To go back home, never more to roam, is my dearest wish of all.

Bob Simon: Is it possible to be socially acceptable to be a teetotaler on this island?

Ailsa Hayes: Yes.

Bob Simon: Are there any?

Ailsa Hayes: Yes. But– I’m not one of them.

Over the years, the island’s people have learned how to entertain themselves, often at gatherings called Ceilidhs which feature traditional dance and sad songs, mostly about leaving Islay and yearning to return.

[Man sings: “To sit with my love on the bridge above the rippling waterfall. To go back home, never more to roam, is my dearest wish of all.”]

If this looks and feels a lot like Ireland, that’s no coincidence. It’s only 25 miles away. They come from the same tribe, share the same Celtic culture and Gaelic language, not to mention a love of good whisky that gets them through stormy weather and the long winter nights.

There are no movie theaters on Islay, no dry cleaners, no supermarket, and no McDonald’s…at least in the fast food business. Jim McEwan says there is a long list of things that Islay doesn’t have…and doesn’t want.

Jim McEwan: We don’t have any crime, we don’t have mugging, carjacking, house breaking, rape, just dope, drugs, we don’t have that. You can keep that. You’re very welcome to it.

Bob Simon: How do you explain the fact that there’s no crime here? There’s crime everywhere else.

Jim McEwan: There is no crime. If you commit a crime in a small community, you’ll be ostracized and have to leave. Not only that, your family, your children and your children’s children will be remembered as the children of the man who committed the crime.

~ Bob Simon, excerpt of an interview on 60 Minutes in a segment titled Whisky Island. Simon visits Islay, a magical place in the Hebrides islands off the coast of Scotland, known for making some of the great single malt scotch whiskies in the world.  Find full report here.

T.G.I.F.: It’s been a long week


Source: Chippy enjoyed a fruit-flavored ice treat at Blair Drummond Safari Park near Stirling, Scotland, to cool off during the hot weather. (Andrew Milligan, wsj.com June 28, 2018)

14 Years Old

manchester, Barra,scotland,terrorist,hearse,

The hearse carrying the coffin of Eilidh MacLeod is driven across Traigh Mhor beach at Barra, Scotland, airport after it arrived by chartered plane. Ms. MacLeod, 14 years old, was among the 22 people who died in the terrorist attack at the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester on May 22, which also left more than 100 injured. (Andrew Milligan / Photos of the Day, June 3-4, 2017, wsj.com)

They’re almost sacred. Words…Head. Heart. Pen and paper.

welder

Mining Poems or Odes won the BAFTA Scotland award for best short documentary in 2015. It’s 11 minutes long. You will say you don’t have time. Save the link and come back to it. It’s that good. His accent, his passion, his story, the cinematography – all hypnotic.

“The Scottish poet Robert Fullerton is a former shipyard welder who was an apprentice when he found his love of books thanks to his mentor. Like its subject, Mining Poems or Odes finds beauty in language and in the docks of Glasgow Fullerton’s thoughts on mining and lyrical readings of his poetry with scenes from the Govan shipyard’s distinctly working-class milieu.”

Here’s a large chunk of excerpts from the documentary:

[Read more…]

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like…

LOANHEAD, SCOTLAND - NOVEMBER 18: Edite Galite from Latvia, holds up a Poinsettia plants ready to be dispatched for the Christmas season at the Pentland Plants garden centre on November 18,2016 in Loanhead, Scotland. The garden centre grows around 100,000 poinsettias, a traditional Christmas house plant. The Midlothian business supplies a host of garden centres and supermarkets across Scotland and the north of England in time for the festive season. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)


100,000 poinsettias are ready to be dispatched for the Christmas season in a Loanhead, Scotland garden center.  (November 18, 2016. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Don’t other fantastic shots here: Prepping the Poinsettias for Christmas

Go, and Be


In a word,
she is empty,
untouched with inescapable beauty.
She is pure,
free from advertisement
and the need of distraction.
Within the slips of her land
there are fallen rocks still asleep
where they originally made their bed.
Her livestock craw without concern of time or where to go.
They call the ground home without need for a door.
No lock, or key.
Waterfalls find their way where ever needed,
Down the sides of the mountains green and
across the dirt paths
carved by wandering admirers.
The ground, this home, smells so rich.
The soil doesn’t stick or crumble,
it molds to the hand as the hand becomes one with the land.
For she is kind.
She is genuine.
We pilgrims come here to pay our respects,
And she repays us with peace.
And once here, you are home,
you find silence,
a glimpse of heaven,
A place where you can go and be.

~ Josh Brine


Jon Wyatt

sound of jura, scotland

This photograph is the Sound of Jura in Scotland by Jon Wyatt. Wyatt explains that “the Sound of Jura is the name given to the straits of water separating the Isle of Jura in the Inner Hebrides from the Scottish mainland. The Gaelic name is ‘An Linne Rosach’ meaning the ‘Sound of Disappointment’.” (Note to self: I don’t understand what can be a disappointment about this magnificent location…)

Wyatt is an award winning photographer from the U.K. Do NOT miss Wyatt’s other shots of the Sound of Jura and the Portfolio of his work: Jon Wyatt.


Photo Source via Precious Things

So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.

footprints-in-snow

Remember, the time of year
when the future appears
like a blank sheet of paper
a clean calendar, a new chance.
On thick white snow

you vow fresh footprints
then watch them go
with the wind’s hearty gust.
So fill your glass. Here’s tae us.
Promises
made to be broken, made to last.

Jackie Kay, “Promise”


Notes:

  1. About Jackie Kay: Jackie Kay (b. 1961) is an award-winning writer of fiction, poetry and plays, whose subtle investigation into the complexities of identity have been informed by her own life. Born in Edinburgh to a Scottish mother and Nigerian father, she was adopted as a baby by a white couple. Kay’s awareness of her different heritages inspired her first book of poetry, The Adoption Papers, which dramatises her experience through the creation of three contrasting narrators: an adoptive mother, a birth mother and a daughter.
  2. Photographer: Matt Wyles. Poem Source: litverve
  3. Find this poem in Jackie Kay’s Book: Life Mask or in Poems on the Underground by Judith Chernaik

Mur. Mur. Murmur. Magnificent.

starlings-murmuration

“Tens of thousands of starlings start their murmuration, with Criffel mountain in the background, as dusk fell last night (November 5, 2014) on the England and Scotland border near Gretna Green.”


 

Falling like that, just simply falling.

fall-autumn-tree-color

Each of these leaves had just one chance to feather the air with an arabesque of yellow or red, backlit and buoyant, just one chance to be held on the palm of the year, then briskly brushed away like an instant. Maybe two hundred leaves lie piled together under this empty maple, their jumpsuits weighing them down with color, the wind knocked out of them. Quickly it passed, but how well they did it, falling like that, just simply falling.

~ Ted KooserOctober. The Wheeling Year: A Poet’s Field Book


Photograph: Scott Masterton (Gosford Ho, Scotland, United Kingdom)

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