While walking to work early yesterday morning I saw a man lying on his side on the ground huddled up to a plastic grit bin in the middle of a pedestrian walkway under a large roundabout. I saw him lying there from quite far away, unmoving, dirty dark clothes, dark downtrodden boots, hood up, and as I approached him he still didn’t move at all. No-one else was around, and I did think about just keeping my head down and walking on by, hesitated for a second, then decided to trust my gut instinct…
So I went up to him and asked if he was ok… no response at all, no sound of anything, no clear signs of life… so I called again, a little louder… still no reponse… and as I leaned over to give him a gentle shake to make sure he was still breathing, he suddenly moved to sit up on one elbow, an older man with wrinkled weathered face and grizzly grey hair and beard. Relieved to see him move, I apologised for disturbing him and explained I was just wanting to check that he was alright. He smiled at me, although I had clearly disturbed his sleep, and assured me he was fine – and he thanked me for checking he was OK. I smiled back at him, and went on my way to work.
I thought about it later, replaying the incident in my mind, and realised something – when the man spoke to me, his voice had surprised me. He was very well spoken, with a sober, soft and very gentle refined accent – not at all what I had assumed he would sound like at all. I realised I had assumed someone like him would have an incoherent (through drugs and alcohol) gruff, harsh working class accent – I’d made a snap judgement based on a stereotypical prejudice I didn’t even know I had, based on my small-minded preconceptions of what a ‘homeless person’ was, and it bothers me.
I suppose we all have these sub-conscious assumptions and biases inside us, whether we’re ever made aware of them or not… 😦
When my husband cuts a slice of bread – several slices in fact, one after the other with extreme ease – from an unsliced loaf, every slice is undeniably uniform. Each beautifully manicured layer of bread is near-as-dammit the same thickness as the next, and every edge on every single slice is of similar thickness to its mate within milimetre accuracy, creating a collection of repeating rectangular cuboids, perfect parallelograms of pleasing size and scale.
However, whenever I attempt to cut a slice or two of bread from an uncut loaf, be prepared for a level of randomness in shape and thickness that defies basic geometry. Imagine Pablo Picasso representing sliced bread on canvas and you begin to get the picture. For some reason I seem to be pathalogically incapable of carving any kind of straight line through bread. I usually end up with a couple of rough-hewn irregular rhomboids – no right angles, sides of unequal length, erratic edges on a sliding thickness scale of emaciated to obese.
But I don’t really mind. Bread is bread, however you want to slice it, and I have to say I find my rustic doorstop slices bring a creative uniqueness to my sandwiches or to my toast that I am extemely fond of… Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it! 🙂
There’s something so satisfying about the fresh-air smell of washing dried outside on a washing line – it’s something I truly miss living as I do in London, in an upstairs flat with no garden or outside space for drying clothes. So while looking after my elderly parents in the North of Scotland recently I really enjoyed the sensation again, and it certainly made me smile.
And I was out really early in the day with this load, the winter sun is still quite low on the horizon so the hanging clothes were sillhouetted beautifully and I couldn’t resist capturing the contrast 🙂
A squirrel walks into a bar – well it was actually a discarded scaffolding bar some idiot had left propped up awkwardly against a wall, unsecured and off balance. The clumsy squirrel thinks – whatever, I still walked into it! The loosened scaffolding bar clatters unceremoniously to the ground with a resounding clang, hitting a passing scavenging fox on the head on the way down. The freaked-out squirrel takes full advantage of the fox’s obvious disorientation and distress and scarpers up the nearest tree to escape retribution. The poor old fox slinks home in pain muttering to himself and curls up in his den with a bad headache and two eyes even blacker than usual… 🙂
The kitchen window in my mum and dad’s house looks out over an everyday Scottish rural landscape of arable farm fields. It’s a view I rarely paid much attention to while growing up in the very same house, but over the last few weeks as I’ve stood there washing the dishes several times a day I’ve really learned to appreciate it’s subtle nuances…
Although in some ways it’s always very much the same rectangular framed view, I’ve found it also varies a lot depending on the time of day and the weather and of course the working needs of the farm… so here you can see variations of one Scottish farm field captured over three weeks in winter.
It just so happened that the field was ploughed while I was there, so I took the opportunity to record that event for posterity too – but I think that’s probably for another post all of its own…
By the way as ever it rained quite a lot too while I was there, but to be honest the dull, dark, grey version of the miserably wet landscape simply didn’t inspire me to record it! 🙂
Count your garden by the flowers Never by the leaves that fall Count your days by golden hours Don't remember clouds at all Count your nights by stars not shadows Count your life with smiles not tears And with joy through all your journeys Count your age by friends not years ❤
I’ve been reading all sorts of different bits and pieces of random stuff at my parents’ house over the last few weeks. Apparently this little verse was remembered from an old calendar by one of the contributors to a little pamphlet titled ‘Evergreen Memories’ about elderly resident’s memories of living in the old fishing village of Ardersier on the North East coast of Scotland (where I brought my kids up). The sweet sentiment of the verse caught my attention and I copied it down to keep, so have decided to share it for Chris and Cee’s Pick Me Up for today 🙂
Travelling up from London to Scotland on the Caledonian Sleeper at the end of last month I awoke to find myself in the very last carriage of the train, so although it was still quite early in the morning so not fully daylight I was nevertheless able to take a few shots out of the grubby back window in the closed-over door that normally sits open between the carriages.
I only had my phone camera with me, but I did my best! Although they look monochrome, they are actually full colour – but what I really love most is the way the speed of the train rattling through the wintery Scottish landscape has successfully captured the motion blur at the edges of each shot, perfect contenders for Debbie’s One Word Sunday today on the topic of Movement 🙂