Cee’s Fun Foto: Includes the Letter K

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No smoking sign…

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A row of old books…

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And some hollyhocks for Cee’s Fun Foto: Includes the Letter K this week 🙂

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Songs From The Past: Andy Stewart – Barnyards O’ Delgaty

This week’s Song from the Past is a real blast from my very long ago past! Hugh has asked us what song would be top of our Halloween play list, but to be honest I’m not really into Halloween, or any other kind of celebratory parties for that matter.

But what did come to mind was the spontaneous impromptu family get-togethers of my childhood, where friends and neighbours all simply got together in someone’s house bringing a bottle (or two!) and a bite to eat to share and we all made our own entertainment for the evening.

Mum played the accordian, so would usually play a medley of whatever was requested with everyone else singing along, and as the festivities flowed along with the whisky Dad would put on his favourite Jimmy Shand Scottish Country Dance music, or Andy Stewart singing traditional songs from the North East coast of Scotland.

One of my favourite sing-along bothy ballads of that time has to be ‘Barnyards O’ Delgaty’, so that’s my song from the past for this week. It’s sung in the Doric dialect, so don’t worry if you can’t follow it, but with bothy ballads the tunes are always easy to pick up and have a simple repetitive chorus. The theme is always farm-related, and the lyrics usually quite tongue in cheek 🙂

 

 

The Graveyard – My Old Haunt

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This is the Graveyard, my old haunt, set into one corner of an agricultural field, alone and exposed yet contained and comfortable in its position, settled silently and solidly into the landscape with peaceful purpose. It does have a proper name – Bracklich (or Breachlich, or other variant spellings) Cemetery – but for my lifetime it has been known locally simply as the Graveyard.

All traces of the old church to which the graveyard was originally attached has long gone, with the church building itself going out of use in the late 17th Century due to the merger of this parish with a neighbouring parish, and whatever remained being in ruins by the late 18th Century. The current visible gravestones are dated from the mid 18th C to the late 20th C, but this has been a traditional burial place for centuries before that.

This is the view looking up across the field from my mum and dad’s front gate – we always used to joke about having really quiet neighbours. The trees have grown and been cut down and have grown again countless times, but their silhouetted outline softening the regular headstone shapes remain a constant presence against the night sky, and I can’t imagine any of it not being there.

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Walking up the quiet single-track graveyard road and into the walled cemetery itself has been a fun adventure for three generations of my family – my brother and sister and I loved exploring and playing there when we were young, as did our children and now our grandchildren in turn. The mossy grass is so springy and soft underfoot, a safe surface for toddlers to practice walking outside and getting a feel for the naturally uneven ground beneath their feet.

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Below is the view of the local landscape from inside the graveyard, looking down towards the village of Ardersier and out across the water to the Black Isle in the distance. This is a beautifully peaceful spot from which to watch the sun set over the undulating horizon in the summer months.

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Daily Prompt: Ghoulish

When I saw today’s Daily Prompt word of ‘Ghoulish‘ my first thought was – what is a ghoul, anyway? It’s one of those random, rarely used Halloween-related words that I know in general but don’t know specifically. So I looked it up via my good friend Google, and was surprised to find it is of Arabic origin, pertaining to an evil spirit that feeds on dead bodies.

But then I was reminded of that old old prayer ‘From Ghoulies and Ghosties and Long-Legged Beasties and things that go bump in the night, Good Lord deliver us’ and I wondered if a ghoulie was a ghoul in the same way a ghostie is a ghost? Except according to Google a ghoulie seems to be a goblin, which is a gnome or a gremlin, a demon.

Oh well, whatever myths or folklore surrounds its origin and meaning, ghoulish is a devillishly fun word for today! 🙂

Share Your World: 30 October 2017

Where do you eat breakfast?

Nowhere – I’m really not good with eating anything at all when I first wake up and need to be up for a couple of hours at least before I eat. But I always like to have my first cup of tea quietly curled up on the sofa, contemplating the day ahead.

Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want to have an evening with?

My long-gone paternal grandmother, who first inspired my love of cooking – a farmer’s wife with a large family and a large farmhouse kitchen, I discovered at her knee the traditional task of coaxing minimal food ingredients into making maximum impact with a lot of love and practical ingenuity. So I’d choose to spend just one more evening cooking a huge family meal with her as she was in her prime, but with me at the age I am now – two women two generations apart but with hindsight a lot more in common than I’d ever imagined was possible during her lifetime ❤

If you could be a tree or plant, what would you be?

I’d be a beautifully delicate yet hardy snowdrop, triumphantly pushing through the partially-thawing frost and snow every winter to herald the promise of spring ❤

What inspired you or what did you appreciate this past week?

My mum is newly home from hospital after having another chest infection – she has chronic respiratory problems – so while mum was being treated in hospital, instead of staying with my youngest daughter as planned over the last couple of weeks I stayed for several days with my 81 year old dad who is in the process of recovering from a recent mini-stroke.

It felt quite poignant being once more in the house I grew up in, as it has become resoundingly clear to both mum and dad that they simply can’t go on living there alone for much longer – the sprawling house is just too big for the two of them rattling around in, too impractical for coping with ongoing failing health issues as they grow older, and far too isolated from the increasingly necessary intensive support of the rest of the family.

Sadly they know now they need to think seriously about moving somewhere smaller and easier to access for them and for everyone else. So this last week or so I’ve truly appreciated the chance to spend precious time quietly with my dad in the rural landscape of my youth, which will always hold a special place in my heart ❤

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Cee’s Share Your World

 

Nairn Beach in Autumn

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I love being at the beach at any time of the year, even in the damp grey drizzle of a blustery autumn day in the Scottish Highlands.

I initially thought an excessive level of seawood had been churned up and dumped on the sand, but actually on closer inspection there’s as copious an amount of fallen leaves as seaweed – oh, and a huge tree trunk has been washed up too, roots and all! 🙂

Nairn Beach, on the North-East coast of Scotland

Train Stations by Night

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I’m back from my visit to Scotland to see my family – more of that later – but in the meantime here are some dark and moody night-time shots of near-deserted stations, taken from the window of the overnight train I was travelling in. They’re perhaps a little too unlit and shadowy for some tastes, but the dramatic contrast suited my frame of mind in the wee small hours 🙂

Daily Prompt: Ascend

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Later tonight I will ascend the Caledonian Sleeper train at London’s Euston Station, and early tomorrow morning (having travelled 600 miles overnight) I will descend onto the platform at Inverness Station in the North of Scotland to spend the next fortnight visiting my family – woo-hoo!

These particular images from Euston and Inverness are from previous visits – it’s a trip I take regularly, so have a variety of shots from over the years.

I won’t be blogging at all while I’m away, so don’t worry if I’m completely incommunicado for a couple of weeks – I’ll be back in full flow at the end of the month, and will catch up with you all then 🙂

Daily Prompt: Ascend

Daily Prompt: Succumb

I usually try to avoid it all costs, but the other day I finally succumbed to the intriguing promise and enticement of some kind of clickbait ad on my FaceBook newsfeed. Big mistake. BIG mistake! I clicked on the initial link on FaceBook, and then from that I clicked on another clickbait link, and then… straight away my laptop crashed with what appeared to be a virus of some sort.

What? How is that possible? I always, ALWAYS have an anti-virus on all my online gadgets, and I always update the software when requested – in fact, my laptop anti-virus was updated only the week before, so was as up-to-date as it could be. Except that when I checked it again, it seems the anti-virus was still there, but inexplicably switched off! Nooooo…!

Anyway, I immediately handled this stressful dilemma with all the sophistication and elegance of a modern, independent woman in a complete panic – feeling decidedly vulnerable in more ways than one (and fighting back hot tears of frustration) I quickly switched off my internet connection to avoid any further compromise, handed my laptop over to my husband and admitted ‘Help, I just broke it!’

And so began an evening of running various software programmes to get rid of whatever was on my machine, rolling back to a previous restore point for good measure, then patiently re-installing my antivirus. And since then (thankfully) it’s been absolutely fine – whew! But I must admit it’s certainly cured me of any desire to click on anything dubious or dodgy, ever again 🙂

Daily Prompt: Succumb