Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Quote of the Day

You should not confuse your career with your life.
- Dave Barry

Monday, October 24, 2016

Quote of the Day

Getting divorced just because you don’t love a man is almost as silly as getting married just because you do.
- Zsa Zsa Gabor

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Quote of the Day

Faith, as well intentioned as it may be, must be built on facts, not fiction - faith in fiction is a damnable false hope.
- Thomas Alva Edison

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Quote of the Day

"They're all mistakes, children! Filthy, nasty things. Glad I never was one."
- Pam Ferris in "Matilda"

Friday, October 21, 2016

Quote of the Day

J: Why the big secret? People are smart, they can handle it.
K: A PERSON is smart. PEOPLE are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it.
- Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones in "Men in Black"

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Quote of the Day

It's kind of fun to do the impossible.
- Walt Disney

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Quote of the Day

The effect of power and publicity on all men is the aggravation of self, a sort of tumor that ends by killing the victim's sympathies.
- Henry Brooks Adams

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Quote of the Day

Grattez le Russe, vous trouverez le tartare.
[Scrub the Russian and you will find the Tartar]
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Monday, October 17, 2016

The hills of Skye

There are several famous hills and rock formations on Skye; I went and took pics of three of 'em. There's the Old Man of Storr, the Quiraing and the slopes of the Cuillin Mountains, where lie the Fairy Pools.

The Old Man of Storr, close up.

What, you think I walked up there?

Seen from the front. The Old Man is pretty much dead center of the pic.

Right next to where I stopped to take pictures was this cute, little island.

These pictures are from the Quiraing area, just north of Staffin. Great views from up here, folks.

Grrreat scenery.

This purdy lil' tree was hiding snuggly on the side of a little gully.

I believe this is the part of the mountain called The Prison. This is a far as I got. I think The Table is behind the pinnacles to the upper left.

My cozy little B & B is somewhere amongst these buildings.

The Cuillin Mountains.

Water streams have carved deep gashes in the mountain side.

If I'm not much mistaken, the Fairy Pools are to be found along this stream, but I just didn't have the stamina to go look for myself. It was cold and windy and I had a nice, warm, comfy car.

Skye: Fairie Glen

A brief drive east of Uigh lies the Fairie Glen (Glen meaning valley in Gaelic). It is quite small, maybe 100 meters (appx.330 feet) by 200, and roughly dividee into 2 small "valleys". There were ruins from some stone structures within this enchanted spot. Possibly fences, possibly walls, possibly both.

Nice trees, both fallen and upright were all over the place.

The road goes ever on and on.

From a vantage point.

Towards Uigh.

A lovely pond.

Lovely tree, Rowan methinks?

The landscape surrounding the Glen was also quite scenic.

Skye: Kilmuir Cemetery

This is the grave of Flora MacDonald. The 24 year old Flora helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape Scotland after his disastrous defeat at Culloden in 1746. He was disguised as her Irish (female) servant. Flora was jailed for a time, but then released. She married Allan MacDonald and they had seven children. They moved to North Carolina in 1774 but returned to Skye in 1779. She died at Kingsburgh and was buried here at Kilmuir in 1790.

A fascinating life and a fascinating story that has captured the attention of many writers and has earned her a place in the famous Skye Boat Song (...rocked in the deep/Flora will keep/watch by your weary head...). The epitaph on her gravestone was written by no less an illuminary than Dr. Johnson: "...a name that will be mentioned in history, and if courage and fidelity be virtues, mentioned with honour". The original gravestone was stolen piecemeal by tourists, until the present one was erected in 1855 by a great-great grandson.

An informative board told the visitor about Flora and some of the other luminaries here interred.

Skye sunrise

I arrived in Staffin, far north on the island Sunday afternoon, but already early on Sunday morning, Skye showed me some lovin'. Feast yer eyes on this sunrise, my pretty ones.

Heaven's on fire.

The ever changing clouds made for purdy scenery.

Outside the cloud cover, things were softer around the edges.

Back to red fire.

One of the last of these pics.

Over to the north, a goddamn RAINBOW suddenly appeared.

The sun rising on the mountains to the west of me. "And not by eastern window only / when daylight comes, comes in the light. / In front the sun climbs slow, how slowly / but westward look, the land is bright."

Quote of the Day

A boy’s will is the wind’s will,
And the thoughts of youth are long, long thoughts.
- H. W. Longfellow, "My Lost Youth"

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Isle of Skye

I had intended to take some pictures of Duffus Castle, a ruin just north of Elgin, but my trusty old pocket camera chose that day to die on me. So instead I went to Skye, the almost mythically beautiful island just off the west coast. I'd never been before but I can assure you I will go there again. These are pics I took Sunday Oct 2.

I managed to get in two pictures from an unusually sunlit Loch Ness on the way to Skye. Here is Urquhart Castle.

The Loch itself had a wee bit of fog on. Wewy myftical.

Kyle of Lochalsh is a tiny village on the mainland. Opposite, to the left in the image, is the even tinier Skye village of Kyleakin, which in Gaelic means "The strait of Haakon" - in this case Haakon IV of Norway, who ruled these parts until he squandered them at the Battle of Largs in 1263.

A little further up the island was this cozy little waterfall, which I stopped to photograph.

While standing there, I noticed an airplane crossing the skies.

This is the Scotland I've come to know and love, folks.

A bit further north was this waterfall.

This is the beach in Staffin Bay. Somewhere along here, there are fossil dinosaur print, but I'll be damned if I know where they were. And I spent a ridiculous amount of time looking for them.

Just north of Staffin was a fellow Elvis fan.

Quote of the Day

Heresy is only another word for freedom of thought.
- Graham Greene

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Quote of the Day

Little things affect little minds.
- Benjamin Disraeli

Duff House & Bow Fiddle Rock

From Fraserburgh I drove west to Duff House, in the care of Historic Scotland. It is a stately Georgian house, which has been refurbised extensively and now also houses a section of the Scottish National Gallery. Afterwards I drove up to Bow Fiddle Rock, a geological peculiarity which has gotten its name from its resemblance to a fiddle bow. So why it's called Bow Fiddle and not Fiddle Bow is beyond me.

There was construction work being carried out on the facade.

A statue of Minerva.

If this was the first thing to great me as I came home on a dark and stormy night, I might have wet myself in terror.

The architect had originally planned for a much bigger structure. As with several other Scottish buildings, it all ended in tears, lawsuits and ruin for the people involved.

Nice rock.

Nearby, on the mainland, were actual caves. Wheeeee!

Two weeks late, my trip to Scotland

I started my trip to Scotland by flying in to Dyce, Abderdeen on a Friday. Saturday, I drove up to Fraserburgh, to see Kinnaird Head and the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses. It was actually quite nice up there. Got some information about the strenuous life of lighthouse keepers and their families and some fresh air and glorious views out across the northeastern coast of Scotland.

It looks like the head of a giant C-3PO, but is really a lighthouse reflector.

The mechanics behind how a lighthouse functioned changed over time, and I understood little of it, what with being a bear of very little brain and all. But I believe at one point that lamps and mirrors were involved. And whale oil. Tons and tons of whale oil.

Fraserburg grew up around the castle of the Fraser family and the lighthouse - the first permanently maintained in all of Scotland - was first built on top of an existing castle structure in 1787. Later, when the roof started to give in, a separate tower was integrated with the castle.

The "new" lighthouse, with the fog horn. The siren for the horn was powered by air and the power to make it go WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA was created by some complex machinery that forced air through underground tunnels. Apparently, the whole town shook everytime it sounded.

The retired lamp & reflector of the lightouse today.

The nice little toon o' Fraserburgh.

This building, known as the Winehouse, is probably from the 1500s and no one is quite certain what it was used for.