A discursive look at Napoleonic & ECW wargaming, plus a load of old Hooptedoodle on this & that

Monday, 2 January 2017

New Year in Scotland - Looks Pretty Good, Too

Since the morning was clear (though freezing cold) we went for a walk on the beach here at the farm. Very pleasant. Blew away a few cobwebs. The countryside is always waiting for us, a solace and an inspiration - we really should get down there more often.

Photography courtesy of Mme la Contesse.

Tantallon Castle - if you listen hard, you can hear General Monck's guns from 1651

I also include a short movie clip from our walk - note the Bass Rock (not white now - all the gannets went away to Africa or somewhere a while ago) and the threatening hulk of Tantallon across the next bay. The hazy hills over the water are in Fife.

You know, I think it's going to be all right.

******* Late Edit *******

I'd have included this earlier, but I couldn't find it. Ted Hughes is probably not very cool these days (as in "not trending"), and in any case we are a bit early for March, but this is his "March Morning Unlike Others", which I always loved, and which somehow captures the way in which the steady, reassuring passage of the seasons is a source of comfort to us poor humans:

Blue haze. Bees hanging in the air at the hive-mouth.
Crawling in prone stupor of sun
On the hive-lip. Snowdrops. Two buzzards,
Still-wings, each
Magnetized to the other,
Float orbits.
Cattle standing warm. Lit, happy stillness.
A raven, under the hill,
Coughing among bare oaks.
Aircraft, elated, splitting blue.
Leisure to stand. The knee-deep mud at the trough
Stiffening. Lambs freed to be foolish.

The earth invalid, dropsied, bruised, wheeled
Out into the sun,
After the frightful operation.
She lies back, wounds undressed to the sun,
To be healed,
Sheltered from the sneapy chill creeping North wind,
Leans back, eyes closed, exhausted, smiling
Into the sun. Perhaps dozing a little.
While we sit, and smile, and wait, and know
She is not going to die.


  1. Sights like that always refresh the soul don't they?

    1. Yes they do - marvellous. When I first moved here I couldn't believe what a fantastic place this is, and yet now I get furious with myself for not getting down to the beach more often than I do, or cycling around the farms more. Excuses are easy, I find.

  2. Beautiful indeed. I tried clicking the e mail link on your profile but it sends this - my daughters - computer into some form of electronic panic attack. More than happy to blether but will need to find another way forward. I have an internal rant brewing about the manner in which passports appear to have become mandatory rather than something you need when travelling abroad.

    1. Hi Chris - msfoy AT btinternet.com (usual formatting) will do the trick. I am bewildered that mobile phones have become compulsory also - internet banking doesn't work unless you have a mobile to receive one-time passcodes etc, and a number of suppliers I have been dealing with require a mobile number - my mum is deaf and unable to use a phone of any sort, so I just give them my own number - anything to keep them happy!

  3. Inspiring photos with an unsettling lack of people on them (unless they were hiding)! I'm told by a friend that the various Peak District Mountain Rescue Teams received just under a hundred call outs over Christmas and New Year, predominantly to pull people off the fells who were dressed in the best quality Primark anoraks and Sports Direct trainers.
    Soak it up old son, because access to that kind of scenery is food for the soul and you don't have to queue up to get at it.
    Anyway, best wishes for a jolly good 2017 to you all, even though it's just a number we made up ;O)

    1. All the very best Gary - have a great year.

      At weekends in the Summer our beach is rather busier, but there's no ice cream vans or burger bars and nothing to do, so it never gets crazy. There seems to be a craze to go partying up mountains this winter - mostly among yoofs who wouldn't know a mountain from a car park. Lads from Glasgow have been wrecking the highland bothies and so on - bless them. Heartwarming.

  4. Looks like a goodly tramp, I got out for a stroll along the pier myself today. Wishing you and yours a very Happy New Year.

    1. Good New Year to you and yours, young sir. Careful on the pier - piers always make me think of Rev TR Malthus. Strolling is definitely a good start to the year though.

      Be well and happy.