Thursday, 23 February 2012


An atmospheric water colour, painted a couple of months ago at my art class in Musselburgh.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Lara's Land

If you go down to Butterdean Woods you might be lucky enough to find 'Lara's Land,' a magical place where the wood fairies live

The trees have little houses and caravans hanging from them.

In the centre of the fairy glen is a toad stool table and mushroom seats.

Just right for some small and not so small people to have a picnic on.

After the picnic it was time for a bit of woodland art.

Depending on your point of view it is a Pizza or a Mandala

On the way home we came across the gnome guardians. Fortunately, they let us through.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Beautiful Beach Bricks

I like the way the sea turns bricks into pieces of sculpture. Harvey and I went to Musselburgh beach this morning and I took a few photos. Click on the link to see them 

Monday, 13 February 2012

Haddy by moonlight

Before Christmas I went for a walk with Harvey near Burn's Well. There was the most amazing moon and as dusk fell it dominated the whole scene. I'm intending to do a duet of paintings because I also caught a great photo of the moon over Bass Rock. In the mean time I have done an initial painting of the Haddington scene, and this is it. I'm going to do a bigger painting later!

There was a bit of magic around that night. The moon, the distant houses and the countryside. Oh yes, and the trees... the amazing trees


Saturday, 11 February 2012

Carnethy 5 - Hill Race

Went along to the Pentlands today to watch 600 runners take on the Carnethy 5. Apparently the places for the race were taken within 25 minutes of opening online, such is the appeal of this race. At 2 pm they were off in good cold conditions with no wind or ice. Slippy, clogging mud underfoot being the main difficulty for the runners - apart from the hills of course.

If you look carefully, you can see a lot of runners making their way up Carnethy hill.

Harvey and I went along to the first gate where the runners return. Harvey got excited seeing so many runners and wanted to join in... I've never heard him bark so much.

 After 40 odd minutes the first runner came bounding down the hill. Don't know his name but he had a HBT shirt on.

Angela Mudge was the first woman down.
Spotted three runners I know. Brian Davidson in his Dunbar colours. Saartje and Karen. They all looked impressive and had good runs.

Oh yes, and one man in a kilt.

Running down hill styles were interesting to watch. Some people flew down. Others, who run like me, tiptoed down and now and again, fell over.

I reckon the finishing line looked pretty welcome to a lot of people

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Something different!

Went for something a bit different yesterday. I got in my car and headed north to Aberfoyle for a spot of mountain biking. The area around Aberfoyle is packed with forest trails - just the ticket for mountain bikes. It was a bit dark and overcast when I left Haddington and as I headed up the M9 proper rain came cascading down... not very inviting for outdoor activities. By the time I arrived the rain had eased a bit and after a coffee and getting ready there was only a drizzle. Things were looking up. Rob, his son Arran and I headed off, fully kitted up against the cold to a place about a mile away where Rob had pranged his car that morning. It seems as though the coupling on his front wheel went and he couldn't control the car, which slid into a Audi coming the other way. We had a look at the sight of the accident and   the strange wiggly tyre marks... no doubt the result of the broken coupling and carried on to our route up a track towards the woods. We had not gone too far when Arran and his  bike went crashing to the ground. Fortunately he wasn't hurt but we realised that we were skating on thin ice... pardon the pun. Getting back down the hill was interesting, I had a few skids, but there were no more spills. We headed into the woods where the tracks were free of ice and had a good cycle through some single track stretches, with hills and bends thrown in. Then we decided against going on more black ice and to stick to the main track and go down to the road to get home. That's when the rain set in again. By the time we reached the road, there were huge puddles some stretching the whole way across road. I discovered my gloves were not waterproof and had the interesting experience of trying to brake and change gears with hands that had gone completely numb. The only thing to do was to cycle hard up the hills and generate a bit of heat. I must be getting used to being frozen this winter because I actually enjoyed battling it out in the elements. Crazy or what!
When we got back we were all totally soaked and frozen. It's amazing what a hot shower and soup and sandwiches can do for you. I felt almost human again after that.
Today we were back to bright sunshine and cold, dry temperatures. I went along to Tyninghame and had a run with Harvey behind the sand dunes and back along the beach and then around the headland and through the woods. There's a track which takes you in an arc back to the car park, so we took that. I didn't want to put too many demands on Harvey's foot, which seems perfectly mended, so I dropped him off at the car and continued the run around the spit and back through the arc again. The weather was just like Friday and the scenery was similar. I had a run that day from North Berwick, around the Law and down onto the east and then west beach along to Yellowcraig. I came back alongside the golf course and cut through Westgate and up Trainers Brae for a run of one hour 24 mins.
Considering the time of year , not a bad week end for being out and about.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Domestic stuff can't be ignored forever!

Domestic stuff can't be ignored forever, it has a habit of creeping up and taking you unawares.
 Over the last few weeks I have been hijacked from some unexpected sources. It all started off tamely when the mixer cold water tap  in the kitchen stopped working... not an international incident, but something that needed to get sorted. A bit like the gutter at the back of the house. Every time it rained there was a major overflow, which directed itself in exactly the spot on the decking where I sit to have breakfast. (We are talking about the warmer weather here.) This is a job that I am not capable of doing myself, so I got a man to come. He drilled out the cast iron roans and put a lot of  sealant on the joints with the result that the next time it rained there was the usual downpour of water, overflowing from the roan onto my favouite spot. Guess what... the several calls and messages I left him failed to get a reply. Things started to get serious about mid January. As I stood sleepy eyed in front of the pan, I noticed water squishing up between the laminate flooring, which was looking very sorry for itself and bulging in all the wrong places. A bit of rudimentary investigation revealed that water, which should have been filling the toilet was instead trickling down the pipe onto the floor. I had to do something, so I rang my long time help in these situations... Jake. The next day Jake, who is a plumber took out the faulty  pipes and valves and replaced them with brand spanking new ones. Not only that, he sawed through and took up the useless laminate flooring, leaving me to replace them with something less liable to harbour water and rotting wood underneath them.  By one of those quirks of fate, Jake had been at my house two days earlier to fix the cold water tap. He replaced it with a spare he had thrown in his bucket and fortunately managed to retrieve before the bucket men got it. More in hope than faith I asked him if he knew any roofers and then explained to him the story of the roans.
"I can do that," he said and then correctly diagnosed the problem... last year's snow had bent the brackets and created a big dip which caused the rain to run out. Within a few days, the roans were taken off and the stays were bent back into the right position. Prior to Jake arriving on the scene, I was warned that this job would take a lot of expensive scaffolding, but all he needed was a ladder. Result... the gutters don't leak over me any more.
Yesterday, I went along to B & Q to claim my 10% discount for being an old git. My aim was to buy the timber necessary to create my winter job in the garden... a marigold type arch, the sort that doesn't have any curves in it and looks as if it could have come from Japan. I spent the best part of an hour searching through the various timber piles in the freezing cold and had to compromise on the size of the timber, because the stocks were limited. I took the thirteen pieces of timber and the four spikes for holding the whole thing together in the ground to the check out and duly had each piece of wood put through the scanner and then... calamity. The spikes held timber of 50 x 4.50, not 50 x 50 which is what I had. A quick return to the freezing out door area confirmed my fears. There were several different sizes and none of them were what I wanted. So B & Q still have their timber and good luck to them.
Still, I did manage to get a bit of cushion floor carpet for the bathroom. This morning, by some miracle I cut it into what approximates the shape of the bathroom, with those difficult curves around the loo a big challenge. After that, I went to Innerwick and  helped out with the construction of  a wooden shed, mostly by holding things up and making coffee. So now I am in the swing of domestic stuff. The arch thingy may be solved by my visit to Strawberry corner on the way home from B & Q. They have some sturdy 3 x 3" timber and ready mix cement.
While all this was going on, my car sneaked up on me with a whole host of problems... but that's another story!