Saturday, 30 December 2017

bad birds

Thurs 28th and instead of going into work I postponed that till next week. The sun was shining and there were photos to take and runs to run. Mary said something about going through Holyrood and up to the Braids but we ended up just doing a loop of Holyrood, and getting distracted.

I have been really missing the butterflies and am counting the days till they reappear. While it's lovely to see many birds around the place they are considerably more challenging to photograph. It's as if they see me coming then hide behind a branch that will confuse the focus. The new camera is excellent for discerning what it is I want to capture, except birds. It's like a conspiracy to make some laugh out loud BAD photos. Most of them are too rubbish to post here, I give you just the cream of the crop, the nearly-but-not-quite shots that are still lamentably crap.

Mary suggested we do a park boundary and it was a great idea with everything looking crisp and frosty in the sunlight.

hold still till I focus on that tree

and again

something shifty looking here

So after a few more bird fails we ran down through Duddingston Field and community gardens with a view to going back up the steps. However I had a notion to visit a place I had only seen from the distance and wondered about.....

Mary in the buff

Some time ago I took a photo like this (above), of Duddingston Kirk and the trees down to the Loch, and wondered out loud how to access the bench just above the boathouse. I think it was Michael who mentioned it was Dr Neil's Garden (dull website, great place) and open to the public. I asked the boss if we could make a quick visit and she acquiesced. Initially I thought it was through the kirkyard so we went in there. Mary was more taken by the crypts which I think appealed to her hammer house of horror while I took a shot or 2 of ye olde gravestones.

You've spelled April wrong mate.
And the eye socket in the skull is rubbish too

Now while you can get into the gardens through the wee shop or cafe we were feeling shy and went back into the street and along to the manse entrance and in that way. I have no idea of opening hours or days to visit but it was open when we were there and although there is a donations box there was no set entry fee. It was very much like a corner of the Botanics transferred to the side of the loch and although less exotic than parts of the botanics, well worth a visit. Those who read poetry outdoors would enjoy a loch side bench in the sun while smoking a favourite pipe.

What with the sunlight on the water, Thomson's Tower (above), the duckies and backlit rushes I was cock-a-hoop. I was brought back out my reverie by Mary asking if I had my keys and I realised she had gone well beyond boredom threshold and was keen to be off. I reluctantly left with her, we were, after all, out for a run. But what a place. Well worth a visit on a sunny day. No doubt even nicer in Summer. Here is an extract cut and pasted from the website about the tower... 

Thomson’s Tower is a unique octagonal building located on the shore of Duddingston Loch. It was designed in 1825 by William Henry Playfair (1789-1857), for the Duddingston Curling Society so that curling stones could be stored close to the Loch edge, and to provide a meeting space for members above.
The Rev. John Thomson (1778-1840) was the minister of Duddingston Kirk from 1805 until his death. He was a well known landscape painter, and when the upper chamber of the Tower was not required by the curlers, Thomson used it as a painting studio where he could work undisturbed. A convivial man, he entertained a wide circle of friends in the manse at Duddingston including fellow-artists JMW. Turner and Henry Raeburn. The famous painting of The Rev. Robert Walker Skating on Duddingston Loch (in the National Gallery of Scotland) was painted by Raeburn.


I forgot to count the steps but know how many there are: too many.

round the rest of the Queen's Drive then home.

1 comment:

  1. My poor skins look like they're going to burst on the steps.