Watched the singularly disappointing film ‘The Imitation Game‘ last night. Honestly, what an inaccurate, trite and disappointing film it is. Every major character is misrepresented to greater or lessor degrees. Seemingly every achievement is mis-credited and in many cases poorly explained. How lame the storytelling, so much is told rather than shown. So much is invented rather than telling the true and more thrilling history. Avoid.
Started a new shared audiobook with N today. ‘Three Men in a Boat‘ by Jerome K. Jerome as read by Hugh Laurie. A book so funny it proved hazardous to listen to while driving. It is difficult to see the road through tears of hilarity or hold the wheel whilst struggling to breathe.
Image upload widget appears to be playing nice again so here are some of our recent explorations.
Sunset over Loch Lomond driving North. Passenger photographer.
“Where are all the knights?”
I was disappointed there was no way to get onto the battlements. Well I found a way, having seen a head poking out above I investigated and was politely told I didn’t belong by the adolescent staff member Fbooking on the roof during his lunch break. No pics unfortunately.
Doune Castle is famously the castle whose interior was used for much of ‘Monty Python & The Holy Grail‘ and more recently for the Game of Thrones Pilot and more recently still for much of ‘Outlander‘.
Extraordinary place, rich with history. It really puts into perspective what a cramped and dismal place a castle would have been to live in, particularly during winter.
The Three Sisters in Glen Coe are quite breathtaking.
View across Loch Creran from a property we visited recently.
One of the problems of going a few days without posts is that a psychological barrier is formed about sitting down to creating a new post. I mean look at all the things I now need to post about, worse still look at all the art I haven’t made this week. This has not been helped by ongoing bedtime battles that have pushed well into the evening. We have now resorted to denying daytime naps whenever possible. This does not work on days that involve driving as F will invariably be out like a light by the bottom of the driveway.
I have been working but not as I gauge it, creating. I’m plugging away at my best man’s speech. A tedious process but important. I’m off to Amsterdam this weekend for a stag do. Late next week we will be heading south for our friends wedding, visits with Welsh relatives and to the delight of all a trip to Legoland.
I’ve finished a book or two. N and I slammed through ‘Reamde‘ by Stephenson. Which is a ripsnorting adventure story with some interesting ideas mixed in. It is more a piece of airport fiction than the mind stretching Spec Fic I have come to expect from Stephenson. N and I were completely hooked so it did its job well.
I finished ‘Slaughterhouse Five‘ by Vonnegut which has been on my reading list for years. Vonnegut is a favourite of mine so this classic has been a bit of a glaring omission. It is a strange book, deserving of a post all its own at some point.
Now listening to ‘The Fatal Shore‘ By Robert Hughes. As always finding the heartless barbarity of Edwardian and Victorian English systems confronting.
We’ve been on exploratory adventures within the region most days. North to Fort William through Glen Coe, South East to Doune castle and the Wallace Monument in Stirling, twice to Glasgow and on many small walks. Even to a small event hosted by a local amateur naturalist club. Where we participated in opening and cataloging the catch from moth traps set the previous evening. After which we had a lunch overlooking Castle Stalker. To my chagrin we have been up no mountains yet. I hurt my ankle last weekend being silly in the garden. Fortunately not badly and I’ve recovered fast.
Many more pictures to share that I have not Instagrammed but the upload function is glitching. I’ll try and include them tomorrow.
I started this post on Sunday, was interrupted by tiredness and a call for cuddles. Monday evening we had a black out that lasted well into Tuesday morning. Tuesday we had a dilema with Boris the dog which preoccupied us until late that evening. Yesterday was my birthday and we didn’t get home until quite late in the evening. Which brings me to today which was lovely but thanks to inconsistent routine bedtimes have been prolonged battles of attrition and I am sitting down to write now at 10:30PM having gone for an evening walk up the mountain side to check the Hydro inlet and give wee Boris a ‘poopurtunity’. It is still light though fading now and the midges as ever, are awful out.
The Boris Dilemma
Tuesday evening while continuing to clean the guest house N noticed that Boris the lovely old Scot’s terrier mutt who is our charge and pride and joy whilst we look after ‘Arichastlich’ was missing. We begin searching for and calling him high and low all around the property inside and out of the house which we had left open as we came and went from the guest house. Our initial theory was the he must have heard some thunder which we with vacuum cleaner going had not and in true doggy fashion freaked out and gone to ground. We had witnessed this behaviour first hand the previous day when he had hidden under the boys beds at bed time due to far off and not very loud thunder – not helpful, but understandable-. So we concentrated first on hiding places within the house and around the grounds. Only once sure that he was not there did we begin to widen our search down the road in each direction, contacting neighbours, checking up the hillside, with tup and horse in the field we visit daily. Eventually we bundled everyone into the car and set off down the road stopping to call out. In this way some two awful hours later we found wee Boris hanging out in the car of a camper by the river some kilometers down the road.
The explanation for this we now think most likely is that Boris as is his way jumped into the car of some random who had stopped to look at the pigs in the neighbouring field and as he previously did not wear his collar at home assumed he was lost. The camper who was caring for him reported that he reportedly tried to get into a number of cars and nearly been taken by a driver of a white van with him to a town some distance away. But having encountered a camper staying in the region had left him there. Would he have made his own way home? There is really no telling as he was clearly making himself at home in the camp.
The relief at finding Boris cannot be overstated, he is without doubt the most precious of our charges here. I made sure to take a few beverages back to the camper in thanks.
Yesterday I wanted to do get some history in on my birthday so we visited Kilmartin to view sculpted stones, cairns and these standing stones which are part of a lunar observatory over 5000 years old now and perhaps even then, in a sheep field.
Found a bunch of interesting wee beasties to photograph this week.
Apart from a little work in Illustrator, a little speech work and an hour’s painting on the castle card I have done shamefully little creative work this week.
L was up at all hours through the night leaving everyone a bit fragile today. We Began the first turn over of the guest house but lacked the stamina to do it all in one go as a test run. The problem with long daytime naps is hellish bedtimes. I am setting up to paint now that at least one of our infants is finally down. Hoping to climb the hill behind the house tomorrow, if the children’s health has improved anyway.
‘Live every day like it’s your last, because someday you’re going to be right.’
-The late, great, Ali
One child gets well and the other comes down with it. Nursing a feverish L as I write this post.
Made the daily visits to the neighbour’s beautiful horse ‘Ossian’ with F and Boris. Caught a Toad.
A spot of computer troubleshooting and a wee bit of art during the day. I have bit the bullet and allowed iTunes back on my machine as there is simply no other way to convince the computer that there is an iPhone connected without it. I really wanted to get my photos off my phone.
I’ve installed the Opera browser on most devices as Chrome is functioning very poorly on such low bandwidth. It cannot load Calendar at all and even IE/Edge is performing better. Opera Turbo is lovely.
I am yet hopeful of getting some painting in once the bairns are full asleep.
NB. Not going to happen 11:30PM and publishing.
On the flight over I read the ‘Hyperbole & A Half’ book. Many parts of which I have of course read before. I was surprised and delighted by many of the previously unseen entries and as usual was reduced to hysterical tears by posts both old and new.
Allie Brosh is a treasure. It has been a long time between posts but I live in hope.
I also ploughed through the complete set of ‘Fight Club 2’ the comic form sequel to the far superior original book by Palahniuk.
Honestly it was just disappointing. Old characters felt forced in and rather than taking the story to new and interesting places it all felt rather like a bad joke at the expense of the originals fans.
Yesterday N and I finished ‘The Blind Assassin’ by Atwood which has been our together car book for almost two months now. It has a sedate pacing that took some time to hook us. I honestly did not expect to fall in love with Iris the narrator but both N and I were a bit teary at the end. The language throughout is just wonderful, subtle and severe, wicked and sharp. The character Reenie with her homespun idioms is particularly enigmatic. The version we listened to was voiced by Margot Dionne to great effect.
I only watched two films on the flights over, flying with children is challenging that way. ‘Burnt’ and ‘A Perfect Day’.
‘A Perfect Day’ is lovely but depressing and ‘Burnt’ was fun but predictable and more than a little melodramatic.
Visited Stirling Castle today.
Some serious cash has been spent on this historic feature recreating tapestries, wood work, murals and stonework. It has a number of well interesting children’s activity rooms and a few good museum galleries. Had a fabulous time and left knackered.
Everyone in this family loves to dress up. If only you could swan about the castle like this rather than just trying them on for a minute.
A reproduction piece of one of the many ‘Stirling Heads‘
From our visit to the Ardkinglas gardens; one of the tallest trees in the UK. The tallest is also there but looks less impressive in my photos.
The local historic feature is the Monument to the poet Duncan Ben MacIntyre. Which we visited late last week. Loch Awe visible in the background, it commands an impressive view unfortunately marred by pine forestry work surroundings. Majestic wind turbines march across some mountains in the distance. A couple of people have left flowers here, for the poet or more likely more recently deceased loved ones.
L and I found a crack in the base through which you can see that the structure is hollow. I was sorely tempted to climb up and look in but came up with to many excuses not to.
Tomorrow we stay in to await a tradie and prepare for our first independent guest house turn over. I am keen to get painting my imaginary castle as well.
Today marks the first actual day of our house sitting adventure. Our hosts spent last night aboard their lovely yacht and sailed with the morning tides. In good form there was an electrical malfunction in the guest house over night which left our guests briefly without power to the dishwasher and fridge. They have been connected to an alternate power point and a sparky is due Friday.
Three nights of infant illness have taken their toll and both N and I are stretched a bit thin. F came down with gastro virus on Sunday and only began perking up in the doctors surgery today. So it goes. Everyone else is thankfully hale and healthy if a bit itchy from midge bites.
We are experiencing a genuine summer here our single packed sets of summer clothing have extraordinarily actually been required with warm dry days a steady feature so far. It probably wont last.
I have an office to work in but I haven’t set aside enough time this evening to paint. Happy of a place to work and write tonight anyway.