WPC: Scale

Sorry I’ve been MIA from the Weekly Photo Challenge. It’s all down to work – I have so much of it that I don’t get as much time as I would like to mess about on the internet, which is good as I work free-lance. Anyway I’m in it this week with one old photograph (the butterfly) and two new ones (the Praying Mantis).

Butterfly

I found this beauty lurking in a folder unedited in my bugs and beasties folder on my PC (I’m currently clearing out my folders as I’m eagerly awaiting a new PC being delivered this week) Anyway a quick levels and sharpening and we have a lovely butterfly.

Praying Mantis 4

This not so pretty beastie has decided that the back of my bench is a good place to live. Now I can no longer sit on the bench… He flew (jumped?) onto my hair the first time I saw him so I think he thinks we’re friends now. He’s wrong.

Praying Mantis 3

But I did name him Eric. Don’t you think he looks like an Eric? No, just me?
Scale

 

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Crossraguel Abbey

My recent trip home to Scotland wasn’t all party-party ye ken. Oh all right, MOST of it was party-party, but I did do some sightseeing and cultural stuff too. Despite Crossraguel Abbey being right on my doorstep (25 miles or so away) I had never visited before. I had driven past it many times, but never stopped and went in to explore. We have so much history and heritage around us we get kind of blasé about ancient buildings. It’s only now that I no longer live there that I appreciate how fabulous all of these buildings are what a great job organisations like Historic Scotland do at maintaining them.

I’m not going to go into the history of Crossraguel, mainly because I’d probably get it all wrong and this is a photography blog. I recommend you read about it here:

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/crossraguel-abbey/history/

or here

http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/maybole/crossraguel/index.html

Anyway I had a fabulous time exploring all the rooms and photographing everything I could. Unfortunately the main building (the church) was under scaffolding so I didn’t get any photographs of that, but if you Google Crossraguel you can see how impressive it is when not covered in scaffolding.

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Stonework, door and window details at Crossraguel
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Details of the Tower House

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View of part of the Abbey and the Tower House with the beautiful Ayrshire countryside in the background.

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The Dovecote

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Coo’s oan the wa’…. or translated to cows on the wall. Hah, not actually. They’re on the hill behind the Abbey but I liked how they seemed to be walking along the wall. the plaque on the wall here reads “ABOTT’S HOUSE. A series of cellars at ground level originally supported the Abbot’s apartments above.”

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Gravestone

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Actually I’m not sure what this was – I should have photographed the plaque and not just the hole. At first I thought it was a well, but I think I remember reading that it was actually a tomb and it’s just filled with water. I told you I’d get it wrong….

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Inside the Chapter House. How fabulous is the stonework, the windows and the arched ceiling?

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Some broken stone and pieces of carving dating back to the 12th century.

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The plaque on the left reads “A double tomb marker, with two elaborate crosses, a sword, shield and pike. The shield bore a chevron as the main charge, suggesting that the tomb commemorated members of the House of Kennedy.”

The plaque on the righ reads “The tombstone of Sir William Geruan, Priest, who died 9th April 1340. Sir William may have been vicar of one of the Abbey’s churches in Carrick. Note the chalice and paten.”

With the arrival of the Reformation in 1560, Crossraguel’s life as an active religious community came to an end. The last abbot, Quintin Kennedy, died in 1564 and a commendator, Alan Stewart, was appointed by the Crown to oversee the land and property owned by the abbey.

In 1569 Stewart signed over the abbey, its lands and revenues to Gilbert Kennedy, the 4th Earl of Cassilis. According to a complaint later made by Stewart to the Privy Council, his agreement was only extracted by the Earl by roasting him over a fire at Dunur Castle.

Turnberry (more Scottish photographs)

Last month when I was home in Scotland on holiday (vacation for US bloggers) some friends took us out for the day to a lovely restaurant (Wildings in Maidens, Ayrshire – highly recommended!)

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Walking along the harbour wall in Maidens – I’ve always loved being near water, as a kid I was always coming home soaked to the skin!

We decided to have a wee walk along the Ayrshire coast to Turnberry.

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Looking towards Maidens from Turnberry

I have wanted to photograph the lighthouse for years and I finally got the chance.

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Turnberry Lighthouse

We were very lucky with the weather as you can see from the photographs because we got there before the storm came in.

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Turnberry Lighthouse

While I was wandering about the cliffs, deciding on the best place to photograph from, the rest of the gang were being impressed by a couple of cars driving up to the lighthouse – the first was a Bently and the second was a McLaren which really impressed the guys.  I couldn’t have told you what it was… next photograph is one my friend took with her phone of the McLaren and Mr. Alba trying not to look impressed as the car passed him by…

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McLaren, or if you’re like me, ‘A sporty black car’

So we got talking to a caddy, who told us for 3,000 GBPounds a night! you could rent a room in the lighthouse, which comes with it’s own private butler and chef. No wonder they’re driving McLarens and Bentleys!

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Turnberry with the isle of Arran in the background

All of the accents of the golfers we could hear were Americans btw. I’m not sure how much it costs to play golf at Turnberry, but probably the locals can’t afford it!

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Turnberry Golf Course (I think there’s 3 courses here but I’m not sure which one this is)

And of course there’s Turnberry Hotel itself. Beautiful and now owned by Mr. Trump, but I refuse to call it ‘Trump Turnberry’. This blog isn’t political at all and I am aware I’m a foreigner living in the USA but still it’s my blog and I can say it if I want – he’s an eejit….. but he does own a fabulous hotel and golf course!

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Turnberry Hotel

WPC Structure: Wings

For the past 7 years since I moved to the USA I’ve become ever so slightly obsessed by hummingbirds. They’re absolutely amazing! They’re so small, fast, squabbly (is that a real word?), colourful, noisy and un-afraid. I saw one take on a titmouse the other day!

Anyway this weeks WPC of structure is a good excuse to use my weekend shots of the hummingbirds and in particular their wings and the structure of their feathers.

Technical jargon if anyone is interested: the shutter speed I needed to capture these shots was 1/3000 of a second with an ISO of 1600 at F6.3. I was using an 18-300mm Sigma lens on my Pentax K5 at full zoom and when editing I used a huge crop as well. I’m pretty pleased they turned out as sharp as they did (not counting all the binned blurry efforts btw).

I love how they fly right up to you and look you in the face as if to say “Hey giant thingy, what are you?” Now if I could only get one to perch on my finger.

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Structure

Edinburgh

Now that I’m finally back to normal (almost, pesky tickly cough is driving me nuts!) I’m only now getting round to editing my photographs from Scotland. This set is from the day we climbed Arthur’s Seat….

My son, who never gets to choose what we do as a family, was asked what he wanted to do the day we had to drop my mum off at Edinburgh Airport. He wanted to go climbing he told us; he wanted to climb Arthur’s Seat.

So off we go from the Park-and-ride at Edinburgh Airport on the tram to the city centre. I had a rough idea of where it was (behind the castle somewhere) so we decided to walk towards where we thought it was. Long story short is we found it in a roundabout kind of way. My family and friends always laugh at my directions because whenever anyone asks me where something is my reply is always “it’s just around the corner”. I actually have a good sense of direction, but maybe not as good a sense of distance.

Anyway we eventually end up at the bottom of Arthurs Seat and husband and I say to the kids that we are going up the ‘easy’ way and they can go up the hard way. I had looked it up on The Google and it said there were two ways to climb it. I should also have looked it up on a map because what we pointed out to the kids wasn’t Arthur’s Seat at all. It was Salisbury Crags. We didn’t realise this until our ‘easy’ route rounded the corner and there was an even bigger hill behind the one we’d just pointed the kids towards! About an hour later, after much huffing and puffing on my part, we reached the top and of course no kids! They’d done what we’d said (for once in their lives) and stayed at the top of the hill and didn’t move till we get there as none of our phones worked in Scotland apart from husbands. Well daughter is a sensible type, she is the one you’d call in a Zombie Apocolypse to help you out; son is the phone-a-friend in Who Wants to be a Millionaire, ie. no use in a crisis! We were certain she’d find wi-fi somewhere, which she did as Edinburgh actually has city-wide free wi-fi, so when she texted us with “where are you!” we were on the way back down.

Poor boy – the one thing he wanted to do the whole fortnight was climb Arthur’s Seat and he didn’t even get to do that. We offered to wait at the bottom till he climbed up it by himself, but by this time he was starving and food was more important than climbing. He did say he’d enjoyed climbing the Salisbury Crags though, and judging by the photos his sister took of him, I’m glad I wasn’t there to see him scale parts that were pretty dangerous looking to me. Yes, I’m a paranoid mum. Yes, he’s 20 years old, but he’s still my wee boy!

So here are some photographs from the top of Arthur’s Seat which I am happy to say I climbed without the need of oxygen!

 

Holibags and sickness

Hello my blogends (blogging friends). Apologies for my lack of commenting and general MIAness lately. I have great excuses though….

Firstly I was in Scotland (hame) on holiday, where I was busy partying (father-in-law’s 80th), meeting up with friends and relatives and eating all the food I possibly could for a fortnight. I did manage to visit a few places that I will blog about soon hopefully.

Secondly since I got back (8 days ago) I’ve been in bed sick. I’m not a good patient and always expect to wake up the next morning feeling better, but this time I just couldn’t shake it off. Anyway long story short, I went to the doctor who diagnosed Strep Throat so I’m finally on the road to recovery thanks to drugs (antibiotics before y’all shake your head at me!) I knew I was ill when I didn’t even want to eat any of the smuggled contrabrand (chocolate, crisps and biscuits) plus today is the first day I’ve felt like looking at my photographs from home.

So to let you know I’m still alive and (getting) well I’m sharing a Heilan Coo with you. Hope to catch up with all your lovely blogs soon.

Alba.

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Beautiful Scottish Redhead

WPC: Unusual

They took all the trees, put ’em in a tree museum….

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And they charged the people a dollar and a half just to see ’em.

This week’s theme of ‘Unusual’ and all I could think of was the song ‘Big Yellow Taxi’ and the exhibition we had quite a few years ago at my museum (of course it wasn’t MY library, museum and art gallery… I just worked there)

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone?
Unusual