It’s been a while since I posted on this part of my site sorry about that, I’ve been busy doing other things. Anyway this weekend has been stunning in our part of the Scottish Borders, I’ve been enjoying working in the garden. The Photo above was taken yesterday under one of my local bridges, thank the gods for wellingtons as the water is still icy cold. Obviously I have applied some effects in photoshop to the original shot taken on the Google Pixel, but I like the result and that is all that matters.
I’ve had the google pixel phone for some time now and I especially enjoy using the panorama modes. As I have said before the way the phone stitches the images together can be a bit random, but most of the times it works fine. The image of the Bridge near my home (above) was shot with the fish eye mode and was put together perfectly . I’ve massively resized the image from the original 41.5MP 6444 × 6444. 10.2 MB size but you get the general idea of what this mode does.
‘Civilisations’ rise and fall, but no matter what the foolish humans do nature still just keeps rolling along. So the Snow Drops are back, they push onward and upward no matter the weather. As frail as they are strong they come and go often unnoticed. These are the skyscrapers of the world beneath our feet, seek them out, but be quick or your have to wait another year.
This shot is a image of my boy taken with my canon camera in our lower field. He has become quite a stunning old chap, just in case your wondering he is a leonberger. Despite his age he still acts like a puppy in the snow and is a joy to watch.
This image is now on my Zazzle store, he is very pleased to know he is finally famous. As he likes to think of himself as a bit of a Barry Gibb of the dog world 😉
I must apologise for being away for three months, getting off the computer and doing lots of real world tasks has been very nice indeed. As we now live in the beautiful countryside coming inside to sit and type is going to get harder and harder. As today it’s pouring with rain, that will happen here a lot. I thought it would be nice to catch you up on what has been going on lately.
First and foremost we (wife, me, dog and jackdaw) are now fully relocated in a ‘remote’ cottage in the Scottish borders. My nearest shop is about 6 miles away, my nearest supermarket 13 and the City of Carlisle is about 30 miles from here back down in England. The English border wraps around us and is only ever a few miles away but I’m most definitely in Scotland and very happy to be here. Just in case you were wondering my nearest Scottish city is Edinburgh and that is 68 miles up the road and Glasgow is about 100 + miles depending on what route you take.
Some have described the valley we are living in as ‘bleak’ but the sheep of which there are many here and me don’t see it that way. I’m Sure I’d be a happy man if I could live here for the rest of my life. While I see very few people which suits me just fine, I am on the main single track road to the local town. So I do get traffic passing by ,but I’d call it a busy day if I was seeing more than 15 to 20 vehicles an hour, after 6 pm you can downgrade that to about 0 to 10.
We are renting our home from one of the large land owners in the area they seem very nice and have no problem with us having a dog (see past blog) . I can honestly say I doubt I could have found a nicer place to live from the garden sizes to how the rooms are laid out. I still have to pinch myself that we’re living here and every now and then I really belive I’m on holiday. That said I don’t recall ever working this physically hard on a holiday. I’ve been weed whacking and cutting grass for what seems like months lol. I’ve build fences, gates sheds and yes planted my beloved willows all around the property. I think we are sitting on just over an acre of land which has turned out to be more than enough for a 50 year old man who was out of shape. Getting a piece of land and working on it has to be the most enjoyable fitness program I’ve ever subjected myself to. I have long given up weighing myself, but lets say my clothes all have a lot of space in them. The downside is my back is killing me and muscles I never Knew I had, scream out at night to me ‘WTF do you think you’re doing’.
Obviously having space, quiet and lovely views does come with some trade offs. I can not receive a mobile signal anywhere in a five mile radius of here. Our ‘broadband’ seems as slow as I First used in 93. Some years ago this lack of speed would have driven me crazy, but in all honesty I’ve very frustrated with the way the internet is shaping up it is no longer the free thinking, open minded space it once was. If anyone needs to contact me and thank god they seldom do we have a landline not that I’d answer it as i hate phone conversations. The only Tech entertainment that really works here is the Sky Box (satellite tv) and while for years I had a love hate relationship with sky its nice to have, as streaming anything more than 420p is almost out of the question which is kind of shocking in 2016. I see no reason why everyone in the UK shouldn’t have access to low-cost superfast broadband as ‘They’ have deemed we must all work, play and shop online. Shame on BT and the government for dragging their feet on this, but that’s for another blog.
As the nights drawn in I really need to find something to occupy me other than just staring at the TV. I know I have my guitar and my Digital art, but in truth I have grown bored with creating on a computer I feel I need something real world to do with my hands. I’ve been thinking about revisiting something I did with my hands as a teenager and was rather good at …..no not that Lol, Sculpture you rude person. I will probably get back into it in a small way at first using some of these new fangled lol Polymer clays and see how it goes. I have some creatures I created in the 80’s as Acrylic art that would look brilliant in 3d, I’ll keep you up to date with my progress on that.
Anyway I won’t waffle on anymore and the dog seems to want to go for a walk in the rain, so till next time whenever that may be take care friends.
Next week I finally get the keys to our new (to us) home in the Scottish Borders. It is everything we have been looking for, a farm cottage on about a acre of land, miles from anything that even resembles a town. The property stands near a single track ‘B’ road and is surrounded by fields, about a quarter of a mile from the property is a small river about three quarters of a mile on from this lies the ruins of a Castle. The nearest neighbours are about half a mile in each direction.
The House is almost in a complete Technology free zone, by that I mean not a single phone network works on our property, our internet speed will be as slow as you can get before you get nothing at all. I guess for someone that has streamed music and TV everyday for years this would seem like a big negative, but in fact I’m kinda glad. I’m sick of the information overload , the 24/7 media driven doom machine we call ‘News’. Basically I’ve pretty much had enough of the modern world, I need time to detox myself of years of online detritus and to bring my mind and body back inline with the natural flow.
I’m looking forward to just sitting and staring out into the middle-distance. My aim is to Create a cottage garden on the property, currently it is just grass, weeds and broken down sheds. It’s been a while since I have had some big jobs to do and I will enjoy every second of it. Another thing I’m really looking forward to is seeing how our dog will react to a less anthropocentric environment, I’ve always promised him a large place to run and play and finally I’m delivering on that promise and that is important to me even if it matters not to him.
It is my hope the cleaner Scottish air will help my wife to breathe easier and as a result stop her focussing on her disease and give her more time to just be. I think it is important that we both just stop and chill out, For me Peace and quiet is far more important than anything else I can think of, without it I think eventually a form of madness takes hold. The icing on the cake is we will finally get to really see the night sky as we are living just a a few miles from some of the darkest skies (less light pollution) in the UK.
Below is a wonderful video of Kielder Observatory in Northumberland, England, Which is not more than a 35 minutes drive from our home.
In the next few days our home of 13 years goes up on the market, It’s with a little in trepidation, but much more relief we will be entering the rent market for the first time. Throughout my whole life the powers that be have stuck to the mantra that owning one’s home was the only way to live, after almost 20 years of doing so I’m not so convinced.
It’s only when one has family deaths, life long diseases diagnosed laced with multiple financial problems, that home ownership can seem more like a massive inflexible weight around one’s neck, than a golden prize to aspire to. In fact that is almost exactly what my grandad had told my dad when he was buying his first house in the 60’s. If only he had listened. He ended up taking on a house just on the edge of his financial reach and by doing so he limited his life and sadly in the recession of the 90’s he lost everything. Despite that I still went down the mortgage root something that also limited my own life and cut off my freedom of movement when I needed it most.
I must confess to being a little scared of that word ‘renting’, in ‘Great’ Britain renting is a bloody logistical nightmare especially if like us you have a dog. Oh if only we were both still living in America where renting is the norm and on the whole a very easy and straightforward process. While I know many in the UK look down on renting and renters, it offers us a whole host of benefits, not least the flexibility to move wherever we like and often to homes we simply could never afford to buy. Gone will be the sleep depriving worry of those expensive and unforeseen house repairs, or necessary house upgrades to keep the property value up. Homeownership is a grand idea if you have the bank balance that can cope with it, but for the financially stretched it can often seem like debt slavery or a prison sentence with no hope of parole.
A mortgage in truth until it is payed off is still just a glorified rental agreement, start missing too many payments and then see what you really ‘own’. With houses getting ever more expensive and mortgages longer by the time the bloody thing is paid off your be just the right age to check into a care home. At this point it will become evident that owning your own home should you need care is far less of an advantage than you would think.
I fully understand that renting has it’s downsides, yes it can often be more expensive per month than buying, but when you think about the money most people plough into a house over it’s lifetime it often evens itself out. I must come back to the one thing that is important to us Freedom! The ability to move and move again if need or whim comes up. The ability to finally be free of debt after so many soul crushing years, outweighs all the downsides we may have to face over the coming month .
I have never had a good word to say about the EU that’s a fact. I was a young boy when the keys to this country were given up to the faceless bureaucratic machine that is the EU project. I have lived most of my 50 years enslaved to lands that have throughout the history of Britain been more often than not our enemies than our friends.The EU was a lie, sold to our parents and grandparents generations who still were trusting enough to belief the people in power had our best interests at heart. No matter our politics or what party we support few of us can really believe that our leaders do anything for the people, no those days are long behind us. That said I would rather be ruled by a bunch of liars from my own country than a bunch of liars from abroad.
Big Business, no doubt will claim that leaving the EU will be be bad for us, that the sky will fall in on us and this country will become a shadow of it’s former self etc etc. The truth is this country is already a shadow of it’s former self and business with it’s wish to make more and more profits is solely to blame. Business has no interest in keeping jobs in Britain. They claim they have moved everything abroad to remain competitive, maybe that is true but their actions have destroyed a nation’s dignity and forced a once proud country to make a living selling cheap foreign made crap to each other and live in a culture that worships at the altar of cheap over quality.
The EU may not be to blame for that, but when business bleat on about the fact we will all be worse off if we leave the EU, we must take a look at where we are and what we have and say how could that be possible. Are these people just not sowing the seeds of fear to feather their own pockets? The EU has no care for the people of Britain. They don’t care about our history or traditions and in our modern PC world we are told none of that matters but the fact is Yes it bloody well does!
If being Welsh, Scottish, Irish or English doesn’t matter vote to stay in the EU. But if you believe it does then you owe it to your kin to vote to leave the EU. If you don’t then in just a few generations your offspring will awaken to a world where a wish to be anything other that the vast sprawling homogenised state will be rejected as a disgusting politically incorrect thought-crime.
If we vote as a nation to stay in the EU then we are basically rejecting the notion of individuality and turning our back on the millions and millions that died for the right for our nation’s freedom. If that concept sounds politically incorrect to you, then you have already brought into a lie that being proud of your nation’s flag is wrong even racist.
So your choice is simple even if people in power will tell you it’s not. Choose your country or a faceless corporation, it’s up to you.
Final thought- A fixing of the vote should not be ruled out as I do not belive the hidden hand has any wish to leave the EU. Vote for what you want not for parties, personalities or revenge on people in power you don’t like. This Vote is the most important one our generation will ever have, waste it not, for it will never come around again.