Before I start, I want to share this. It was on FB and I think a lot of tanglers in the early stages will relate to it:
So, back to Over the Hills;
We’re going a bit Gaelic this week, visiting friends in Scotland for a few days. Firstly, to just south of Glasgow and then over to the Isle of Bute for some serious peace and quiet. Now I’ve been to Bute before, a long while ago. We stayed on a farm, my parents and I, a farm called the Barone Farm. My dad, who had been watching Rawhide and the like, thought it was Bar One, as in Bar One Ranch, but it wasn’t, it’s an ancient name going back several hundred years and having no relation at all to branding irons and chaps in chaps, so to speak.
I don’t know how old I was, about eight, I think, but I was fascinated by the farm and all its activities. They had two daughters, older than me but good natured enough to let me trail around after them when they did their chores. And they had a pet lamb or, to be more precise, “A wee pet lamb” called Blarney, I think, or Barney. Each day, I was allowed to go with them to feed Barney the wee pet lamb. You can imagine my surprise on the first day, when a fully grown ram came bounding across the field to be fed from a bottle. Apparently, he had been abandoned at birth by his mother and they had bottle reared him and, although he was now fully grown and in no need of it, he still loved his bottle of warm milk each day and the girls indulged him. In his enthusiasm, he managed to knock me over virtually every day and I loved it.
They also had a swing, hanging from the branch of a tree and I was allowed to play on it, unsupervised for the first time. This was a real step forward, to such and extent that, on the day I fell off, sat up, was hit a stunning blow by the swing on the back of the head and lay unconscious for a short while, I never told them, knowing, as children do, that solo swinging would be banned for the foreseeable future. My mum put my subdued behaviour that evening down to “too much sun” thank goodness. The weather must have been extremely unusual that year, if the current forecast is anything to go on.
Assuming that Scottish weather is likely to be even less predictable than English weather, I’m packing for all four seasons, since, from past experience, I know we are likely to get all four in any one day.
I’m also going to do an “Introduction to Zentangle” session with a few of my friend’s crafting friends. Ive been giving it a lot of thought and was going to use an outline I’ve used before as a string. However, the maze book I mentioned last week might be a good idea, as they are all skilled crafters and it might help them relax about the drawing part. We’ll see.
ONE WEEK LATER
Well, I was right about the weather. We did a day in Glasgow, visiting the House for an Art Lover, designed by Charles Rennie Macintosh in the morning (could have stayed all day) and then wandering on foot round the city centre in the afternoon. (After a light lunch in what is reputed to be the oldest original bar in Glasgow – the Horseshoe Bar.) Unfortunately, it was dark and drizzly, which didn’t spoil the house tour but did, quite literally, put a damper on the city centre bit. In the end, we gave up and got the train back to Ann’s house.
That evening we did indeed use the maze book and then made tiles to go in it. I think the ladies enjoyed it and at least one of them will persevere. I hope so.
The following day, the loved one and I went over to Bute, which is a small island off the west coast of Scotland. It’s beautiful, or so I’m told, it was damn near invisible for the first couple of days. Bear in mind, this is midsummer but you’d never have guessed from the light or the temperatures. We went for a little walk on the first evening and soon realised we were regarded as supper by the local insect population. That didn’t endear us to the place either.
However, we had been greeted by our next door neighbour, Bill, who came round within an hour of our arrival, to welcome us, bring us the spare keys, stay for a cuppa and a chat and let us know that he had been round earlier, thought it was a bit cool, so had put on the central heating. This warmth proved typical of the gentleman in question, and I use the term advisedly, he really was a proper gent. He let me use his WiFi, came for a chat but never intruded and was an all round good neighbour. One morning, he happened to be up at dawn – about 03.40, apparently – and took these photos outside our front door.
We had a run into town the following morning. (Not a big town, population about 12,000) Walked along the sea front, which was probably very pretty, how would we know, we couldn’t see much through the steady drizzle? Had a very nice lunch in the Esplanade cafe and, after a little run out to Kerrycroy, which was lovely, to say the least, (And it stopped raining!) we went back to the house to await the arrival of our hostess. The rest of the day was spent talking and eating and it really doesn’t matter about the weather at that point.
We went to Mount Stuart on the Sunday, after church. (Them, not me, it’s been a while since I felt church was doing me any good.) It is a magnificent house, owned by a family which has been there since the middle ages and probably has more royal blood in its veins than the present monarchy. The house, however, was rebuilt in the 19th century and is huge, magnificent and full of all sorts of quirky features. I can’t, I have to admit, picture it as a home, buit it is nonetheless a fabulous place. Each room has a guide who will answer questions but they don’t force it on you and there is no sense of being educated against your will. What’s more, they really are very well informed, personable and a pleasure to hear. If you get the chance, go there and ask as many questions as you can, they’ll love you for it. I can’t let you see what it looks like because their one prohibition is photography. And, for once, I did as I was told and left the camera in my bag, although it nearly killed me.
The following day was fine. You heard me, FINE. So we did a tour of the island, which, without stops, would have taken possibly and hour. But we did stop, in Ettrick Bay, in St Ninian’s Bay (Look up Calum’s Cabin and read an extremely heartwarming story about love and caring and community. https://www.facebook.com/ ) And then we went to St Blain’s. This is a ruined church on a hillside in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, on Easter Sunday, everyone from a Christian church on the island, any denomination, walks there for the Easter service. It’s not a spectacularly long walk but it’s steep and they have to sit outdoors because, as previously mentioned, it’s a ruin. And very, very beautiful. As you can see.
Well, I think that’s probably enough for now about our little trip. I can’t show much in the way of drawing this week, as I gave it all away without thinking to take photos first. I did a little name plate for each of the ladies in the craft group in Scotland and a coaster for my friend, Ann, whose hospitality was boundless.
All I have to show is this week’s Diva Challenge, to use Tipple. Being me, of course, I filled some of the bigger ones and added colour. Off to Tenerife in the morning, so I don’t know if I’ll be able to post next week.
See you soon, world, be good.