Monthly Archives: September 2016

A long time in coming.

The summerhouse is up!   It has been a long time in coming but it is certainly worth it.  Three study joiners erected it yesterday morning in a much shorter time than I would have imagined.

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How different the garden now looks.  When we had our overgrown Leyandii tree cut down in April we were left with a difficult corner of the garden.   It sloped down to the fence, and it was full of tree roots.  Plan A had been to have the area filled in and levelled off, then to build a summer house, but after a chat with Callum from W G Paterson & Son we decided to have them build decking and erect the summer house on top.

 

Farewell Leylandii

Farewell Leylandii

Tikmber!

Timber!

A difficult corner of the garden.

A difficult corner of the garden.

As spring turned into summer we became quite used to our clear space, and the weeds loved it too.

Planning out where the house would go among the weeds

Planning out where the house would go among the weeds

As August turned into September the joiners arrived and put up the decking.  We had to put up some fence panels to make sure the dogs would not get over the now very low fence which protruded above the deck.  Thanks to Hammy our neighbour that job was done very quickly.   But still there was no sign of the summerhouse.

a veri9table forest of posts

a veritable forest of posts

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We became quite used to the decking, and had more than a few cups of tea in our new little corner of the garden.  The dogs loved it too because the decking construction was still to be finished and they could get underneath to greet our neighbours cars and dogs!

Enjoyiung the decking

Enjoying the decking

The final stage happened yesterday, when our long awaited summerhouse arrived and was put up.  It is an interesting shape with a lovely pointed roof.  Now all we need to do is to get in furnished.  Mary has already been looking for material to make cushions for the wickerwork suite which we have for it.

Viewing the garden

Viewing the garden

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Lily and Poppy have given the seats the thumbs (paws?) up.  But they are less sure about the fact that their secret dog run under the decking is no longer accessible.

An interesting roof.

An interesting roof.

www.patersonjoiners.co.uk

Shooting the waves

I have been waiting for some time now for the right weather conditions to try to take some pictures of waves breaking over the rocks at Buchan Ness Lighthouse.  The wind needs to be in the right direction to whip up the sea, the tide needs to be right and the sun needs to be out;  and of course I need to have time and inclination to drive to Boddam.

Yesterday there was a strong wind blowing in Hatton and it was quite bright, so I thought I would take the dogs along and see.  I grew quite hopeful as we passed Stirlinghill Quarry and saw the white rim of breaking waves round the island.  However, the sky by now as quite grey and the light flat.  So not the perfect conditions, yet.

Some of my pictures reflect this flat light, and even when the sun did break through and there was some blue sky amid the wispy clouds, it was not bright enough to make the sea blue enough; and I would really have like the waves crashing on the rocks to be bigger.   There is no satisfying me!

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Very dramatic, however was the view of waves breaking over the little rocky islands that you can see from Harbour Street in Boddam.  I noticed some shags sheltering from the waves there, watching the white churning sea and the white spray of the waves.

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A walk along the coastal path towards Longhaven and Cruden Bay produced a few more pictures to record this stormy day and the ever present lighthouse.

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A delightful little bay

We rediscovered Portsoy last summer when we made our first tentative trip with our motorhome as newbies to the caravan site at Portsoy Links, right down on the shore of the delightful little Links Bay.  During our time in Buckie,  way back in the 1970s we made occasional visits to Portsoy, but then we restricted our visits to the harbour and the Portsoy Marble shop:  we never discovered this lovely beach.

Arriving in sunshine

Arriving in sunshine

We have just returned home after another couple of nights in what is becoming a favourite spot for us. It is great to just open the van door and be right on the beach, be it among the seabirds on the rocks, the shingle and sand at low tide, the waves rolling in when the wind is in the right direction, or the beauty of and early morning or late evening light – a delightful place for man, woman and dogs.  We will be back!

On the beach

On the beach

Redshank

Redshank

It does rain here sometimes!

It does rain here sometimes!

Sunset walk

Sunset walk

Morning glow

Morning glow

First light

First light

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Morning walk

It as dull and grey this morning when Poppy and I ventured out of the motorhome onto the beach at Portsoy.   We love the site here, and we have a great pitch with the van pointing right onto the beach.  I lay in bed listening to he wind and the waves and of course the occasional seagull.

Up, up and away!

Up, up and away!

It was jut after 7 am, but already there were a few dog walkers about.   Not much chance of photos, I thought in the flat light, but I was wrong.  Looking closely at the beach and the rocks I became aware of more birds than just the omnipresent seagulls.  I stalked a redshank going for a morning walk among the pebbles and the rocks, and there always seems to be an oystercatcher.

Redshank on its morning walk

Redshank on its morning walk

Redshank

Redshank

Oystercatcher

Oystercatcher

Sitting is William’s seat

DSCF2760So there  I was sitting comfortably, contemplating my somewhat disreputable trainers.  I was putting in a few hours in Banchory while our motorhome was being serviced.  I had enjoyed a nice cup of coffee in a café and then set off to walk the short distance to the Bridge of Feugh.

Water of Feugh

Water of Feugh

Water of Feugh

Water of Feugh

I am always drawn to wild water, and the Water of Feugh can be wild indeed. The bridge is a place where people though the years have stood to watch for salmon leaping up the waterfalls. The old bridge itself is very narrow, but there are V shaped indents to allow pedestrians to seek refuge when vehicles are crossing.   So popular is the place that a separate foot bridge has also been built to allow fish watchers a vantage point in safety.  No salmon today, but still the chance to admire the wild water, and to notice that the first signs of autumn are appearing in the trees.

First signs of autumn, Water of Feugh

First signs of autumn, Water of Feugh

Nearby he old Toll House garden was looking good, and my eye was drawn to the old milestone, lurking between two modern road signs.  Just 17 miles to Fettercairn, but what a 17 miles, over the Cairn o’ Mouth.

Old Toll House, Bridge ofr Feugh

Old Toll House, Bridge of Feugh

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It was on my leisurely half mile return journey to Banchory that I noticed William’s seat, and decided I would sit for a while, wondering what the view would have been like when first William Aitchison erected this seat.

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Not much view here.

Not much view here

a seat with (No) view

Aseat with (no) view

Now all you can see over the road are a few trees and bushes.  I hope there was a better view in his day.  Incidentally another seat, just on the Banchory side of the bridge over the River Dee is placed dramatically in front of more vegetation, no view of the bridge or the river to be had.

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But back to William, or was he a Bill or a Willie?  there are often plaques on such seats by the roadsides, but this one caught my interest.  W Aitchison was the Postmaster from 1910 to 1935.  I decided to see if I could find out more about him.  Here is just a little bit of what I found out in a hour or so last night.

William Aitchison was born round about 1847 in England.  He married Ruth Davis in Dublin in 1898 and they went on to have two children there, Irene and James Leslie.  William worked for the GPO in Dublin as a Telegraphist.   Promotion must have come his way and in 1910 he was appointed Postmaster in Banchory.   This coincided with the opening that same year, of the new Post Office and Postmaster’s house in a fine Kemnay  granite building in the High Street.

Daughter Irene worked in the Banchory Post Office too,  as a sorting clerk and telegraphist until her marriage in 1928 (to James Anderson also from Banchory) in the “Tartan Kirkie”, as St Mary’s Episcopal Church in Aberdeen is sometimes called.  Son James was married in Edinburgh shortly after his Father’s retirement in 1936, again to a Banchory girl, Mary Lennie, the daughter of a baker.

William at some point was made a Justice of the Peace and I suspect he was a swell known Banchory character.  He died in 1954 and is buried in the Banchory-Ternan Graveyard, together with his wife Ruth who lived on until 1961.

Banchory Post Office 2016

Banchory Post Office 2016

I wonder what Postmaster Aitchison would have thought of the changes in the Post Office in the 21st Century.  The fine Post Office building (and his house) is now the “Cook and Dine” shop in the High Street.  As I stood waiting for the bus to take me back to collect the van I looked at this shop, across the road, not realising that once the Post Office had been located there.   But I did find the present Post Office, now relegated to a tiny counter at the back of the Co-operative Supermarket.  I needed to buy stamps, and had to fight my way through crowds of white shirted Banchory Academy pupils with their informally tied ties  searching out something “fine” for their lunch.

The castle in the sun

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon yesterday when Lily, Poppy and I went for a walk to Slains Castle. The sky was blue with white fluffy clouds and there was enough of a breeze to keep the temperature at a pleasant level. It has been many years since I have approached the castle down the track from the car park on the Cruden Bay Road near the Bullers of Buchan. My usual route is up the foot path from Cruden Bay. My memory of this road was of potholes and puddles. Not now. It has been levelled off, and was a fine dry walk. Crushed scallop shells seem to have been used and it gives the road an unusual light look.

One problem, however, is that people in cars seem to be using this track to go to the castle and ignoring the car park on the main road.  Although I smiled politely and waved back when I put the dogs on their leads and drew them onto the verge to lets the cars pass, I must admit I did resent their presence a bit.  I remember a couple of years ago having to use Photoshop to remove a car which had parked at the front of the castle when I was trying to get an artistic shot of the Earl of Errol’s mansion erupting from field of oil seed rape.  The blue of the car spoiled the picture.

Slains Castle

Slains Castle

When we reached the castle I saw that the fencing which had prevented (or tried to prevent!) access to the ruins was no longer there, and indeed a flat space had been levelled out which was being used as an impromptu car park.   We ignored the ruins and followed the path round the cliff top towards the entrance to the spectacular Long Haven gulley.

Long Haven

Long Haven

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The sun was low in the sky behind the castle so pictures did not really work there.   What did work was the bright blue sea with waves breaking on the rocks below as we walked north, admiring the distant view of the Longhaven cliffs with the golf ball of the radar station and the chimney of the Boddam Power Station in view on the horizon.

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Lily seemed quite happy to pose for a picture on the cliff top, glad of a rest, perhaps?  Poppy was more volatile, darting about, and never quite in the place I would have liked for the photograph.  Indeed as I was taking a picture of the castle in the distance, over a field of corn, when we were returning to the car, she popped into the shot unexpectedly…she has learned the art of photo-bombing!

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