Jun 1: Home On The Range
The rust on this old range seems to echo the dreich day we’ve had today.
Spent the afternoon wrestling with the crazed instructions for some flat-packed furniture. A series of mini triumphs and disasters.
But wait – is that roast lamb I can smell? Thank goodness it’s not cooking on this.
Jun 2: Innocent fun
Ah, those wags at Innocent. I had to smile when I went past their grass-covered delivery van today.
Is it driven by Green Van Man, I wonder?
Jun 3: Better than all the rest?
I don’t know what it is about Ace Property Care that introduces a note of doubt to their claims of superiority… maybe they’re just too busy to give their van a quick spit and polish. I seem to have embarked on a van-themed week for some reason.
In the wake of the referendum result I’ve decided to give the ratings system another go. Well, if you can’t beat ’em…
Not that I imagine there’s anything rateworthy about the van, you understand: it’s more rat-worthy if anything.
Jun 4: Sign of summer?
Arrived early for a meeting this morning, which gave me half an hour to wander round in the sunshine, looking in the windows of second-hand bookshops.
Saw one book that prompted the question why would you? and come to think of it, the same question probably applies to the one about cooking wolves.
A busy, productive day – in which H still found time to come up with an amusing new game. Take any song title with the word “summer” in it, replace the “s” with a “b”, and – hey presto! Instant puerile humour. Go on – you know you want to.
Jun 5: New Town, old sign
Had a meeting late this morning which went very well – but much more quickly than we’d expected. As we had some time to kill before meeting someone at lunchtime. we took a wander round some of the streets of the New Town.
Unlike most new towns in the UK, this one is actually pretty old. In fact, often it’s only the cars and streetlights that give you a clue as to what century it is.
Jun 6: An appeal on behalf of Blue Eyes
Poor Old Blue Eyes. Day after day, he languishes behind the bars of his squalid Leith prison, for no other crime than he’s a Posh Cat.
Out on Portland Street, he’d never survive. Local kids would pull his tail and call him harsh names, devil dogs would chase him and even other cats would shun and abuse him. Yes, the sad fact is that he’s in prison for his own safety.
But with your help, we can make a difference to Blue Eyes’s sad life. Just £100 will buy him a gold-plated drinking bowl. £500 could pay for a cashmere cat-bed. And a donation of £1,000 would allow him to enjoy the gem-encrusted collar he deserves.
Please give £2 a month, or whatever you can afford, to Imprisoned Posh Cats Appeal, FREEPOST, Edinburgh. Remember to make any cheques payable to “Red”.
I really preferred this shot, but I couldn’t really tell you why.
Jun 7: Summertime, and the scoffing is easy
Headed over to Shonagh and Dave’s for a barbecue in honour of Shonagh’s 30th birthday. As the sausages sizzled on the barbie, we all roasted gently in the beautiful sunshine. I think we’ve all been done to a pleasant pink colour.
The lads all seemed to have a good time: whether that’s got anything to do with Dave showing them some top new games for the Wii, I couldn’t possibly comment.
In spite of taking a couple of guitars along, no-one could be bothered to play. This probably increased everybody’s enjoyment of the day.
Jun 8: Spott The Witch
Coming back from Stenton, I went past this memorial on one of the little back roads near us. I’ve known for ages it’s been there, but only saw it for the first time the other day. The sign reads:
THE WITCHES STONE OF SPOTT
Marion Lilllie, the Ringwoody Witch was burnt here in 1698.
The stone is reputed to lie on the site of the burning of the last witch in Scotland.
A strange little memorial – with, it seems, people leaving little offerings on it.
Jun 9: Big pigeon coop
This doocot in the ground of Stenton church is what’s left of the old church, which was replaced by the Nineteenth Century one in the background.
A sign nearby says that the old church had become “incommodious”.
It seems to be pretty popular with the pigeon population though – as evidenced by the pile of guano spilling out of the doorway at the foot of the tower. Must be handy for keeping the grounds looking nice and green.
I had tried making this shot look infra red, but it turned out a bit extreme. When I reduced the opacity over the colour original, I quite liked this tinted effect it made.
Jun 10: The power of blip
It’s a long shot, but I was also admiring Chaos’s car the other day, too.
Jun 11: Took me ages to get home
There was some exceptionally heavy traffic on the roads tonight.
Jun 12: Flippin’ Lovely Day
Maybe it was the blue sky, maybe it was the unusual clouds, maybe it was the sun reflecting off the cross like a mirror: today, for some reason, it seemed a bit different.
Jun 13: Blindingly Un-obvious
Just noticed these strange objects above the door of an industrial unit. Turns out it’s the sign of a second-hand shop, the Thrift Warehouse – which, it seems, closed recently. I wonder if maybe the sign hadn’t been so obscure, more people might have known about it? Ah well, too late now.
Went down to The Shore at lunchtime to enjoy the sun – the Malt & Hops had thoughtfully left tables and chairs outside for thirsty passers-by. Now that’s a better use of furniture.
Jun 14: The Hero Next Door
At the school fair today, George seemed a bit overwhelmed to meet Fireman Sam in person. Well, he had just woken up: he probably thought he was still dreaming.
Morag’s done a fantastic job of organising the fair this year, and it all seemed to go very well indeed. What a star.
Jun 15: Super? No. Lucky? Yes.
On days when we’re driving each other nuts, I will always try to remember that Andy wrote To a brilliant dad who is luving and caers for me ole the time in his Father’s Day card.
When I was a kid, we’d often get my dad presents like mugs saying “World’s Number One Dad” and suchlike, and sometimes I’d wonder if he really enjoyed receiving them. But now I’m pretty sure he did.
Leaping lizards! We all had a great trip out to Gullane. Three pints of Landlord, Ballencrieff sausages and Bubble & Squeak. Yum.
Jun 16: Cooking
For some reason, after band practice, only a pint of lager ordinaire really hits the spot. Cold, fizzy and refreshing: perfect.
It was one of those rare sessions where everything comes together and sounds very good indeed. Someone once said that the difference between amateur musicians and professionals is this: amateurs practise a piece till they get it right, while professionals practise till they can’t get it wrong.
We’re definitely in the former category. But tonight, we got it mostly right.
Jun 17: No Show Dog
At Matt’s insistence, we took Molly along to enter the Dunbar Civic Week Pet Show.
Unfortunately there wasn’t a Loveable Old Dog (Slightly Farty) Category.
Ah well. Some friends of ours scooped the top prize in the Other Petscategory, with their sea monkeys. They were the only entrants.
Jun 18: Metamorphosis
Found a feather in the street.
It looked shiny, so I blipped it.
But when I looked again, it had turned into some kind of moth.
I liked the suggestion from farsidehues!
Jun 19: The Play’s The Thing
That might look like Andy standing on the chair, but in fact it’s Mowgli. And Matt? He’s one of the wolf pack.
Tonight was their debut in The Jungle Book. And very good it was too. In fact, I might blip their performace tomorrow night as well.
Well, it is the closing night.
Jun 20: Offstage
Andy and Matt had the second (and final) performance of The Jungle Book tonight.
After their bit, there was a bunch of older kids doing excerpts from Shakespeare: last night, Matt had been bored by it, but Andy had enjoyed it. So tonight, Mo took Matt and George home, while Andy and I sat through Bard In The Bar again. “All the world’s a stage,” and all that.
Afterwards, I got a picture of Andy and Charlie, the guy who runs Theatre Alba and teaches them drama. A top feller.
Andy then proved that, while he might have been Mowgli, he was really the king of the swingers.
Jun 21: Practice Makes Perfect
Shopping trip into Edinburgh to get new kids’ clothes and sandals for our holiday next week? Boo, hiss.
Lunch at Giuliano’s, just so we could get into practice for eating loads of delicious Italian food? Hooray!
Jun 22: Imitating himself (badly)
Mad weather today: with the torrential rain this morning, it seems amazing that we were out in the garden all afternoon.
You wouldn’t know it from George’s expression, but we spent a very pleasant time having lunch with friends. And Molly got to spend some time with herholiday companions: she’ll be staying with our friends while we’re away.
Mr Grumpy is, in fact, trying to recreate a spectacular face he’d pulled spontaneously. He failed completely, and this is just a pale imitation. Thank goodness. I wouldn’t like to think he could like that whenever he wanted.
Jun 23: Looking Up
I do like this building: especially its dragon-type-thing bits.
When you’re wandering about Leith, there’s a lot of stuff worth looking upwards for – which might explain why most of the pedestrians walk round as if they want to be knocked down.
Changing the subject completely, this is a very long sentence, don’t you think? Worth a read, though:
“Every year it’s the same thing: a 200-year-old countess you’ve never heard of, who closely resembles a Cruella De Vil mannequin assembled entirely from heavily wrinkled scrotal tissue that’s been soaked in tea for the past eight decades, attempts to draw attention away from her sagging neck – a droopy curtain of skin that hangs so low she has to repeatedly kick it out of her path as she crosses the royal compound – by balancing the millinery equivalent of Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum on her head, and winds up forming the centrepiece of a light-hearted photomontage in the centre of whatever newspaper you happen to be reading that day, accompanied by a picture of Princess Eugenie in a headdress, and some milky underfed heiress with the physique of a violin-playing mantis, wearing nothing but a diamante cornflake on each nipple and a hat made out of second-hand dentures or something equally avant-garde.”
A fine take on Royal Ascot by this funny ranty bloke. It was H who first mentioned him to me, but I like to pretend I’ve been into his stuff for years.
Jun 24: A Bicycle Made For You?
I would love to think I caught the moment when this bloke’s life took a new direction.
He and his wife/partner/significant other were walking past the bike shop when he was literally stopped in his tracks, gazing at this tandem. Realising she was walking on alone, his companion (now twenty yards up the street) turned around and shouted “Go in. Ask how much is bicycle.” And so he did.
Wonder if he bought it?
I’d moved on to here. Didn’t buy any, though.
Jun 25: Couldn’t fit it all in
Blimey, this ship is big.
In a way that this picture doesn’t, I think these hastily-cobbled-together images convey the Ismail K’s mind-buggeringly huuuuuuuge bigness better than a proper panoramic shot.
Which is just as well, as I couldn’t do a proper panoramic shot.
Jun 26: Diver’s helmet. Not deep, see?
Whenever we drop into The Old Dock Tavern, it seems as if I always take pictures of this old deep sea diver’s helmet.
I’m never happy with the result, and today was no exception. But I thought that if I tarted it up with a vignette and put it on blip anyway, I could save myself the bother next time I’m in there. How’s that for a brass neck?
Maybe next time, if I’m not so preoccupied, I’ll be able to remember the name of the excellent ale they had on in there.
Jun 27: Even more funpacked
Ever had a sense of déjà vu? Don’t know if Andy and George will be able to squeeze into this next year, but it’ll be fun trying.
Last day at school for Matt and Andy today. Then it’ll be time to get the cases packed with clothes instead of kids, and we’ll be off on our holidays in the morning (flying at “Urgh” o’clock).
Italy here we come – see you in a fortnight!
Jun 28: Well my bags are packed, I’m ready to go
Up at 4.30. Edinburgh to Stansted, then Stansted to Treviso. At Treviso, the car rental people have no record of the child seats we’ve ordered. Aargh. Don’t you just love the internet? Drive to the campsite, hang around for ages, eventually get checked in. Discover caravan is, er, compact and bijou (with the emphasis on compact). Take excited lads to swimming pool, only to discover it’s just closed. But then unwind on the beach: blissed-out floaty blue sky warm sea…aaaaah.
Scoff a pizza, get eaten by mosquitoes but don’t care. The holiday has begun.
Jun 29: Venice calling
Spend the day around the campsite: splashing in the pool all morning, eat my own body weight in calamari for lunch (there is such a thing as too much, I discover) taking it easy in the afternoon. The boys have found a game ofFrustration and it seems right to be playing it outside the caravan, somehow.
In the evening, we go to nearby Punta Sabbioni for a meal and to find out the times of the ferries to Venice – tomorrow’s adventure.
Jun 30: A Grand Day Out
The ferry across the lagoon to Venice is a fantastic journey, and Matt and Andy are very taken with the spectacular views of the city. We don’t do much other than walk around and take the waterbus up the Grand Canal – oh, and buy some excellent hats – but it’s a wonderful visit.
As we were waiting for the ferry back, we saw a huuuuuuuuge cruise ship which seemed to have been named to let you know just how expensive it is.