Tomorrow’s Dream Vol 12

I think this was the first photie I ever posted on here and that’s getting on for a long time ago now.
It still looks something the same, the view as well as this dark mode bucket of digital consciousness. The rhododendrons have gone from around the pines now which has changed the whole feel of Black Wood.
It’s not so black for a start, the light shines right through. I suppose that gives a clearer shot at the deer…

So lockdown is gone and when we finally got out it was on the day when the heaviest rain we’d had in weeks arrived, maybe even in months. We looked at the hills from the motor and ate our lunch.
That’s a lie actually, we looked at where the hills probably were.
I’m trying to take positives from the experience but other that the company I was keeping there’s nothing to report, the roads are full of stupids and there’s litter everywhere, the A82 is like the access road to a landfill site where overfilled bin lorries are dropping crap from their load as they trundle towards the gate. It’s actually quite dispiriting.

Not the glorious return I was hoping for. It’ll be better next time.

Easter Ned Hunt

Easter is a horrible time. It’s where the unthinking cadre of the urban masses launches into the countryside without care or courtesy and cause misery before leaving their shite behind them and returning home to their telly once again.
Why easter I don’t know, there’s no difference from the weekends either side of it, is it just because there’s a mark on the calendar and they get a subliminal trigger or something?

The Lang Craigs are a prime spot for this mayhem. The car parks and access roads were choked by 10am and the site was heaving with bodies. I was working on pipes etc elsewhere so I went up after dinner to see what was happening, any fires burning, manic campsites etc Luckily I missed it all, the site was nearly quiet.
But elsewhere there was violence towards staff at Balmaha trying to keep the car park running smoothly, so the stupids were definitely out in force.

The access roads from nearby Old Kilpatrick to the hills were double parked and blocked from early on too. I believe many loose wing mirrors were seen along those same roads later on. I guess that tractor was pretty wide eh?

For me it was cool and eventually quiet on the crag edge though. I watched the last dregs slip away screaming and shouting downhill towards Milton through my binoculars and then there really was just me.
There’s a couple of points on the crags I can see the whole site and I scanned everything as the light dimmed and left me with stars randomly poking out of the deep blue above me.
The light lingered pale and pastel on the horizon and I could pick out all those familiar peaks. They’re well beyond my head torch, but not beyond my imagination.

I was back home in under two hours, a short shift for me. But, I was limping. On Friday I’d fell down a hole, it happens. Straight down on my heel which kinda jarred my heel, ankle, knee and hip. But I walked it off and was just a wee touch stiff on Saturday.
Come the descent from the crags that night it was louping though, I could barely put my weight on it (and what a mighty weigh that has become…).

It stems from an old work injury (’98, it’s a good story for later) and I today am shoeless for a wee bit. That’s okay though, it’s a while til the 26th yet.

April Fooled

I stayed off the internet by accident and missed any wacky news stories or whatever that folk had prepared for the 1st.
Not sorry, not really in the mood this year. I think that joke has been on us long enough already.

However, an evening by the water to see the day out brought a smile if not a laugh. Not just the sunset either, we found a huge piece of driftwood that had ideas scratched all over it and we just couldn’t leave it there to be lifted by the next tide and be swept out to the firth with all our lovely ideas being washed away with it.
So I heaved it onto my shoulder and made it up to the road while Linda scurried ahead and rescued me and it with the car soon after and before I fell over on the pavement.

I want to make a magical portal, Linda fancies a nature display of things from our adventures, Holly fancies a purple stained glass window. All these are possible, it’s quite the odd shape.

There will be more.

Floored (Tales from the Toolbox)

I seem to spend a lot of my time on a floor, or indeed under a floor. I suspect I’m getting to old for it too as the recent trapped upside down with my back arched over an electrical trunking under a concrete slab incident brought to mind.

But it can be pretty. look at that window. I woke up to fresh snow all over Misty Law and Hill of Stake on Saturday and immediately went to spend the day prepping four churches’ heating to go back for their surprise services the next day after a successful legal action during the week. Which I did rather enjoy.
Aye, you can safely hang out together in a church now but I can’t step foot in Argyle and Bute solo. I spend my life in churches, surely all that dust from the floor must give me whatever covid repelling proprieties that they said they have to allow early reopening?

I could probably say that I wish I had their lawyers, but what the hell. I can’t begrudge folk getting together for their mental health, and that’s exactly what this is. Besides, given the average age of congregations, they’ll mostly have had their shots. I wish them well and look forward to getting cuppas and cake when the groups start filtering back into the church halls when I’m in fixing stuff.
I get to know the days where groups are on, Wednesday I can get soup here, Monday is just coffee there, Friday is, well we’ll come back to that.

For now I’ll just lie on the floor until it’s my turn to go out and play. At least the window is nice.

Banter

I was heartened just overhearing a group of chatty women around my age (50s) and older which proved that understanding equality isn’t something new or generational, it’s down to the individual.
In a Glasgow accent of course: “We’re aw the same. Black, white, fat, skinny, gay, aw the same”.

But being Glasgow, within 30 seconds the same voice also said “Ha ha, he’s needin’ a boot in the baws”.

I love this city.

Tomorrow’s Dream Vol 6

I think I’m wearing fleece pants there. Funny that’s the first thing I noticed before I realised that I had hair and that it’s dark brown. When the hell did I take this?

Bein Ime from Beinn Narnain, I can feel my feet there right now. My favourite hill.

That’s it really, no rambling insights, no tortuous ruminations on past deeds or melancholy observations, just an old photie.

Ach, I’ll maybe explain that last bit though. I got some very good advice once by Matt Swaine, the editor of Trail mag back in the day and a man who made a lot of sense, had great imagination and encouraged me a lot.
He told me to put myself in my photies after I submitted some landscapes to go along with something I’d done early on in my time there. He explained his reasons and I agreed once it had been pointed out.
I can easily tune out of looking at landscapes unless they’re unusual and different, but I can flick through my old mountain guide books again and again. That’s because there’s folk in the shots more often than not and I think that shows me subconsciously that I can do that, that I can be there too.

It won’t work for everyone, some folk want that blank canvas. Me, I want to be that figure, so I am. Or was? No, will be.
Also, I’ll admit there’s a certain joy at looking at the younger skinnier me. Oh if only he knew what was ahead.

Take photies, and get yourself in them. Capture yourself in the heart of the moment and give yourself a smile looking back in 20 years time.
Just don’t trip running for the timer.

You can pick your friends, but not your days of the week.

It was a Tuesday and that wasn’t the problem, it was the Monday before it, that was the problem.
Tuesday did everything right, it turned upon time, did a fantastic job, but everyone still talked about Monday.

I can see Tuesday’s point, you are what you are, just like Monday was and you can’t be anything but. And why should you try to be anything other than yourself anyway?
Be a Tuesday, be the best Tuesday you can be, just never mind what Monday id doing.

I’ll tell you though, Wednesday really was rubbish.

Ample Park(ing)

Balloch Park has become a regular leg stretcher. It’s got some height in it so it’s airy and there’s decent views to the Luss Hills and Ben Lomond which are noticeably closer than what we get to see from the crags. I mean, it’s something isn’t it.
The snow on those hills again btw. Good grief.

The Leven had flooded the woodland by the banks giving some nice reflections. A wee bit if fidgeting makes it look a big more heavy metal.

This was on Sunday, Mother’s Day. A wee chat at the door and gifts passed at arms length is what I managed.

Another important mark missed due to factors outwith my control. Aye.

 

Flicking the Vee

We’re being reroofed so I haven’t been opening the bedroom curtains. The steps up through the scaffolding run past the window and it’s not dirty laundry I want them to miss on their way up to painfully slowly and incompetently replace the slates, it’s everything else.

However has made this wee happy accident possible and the sliver of light that was slicing in through the gap in the curtains had to be caught.

I was nearly going to put a rucksack in to catch it, but this was way better. Another of my most favourite things.

Lockdown has kept this out of the studio for what feels like a lifetime.

I miss making music with other people as much as I miss the hills beyond my council border.

 

Football comes to the Lang Craigs

We had some messages from visitors that there were large groups of people drinking and shouting and that there was lots of smoke at the Lang Craigs on Sunday.

Some of the debris was picked up and bagged for pickup this morning before I did a sweep for damage. I found plenty. I could still smell the burning despite the heavy rain early on.

Apparently this was all due to football.

Don’t know quite how that works, but aye, thanks for that.

Monday on my mind.

Maybe this will be my last thought on it, or vaguely related to it. Maybe not.

It’s so grey now, you have to love the contrast. It’s like the bloke that worked on a job we were on for many weeks, I think he was in the ventilation squad.
Anyway, he quite anonymously and quietly worked away doing ducting and whatnot making no real impression or impact until one day at a general informal site meeting where we were standing around chatting about where we all were so were weren’t working over each other or getting too far ahead for each other he started juggling steel pipe fittings like a seasoned circus performer. And with a straight face too. You could have heard a pin drop.

Never underestimate anyone and never assume anything.

Gothika

Either solo or team, most nights are having a good walk with distance and urgency part of the agenda. Well, until it looks rather nice and we stop and get our phones out.
The nearly incessant rain hasn’t been a deterrent, it just means more jackets than ususal are hanging up and drying. It is giving some wonderful light though.
The old railway is mostly in a deep cut lined with tall mature trees, the A82 lights are high on one side and the village is low on the other so at night it really does feel a little like you’re adrift from the rest of the world.

The phone does its best to capture the darkness through shaky hands and repeated screen fumbling and I really like what it comes up with: atmospheric poor quality shots.

When we get back sometimes we find we’ve been out for a couple of hours which is brilliant, it’s hours not spent in front of Netflix. Oh, the new Snowpiercer episode came out last night. Dammit.

It’s a blur of muted tones in a blur of hard to measure time in this endless lockdown limbo state. It really is things like this that are saving the day, time spent not wasted. It’s been too easy to swing the wrong way on that equation but hard not to, and there’s no judging for that for any of us.

But just think, a year ago if we’d shut the borders, strictly adhered to social distancing and not let the stoopids run free would we be where we are now or would we be looking back at recent memories of the best winter for years spent playing in Highland snow with ice axes and the ones we love?

I’m directing blame quite precisely and I think I might have grown a little vein of bitterness to carry forward because of it. I’ve never fueled up on negative energy but you could also say that if you don’t ever get angry you don’t care enough. I do care, and I’m angry. I always have been. But joy motivates me more, it always has done.

There will be no closure for any of us after this has died down, because it will not ever be over, I think we just have to make our peace with the effects on our own lives and those close to us.
That’s going to be the hard part, right now we’re holding on, once we can relax our grip and have time to think, really think. That’s going to be a lot to work through.

Anger and joy, the cocktail of tomorrow.

Border Crossing

I never though Argyle and Bute would feel like a foreign land. With documents and accurate accent in place I headed into the unfamiliar on a solo mission of extreme urgency.
Church heating needed my attention.

It was a glorious day and a joy to be out. The previous perfect white blanket of snow on the hills is now streaks after the thaw but Ben Lomond still looks very fine, and oh so very close to where I was driving.

The church is familiar to me and my toolbox, most of them are around here, and I always try to do maintenance visits in Spring and Autumn because it’s the loveliest graveyard I’ve ever seen.

Colour bursts from the ground (thank you to those pushing it up from below) in Spring and rains down from the trees at the tail of the year, but this year it’s a veritable explosion and a very early one too that I found when I pulled off the road onto the gravel with crocus’ and snowdrops flooding the grass from stone to stone.

The currently rare sunshine has other delights that I was glad too see when I got inside, even my wee pal up the back was getting some warmth on her cheeks.

I was very happy indeed to be at my work and overjoyed to be out and about. It’s such a lovely world waiting for us.

You’re just copying me

I occasionally dig out my piles of old photies and leaf through the packets wondering what to do with them as well marveling at my original hair colour.

I took some shots of them, just to try and copy them on the cheap in a half arsed way. Of course it didn’t work apart from these two which threw up a couple of rather lovely surprises.

Above is the Five Sisters of Kintail ridge looking westish around ’95 to ’97 I think. I camped at Morvich with my old mate Jimi and did the round up the Glen and back along the ridge to come down to camp in the dark tired and hungry.
It was a monster day and remember it well and fondly. The memories are on paper though, I wish I had the oomph to digitize all this stuff, but it’s the sheer volume of it all that I can’t face.
Eventually my misguided enthusiasm for unlikely and pointless endeavours or a desire to relive my youth etc will probably overcome that. Until then, I’ll take occasional half arsed shots in the kitchen like these two where I put the print against the wall on the worktop and took a photie of the photie.

Above it worked out well, it’s somewhere between a Horatio McCulloch painting and a colour plate from an old guide book. I actually really like the accidental effect.
Below is an early indication of the obsession to come  and I have no idea what hill I’m on. Deary me.

 

I am a Rabot, I am a Rabot

I have significantly reduced my outdoor cupboard during lockdown. Family and friends are now wearing all sorts of weird and wonderful things and I’ve just got my favourites left along with a smattering of review kit still to write up.

Some favourites are looking rough though, even stuff that feels like it’s recent is showing real signs of wear or even decay and it had me looking around for current equivalents and alternatives as well as doing some more glueing and sewing. Which I really enjoy actually and I think is the way forward.
I never liked the seasonal product model, improve gear, test it and release it, don’t fanny up existing models for a stock release deadline. That’s not inspiration and innovation, that just product and marketing. Don’t fall for it and don’t encourage it.

The shopping has been interesting and I think I’ll cover some of that. Are reviews different when you’ve parted with PayPal? We’ll see.
Some prices are hilarious as well, there’s just no way, I know how easy I tore the arse on my Keb pants, as good as the design is I’m not paying that for them.

But years and years of gear accumulation as well as the review avalanche I had has meant that some stuff got missed and forgotten.
I was overjoyed to find these, a brand new with tags pair of Haglöfs Rabot Flex Pants. Size 52, breathe in…
I think these are maybe up to 15 years old and they could be about the best pants I ever wore, because I’m sure I bought these in (the much missed) West Coast in Ft Bill as spares for the pair I wore on probably every trip outside of the dead of winter in the last half of the 2000’s.

I go on about vintage gear a lot, I find it more fun and more inspirational that anything new I’ve seen in a long time and I’ve often wondered what it would be like to take old gear out as new again, without nostalgia from previous use clouding the view.
Well, I’ll get my chance with these to an extent along with another couple of reissued things that I’ll get to.

Now, all I need is to get the weather I had wearing my original pair of Rabots in the photie above. 2008, feels like yesyerday.