Muirtown Locks on the Caledonian Canal

Muirtown Locks in Inverness are on the Beauly Firth end of the Caledonian Canal, and comprise four closed chambers bordered by five lock gates. By increasing or decreasing the level of water within each chamber and opening and closing the gates in order, it is possible for boats travelling along the canal to be raised or lowered to the height of the next chamber, then the procedure is repeated – a bit like a water staircase for boats.

We were walking along the canal side the other day as two boats were descending through the system of locks, so I took a few pics with my camera phone. By the time we arrived, the boats had already gone through the first chamber and had started their descent towards the Beauly Firth.

The first image is taken from the middle of the first lock gate, which when closed creates a narrow pedestrian ridge across the canal, looking towards the Beauly Firth. The second is taken from the next lock gate along, looking down on the boats as the water level reduces to the level of the third chamber, shown in the third image. The fourth image shows both boats in the third chamber, and the fifth shows them in the fourth chamber with the lock gates closing behind them. The last image is of the boats waiting to descend through the last chamber to the lowest water level below 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Middle


Girl in a Yellow Dress

Anyone recognise me from this portrait? My mum painted me in oils when I was about seven or so, which makes this painting around 48 years old… Mum was an art teacher before she got married, so being drawn or painted wasn’t a particularly unusual occurrence in our house!

I distinctly remember the pale yellow cotton party dress – sleeveless fitted pin-tucked bodice and a full gathered skirt with a net underskirt that itched – and I remember sitting for the portrait (on the kitchen stool, in the kitchen of our farm cottage, while mum painted). People have often assumed I was sulking, or in a bad mood, but even now this is my natural resting face.

I’ve always been surprisingly fond of this painting, although one thing I’ve never understood is why mum chose such a god-awful background colour to frame me with? It’s certainly not representative of our chaotic kitchen, and is not particuarly flattering to my pale hair and skin colouring, or the colour of my dress! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Anyone


Now we’ve reached September I suppose a wet and windy autumn is upon us, and the summer sun has truly gone…

My less-than-summery mood at the moment certainly ranges from mediocre damp, drizzly and dull to full-scale blustery and showery several times a day just like the weather outside, leaving me feeling melancholy and miserable, then raw and ravaged in waves of undulating emotion. Since moving from London to Inverness a month ago I’ve not been so careful at managing my anti-depressant medication, and am sadly sufferring the up-and-down consequences of my forgetful inconsistency.

Living temporarily in limbo with my parents until we can move into our new house (still another six weeks and counting) is also taking its toll on my ongoing emotional stability. However grateful we are for having a roof over our heads for the time being, my husband and I are both used to our own space, our own lifestyle, so we’re not finding it easy – but then I suppose it’s not easy for any of us. We’re doing our best to fit in without fuss to mum and dad’s meal-times and food choices and TV viewing etc but oh, how we miss having our own home!

However I suppose one of the good things about me feeling so emotionally unsettled is that I’m starting to feel a creative urge building up inside – sometimes my best artistic out-pourings have been a result of feeling thoroughly frustrated and fed up and psychologically out of sorts, so there’s always the possibility I may find this the perfect opportunity to create a new materpiece of some kind? Or at least attempt something artistic?

I haven’t done any painting for ages, and there’s certainly plenty of landscape inspiration everywhere I turn right now, so perhaps I should make the effort and see what turns up…? 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Raw

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Masterpiece

Tastes Differ

One of the hardest things I’m finding about house-hunting is dealing with everyone else’s opinion about what kind of property we should be looking for, and where. I mean, my husband and I tend to live our own life in our own way, so we already know from experience that what suits us does not necessarily suit anyone else.

We like what we like and accept the fact that tastes inevitably differ – not just in terms of decor but in the layout of the floorplan of each property and how each individual room space is used. We know we need to choose a home for ourselves, not for everyone else, even if everyone else hates what we end up with.

But we’ll choose a house for ourselves and make it a home that we love, and then hopefully everyone else we love will grow to love it too, because they can’t help but see that we love it regardless ❤

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Differ

Spill the Beans, Facebook

I happily had a Facebook account for about 8 years before deleting it – not disabling it, but deleting it entirely. Nothing was wrong, as such, but after Facebook was launched onto the stock market I found it wasn’t quite the same – I just didn’t like the way it worked any more. Deleting my account SHOULD, according to Facebook, have removed all links to my now defunct account, including my email address.

But then, several months later I started getting new notification emails from a Facebook account that definitely wasn’t mine, and wasn’t in my name. When I politely and formally contacted Facebook to let them know someone seemed to be using my personal email address without my knowledge, they dismissed my claim, insisting there was no Facebook account linked to my specific email. Hmmm…

I investigated, and found that Gmail have relatively recently intoduced a new method of email addresses where emails with the letters and numbers of your account will come to you regardless of the inclusion of a dot or not. This particular email address had no dot between first and second names, but the name is the same, although mine has a dot between. So perhaps that’s why Facebook were so insistent that my email was not linked to any account?

So I thought – well, OK, so if this Facebook account I know nothing about has got MY email address attached to it, even though Facebook tells me it doesn’t, maybe I’ll try to log in with my email and see what happens… ‘forgot password’ link clicked… and hey presto, they sent me a new password link to my email (yep, that’s right, to the email that ISN’T linked to any Facebook account.)

Is it wrong to log in to an account that isn’t yours when it’s YOUR email that has been used wrongly in the set up of the account? In sheer frustration, not knowing what else to do, I logged in and simply requested for the account to be deleted – I figured if it was a real person, it served them right for using MY email address (the same one I’ve used for years) on THEIR account when the email address clearly wasn’t even in their name.

And if it turned out to be Facebook fucking around trying to get me to set up a new account, it should teach them not to mess with my email address, or me. Thankfully after that I heard no more about it – no more Facebook notifications or friends requests to my email address – hurrah!

But recently I’ve started to get an occasional Instagram notification sent to my email address. I let the first one ride, just sitting in my inbox until I could see how the land lies, but soon it started to get a cluster of friends joining it… Hmmm… on closer investigation Instagram seems to be owned by Facebook – oh what a surprise!

So I didn’t bother trying to contact Facebook again, after the last fiasco of an experience I had with them. Instead I decided to log in using MY email addresss again to what is effectively someone else’s Instagram account – it’s definitely not mine, I’ve never had one and this is a sure-fire way of making it ultra-clear to me why I never will.

So I followed the same process as I did before. I logged in to Instagram with MY email… forgot password link… and hey presto, I’m in again. I don’t use Instagram so didn’t know my way around, but in ‘Edit profile’ I found an old email address for the apparent actual user of the account and changed the email address back to the original. Then I temporarily disabled the account too, because I couldn’t find out how to delete it.

Back in my original email from Instagram, there was also a link to ‘remove your email from this account’, so I clicked on that, just to see what happened. ‘Your email has been removed, you are free to set up a new account’ it told me… really? You think I’m going to have anything to do with your dodgy social media company after TWICE finding my personal email address used in accounts not belonging to me?

So spill the beans, Facebook – what’s the deal here? Why are you allowing MY long-standing personal email address to be used randomly in other people’s social media accounts? If you’re such a shit-hot IT company, why don’t you inderstand that Google have an email system that isn’t reliant on the inclusion or exclusion of dots within the email name, and so all of it comes to me regardless?

Fix it, Facebook, frustration has certainly turned to fury in this ex-user… Grrr… 😦

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Spill