Wednesday, December 31, 2014


My little ones in Edinburgh. Sprocket with his Pictish warrior paint (in texta, luckily washable), Littlest (AKA Hoggles) with the 'Hairy Coo' (or Highland Cow) hat and Poppet with her 'magic amulet' (just out of view).

We're in London now, just about to bring in the New Year. My Beloved and Littlest and I have spent the day wandering around the British Museum and Bloomsbury while the older two are at the Zoo with The Grands.

So Happy New Year everyone! May 2015 bring you all love, joy, health and happiness!

Joining with Jodi for the very last portraits of my wee ones for 2014.

Here's to all the promise and possibility and those amazing moments of magic for 2015...

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I started Christmas day early with a walk up Calton Hill with my sis-in-law. We left later than usual - just at sunrise, and by the time we reached the top of the hill the world was light and we had the most glorious views across Edinburgh, up Prince's Street, across to the Castle and the great bulk of Arthur's seat, and to our back the glassy blue-silver glow of the Firth of Forth with the soft rolling green land of the Kingdom of Fife behind it.
The Poppet threw the most almighty tempest as we sat in St Mary's cathedral and we left ignominiously. I've promised myself that next year I'll do better by the children, because really with all the turmoil, change and sickness this year a few tempests (even at very inopportune moments) are the least to be expected.
Lunch was a feast, a bounty of plenty, thought over (not by me - we were very spoilt) for months, and afterwards Beloved and I slipped out with Littlest for a walk in the crisp chill air and the deserted grey streets.
We made our way to the foot of the castle, our red nosed, red cheeked babe peering around inquisitively, then I went on a 'character' walk to show Beloved the square where my character, Jeannie, lived in 1801.
Christmas trees glowed from so many windows, sharing good cheer and illuminating the already darkening world. (It was going on four in the afternoon.) I imagined a world lit by candle-light and fire light.
Jeannie would not have seen Christmas trees, (a later innovation) but each house (or window?) would have born a candle to welcome the Christ Child in whatever form he might take.
My recent brush with a coal mine fire made me wonder at the fog in the air due to all the chimneys smoking. (Note to self - peat? coal? wood?)
And my Beloved and I held hands and walked together through the Christmas tree and light bedecked streets and felt very, very blessed. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Winter Wonderland

 We drove in and out of weeks and all through the long day, one eye on the thermostat another on the frosted hills. The temperature sank to two below and we were so keen, so tautly eager for snow. We passed deeply, vividly green moss and fog hung low over silvered lochs and finally, just as the sun set we reached the Cairngorms and slopes of snow.

And it was magical.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Stone, Sea, Sky (and a lot of memories)

My grandfather's grandfather was born in 1830 in Kennthmont, Aberdeenshire, and my grandfather and grandmother returned to Aberdeen for seven years when I was little. When I was seven we lived with them for a year in Old Aberdeen, where the streets were cobblestone, and St Machar's cathedral was only a few houses away.

The feel of ancient stone surrounding, the weight of history, is something I'll never forget, although at the time I claimed Aberdeen was too grey, too cold and too full of daffodils. It takes a child of the antipodes awhile to become accustomed to the light (or lack thereof) of Scotland.

My grandfather was a professor of church history, as well as a minister, so on the weekends when we ventured out on our expeditions to cathedrals and churches he always made it feel so immediate and so alive. I vividly remember him taking my brother and I on the train down from Aberdeen to St Andrews to see the cathedral and castle.

As we explore the hewn stones I see my seven year old self running along side my children, hear my grandfather's gentle voice explaining, the landscape, the history. I remembered where the tunnel under the castle is, where the bottle dungeon is. Thirty years on, my weight thrown by baby and camera I am not so keen to venture into the mine and countermine beneath the castle wall, but I love the kids excitement

Later, my brother went to St Andrews for a year exchange and I see us talking, catching up  as we walk along, just on the cusp of our twenties and so excited and joy filled to be there. My brother started a group called 'the once a week' group and they went swimming every single week of the year. Just looking at the frigid sea makes me smile, remembering him as he was then, and as he is now, the content family man.

Scents, textures, slants of light, softness of light and depth of colour. Richness of sea smoothed rock, of thick moss, of stone that has protected people from elements for centuries. Silvered sea, muted golden sea. We are here for so short a time I want to remember it all… 

Saturday, December 20, 2014


Littlest- being held by Nana in her ergo. All rugged up in winter warms.

Sprocket - still a little chesty and sleepy. By the Christmas lights in Jenners.

Poppet - By the Christmas lights in Jenners.

We are now approaching wellness and our time in Edinburgh is turning delightfully dreamlike. Beloved's mum, sister & a good family friend have arrived bringing lashings of food, drink, good cheer and extra hands to herd the kids. The city continues to fill me with constant heart palpitations at the sheer beauty - the castle on the skyline… be still my heart! We met yesterday with my cousin's family and it was so so lovely seeing her and the little ones and watch our little ones play together! (Our girls share a love of pink, plastic ponies in pastels and bling)

It is possible that Father Christmas has been hitting the Edinburgh op-shops pretty hard in cahoots with his/my sister-in-law. Edinburgh op-shops are brilliant! (Also the gorgeous one-world shop under St John's.) Father Christmas only has a stop off on the Royal Mile now for Hairy Coo's (Cows) and a little bit of tartan stuff and I think he's done. (He didn't do any shopping in Australia so he's been a bit busy…)

Joining with Jodi from Scotland for a portrait of my little ones every most weeks in 2014. 

Small Moments (from Edinburgh)

Small moments from Edinburgh as we approach Christmas. I haven't been able to take many photos (for me!) - Littlest in her carrier and holding Poppet's hand and the bag on my back all decrease my camera mobility - but reinforcements have arrived so I'm hoping to capture some of the amazing street-scapes, cathedrals and castles soon.

We are all slowly on the mend so will also start journeying further afield. Yesterday my girls and I ventured to the Georgian house while Sprocket slept off the cold and jet lag. De-touring to an op-shop for some Christmas ornaments we arrived to find… it closed for the season! The shop was open in the basement however so my feet trod the same big paving stones as the servant girls and I entered the way they would have when running their messages. Which is, truthfully, the way I suspect I would have entered if I'd been alive back in the far away!

For lunch the girls and I again ventured out and walked up to my favourite cafe - Henderson's under St John's Cathedral at the foot of the castle (and I was all gusty sighs as I remembered walking past it every day on the way to work back in the day.) We met my darling God-mama and it was so lovely catching up after such a long time. The oceans in between do make things very difficult!

(I am now a few days behind here… and I apologise for the mass of photos… but Edinburgh…! I walk around with my head constantly craning around looking up down and around again!)