The Isle of Harris: a feast for the senses and the soul

After our recent two week stay on the Isle of Skye, we journeyed further north and west to the Isle of Harris. We were staying in the northern, mountainous part:

The Outer Hebrides, with the Isle of Harris in red (image from Wikipedia)

It was beautifully remote and dramatic:

We tried to make friends with the neighbours:


But they were having none of it:

So we contented ourselves with watching them from afar:


There was certainly plenty of space for everyone to do their own thing. Immense, sweeping, breath-taking space. And if you look closely at this shot (click to enlarge), you will see a marvellous testament to the UK postal system. Collections were made from this post box every morning (except Sundays) at 08:30:


Yet there were places, particularly in the southern part of the island, where space became space-opera, with Luskentyre Beach playing a leading part. This is the most amazing spot. Miles and miles of clean, soft white sand, edged with a turquoise sea and, oh!, the skies!! It is impossible to do justice to this unforgettable location, but here are a few shots which give you some idea…

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A match for the sense of space was the spectacular light. With this last set of photos, none have been edited or enhanced: these were the very colours we experienced around our holiday property:

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Harris gave us a virtuoso performance, which was moving and memorable.

The earth has its music for those who will listen.

~ George Santayana

After our two weeks on Skye and our week on Harris, the location for our fourth and final week, South Uist, had a lot to live up to. Could it possibly do so…..?

The Musical Beauty of Paper: celebrating the work of Oskar Fischinger, the ‘father of visual music’

“Music is not limited to the world of sound. There exists a music of the visual world.”

~ Oskar Fischinger

Is there no end to the versatility of paper in the pursuit of creative endeavour?  I am indebted to Gallivanta for sending me a link to this incredible, ground-breaking film called ‘Optical Poem, made in 1937/8 by Oskar Fischinger.

As the film explains, ‘Fischinger manipulated hundreds of paper cutouts hung on invisible wires and shot a frame at a time in close synchronization with Liszt’s [Hungarian] rhapsody’.  One can only guess at how long this must have taken.

This is highly reminiscent of the Disney film Fantasia.  Interestingly, Fischinger was originally part of the design team for that project, but he quit without credit because Walt Disney changed his original submissions.  It was thought they were too abstract and Disney wanted material that was more representational.

Nevertheless, Fischinger is sometimes referred to as the father of visual music.  When we compare his work with that of modern artists who paint pictures with sound you can certainly see why.  Check out this post, for example, which I wrote for my other blog LeapingTracks some time ago.  What a coincidence that this post featured a visual rendition of Listz’s Hungarian Rhapsody so that we might now compare the two.  There are similarities, of course.  But they are also miles apart in terms of production methods.

We have just recently passed the date of Fischinger’s 117th birthday.  To celebrate, Google Doodles have produced an amazing interactive music-maker, which allows the user to re-create the essence of Fischinger’s films.  You can find it here – I defy you not to get immediately addicted.  I’m sure Fischinger would be amazed and delighted if he could see the ease with which we can today produce the type of work he painstakingly put together nearly 100 years ago. 🙂

Landfillharmonic – The Recycled Orchestra

Landfillharmonic - the story of The Recycled Orchestra
Landfillharmonic – the story of The Recycled Orchestra

This is inspirational.  It is the story of a community in Paraguay which built musical instruments from the trash in the landfill where they lived.

“The world sends us garbage…we send back music”

~ Favio Chavez, Orchestra Director

I love being constantly amazed and energised by the strength and passion of the human spirit.  Just watching this very short trailer gave me a lump in my throat.  I can’t wait to see the whole film! 🙂



Autumn Reading Review Part II

What blessings we have in our lives!  This adorable little quote from captures perfectly those fleeting yet magical early morning moments filled, we hope, with some of our favourite things.  For me, books would always feature in such a list.

Following on from my last post, here is the second set of reviews of my recent reads…

Continue reading “Autumn Reading Review Part II”