Ben Wyvis from Greig Street Bridge

After being laid low yesterday with yukky side effects from my first Covid shot, I’m feeling loads better today and fancied a walk to get some fresh air and sunshine – and of course my camera came too!

I got this lovely pic of Ben Wyvis still with a sprinkling of snow, taken from the Greig Street Bridge in Inverness. The mountain is actually about 35 miles away, so is not always as visible as this, but I really liked the way it both blends in blue with the water and the sky yet stands out edged in white all at the same time 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Air

Note to Self

‘Note to self – be careful what you wish for, because you might just get it’

Since catching Covid in January, I’ve been keen to be offered my Covid vaccine to be as sure as I can be that I won’t get sick with it again. I was lucky at the time to have only developed a ‘mild’ infection (as in feeling bloody awful but thankfully not ill enough to have to be in hospital) but even so many of the symptoms have still not dispersed fully – three months on my sense of smell has returned but not my full sense of taste, I still have ongoing headaches, tiredness, tight-chested breathlessness and continuing aches and pains, and of course I still have that tell-tale cough.

When I finally received a letter the other day inviting me for my vaccination, I was really excited. I’ve heard it said that for those people like me whose symptoms are somewhat slow to depart, sometimes getting the vaccine can kind of kick-start the immune system into re-setting (or whatever), to help get clear of the last lingering dregs of Covid – woo-hoo! Fingers crossed it works for me! So first thing yesterday morning I had my jab, and all went well with no immediate signs of any side effects… Or so I thought.

Except… last night just before going to bed I suddenly got the mega-chills, just like I’d had with Covid. Serious physical bodily shivering and a total inability to get warm at all. My head was thumping, I was dizzy again, and OMG I felt like I ached from every hypersensitive pore. Lovely, I thought, it looks like I’m not escaping the scourge of side-effects after all. So I didn’t get much sleep last night, and although thankfully the chills have now passed, the headache and whole-body-ache remains today.

Hopefully it will all turn out to be a short-lived storm in a tea-cup, and my annoyingly vivid vaccination side effects will dissipate soon enough taking my lagging Covid remnants with them. I had hoped that, having already developed some natural antibodies post-infection I might have got off lightly side-effect-wise, but no such luck. I can’t help but wonder how my second dose will go? Oh well, I suppose at least now I’ll know what to expect… 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Note

An Arse of a Farce

I’m feeling quite put out that my first serious participation in the Scottish Parliamentary Elections since moving from England back to Scotland 18 months ago has been effectively hijacked by ridicule and revenge, like a Monty Python sketch gone hideously wrong. The Scottish Government is run on Proportional Representation although for many years the SNP have pretty much been in charge, and the current First Minister of Scotland is SNP Leader Nicola Sturgeon.

There was already a bit too much of a ‘People’s Front of Judea’ versus ‘Judean People’s Front’-style bickering and back-biting feud evident at the top of the Scottish National Party for my liking. And with the cringe-worthy news this week of previous ego-meister Party Leader Alex Salmond newly breaking away from the SNP in some sad little splinter faction, basically adding his brand new ‘Popular People’s Front’-esque ‘Alba Party’ to the indy-mix all on his lonesome, it’s become even more of an arse of a farce…

The question of Scottish Independence has been on the go up here for as far back as I can remember politically, from the 1970s and the indomitable Winnie Ewing who in her time has since served as a Westminster MP, a European Parliament MP, and also a Member of the Scottish Parliament. In fact, her son Fergus Ewing is currently serving as the cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism in the Scottish Government and is to be on the ballot paper again in our area for this next election. I might even give him my vote this time around, but I haven’t decided yet.

The thing is, I’m not a one-dimensional one-trick pony when it comes to my voting habits. I have no specific party allegiance and in my lifetime have voted for different parties, depending on the particular political landscape of the time, where I was living, and the personal bona fides of the candidates in question. Over the last forty years I’ve variously voted SNP, Liberal Democrat, Labour, and even Green Party on occasion. Never Conservative though, it’s never been a party that has spoken to me or for me, and I can’t imagine a time when it ever will.

I’d been so looking forward to the opportunity to have the choice of voting SNP again, but now it’s here I’m not so sure which way I’ll go. The dual economic threats of Covid and Brexit have together created a climate of need for political togetherness moving forward, a time of healing and soothing across the world, and right now I’m not sure what the best way forward for Scotland may be. So one way or another there’s lots for me to figure out in the next few weeks before finally making my mind up on May 6th…

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Figure

Clachnaharry Swing Bridge

I’ve got a real soft spot for this dinky little swing bridge carrying the single track railway line across the Caledonian Canal at Clachnaharry, Inverness. I walk past it regularly and there are myriad photographs of it in my image archive, often caught with a train crossing over, but so far I’ve never seen it open.

It swings open at right angles on a pivot to allow boats to pass through, either coming into the canal from the Beauly Firth through the Muirtown Basin or going out of the canal in the opposite direction. Apparently it’s a 126ft girder railway bridge that has been in situ since 1909, replacing the original bridge of 1862, and is painted white to reduce expansion in hot weather.

Luckily for me there is a pedestrian level crossing on either side of the bridge, allowing for some really up-close-and-personal images to be taken from the middle of the track itself. Maybe one day I’ll catch it opening up for a boat to go through! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Myriad

Therefore…

I was thinking of the three triangular dots in mathematical proofs that make the ‘therefore’ sign, and wondered how to make that symbol in type on my keyboard… Hmmm… I tried to follow the instructions I found online (holding down the ‘alt’ key while typing the code 8756 on the numerical keypad) but all that happened was a number 4 appeared ∴ I tried another search and simply copied and pasted it from this page – yes! Success! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Therefore

Angle, Colour, Shape, Texture

Perhaps I may have taken some ‘odd’ photographic images in my time – well, images that make perfect sense to me at the time but not necessarily to curious passers-by. I can tell by the way they kind of warily half-stop to look more closely at whatever I’m taking a picture of, see absolutely nothing to warrant their interest, then continue on their way with a shrug or a puzzled expression.

Some things just capture my attention, so I reciprocate and try to capture those things photographically. I mean, some things are so obviously photogenic, like landscapes or people or moments in time, and everybody easily recognises why similar pictures are taken of these scenes ad infinitum, for posterity. But other lesser subjects may appear to others to be an odd or boring choice for my attention.

For me it may be their shape, or their colour, or their texture – or it may be the angle or the way the light falls or the juxtaposition or incongruity of something, or some quirky combination of all of the above. I try to capture the world the way I see it, in all its beauty, even the stuff other people don’t notice or don’t consider or simply don’t count as important enough to record visually.

For me photography can be as much an artistic and creative pursuit as a desire to record definitively and accurately whatever we see in front of us. It allows for the development of an easy curiosity that somehow transcends the invisible ordinariness of everyday life. There is such a lot of beauty to see in the world, both natural and man-made, if only we choose to look for it… 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Taken