Diehards

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Taxing Inheritance

This post is an homage to Pat, sort of. She's always dotting about with her camera and showing us lovely places, and as I actually went out yesterday I thought I'd share my findings like she does. I Saw the polar opposites of Scottish heritage and some pigs.

First up I went to a post-grad symposium at Elshieshields* tower, a beautiful fifteenth century house tucked so expertly away in the countryside, only fourteen miles from here, that after two hours of looking for it I gave up and came home. It took Stevie and his sat-nav to get me there. I've always pooh-poohed sat-nav: 'all one needs is a brain and a map!' but yesterday I was glad of it, the place was well worth changing one's mind for, momentarily. Reverend Dr Ann Shukman (who, incidentally has the best hair) inherited the house from her uncle, the historian Sir Steven Runciman, nine years ago in a state of some disrepair. She has done an amazing job of restoration and now hosts academic and spiritual gatherings there. It is certainly a place for contemplation. I have to admit, though, that the extent of my contemplation was, 'all that dusting!'

Here is a view from the top of the tower, which is part of the main house, onto the cottage in which the symposium was held, and beyond to the less formal, more interesting, gardens:


After Stevie picked me up we went to the port at Annan to get new tires for his car. As he sat in the waiting room I wandered off. It's not that I don't like tire workshops, I do, but I had noticed something more interesting outside. The whole area is near derelict. Opposite the tire place is what was once a huge building but is now a walled meadow. Nature is reclaiming the space. I have to say, I find that quite pleasing. The area hasn't quite been abandoned by humans: a small terrace of houses is being done up, there are still a few businesses in operation, and in the creek was a working fishing boat in good condition. And then there was this one:




Isn't it gorgeous? There is something about the way timbers start to separate, and paint peels like the scabs of old wounds, that is quite beautiful about old abandoned boats. The interiors rusting, the plant-life that has self-seeded, the whisper of a no longer uttered name. And there's the colour. There are lots of little harbours in this area and I spend quite a bit of time wandering round them in the summer; boats still in use are all number of colours: red, orange, yellow, blue, but only abandoned boats are this colour, and they all are. At least it seems that way. This vibrant bruise blue-green, sometimes with a hint of red amongst the peeling layers, is the colour I most come across on boats that have been left to rot. Are people who choose this colour more likely to give up their watery fantasies, is this the colour of boat undercoat, or does all paint become this colour if left to its own devices?

Once the tires were fixed firmly to the wheels of Stevie's car – which I realise now is a very similar colour to the boat – we went to pick Bob up from work. Bob works at Broom Fisheries where he deals with all their website stuff – if you click on the link you'll see his handy-work. He developed the website from scratch and, like an artist, he is still perfecting it. He also deals with customers and suppliers, and collects eggs from the chickens. Carole, his boss, has just taken delivery of four saddleback piglets so I went to say hello. They are the cutest things.




* the house has no website of its own but I thought this was interesting and it shows you a nice picture of it.

20 comments:

Scarlet-Blue said...

I love recreating distressed paint finishes. It's relaxing work. Maybe I will skimp on the fern though!
Sx

Kim Ayres said...

I love old boats - found some great ones on Mull last Autumn. Think I put a blog post up. Also have them on my photography website. They're irresistable :)

Congrats to Bob on his web design. I see he's using Googlesites. I've been meaning to get round to looking at that.

angryparsnip said...

Love the Pictures...
want to live in that Cottage and the Pig are Darling !

savannah said...

congrats to bob on the site! what a gorgeous place for a retreat, sugar. xoxox

PI said...

Nice web site and lovely photos from you. Aren't pigs divine?
No - all paint if left doesn't go that colour - I have acres of wood work to prove it. Alas.
You've reminded me I've been meaning to comb my hair since this morning.

Eryl Shields said...

Scarlet ~ me too, though in this house the creative bit is not really necessary! X

Kim ~ you did make a post on those old boats and your picture, hardly surprising, were much better than mine. So what is it about old boats that makes them so compelling?

Apparently Googlesites can be rather irritating but the problems can be subverted. Bob isn't a web designer, he isn't intimate with HTML, and he wouldn't have taken on the job for anyone else, or without prepack web sites.

Parsnip ~ wouldn't it just be lovely to live in that cottage with it's wood burning stoves and surrounded by all that lush greenery!

Savannah ~ isn't he clever? He'll probably kill me for mentioning him but at least I didn't post a photograph of him! X

Pat ~ this was the first time I'd been so close to pigs, they are divine, and solid as lead.

I'm going to have to trawl through this post now to ascertain what reminded you to comb your hair!

debra said...

I love the photos, Eryl,thanks for sharing them. I love the pigs and the close up of the boat.

HoodChick said...

My great-grandparents lived next to a pig farm so I always think of them when I see pigs. It's a weird asssociation, I know!

Eryl Shields said...

Debra ~ you're welcome. I came home that day with 108 photographs, most of them of the boat!

Hoodie ~ yes, it is a weird association!

Mary Witzl said...

We have the same taste in architecture: I love those old, crumbling buildings and chipped, faded paint on warped timbers.

And now I know just where to take you when we get back!!

Kanani said...

I like "decorative" stressed wood, and not the stressed wood in my house holding it together!

I love the pigs. Gosh, they're cute. you almost wanna have one as a pet --but they get awfully big.

Eryl Shields said...

Mary ~ really? You've got me so excited!

Kanani ~ I fight a constant battle between my ideal of endearingly shabby and outright crumbling – crumbling is winning at the moment!

The World According To Me said...

I agree, old boats have character.

The piglets are so cute. Great picture.

Dr Maroon said...

Bollocks. The best looking pig is Pig-Wig the dazzling little black Berkshire from the tale of Pigling Bland.

Eryl Shields said...

Whose character though Nik, I would marry someone with character like that – or at least have a wild if short fling with him?

Yes Doc, as usual you are right.

Coffee with Cathy said...

Love your photographic vision! Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Eryl Shields said...

Glad you like it Cathy!

Leigh Russell said...

Not sure I'd call those pigs 'cute', but they certainly look like fine healthy animals.

Scarlet-Blue said...

Have you given up smoking?!
*sneaks off for a crafty puff behind the pig sty*
Sxx

Eryl Shields said...

Leigh ~ yes, 'cute pig' does seem rather oxymoronic...

Scarlet ~ umm...