Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Snap happy

a collection of things that made me smile recently

- the fabulous firework concert that ends the festival month in Edinburgh
- amazing giant bubbles in the middle of town - fun street performance to happen across on a foggy day
- sweetpeas from my sister / Dad 's garden
- the fancy hightops I'd been eyeing up were half price

and always happy to see the snaps you share

Monday, August 29, 2016

Memorandum Monday up a hill

Big wave to everyone on a sunny but breezy morning.

So what did I do for the first time or learn this weekend?  Well, on Friday I went to the Poetry Library in order to get on a minibus for an hours drive out of Edinburgh into the hills - so that I could walk around the gardens / exhibition space at Little Sparta.  The garden 'is created from the artistic fusion of poetic and sculptural elements with those of the natural landscape which is shaped and changed to become an inherent part of the concept'.  For instance there are several winding brick paths in and around bushes and rows of redcurrant bushes with plinths and stones that have words engraved on them. There are also lots of small bridges over a stream - some stone, some wood and most with words on them and also stepping stones in several places, again often with words on them. 

This garden is only open on a few afternoons over the summer and is hard to get to so I jumped at the chance when I heard about the minibus trip.  There is a 700m walk up a farm track from the car park to the gate - adding to the feeling of remoteness - this is the view from the gate looking back down the path.

The garden has a strict policy on protecting its copyright of the whole garden as all aspects form part of the art - so no publication of photos of the garden are allowed, and they ask that people pay if they want to take photos.  So I went along knowing that I would be looking rather than photographing.

However, when we arrived at the library we were all asked if we would be willing to use a disposable camera to take some pictures as we walked around and record our feelings about each image we took - like it?  puzzled by it?  wanting more information.  This was some research that the trustees had commissioned to better understand what visitors would like in a map or guide.  I readily agreed and had some flash back moments as I had to remember to hold the camera up to my eye to look through the viewfinder and also to wind on the film between photos.  I actually enjoyed the process of recording my feelings on each image.  And - big added bonus - they will send me a digital file of all the photos I took - for my own enjoyment.  If you want to have a look at some images from the garden there is a slideshow on their website here.

I had several requests for more information about my last 2 posts.  I don't know anything more about the man playing piano on the beach - just something I saw as I was out for a walk.  The feet in the carpet were a group trying to drum up an audience for their Fringe show - he was wrapped up in a big rug - the show they were doing is an improvised 'who dunnit' with some links to cluedo scenarios and he was the 'body in the drawing room'.

And a last bit of fun from the buzz of the Fringe - I managed to catch a Pokemon - old school!!!!

Hope you all have a good week.

Friday, August 26, 2016

6 word love

joining Miriam's lovely meme and sending her love and good wishes as she recovers from surgery - Miriam I hope this makes you smile but not laugh too much to agitate the healing

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Snap fringe fun

A collection of people doing their thing and having fun at the Fringe this week

what surprises to do you have for me this week with your snap collections - always fun to visit you all

Monday, August 22, 2016

Memorandum Monday - rainy day

Big wave to you all on another overcast Monday - but a least it is not raining - Friday it absolutely poured down all afternoon so when I met friends in town we headed for the museum as a dry place to visit and discovered that everyone else had the same idea!  We were surprised to hear applause so went to peer over the balustrade and discovered dancers

Did you spot the lady either totally oblivious to the dancing or totally ignoring it?  sitting on the right, right next to the soundbox. 

Yesterday I went to the Book Festival again to listen to a local crime writer Chris Brookmyre - his writing is very funny with wry commentary on life in Scotland and the occasional rant about social issues.  Delighted to discover that he is just the same when presenting - I've come across enough people who are different in how they write and speak to not take that for granted. 

No food adventure last week - I will try better this coming week.  Hope you all have a good week

Friday, August 19, 2016

6 word story - eye

Using another image from the fun that is the Fringe for Miriam's lovely meme

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Snap the apes

Last week I had another TV related adventure - you may remember that last year I was in the audience for the live recording of a favourite TV show.  Well this year I visited the site of a long running documentary that I discovered this year and have been avidly watching - Monkey World - the monkey and ape rescue centre.  Monkey World provides a haven for apes and monkeys that have been rescued from illegal smuggling, use as photographers' props and research labs.  They keep their apes in really big family groups in big enclosures.  All of the animals have names and through the TV series you learn about the back story of many and get to know their different personalities.  One of the TV channels in the UK has been showing all of the old series and after I stumbled upon them I was hooked.

This summer my sister was down in Dorset, near Monkey World so I flew down for 2 days so that we could spend a day at the park.  It was fabulous - the enclosures really are big and full of enrichment.  The apes and monkeys are free to move between their indoor spaces and outside and so can choose to be off in a corner away from the people or come up to the glass and interact.  We spotted many of the characters who we have come to know from the TV show and got to know other newer characters.  If you are a fan of the show I'd highly recommend a visit to the park - allow the whole day.

Here are just 4 of the photos I took - I only took pictures through glass or when the animals were high up so my sight line was over the fence.

If you follow the show - the top chimp is Carli, who used to be in a Turkish TV show - he was interacting with us - later someone showed him photos of other chimps on his phone and he was looking and shaking his head at some.  The top orang is Gordon.  The bottom chimp is in Butch's troupe but I don't know who he is and the bottom orang is in the nursery group.

Looking forward to seeing what caught your eye for a snap collection this week

Monday, August 15, 2016

Monday memorandum at the book festival

Big wave to you all after another busy weekend enjoying all the bustle of Edinburgh in August.  As you will have seen here I am a big fan of the Fringe festival that takes over the city every summer. But I have not sampled the other festivals that take place at the same time and thought I should rectify this omission. 

So this year I went to the book festival for the first time - it is so different from the Fringe which is big and noisy and takes over every conceivable performance space.  The book festival is contained within one big grassy square in town - it is flat, has plenty of seats - including in the queue, the atmosphere is quietly excited.  There is even a cafe inside the big bookshop that is erected on site

I arrived in plenty of time for the talk so that I could have a nosey around and enjoy a coffee and read a bit.  I was rather hesitant in pulling out my kindle when so many people were reading actual paper books but I spotted a couple reading theirs so I sat near them and then another lady came over and sat nearby and took out hers.

I thoroughly enjoyed the talk and reading from Ken McLeod whose scifi books I thoroughly enjoy too.  He explained how he came up with the key concepts in his latest trilogy and read extracts from the 1st book and, as a special treat, a piece from the 3rd which he is currently writing.  I have a ticket for another local author who I enjoy reading - Chris Brookmyre - for next weekend.  I will definitely be adding the book festival to my August programme in the future.

And my tasting adventures continue.  Outside one of the popular venues we had spotted a stall offering 'adult ice-cream' so had to investigate.  Each flavour contains alcohol

I chose Oreos over Dublin and it was delicious.

Wishing you all a good week.

Friday, August 12, 2016

6 word story - less

Joining Miriam for her lovely weekly meme

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Snap up in the air

I like to wander around the entertainers and crowds that are part of the Fringe festival but the crowds are often so big that seeing what is happening can be hard - except when the action is up above the crowds.  So here is a collection of fun things up in the air

the balloon creations seem to get more intricate each year - those octopus look scary

these living statues continue to entertain and there are several this year which look as if they are levitating

I was walking up some stairs and saw red legs in the air - it was an acrobat balancing on her hands on a table

I like to watch jugglers and this one was throwing his balls particularly high

Looking forward to seeing what caught your eye this week

Monday, August 8, 2016

Memorandum Monday serendipity

A big wave to you all and hoping you had a good weekend. 

The Fringe festival has started here so I've been out and about enjoying the creative buzz and wending through crowds and helping people looking lost / arguing with maps in hand and puzzled faces.  Edinburgh is a city that would really benefit from 3D maps as an easy looking route on paper can actually entail walking up and down a fairly steep hill and waht looks like a crossroads can actually be a bridge over another road 4 stories below.

My sampling of street food continued with a very tasty stir fry vegetables and noodles with two dumplings on top - I said yes to all the optional toppings

And a new thing ?  totally serendipitous and actually on Thursday - I was out for a walk alongside the water when I noticed a few people staring at the rocks just off shore, so of course I stopped to look too - and take a picture on my phone

can you see - there are seals.  The first time I've seen seals locally - the nature information boards list them alongside lots of birds but I've always been skeptical about actually seeing them this close to a big city. 

I've been using only the camera on my phone for the past 5 weeks but this is an example of the downside of this approach - the camera phone is fabulous for things you can get close to (walking closer as a zoom) but does not have any digital zoom so cannot cope with situations like this - and some research suggests there are no great zoom lens on the market - some good macro ones and fisheye ones but not distance zoom yet.  Anyone know of a solution?  Or I can just start carrying my camera again.

And you wanted to know what the items were in my collection of beach finds on Friday
they are all pottery of some sort - the beach where I picked these up has lots of worn brick and pieces of pottery from buildings that disintegrated into the sea.  As far as I can tell
1. part of a pipe - about 20cm diameter
2. it has a glossy glaze and is totally flat so I'm thinking a decorative tile
3. ridges on the back and a slight curve suggest part of a round dish with sides
4 I have no idea
5 more Bakelite than traditional pottery and from other pieces I saw on the beach from the same material it was something with raised semi-spheres and corresponding dimples

wishing you all a good week - I won't be round to visit until Wednesday

Friday, August 5, 2016

6 word FIND

Joining Miriam for her lovely meme providing a theme each week and inviting us to tell a story with a photo and 6 words

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Snap at the food festival

Festival organisers in Edinburgh were clearly concerned that there was a 5 day gap between the end of the jazz festival and the start of the fringe and tattoo so last year they introduced a food festival using the venues from the jazz festival.

I took advantage on a sunny lunchtime

I enjoyed a nicely balanced lunch - starting with a slice of vegan aubergine kuku - which I have discovered is a traditional Persian dish somewhat like a frittata but baked and packed full of vegetables and herbs.  I'm not sure what they used instead of eggs to make it vegan but it was delicious.
Then I had a decadent piece of coffee and hazelnut brownie - seemed a good balance to the virtuous savoury.  Very rich and tasty but a smaller portion would have been enough.

 Looking forward to your snaps be they tasty, balanced or something else entirely

Monday, August 1, 2016

Memorandum Monday Riding the Marches

Waving to you all on a sunny Monday.  This weekend I watched several events that only happen every 21 years - local riding of the marches to mark out the boundaries.  The ceremonies are first mentioned in historic records in 1682 but are thought to be much older.

In the main event on Friday evening the turfcutter goes to 12 boundary points, cuts a piece of turn and shouts "it's a' oor ain!" - this is all ours.  The turfcutter is accompanied by a champion and various assistants - all in historic costume

and followed by other local dignitaries - using carriages for those not comfortable on horseback

Then on Saturday there is a big civic procession - again led by the principals in historic costume
followed by many of the Honest Lads and Lassies - in the years in between these big ridings there is an annual week of celebration led by the Honest Lad and the Honest Lass - the oldest I spotted was from 1965 and all of the recent ones were in attendance - all looking smart in riding whites

then other riders, including some children keen to take part in this local tradition as early as possible to build up credentials that help in being elected Honest Lad or Lass when they are old enough

and of course after all those horses, some road sweeping is needed
then come lots of other local groups - I was pleased to see this boat because some of the jellyfish that I made for the yarn bombing were being used in the decorations

The final event was a production beside the river with songs depicting local history and the highlight a giant lit lantern depicting the champion which walked down the middle of the river (very little water in it this time of year)

and of course fireworks to end

now the town returns to normal until 2037 when it will all happen again - the idea was to mark out the boundaries once in each generation to ensure that the knowledge of their position would be maintained.  With urbanisation most of the turf cutting stations are beside a pavement or shop carpark but the council maintains them all with plaques and provides a box of grass to be cut by the turf cutter.

Wishing you all a good week