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Ian McCall

You never step in the same river twice

Ice house

This is an ice house at St Colme House. It is on the north side of a small hill and so in the shade.  Filled with ice in the winter it would keep food chilled into the summer months and provide ice for the big house.

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How the other half lived – or maybe how the other 1% lived. Bear in mind a mile away men, women and children were hewing coal out of holes in the ground to allow people to afford this luxury.

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Dreich

IMAG0236Word of the day: Dreich

Damp, dank, dull, dreary, dismal, and depressing.

“Definition of dreich
adjective
Scottish
(especially of weather) dreary; bleak:

a cold, dreich day”

http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/dreich

Redshank

When I walk the dog late at night, if the tide is in, there is often a little group of redshank in the park. They look a bit out of place next to the swings.

Redshank (4482540582)

Passenger

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Went to see Passenger in The Caves in Edinburgh a couple of weeks ago. Great night with Maire, the girls and their pals.

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The venue is in the cellars under the bridges in Niddrie Street.

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It was snowing lightly as we queued to get in. Inside a warm atmosphere.

travelling alone

golden thread

I see love

sound of silence

Dog days 2

Well we did, as requested, get the weans a dug.

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Meet Holly – part retriever, part labrador.

She already feels part of the family so it’s all good I guess. Luckily we all enjoy a walk on the beach. 

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Today there was some real warmth to the sun and with the snowdrops in flower in the woods it felt like spring. 

Hard to believe only two days ago the snow was piling down all day.

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Film star beaches

Alisdair MacDonald [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Film star beaches

A wrecked fishing boat on a North East Scottish beach appears in the poster for the Film The Life of Pi.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-north-east-orkney-shetland-20944285

There was some suggestion that it might become a tourist attraction – like the telephone box at Pennan that appears in Local Hero.

It reminded me that one of our local beaches – Black Sands, Aberdour – is a film star.

It was a location in Sixteen years of Alcohol – directed by former Skids singer and Fifer Richard Jobson. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZacWzyw-izo

This got me thinking about what other Scottish beaches feature in films.

There are quite a few it seems – I found these other coastal locations on this website:

http://www.scotlandthemovie.com/movies/fintro.html

Local Hero – Camusdarach, Morar

Chariots of Fire – St Andrews

The Winter Guest – Elie

The Thirty Nine Steps (1959) – North Queensferry

Complicity – Inverkeithing

Kidnapped – Culross, Fife

The Little Vampire – Culross

Any other suggestions?

Ghost

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We thought we’d seen a ghost. It was an oyster shell on a Fife beach.

We quite often come across them – they must be some age because the Forth oyster has been considered extinct for many years.

The Forth oyster fishery once produced more than 30 million oysters a year – they were exported widely and were a cheap food. “Dreg songs” were sung by the fishermen as they rowed or sailed over the oyster beds towing dredges.

Indeed the history of oysters and man on the Forth is a long one – there are records of shell middens around the Forth from the Stone Age up to when the Romans tramped these shores.

Not far from this beach you can see oyster shells in the mortar of the walls of Aberdour Castle.

Overfishing spelled the end of the fishery. The collapse began in the 1870s and fishing stopped completely in 1920. In 1957 native oysters in the Firth were thought to be extinct.

In 2009, decades later, live oysters were found in the Firth. This has led to speculation over recovery of the stocks and possible future commercial production.

Maybe hold back on the tabasco and lemon juice for now though. For the time being the only wild oyster fishery in Scotland is in Loch Ryan.

It’s early days for a recovery of the Forth oyster but it is nice to hear a positive story for a change. And maybe some day we’ll be eating local oysters once again.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/scotland/8343331.stm

http://www.snh.gov.uk/protecting-scotlands-nature/species-action-framework/species-action-list/native-oyster/

Land mine

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We used to spend holidays on the East coast where the A1 road and the mainline railway cross a burn in a deep valley – a dean as it is called.

It’s been a crossing point for centuries – there is a succession of historical bridges spanning the centuries.

In WW2 it was seen as strategically important – it was thought German commandos might attack from the sea. The area was heavily fortified and a military camp built beside the bridges.

The defences included landmines on the beaches and around the burn mouth.

Someone told us that there might still be uncleared mines on the shore and in the dunes. Bear in mind that this was the late sixties -so less than 25 years after the war.

Clearly we interpreted this as a challenge rather than a warning. We therefore set out to find our very own land mine.

One day we thought we were in luck – unearthing a rusty metal disc which looked to us to be a land mine. Not that we’d ever seen one – bar in war films and in Commando comics.

Just in case it was one we did the logical thing. We threw rocks at it.

Well, maybe it wasn’t a mine, or maybe it was a dud but there was no huge explosion. No small boys ripped to pieces by the merciless blast. No dripping shreds of human flesh hanging from the alder branches.

A bit of a let down really.

Inchcolm

2005  June 0932005  June 0962005  June 1002005  June 0982005  June 084Thinking about Forth islands, I found these pictures from 2005 when we went to Inchcolm.

There was a mass in the abbey but my younger son and myself  spent most of the time watching birds.

One end of the island was very much the herring and lesser black backed gulls’ territory – they looked a bit scary.

We saw puffins from the boat which was a result.

It is interesting seeing an island up close when it is often in the background viewed from the land. The kids have grown up seeing it from their primary school.

This seems like yesterday but I can see how small the kids were and for them it probably seems a lifetime ago. I haven’t got any younger looking since then either! Just the one of them at primary now – and he goes to high school next year.

Named after Saint Columba, the Abbey was founded in the 12th century.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inchcolm_Abbey

http://www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/propertyplan/propertyoverview.htm?PropID=PL_155&PropName=Inchcolm%20Abbey

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