Tag Archives: Argyll

Dreich weather and a sonnet: Argyll Weather⤴

from @ blethers

I haven't written a sonnet for 37 years. At that time, I thought I might be halfway through my allotted life span and wrote my first attempt at a sonnet about being at "life's watershed". You can hear the iambic feet, can't you? This afternoon, it being utterly miserable outside, and dark by 3.30pm, I thought I'd make my Christmas puddings and then - maybe - write some cards. Then I got a message from a good friend that he'd been shown a poem of mine on a window of St Andrew's bus station. In St Andrews. There was a photo - it's there, right enough, in black letters on the glass. Extraordinary.

In the comment thread that followed, others joined in. One of them threw down a challenge. "Write a sonnet about Argyll weather. Walking in the rain". This wasn't an entirely random challenge - I'd pointed out that I didn't participate as much as I might in the poetry scene because I was always walking about in the rain in Argyll.

Reader, I tried. Once the puddings were burbling and the (extensive) washing up done, I sat down with my preferred poetry-writing tools (the back of an envelope and a biro) and a copy of Edwin Morgan's Glasgow Sonnets for inspiration.

This is the result. I've dedicated it to my friend Jim Gordon, whose fault it was.




Argyll Weather

A Sonnet for Jim

The rain drifts in grey curtains from the hills
and turns the loch’s black surface into lace
before a random wind takes up the chase
that now obliterates the day it kills.
The burn beside me gurgles as it fills
and overflows. There’s water on my face,
the path I followed gone without a trace,
enthusiasm drowned in sudden chills.

But as I turn to make my sodden way
to shelter, warmth …dry feet … a sudden gleam
appears. It’s like another day.
The wet rock all around me starts to steam
and birdsong cuts the air as if to say
This is Argyll. Things are not what they seem.

C.M.M. 12/17

Stormy anticipation⤴

from @ blethers

It's more or less dark now, this Christmas Eve, and I can no longer see the waves crashing over the pavement of the East Bay in Dunoon. I can, however, see the lights of our lifeline Western Ferries as a ship makes the crossing to The Other Side (we always think of it with capitals; somehow it seems to emphasise otherness...) after being off for several hours over high tide, and I can tell even without looking that the winds have eased off a bit.

 I have been fascinated for several hours now by this interactive map , of which this is a screen grab - taken just now, as the storm moves off to the north east. At the height of our cut-offness, we were, it appeared, living in the windiest part of the globe and I felt small and vulnerable stuck up here in my study looking out over the turbulent sea.

But now I can start to feel the excitement of Christmas Eve building in me as I contemplate the shock of leaving a warm house to head further up the hill to church, the thrill of the dark church and the candles, and the privilege of singing with our quartet that will open the Midnight Mass. For the past 39 years this has been my Christmas - the tension and the joy in the darkness - and only when it is over can I relax.

Kids, get that champagne on ice!

Of minnows, flounders and me⤴

from @ blethers



I've decided I'm a simple soul, really. The picture above - and that's my footprint on the right - represents a perfect end to a perfect week and we've hardly spent a penny on all this perfection. I climbed a hill (Beinn Donich) on Monday, walked the Crinan Canal on Wednesday, and finished off with what must be the seal-setter on the proper Scottish holiday experience: I swam in the sea and it was warm. There were shoals of minnows, tiny flounders, and the odd crab. Oh, and some of these wee clear jellyfish with the purple bits that we used to throw at each other. It's an odd sensation to hit one when you're swimming. I wished my grandchildren could have been there, because they would have loved it, but I had fun doing my own thing.

When I say we didn't spend much, I'm glossing over two sizeable drives, one to Lochgilphead and one to the beach which is the gem of Argyll's Hidden Shore (yes, it's a tourist description) - but we began and ended each day in our own house and bought no tickets and only modest food. But this afternoon I was ecstatic, to get a swim at the time of year when the childhood holidays demanded and with Arran, my favourite place in the world, on the horizon. Better still, we had to walk a mile to reach the beach - just as I did in my car-less childhood.

Is it what you do in childhood that in the end demands you return to these experiences? When I was a small child we spent 8 weeks in Arran every summer, in the same cottage, doing the same things. On days such as today, we went to the beach and went into the sea. Other days we climbed hills or walked the glens. We came home in the evening to boiled eggs, floury muffins with strawberry jam - this last memory is so powerful that today I found myself thinking of a boiled egg despite having had one for lunch. We would never eat what I've just cooked and eaten (baked salmon of some splendour, strawberries ditto, a nice crisp white wine), though I suspect I'd miss the step up in culinary standards these days.

But I rabbit on, and I'm tired and sun-sated. I've showered away the salt (it doesn't half prickle under your shirt, especially on a bit of sunburn) and shaken the sand out of my sandals. I feel as if I might still be ten years old. I believe the weather is going to be different tomorrow, and I shall be off to Rothesay for work, not pleasure. But I don't care.

Tonight is good, and I know it. Hurrah.

Big Adventures Small Technologies⤴

from @ Islay ICT

Islay High School has been developing some ‘interesting’ trips. Amongst the usual and wonderful, skiing, Outward Bound, Sports, etc. trips. We have been going for bigger adventures too. This has been developed by one of our Deputy Head Teachers, Stephen Harrison.

The first adventure (Trip is far too small a word these) was in 2003 to Costa Rica. No Blog though lots of memories for those involved.

Though this was the start of the adventure the start of the project was 2 years before that. That is when the pupils committed to going and to raising the funds to go and commit to the training regime.

The second adventure was in 2005 to Ecuador. They tried to Blog but hadn’t quite got the hang of it. Though the photos are wonderful.

The third adventure was to Malawi and this time the Blogging was better but still a bit stilted due to access issues. Though the response on the BBC Island Blogging site was tremendous.

This adventure takes a slightly different format as it is covering 2 countries, Palau and Borneo.

An earlier Blog post gives some of the detail but loads more to come. The pupils have setup a blog and will be starting to post to it soon.

That's the background. This is what I am looking for.

What technologies should they be taking?

I have spoken to one of our suppliers, Lanway, and asked about a small, robust UMPC or netbook. They are suggesting that they can borrow a solid state UMPC with built in Camera (Both Video and still) and takes a SIM card. Though I will have to check out if they can connect to the local network after reading this.

They will also be taking an Olympus SW790 (Thats the one that can be dropped and used in water upto 3m).

I am a little concerned about charging. I have been looking at solar chargers. Anyone know anything?

and lastly GPS tracking………. I am a complete novice at this and would welcome any help.

And the last catch all What would you take?

Looking forward to the responses.

 

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Big Adventures Small Technologies⤴

from @ Islay ICT

Islay High School has been developing some ‘interesting’ trips. Amongst the usual and wonderful, skiing, Outward Bound, Sports, etc. trips. We have been going for bigger adventures too. This has been developed by one of our Deputy Head Teachers, Stephen Harrison.

The first adventure (Trip is far too small a word these) was in 2003 to Costa Rica. No Blog though lots of memories for those involved.

Though this was the start of the adventure the start of the project was 2 years before that. That is when the pupils committed to going and to raising the funds to go and commit to the training regime.

The second adventure was in 2005 to Ecuador. They tried to Blog but hadn’t quite got the hang of it. Though the photos are wonderful.

The third adventure was to Malawi and this time the Blogging was better but still a bit stilted due to access issues. Though the response on the BBC Island Blogging site was tremendous.

This adventure takes a slightly different format as it is covering 2 countries, Palau and Borneo.

An earlier Blog post gives some of the detail but loads more to come. The pupils have setup a blog and will be starting to post to it soon.

That's the background. This is what I am looking for.

What technologies should they be taking?

I have spoken to one of our suppliers, Lanway, and asked about a small, robust UMPC or netbook. They are suggesting that they can borrow a solid state UMPC with built in Camera (Both Video and still) and takes a SIM card. Though I will have to check out if they can connect to the local network after reading this.

They will also be taking an Olympus SW790 (Thats the one that can be dropped and used in water upto 3m).

I am a little concerned about charging. I have been looking at solar chargers. Anyone know anything?

and lastly GPS tracking………. I am a complete novice at this and would welcome any help.

And the last catch all What would you take?

Looking forward to the responses.

 

Technorati Tags: ,,,