Saturday, 31 May 2008

A Waulking Song for the Weekend

Waulking songs (Scots Gaelic) are Scottish folk songs, traditionally sung by women while waulking cloth.

Walking is when women would beat newly woven tweed fabric rhythmically against a hard surface to soften it. Rythmic songs were used to make the work more fun.

A waulking session often begins with slow-paced songs, with the tempo increasing as the cloth becomes softer. As the singers work the cloth, they gradually shift it to the left so as to work it thoroughly. A tradition holds that moving the cloth counter-clockwise is unlucky.

Typically one woman sings the verse, while the others join in the chorus.

While waulking is a common practice across the world, it is only in Scotland that music became so strongly associated with it as to become an important cultural feature.

Waulking is rare in Scotland today, mostly confined to the Outer Hebrides where it is carried out as a celebration of heritage. The last true waulking (for the purpose of making cloth) is believed to have occurred during the 1950s.

Some of this taken from Wikipedia, but you can find out more about waulking and waulking song groupsonline for yourself.

Friday, 30 May 2008

Photos from this Week

This first photo is of Sanquhar Loch. A fairly small loch with a walkway all the way round. Lots of ducks and swans and lots of people out walking their dogs. My friend and I almost got a "shower" from a very excited labrador who leapt into the water right next to us, along this pathway.

Such a lovely tree, I had to take a photo. :-)

Photos from last week

We've had friends visiting from Europe this month. It was great to see them again - the last time four years ago at their wedding here in Scotland.

We got to catch up on four years of news as well as taking them for some sightseeing trips around this part of Scotland. I took photos and thought I'd share some of the nicer ones here. :-)

First up is the Findhorn river, on our way South towards the mountains.

Loch Morlich, with patches of snow still on the mountains in the background. There were lots of people out picnicking and sailboarding, but I managed to get a peaceful picture... and a closer one of the reflections in the water.

The view from up the mountain looking back down at Loch Morlich.

A rather nice patch of mixed heather plants at the Heather centre, where we had soup and sandwiches.

I have some extra photos from this week, but I'll post them seperately.

Friday, 23 May 2008

Song for the Weekend - Simple Soul

One of my favourite singers - Eddie Reader (formerly of Fairground Attraction) singing "Simple Soul" with Boo Hewerline

Tuesday, 20 May 2008

E is for Excellent


Jeff of Psychosomaticwit has made my morning by putting me on his list of blogs worthy to be called "Excellent" is his own! ;-)

Now my choice of blogs I consider excellent. As Jeff said on his blog - "This is both easy and hard. It is easy because there are many excellent blogs out there. It is hard, because choosing is ALWAYS hard."

I know so many unique and interesting blogs. What makes a blog excellent? For me it's mostly those blogs that stand out not only for being interesting to read, but who reach for excellence through hard consistent work to keep their blogs updated, attractive and worth reading. Blogs that constantly challenge their readers to use their brains as well as their eyes - to think as well as read. To narrow the list down further I've concentrated on thos blogs who have changed how I percieve the world - who have also made me grow.
Here's my list of choices, omitting a few wonderful blogs that Jeff has already awarded himself and adding some very recent blogs that have already enriched and/or changed my world view:

1. Cliff, of WIXY's Gone Bananas
2. PV of Finding Me
3. Emma of Herstory
4. Amel of Amel's Realm
5. Shastri of a Musing of Shastri
6.Twilight of Learning Curve on the Ecliptic
7. Gi Gi of Guyana
8. Tint of Tint's Meanderings
9. Grace of Realizing Ordinary
10. Sadiq of Inspirations and Creative Thoughts

Monday, 19 May 2008

Our View

I promised to post photos of the views from our new house months ago. Here they are at last! :-)

From our bedroom window...

From the downstairs dining room...

That's the sea in the distance.


Sunday, 11 May 2008

I Stand For...

When I first thought about participating in Standing Women day again this year I decided that I wanted to stand for the ongoing tragedy of Zimbabwe, my birth land. To stand in hope that one day future generations will never have to starve, suffer torture or live in fear simply because of one man/regime’s selfishness… and the world’s reluctance to get involved.

Then the cyclone hit Burma and I found myself wanting to add the victims of this dreadful natural disaster to Zimbabwe’s man-made horrors. To stand for a future where no-one dies waiting for help simply because red tape got in the way. To stand for New Orleans and all the other places that are ravaged more by bureaucratic mismanagement than by Nature.

Then on the news I watched the story of Elisabeth Fritzl, the woman who was kept a slave underground for 24 years by her own father. Of her children who had never seen the sun or lived a normal life… and I wanted to stand for all the lost and abused children. To stand for a future where no child’s suffering goes unnoticed by the authorities and monsters are not allowed to put their warped fantasies into action.

Then Guyana Gyal suggested writing a “stand” for this Sunday and my head filled with hundreds of words. The more I looked the more there was that needed to be spoken out about. There are so many things in this world of ours that need to be seen and spoken out against. So many people who need our help so desperately. How can I pick one cause as more important than the others? How can I write the words to stand for everything I want to stand for this day?

I started to panic at the thought when it suddenly seemed so obvious and easy! I only needed one word to speak for all I want to stand for.

Today I stand...

for hope

Guyana Gyal Stand here
Amel Stands here
Tint Stands here
Jacques Stands here
Grace Stands here

Thursday, 8 May 2008

Standing Women Pledge

The Pledge for the Standing Women (see video below) reads...

Last May hundreds of thousands of women and girls, along with the men and boys they love, in 75 countries and on all continents of the world stood together in parks, on beaches, in churches, at graduation ceremonies, in their backyards and at school yards or anyplace they could find to stand in a global wave of humanity in support of a better world for our children.

We invite women and their families everywhere to take this "stand" with us again, on May 11 at 1 p.m. local time for just 5 minutes, to rekindle the world with our common vision.

We stand for the world's children and grandchildren, and for the seven generations beyond them.
We dream of a world where all of our children have safe drinking water, clean air to breathe, and enough food to eat.
A world where they have access to a basic education to develop their minds and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies.
A world where they have a warm, safe and loving place to call home. A world where they don't live in fear of violence-in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school or in their world.
This is the world of which we dream.
This is the cause for which we stand.

To learn more and register your
standing, go to the Standing Women website at

Guyana Gyal replied that she might "stand" with words in her blog on Sunday. I think that's a wonderful idea and am adding it here as a challenge.

What do you "stand" for?

Write about it, post it this Sunday, but please let me know so I can add your link to the "I Stand for..." post I'll put up on my blog on Sunday.

Standing Women Day - May 11 2008

This year my mom and I have pledged again to stand. Just in our garden, since it's only the two of us. Will you join us and add your pledge to the list?

Let me know if you do so I can think about you standing in your corner of the world on the same day I'll be standing in mine. :-)

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

123 Book Quote Tag

PV of Finding Me has "tagged" me in an interesting book challenge.

The rules:
1. Pick up the nearest book.
2. Open to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the next three sentences.
5. Tag five people.

1. My book: "The Brain Dance" written by Shani Grove. Illustrated by... me! :-)

I illustrated this self-help psychology book over a decade ago. I found my old copy when I was unpacking my personal stuff this week. Would you believe I've never read this book? I did the illustrations and got to know the pages/portions I was working on off by heart, but the in-between bits are unknown territory, I'm ashamed to say. Having read page 123 and found it interesting I will have to sit down some day and read the rest. Sorry it took so long, Shani!

The three sentences on page 123:
Unfortunately, this strategy of greed or selfishness does not work very well for him, because he is never sated and never gains the feeling of satisfaction and balance he seeks. It is as though he grabs everything and hoards it in a bottomless pit. The bottomless pit is his selfishness.

...and for the curious, here's how that paragraph ended:
Selfishness is therefore geared to getting something you never had (love), but if you seek love in this way you will never find it. Selfishness and self-love are not the same thing. In fact, they are the opposites.

I am tagging five bloggers I think will give me unique and/or interesting books/sentences:

1. Cliff
2. Mother Hen
3. Holly
4. Jeff
5. Russell

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Five Favourite Movies

Holly posed a great fun question on her blog:

What are the top three to five movies you never miss when they are on tv, or wherever, BUT would not readily share with the general public the degree of your affection for?

Here's my list of those movies I just can't resist...

1. Men In Black and Men in Black II

It's the combination of clever quirky humour, ridiculous aliens and the marvelous paring of Tommy Lee Jones and Will Smith, two actors I love. I must confess that even after way too many viewings I crack up every time I see the tiny furry aliens worshipping Tommy Lee's wristwatch in his locker. :-D

2. A Christmas Carol

Either the 1951 version with Alastair Sim or the more recent TV movie with Patrick Stewart. My favourite festive movie.

3. As Good As it Gets

My most favourite romance. Some surprisingly beautiful scenes and lines hidden amongst the humour. Jack Nicholson at his best being crass and sensitive at the same time, Helen Hunt is excellent, as always, but it's Verdell the dog who makes the movie for me. The scene where Melvin realises Verdell won't walk on cracks and the part where he chooses Melvin over Simon are just so cute and funny.

4. Twister

I never tire of seeing the awesome special effects in this one and the romance between Helen Hunt and Bill Paxton adds interest.

5. Steel Magnolias

One of the best "strong women" movies ever made. An awesome line up of wonderful actresses and delightful bitter-sweet humour.

So what are your favourite "watch over and over" movies? ;-)

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Subscribe to Blog Added

At the bottom of this website I've added the option to subscribe to this blog by email.

Please let me know if it works... or not!

Friday, 2 May 2008

This is my Childhood Home...

If you live in the UK, the Zimbabwe Vigil group meets outside the Zimbabwe Embassy ( 429 Strand, London) every Saturday from 14.00 to 18.00 to protest against gross violations of human rights by the current regime in Zimbabwe. The Vigil which started in October 2002 will continue until internationally-monitored, free and fair elections are held in Zimbabwe.
The Glasgow Vigil is meeting every two weeks so the next one will be on 3rd May.

Wherever you are in the world you can still add your prayers.