Fare Well and Happy New Year

In these most difficult of times, let us look to the silver linings behind the clouds. The community spirit, the care, the love, the creativity, the will to do things differently and better.

Here’s a beautiful and moving example: a new poem written by Scots Makar Jackie Kay, showcased through twinkling drones dancing over Edinburgh skies. Jackie writes about the way that the air carries airs, music, the virus, chants and hymns.  Despite the trauma of the months gone by, we can and must still hope. Hope for the future, hope for a new year and hope for each other. You can watch parts one, two and three on YouTube, or via the EdinburghsHogmanay.com website.

Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, and much peace, health and love in 2021. 💙

Book Review: Tides of Change by Joan Dunnett

I recently wrote about the amazing people I have met through my befriending experiences.  Today, I’d like to introduce you to someone else I met through these projects and who has now become a firm friend.  Joan Dunnett has just published her first book, Tides of Change.  She is very interested in history, and has a particular fascination with Scottish history.  In Tides of Change she has captured perfectly the spirit and times of 18th century Scotland.

Right from the start, we are plunged in to the drama.  It is May 1704, and we are at sea just off the east coast of Scotland…..

“James Lightfoot didn’t want to be put ashore at Figgate Whins. It was a dangerous place. He might be robbed of his remaining few possessions. He waited on the deck of the merchantman while the crew loaded bundles onto the boat: probably luxury goods to be smuggled into England. The ship’s legitimate cargo was bound for Leith. A thin strip of light began to appear to the east. The sea was calm, the light breeze cool and fresh. The captain was on deck. He lit his pipe with a steady hand. he must know the risks. The navy would be patrolling the east coast, ready to challenge any vessel in these waters, not just French privateers.” Continue reading “Book Review: Tides of Change by Joan Dunnett”

My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 2

Following Vol 1 of this year’s festival diary, I can hardly believe that all the fun and frolics are so quickly over for another year. A few days on from the final day last Monday, life is returning to ‘normal’ (if there ever is such a thing!).  So as the sun sets on the summer, it’s nice to reflect back on some mid-end August highlights.

We had mixed weather this year – sometimes ridiculously hot; sometimes torrential rain. But overall it was extremely pleasant to be in and around the city….

…even at nighttime:


Continue reading “My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 2”

My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 1

Edinburgh styles itself ‘the festival city’. We have all kinds of festivals, about all kinds of subjects, all year round. But it is in the summer where the party really gets started.  Over the course of a few weeks, we have the Edinburgh International Festival, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Edinburgh Art Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival.  It is an incredible period of vibrant creativity, excellence and fun.

My Mum and I kicked things off this year with art-immersion over a couple of days.  We saw the City Art Centre’s stunning exhibition of Victoria Crowe’s work.  I wrote about my love of this artist here and here. It was wonderful to see some familiar paintings again, and plenty of new-to-me ones too.  Here is a screen-shot montage of some of the photos I took as we went around.  I love this collage display of colour and texture, which is the epitome of Crowe’s style:


Continue reading “My 2019 Festival Diary Vol 1”