Some sun on Coll

I had a few days on Coll with Malcs last weekend. Friday was lovely weather – the other days not so good!

There was live music in the air from concerts at An Cridhe organised by the Tunnell Trust.


This snap shows the Manse and Loch Eatharna taken from An Cridhe – always such an enjoyable stay. Thanks to Malcolm and all the people on Coll.

The next snap is the meadow behind the Manse. I believe it used to house Angus’ sheep. Sadly, Angus passed away in January. R.I.P


T.S. Eliot going cheap

I popped into a second hand bookshop this afternoon to ask if they could recommend somewhere for poetry books.

They had received a pile of Eliot and Auden books and I left with 2 bags filled – including Faber and Faber imprints of Eliot’s poems with that lovely 1930’s, thick, uneven fibrous paper.

All for very little money. Oh, how I skipped up the road…*

(* actually, I waddled)

Sabeen Mahmud

I confess the original story passed me by. This conversation with the mother of Sabeen caught my eye, however. I found it very touching and quite inspiring.

Such a cruel thing.

The world seems full of “frightened”, extreme, people defending self-interest, tradition and ignorance. I wish they were a bit more frightened of killing and persecuting others.

Another year has flown by

As of today it has been more than 20 years since my brother passed away.

He would have been dismayed by the Labour Party condition but may well have embraced the SNP transformation. I shall never know.

He would still, I am sure, have been cheeky, funny, irreverent, charming and serious about facing up to inequality. I think he would have been a Teacher. He would still be thin and would have laughed at my fat belly!

All of this is supposition. He shall never be any more than he already was. Which was more than enough.

Music and light

As a young man two people in particular seemed to me to have been blessed by some God.

They died roughly a year apart when I was in my very early 20’s.

One was a musician and the other was a photographer.

Andrés Segovia
Andrés Segovia
Andrés Segovia dominated classical guitar. Some felt he was too vain and assumed too much. His version of Recuerdos de la Alhambra – which featured as a theme tune on a popular tv programme – was often the first, and only, classical guitar many people knew. The other celebrity player was his “pupil” John Williams. Those two, along with the wonderful Julian Bream, seemed to have everything I could ever want. They travelled, they met artists and they played guitar beautifully.

My other passion was photography. For good reason, Henri Cartier-Bresson was always singled out as the doyen. The pinnacle. He was a master of his craft and very widely known.

Ernst Hasas
Ernst Haas
However, for me, the photographer I admired most was Ernst Haas. He managed to take wonderful colour and black’n’white images. His striking image of an oily sky in midwest America adorns most picture shops on the high street and is even sold in Ikea. It is nothing to scoff. It is because he took images with colour which you can look at time after time and still enjoy. Few photographers manage such balance and composition.

Google Ernst Haas and look at the range of his images – or visit his Estate website then realise he was pioneering this. He was discovering colours and shape in photographic images. Faster and with more acuity than most.

I just realised it has been almost 30 years since both these men passed away. It seems no time at all.

Reflection on 42nd Street by Ernst Haas


I like to snap the first snowdrops I notice each year. These seem to have arrived a touch earlier than usual. Spotted at Gosford House, East Lothian, yesterday.

Snowdrops at Gosford