Sunday, September 09, 2018


One thing is for sure, the weather here is rather changeable.   The previous night was also clear of clouds and we saw a white heaven background to so many twinkling stars, first since our Mongolian days.

Looking towards Portree with the Old Man of Storr just about visible?

Glenbrittle's lava sand beach.

Ok, there he is!!! Portree next stop. 

Over to Skye

You cannot be stopping every few minutes to pictures take.

But some places demand it.  Eilean Castle at Dornie was one such place.  John Macrae-Gilstap bought and started the rebuild of the ruined castle in 1911, completing the job in 1932.  Good job well done.

Glen Coe

Getting into the Highlands inevitable involves getting into the clouds. But to good photographic effect.

Approaching the Glen.

 A picture stop in the Glen with quite a few others.  I have been this way at least twice before, with Mum and Dad in the late 50s and with friends in the mid 70's.

Both times we had the place to ourselves. Well, these days sometimes you have to become a tourist, as opposed to a traveler!!!!!

Loch Leven. Not far to our over nighter at Inchree.

The Leaving the City

Up bumped we got, a Merc automatic.  Suits you Gek.

Leaving Glasgow on it's city centre M8 motorway, we drove Loch Lommond, heading towards Fort William. At first I thought having a three lane motorway dividing your city akin to the Clyde river was not such a good idea. But on reflection, it is a very good idea. Getting in and out of the centre and along at least two radial routes is very easy, easing the traffic on the commercial city streets. Having taken 2 hours to drive cross London from east to west, this city escape was a breeze.

Saturday, September 08, 2018

24 Hours in Glasgow

First, lunch with Geoff in the House of an Art Lover's restaurant. We were mates back in 1970 whilst work towards our masters.  First time together since 16+ years.

We had intended to visit the Macintosh collection in the House, but was not to be.  Closed to the public for a private function.

Oh well, clocked the garden instead.

 From the H of A L, Geoff took us to the Transport Museum,

to view from ships,

 to carts,

to steam,

to motors.  On walking around the exhibits it was, 'oh, I remember that.......and that......and that'. Feeling old? what me? no way....  however this was the first car we owned, a Ford Pop.  Second hand, 25 pounds to you sir.

Having been short changed on our Macintosh at the H of A L, Geoff brought us to his old place of employment, Glasgow Univerity.

 Whilst the university has some impressive architecture,

we were here to see this, a rebuild of Macintosh's house, the powers that be having demolished the original.  This is not the way in by the way.  Unfortunately, no photos allowed inside, but I can vouch for it being much more pleasing to view inside than out.

If you are wondering what all this Macintosh thing is about, here is an example of his 'style' - The Willow Tea Rooms on the third floor of Watts Brothers.  Considering he was active in the late Victorian period, this 'look' was, to say the least, revolutionary.  I wonder if a miniature make is in order?

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Book - BANG! A history of Britain in the 1980s

Well, BANG or rather BANG...BANG....BANG......  definitely defines the 80's.  Strange thing is, it all seemed quite normal at the time, nowhere near as scary as Graham makes it sound.  I can particularly bear witness to the dreadful state of British manufacturing industry at the end of the 70's, beginning of the 80's.  It was very clear to me that humans would not be needed to 'make' things going into the future.  The big question was, if humans were not earning by manufacturing to buy what the robots were now making, what was the point of making anything?  So, Thatcher or no Thatcher, things were going to change radically if we were not to go back to the stone age.  Pop art to politics, and the mix of the two all covered here.  4 on the door for Stewart.  

New Rose Corner

The tidy view, with more and more flowering plants being added to Gek's collection.

My new hybrid rose corner around the corner, 

and the wired wall to take next seasons climbing roses.  There will be a total of 9 planted along this 30 foot stretch of wall. T'will look brill in a couple of years time. 

Llandegfedd Reservoir

 A day out for a stroll along the lake side.

After the 6 weeks or so with out rain, the water level was a little low.  Didn't stop the water fun though.

Quilting, Swansea Style

2019 will see the Ystrad  Quilters again doing thier exhibition at Llancaiach Fawr Manor for which Gek is putting together a book quilt, Jane Austin's Pride and Prejudice.  Coming along.

A day out to Swansea to visit the Quilts Fair.  Miss Davies from Penarth was amongst the exhibitors with her very distinctive Japanese quilting.

One of my personal favourites amongst the many.  All you see is fabric.


Finally, after an 8 week nail-biting weeks, we have gotten Gek's UK 'Leave to Remain' visa extention.  The next application in 2021 will be for her 'Indefinite Leave to Remain'. But for now a shampers celebration, thanks to the Lomax's timely gift.  Cheers mi'dears!

Peranakan House

Cavin Teo's blog, with photos of the Changi Terminal 4 Peranakan Gallery.  

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Dyffryn House, Vale of Glammorgan

This present day house was built between 1893 and 1894 by the Cory family, who made their fortune from mining the south Wales valleys. Previous to this Edwardian effort, there had been a mansion/manor house on the site for the last 1,500 years.

How or why a bronze statue of Laozi riding his oxen together with a couple of other eastern statues dotted around the gardens are here, I have yet to find out.  Laozi, from some 2,500 years back, is thought to be the founder of philosophical Taoism.

First stop, the hot house,

 with cacti to view,

 and pose against.

 In another section, loads of different types of chilies of different colours and shapes.

 A more traditional lily pond

and the inevitable classical statue garden.

Definitely a recommended drop-in to see, only listed on the National Trust portfolio since 2013.  

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Book - Fire and Fury

From Ystrad Library!  Of all places. Well, every word rings true. What else to say?  Once you start to read, you have to finish it. Has to be 5 on the door for Michael.

Gearing Up for Furniture Making

Miniature furniture, that this.  New acquisitions, wood-turning tools with a Proxxon grinding machine and Japan whet stones to sharpen them.

First attempts at spindle turning and achieving repeatability.  Thank goodness for U-tube.  But why are all the demos on 'how to do' done by dudes in the US of A?  The calipers and scribes are from Granddad Wilson's toolmakers kit, one with his initials stamped on it.  Granddad taught me to turn wooden bowls way back when, but I don't remember doing spindles with him.  I will master "the bead'. I will............ I will!!!!! Damn it, I have too.

Sunday, July 22, 2018


Granddad  Wilson was here in June 1938 on his epic bicycle ride from Leamington Spa to Bridgnorth and, since we were motoring by,

we just had to stop and stand, more or less where he stood 80 years ago.