Showing posts from October, 2011

The Sunday Post.

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

by William Henry Davies

The Sunday post

See these hands folded now,
Hands that wrought for so many,
Tended and tidied a family,
Soothed them and calmed them,
Fed, clothed and reared them
Almost on nothing.

See these hands resting
That in the old hard days
Picked blackberries for pennies
And gathered dry sticks in bundles,
In dim March days I scarcely remember
When beech woods were a mystery
And fox cubs played among daffodils.

See these hands resting,
That raked hay in the fields
Of a summer coloured with butterflies,
That brought tea and sandwiches
To tired men at harvest,
And scattered wheat and Argentinian maize
To hungry hens.

See these hands, hands never still,
Hands they have folded now,
Hands that are resting,
That will never be active again,
Long though I kneel for their blessing.

Frank Mansell.

Say Hello, Wave Goodbye.

I wonder what she was thinking?
It's nice when visitors come to stay. Sometimes in fact, it's brilliant!
Passports please!
We recently had our Swiss niece Julia come to stay. While we were on holiday in Switzerland during the summer we visited the lovely G’s cousins and while there 12-year-old Julia had asked if she could come to stay with us in her October holidays. We said it would be fine as long as her parents were happy and they replied that they would be quite relaxed about it as long as Julia realised that for the first time she would be travelling completely on her own, which is no small thing when taking an international flight from a major airport. Her parents were confident that arrangements could be made to ensure that Julia could be escorted and kept watch over during the journey to make sure that she was okay, if we could make sure that she was met off the plane in Edinburgh.
Unusual sheds, Lindisfarne.
Over the following weeks flights were investigated and arrangemen…

The Sunday Post

She was a small dog, neat and fluid –even her conversation was tiny:
she greeted you with a bow, never a bow-wow.

Her sons stood monumentally over herbut did what she told them. Each grew grizzled
till it seemed he was his own mother's grandfather.

Once, gathering sheep on a showery day,I remarked how dry she was. Pollochan said, ‘Ah,
it would take a very accurate drop to hit Lassie.’

She sailed in the dingy like a proper sea dog.Where’s a burn? – She's first on the other side.
She flowed through fences like a piece of black wind

But suddenly she was old and sick and crippled....I grieved for Pollochan when he took her a stroll
and put his gun to the back of her head.

Norman MacCaigJanuary 1974

Gentlemen Take Polaroids?

Early Morn, Villa 'Les Rosiers', Aude, Languedoc.
{Post title is a vague reference to a track by 'Japan' in case you're trying to make a connection.}

Well, that's the final holiday of the year over and the sad return to cold, damp, rainy Scotland happened on Sunday afternoon. We had a great week of good weather in the Languedoc, with temperatures in the high twenties and low thirties each day apart from the last couple before we flew back. In some ways this actually helped us prepare for coming back to the weather that we heard was covering Scotland in rain and windy conditions.

It was great to be back in the Languedoc again. It's an area we've been to a couple of times now and always felt completely at home there, so much so that we have looked at buying a house in the area (should the finances ever allow) at sometime in the future. For now though we have to make do with renting a holiday home, which this time was in the village of Trauss, just to the n…

The Sunday Post

I don't like this, being carried sidewaysthrough the night. I feel wrong and helpless – like
a timber broadside in a fast stream.

Such a way of moving may suitthat odd snake the Sidewinder
in Arizona: but not to me in Perthshire.

I feel at right angles to everything,a crossgrain in existence. – It scrapes
the top of my head and my foot soles.

To forget outside is no help either –then I become a blockage
in the long gut of the train.

I try to think I'm an Alice in Wonderlandmountaineer bivouacked
on a ledge 5 feet high.

It's no good. I go sidelong.I rock sideways... I draw in my feet
to let Aviemore pass.

Norman MacCaig.May 1966.

On being quiet this week

Sh........don't tell anyone

It's because I'm sunning it up in LangueD'oc in the South of France with my Lovely G. The promosed wifi at our gite has not been forthcoming.


Normal service will resume on Monday!

See you later!

The Sunday Post

Three men are pulling
at the starboard oar,
the man I am and was
and the man I'll be.

The boat sails to a blind horizon.
Who's pulling on the port side oar
that keeps our course straight?

Pull as we may We’re kept from turning
to port or starboard by that
invisible oarsman.

'Crew' by Norman MacCaig. August 1985


Hullo ma wee blog,

We live in strange days: natural disasters: economic chaos: political upheaval: terrorism: Scotland warmer than Mexico in the last week of September. Things that can’t be forecast or satisfactorily explained; complicated, unfathomable, such things are mysteries of life, the universe and everything. Living in times like this you become accepting, used to them, somehow inoculated against their effects to continue with your own world-weary view until eventually something truly earthshattering arrives.

Like this morning.
It's early, we're still in bed. On the bedside unit my wife's mobile phone beeps a signal that a text message has arrived. Groggily, she reaches out and picks up the phone squinting at it through sleep drenched eyes. Who could be texting at this time on a Saturday morning?
“Thanks so much for the birthday present. I'll buy something nice with it. We're going to have a birthday meal for the family after the holiday, so hopefully we'…