Saturday, 10 April 2010


I clicked on the Mac the other day and was shocked to see that the hard drive had amassed 400gb in it’s brain, poor thing was filling up fast. What with is anybodies guess but some could be the 25mb raw picture files when I bother to use the lumpen slr. I kept this thought at the back of my mind for when we were out.

Two months ago while visiting friends during the icy weather they showed me the catalogue to an exhibition in Aberdeen where they had just been to the opening night. The artist had been their teacher when they were at art college and was having a show in Aberdeen city art gallery to mark her 80th birthday and it included recent work from Antarctica! The catalogue had what looked like some interesting essays about her work which I have always admired. We once shared a major wall in a mixed show in the same gallery, each showing a triptych which really gave me a lift. This was a show I just had to see. I was thinking about it when thinking of anything to recommend to someone visiting the area soon so did a search to check dates only to find that today was the last day! I have a pile of work to get done including getting the house into a merely untidy state for a visitor next week but this was something to drop all work for and spend an awayday on the road.

For us it was an early start but the first smell of fresh cut grass was in the air, one of life’s magical smells, our grass is a longtime off cutting and over the winter has become mostly moss. Sun has not touched it yet.

The run up the coastal plain was a delight, the red earth recently ploughed fields mixed with those with the vibrant fresh flush of new shoots. Strawberries in amongst the hoops ready to be covered by poly tunnels and vivid streaks of yellow where some have diversified into daffodils!

Julie was delivered to the door of the gallery then I went in search of a multi parking place sa close as possible to where we would go afterwards. So many wax lyrical of their time in “the Mall”, not somewhere you go in my local city but as I stepped out of the lift into the heart of this shopping mall in this oil rich city I briefly felt jealousy for these smartly dressed shoppers all happy, smiling and enjoying just being. What a contrast to the sour misery and fat rolls over the waist bands in my town! The irony is that my town was the ideal and preferred location for the land and sea base for North Sea oil exploration but the local unions thought they could make big demands from the oil companies who just moved 60 odd miles up the coast even though the road link was rubbish and stayed that way untill all the deliveries had been made! In my scruffy town even I sort of blend in so I should not complain, I certainly could not compete in Aberdeen.

As a bonus Francis Walker the artist was in the gallery chatting to some of her old students when we arrived and she came over and had a chat with us afterwards. Where do some of these people get their energy and enthusiasm from? Artists never retire while they can still see and wield their chosen tools of the trade. I have always admired her painting and printing style which while remaining faithful to the accuracy of depicting the landscape is subtly abstracted leaving me frustrated with the literalness of my medium! That sounds a bit stupid but reality does leave much to be desired.

The Antarctic panoramas filling one room were gems of painterly touch and I was so envious of her ability to paint a tilted horizon to represent the tilting boat, I am sure that the same scene in a photograph just would not have worked gaining nothing but criticism for being squint but these were so right!

We did once buy one of her screen prints of a Hebridean island and gave it away as a present, how mad were we? The prices have shot up!

Lunch in the gallery cafe was a real joy as we sat in view of a table occupied by three biker chicks. Julie is really starting to understand the real me and asked one of her most perceptive questions ever about wether they were how I had wished to be. Dead right, down to the look in their eyes when they were talking! It was all I could do to resist following them to see if their ride really was a Harley, who else would have leather tassel fringes on their leathers? Well that is one big regret but the roads now are not the open roads of my younger days and I have no plans to be an organ donor as many older bikers become!

“Time machine” is still grinding away! Just what are these 1,152,117 items it is storing? Only a quarter of the way through after an hour and a half. We stopped for a coffee in the mall just before collecting the car to come home, another chance for people watching. Since the coffee was so hot I set off to see if I could buy an external hard drive for backup so there goes all my possible clothes shopping for a good while! What a curse since a rose bush attacked my thin summer weight jacket and ripped two neat parallel tears in the back!


  1. Hi Caroline,
    Thanks for having such a great blog. It sounds like you had a fun Saturday you are so lucky to have someone like Julie to share your outings with, It's never much fun doing things like that alone, wish I could have seen the pictures at the gallery.

  2. Had you been wearing your leathers like a good biker chick, those rose thorns would have left nothing but a scratch!

    I have been amazed by how many trans women I have met, who still love their motorcycles.

    Melissa XX (loves biker chicks too, but scared to death of their bikes)

  3. We once had union trouble in Aberdeen; the dockers were on strike, and we were not allowed to use our own crane to get stuff on or off the ship, so we had to unload everything from lorries and carry it up the gangway. We started using Frazerburgh instead...

    little brother, who lives in Aberdeen, once mentioned that the charity shops there have often got really good stuff in it... something to do with well-off oil workers coming and going...

  4. hang on... 'in them' not 'in it'.... it's early, ok?

  5. It sounds like the exhibition was well worth the day off.

    We live in a chic town and it's quite a shock when we travel to somewhere poorer - and we blend in better!

    Never, ever just "pop into the garden for a few minutes" without getting changed. My favourite trick is grass stains on the knees of my best jeans.

  6. It sounds like you had a great day.


Many thanks to all who ever joined in the conversation and to those who took the time to follow my zig zag to a new life..

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