the West Coast as we go. Possibly even finishing with a night in my beloved Lake District.

Even though this won't be my view from the laptop after this weekend it should be a good ten or eleven days.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Study of a Feather

Tuesday 23 August 2011


I’ve been playing at taking abstract photos these last few weeks. Some Hebridean ones appeared on that blog and Helen commented:-
I'm curious - was the second photo intentional or an accident? I take those type of photos by accident quite often, but usually discard them without thinking.

Scriptor Senex said... “All intentional, I'm pleased to say. I've also taken to looking at the whole of large pictures and picking out bits that are out of focus or simply a mix of colours in the corners, away from the main objective.

Helen said... Mmm that is interesting. I shall have to try that sometime.

This is a classic example of what I was talking about. I took a couple of photos of the Chessmen Exhibition poster in the Library coffee shop. Look around the edges. So how about these:-

Would you have been able to guess where they came from without the first photo? (Note that I stretched a couple to make them roughly square.)

I bet you’ve all got dozens of abstracts hidden away in your large format photos.

Monday 22 August 2011

Happy Monday - looks at Psychiatrists

"A psychiatrist is a fellow who asks you a lot of expensive questions your wife asks you for nothing."
Joey Adams

"A psychiatrist is the next man you talk to after you start talking to yourself."
Fred Alien

"A psychiatrist is a man who goes to the Folies-Bergere and looks at the audience."
Rt Revd Mervyn Stockwood

"A neurotic is a person who builds a castle in the air. A psychotic is the person who lives in it. A psychiatrist is a person who collects the rent."
Jerome Lawrence

Q. How many psychiatrists does it take to change a light bulb?
A. One–but the light bulb has to really want to change.

Patient: “I can’t decide whether to slash my wrists, or blow my brains out.”
Psychiatrist: “You have difficulty making decisions?”

A patient is seeing his psychiatrist for the first time and is undergoing the Rorschach test. After each ink blot the patient exclaims it is a couple copulating. The psychiatrist stops the test and excliams, “You appear to have a preoccupation with sex.” And the patient replies, “You’re the one showing the dirty pictures.”

Welcome to the Psychiatric Helpline.
If you are obsessive-compulsive, please press 1 repeatedly.
If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2.
If you have multiple personalities, please press 3, 4, 5, and 6.
If you are paranoid-delusional, we know who you are and what you want. Just stay on the line so we can trace the call.
If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.
If you are depressed, it doesn't matter which number you press. No one will answer.
If you are delusional and occasionally hallucinate, please be aware that the thing you are holding on the side of your head is alive and about to bite off your ear.

Sunday 21 August 2011

Thoughtful Sunday

Thoughtful Sunday - I have decided to occasionally use (a split infinitive especially for GB) Sunday's posting on this blog for something a little more profound than the average ramble.

The other day I came across a wonderful phrase -
He is deep of my soul, because he has added dimensions to it.

It was written by Archie Hill about his disabled son, Barry in an article ‘The Closed World of Love’ in the BBC Book ‘The Light of Experience’ published in 1977. This seven page article is a moving account of what it is like to have a severely disabled child.

I have learned rich things from Barry. Things I could never have learned from the Bible or pulpit, or churches. I think I will treasure always the trust and affection he had for me. I will remember always the way his eyes lit up as I walked towards him. He is deep of my soul, because he has added dimensions to it.

Anyone who has had children, of whatever sort and however long they lived or have continued to live can, I’m sure, say the same. Each of my children is deep of my soul because each has added such dimensions to it.

Saturday 20 August 2011

A Saturday Ramble - Still together after all these years...

No, this isn’t as post about partner-who-loves-tea and I (that’s coming up to 24 years in the autumn) it’s about a Vermont Girl and I. We started blogging about the same time and I don’t know how we came across each other’s sites but unlike many others who have come and gone in the meantime we are still enjoying our visits to the other’s xxxx. Why the xxxx? Because I can’t think of the right word. A blog is so much more than writing and photos. It is a peek into the person’s mind and yet to say I visited Heather’s mind would be not only presumptuous but not quite what I wanted to express. Hopefully those who have become blogging friends over the years will understand the concept I’m struggling to define.

In the olden days one fitted people into various categories – family, friend, acquaintance, work colleague and so on. (I have always been fortunate that some of my best friends are also family.) Nowadays one has two extra categories – blogging friends and blogging acquaintances. And, because we often feel freer to express our feelings in our blogs than we would at home over a cup of coffee, sometimes those blogging friends know us even better than the people we see in ‘real’ life. We can empathise with their thoughts, sympathise when they have difficulties, cheer them on with their new ventures, enjoy their successes and share joy in their good times. Heather is currently revising her blog and I know that however it turns out I'll still be visiting for a long time yet.  If you aren't already a visitor there why not take a trip over to her blog.

One of the only ‘challenges’ in which I partake is the Friday my town shoot-out. I do that primarily because of the people involved – a fascinating range of individuals from across the globe. This week’s challenge has been one of the best yet – matching a photo of one’s town with an appropriate quotation. The skill and imagination exhibited has been tremendous. The participants are all well worth a visit.

I’m still relying on my brother’s hospitality and holidaying in the Western Isles on the Isle of Lewis. It’s giving me a great set of photos to sort through to share with you. Even though the weather has been a bit on and off there have been enough sunny intervals to afford me plenty of shots. One advantage of GB’s location is that one only has to set foot outside the front door to this view. (In fact one gets it from where I’m working on my computer by the kitchen window).

The other day I went into Coll Pottery for the first time since GB sold it.   It's only GB's second visit since then and his first since it was taken over by Karen Woods of Paint-a-pot.

It must have seemed strange to GB to sit down and do his crossword over coffee in the coffee shop. 

There are still plenty of his pots on sale there and if you ever visit the Isle of Lewis you must call in for a coffee.  Karen is a delightful hostess and her paint a pot business is original and well worth a visit.

I wish her the best of luck in her new venture.

The seven mile trip into town from GB's can yield such creatures as Great Northern Divers like this one which was treating us to its moaning cry as it swam away. It’s not a bad place to live or visit!

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