stories and illustration

Fishing and Gulls



August 15, 2016 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rough Water, November

Rough WaterI don’t know whether it was the remnants of Abigail, our latest tornado, or just a wee Scottish breeze, but suddenly at a quarter to four it was almost dark, and the wind was buffeting my camera and threatening to blow off my possum hat which was sent as a present all the way from New Zealand and which has been on my head more or less continuously ever since, still keeping off the rain with its magical properties, though its shape has gone a bit strange after all this hot and cold over the years. Suddenly the weather is bleak.  How good to have had those beautiful days of autumn when the beech leaves blazed out, still sprinkled with greenery; as now there is scarcely a leaf left on the trees, though the ground is thick with them, still bright and varied underfoot, though the lower layers are pulping down to mud.

November 17, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishing Boat Across the Border River


August 27, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , | 2 Comments

Yellow Field by River Tweed

Yellow Field

May 18, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Boat on the Other Bank

Fishing BoatI am in England, that boat over there is in Scotland.  These days I am fascinated by the shapes of trees, I think I am gearing myself up to paint a boy in a wood, a boy who is following the cry of a captured hare. Trouble is, the story is set in June, and the trees I am enamoured of are in their February colours. What will change, the colours or the season? I saw some historical Japanese armour and horse armour last Sunday, and I fell for those colours too – dark red, metal grey, buff. sienna, dark brown, gold, silver, black. Charismatic, strange, beautiful. Coming back home today I came across a tree full of bullfinches – well, four or five of them, and some of their colours are in the same range.  My favourite birds, I haven’t seen any for more than ten years.  “Fairy birds” I believe is one of their folk names.  I couldn’t take proper pictures of them, as I only had my small camera today, as I wasn’t intending to take many photographs; and I certainly wasn’t expecting to see bullfinches. I’ll go on the qui vive over the weekend with the camera that magnifies more, and see if they are still haunting the place,tearing the buds off the tree with little jerks of their heads.

February 27, 2015 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Coldstream Bridge

abridge and boatWe were doing the weekly shop in Morrisons this morning, and collected the coupon to save with others to get £25 back before Christmas, and the chatty cashier called after me as I left: “Only two more coupons to collect.  Don’t leave the country!” To which I called back over my shoulder: “I am leaving the country, I live in Scotland.” This is the bridge I cross over to get home.  I seem to have lived on the border between Scotland and England for many years now – apart from a spell in Sunderland I have never lived more than a couple of miles from the Border, and most of the time only within short walking distance, though usually in England.  New powers are to be devolved to Scotland, as was promised during the hysterical run-up to the referendum. This was announced on the news today. I can see the North of England, not to mention Wales and Northern Ireland, not to mention the Fens, not to mention Cornwall,  not to mention Orkney and Shetland et al., getting their knickers in a twist about devolved powers for themselves; and why not, under the circumstances? Constitutional chaos and imbroglios loom.

November 27, 2014 Posted by | Art, Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Smoke, Fields, Fires in the Past

Smoke, Fields, River Tweed

I thought this smoke was mist over the hills, but as I got higher up Nun’s Walk I could see that it was a fire lit in the fields beyond the Lees. There is little burning in autumn these days, but one sees thin wisps coming up from gardens here and there. My husband once managed to make half of Coldstream totally disappear in clouds of smoke when he burnt a felled tree – but that was long ago. and far away. My father once lit a little fire in April, in the Middle Marches, when the wind had dried everything up, even the moss on the walls. Fire took hold, and started speeding towards the forestry, burning in all directions as fires do.  My father, with his trousers not hitched up properly as per usual, was trying to put out the fire with water from the stream carried in the top of an old fashioned lawnmower.  He called me to help, but I was standing at an upper window and had a bird’s-eye view of what was going on – so I immediately phoned the Fire Brigade, who eventually turned up, not exactly hotfoot, from Longtown.  Two fire engines.  They arrived as the fire just hit the edge of the forestry, having burnt an entire field of scrub. My father was crest-fallen, to say the least.  But was slightly cheered when, that evening, my very small son went up to him and said: “Thank you for the fire-engines, Grandpapa.”

November 15, 2013 Posted by | Photography, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments


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