Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness
Over the past week or so, the autumnal colours are really coming into their own and so many mornings recently I have woken to a view of the most beautifully still waters of Loch Etive with that layer of mist rising up against the slopes of Cruachan Beinn. We have so much to be thankful for in the blessing of life in this corner of Scotland.
Well, it’s been a few months since my last missive and of course our friends and colleagues in the U.S.A., Canada and elsewhere among the Scottish diaspora have been unable to make any travel plans so my wagon and I have not seen that much of the Highlands or indeed other parts of the country. I have been for the odd day away here and there, reminding me just why so many Scots call it “God’s own country”.
Recently I have been reading ‘The Hidden Ways; Scotland’s Forgotten Roads’ by Alistair Moffat (writer, historian and former Director of Programmes at Scottish Television ). It is a sort of travel diary with a rich history of place and of a way of life that has all but disappeared even in the remoter, rural parts of the country and yet as he traces the various ‘old roads’ with map in hand, it is a fascinating record of those routes, be they droving roads or herring roads, of why they evolved where they did. Definitely a recommended read !
Thinking of a way of life that has disappeared, I will leave you with a charming image of yours truly, my best side successfully captured by a lovely client about this time of year in 2018. It depicts my illustrating a wonderful knife-grinder in the Old Kitchens at Inveraray Castle. These 19th century inventions were handy devices for cleaning and sharpening the steel blades of knives. The blades were inserted between brush-like pads impregnated with fine carborundum then as the handle was turned, the dirt and stains on the knife blades were removed. Who needs fairy liquid and a dishwasher ?!