After the Rain

Sorry it’s not a better image of the raindrops on the bus top deck front window and the sun shimmering on the wet road at the bus stop outside Inverness Airport the other day – I only had my phone with me, an it’s really not a great camera in dodgy light, but I kind of like the moody, broody atmosphere created in this shot 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Better

Hurricane Ida

We’ve had a quick message tonight from my in-laws in Southern Louisiana to say they’ve had to evacuate due to Hurricane Ida – looking at the tracking forecast if they stayed at home in Pierre Part they would be right in the line of the storm passing overhead, so at least we know now they should be safely out of danger in Alabama, even if their home may not fare so well. Only time will tell where the storm will make landfall, where she will go from there, and how much devastation she may trail in her wake.

Memories of Katrina remain vivid in my mind, where my in-laws had to evacuate from New Orleans and indeed their home at that time was badly damaged by rising floodwaters when the levees broke. For one reason or another they never returned to live there again. And of course Katrina happened without the additional health worries that Covid brings to the mix. So we sit here at home in the North of Scotland and watch and wait and hope for the best for our extended family, so far away, in such difficult times… ❤

Flowers in the Rain

It was already raining heavily when I woke up early this morning, now it’s almost 5pm and it has rained on and off all day – sadly way more on than off so far.

The skies have stubbornly remained a heavy, dull rain-cloud grey for the duration and sadly the sun has been totally missing in action today, leaving the garden plants happily saturated but my mood damp and dismal, feeling miserable and chilled to the bone.

Still, I nipped out quickly between the rainstorms and took a couple of pictures to see how they turned out – actually not bad in such poor light 🙂

Flower of the Day

Photo A Week: Something Missing

Trains of Thought

As I took this photograph the other day I thought: I haven’t been on a train for such a long time – just over 18 months, in fact. The last train journey I took was the Caledonian Sleeper train from London to Inverness the day we moved pretty much from one end of the country to the other. The end of one line, and the beginning of another. Inverness station is a terminus for only three railway lines – one from the South, one from the East, and one from the North.

There’s a major suspension bridge carrying all road traffic north across the expanse of open water between Inverness and the Black Isle, first opened in 1982, but not a rail bridge. This little train is heading north too, although technically in this photograph it’s actually snaking slowly westwards along the edge of the Beauly Firth until the sea finally narrows enough to be crossed and for the train to begin to change direction – the only way the railway can go. In some ways so much has changed in and around Inverness over the last 20 years, but in other ways, not so much.

Transport infrastructure is still relatively minimal here – three single track rail lines, two main roads, the A96 heading East towards Aberdeen, and the dual carriageway A9 on the North/ South access. The lesser winding rural roads to the West tend to be more tourist-driven, or for those wanting to get away from it all. No motorways, one airport. All transport links in and out of Inverness are entirely dependent on the weather – in winter, if the main road and/ or rail line is closed due to snow in the mountains, stuff simply doesn’t get through. Food, fuel, people – the snow doesn’t discriminate.

I grew up expecting to be snowed in at some point during the winter. We always kept a well-stocked store cupboard at home, ‘just in case’. It’s a habit that has continued with me throughout my life, which has also helped when I’ve been stuck at home unable to go out for other reasons – like last month when we had to self-isolate when I tested positive for Covid 19. We only needed one online order and home delivery half way through to top up our supplies, and otherwise managed fine with what we already had.

There’s an inward-looking forward-thinking self-sufficiency involved in living up here, even living within the town itself, that seems to suit my introspective, introverted self and has definitely helped me cope with lock-down this time round. It’s a bit like being snowed in and unable to go to school or work or visit friends and family, but easier in that we can still access food shops and essentials, and thankfully the power is still on. Although of course we were never snowed in for months on end – more often days rather than weeks. But still, the mindset remains the same.

So it’s maybe been 18 months since I traveled anywhere beyond a few miles radius from home, but I realise I’m absolutely OK with that self-induced seclusion. In that time I’ve got used to being here, to a slower pace of life brought to a near standstill, while embracing the quietude that comes with a heightened awareness of night and day, sunshine and snow, frost and thaw. Small subtleties have grown in stature, nuances in nature more pronounced. I hear birdsong and raindrops, see patterns and shadows, feel at one with the world now we no longer feel we have to rush everywhere.

I wonder idly if my traveling days are over for good. Has whatever minimal wanderlust I once had been sated forever, or is this just a temporary hiatus due to global circumstance? Who knows, but for now I’m feeling OK in my own little corner of civilisation, safe and snug and secure. Trains come and go and I am not on any of them, and thankfully for the time being I have no desire to be anywhere else than here…

Foggy Street at Night

I was locking the front door before I went to bed tonight and noticed there was an eerie freezing fog looming outside, so I took my camera out into the silent empty street and tried to capture a few images. At times I struggled to get focus, but took a couple of shots anyway as I quite like the abstract look of the bokeh on the streetlights. The two focused shots show the basic view along our street looking in both directions from outside our house.

Not perfect, I know, but it was fun trying to see what I could get – something a little bit different for this week’s lockdown smile 🙂

Weekly Smile

Floodgates firmly closed…

Storm Ciara has done her stuff, and after a day of whipping wind and lashing rain here in Inverness it seems we now have a flood warning in place tonight, as with the combination of high river levels and high tide due around midnight, the gates on the flood defences have been closed. We have another high tide due at around mid-day tomorrow, so we’ll see how that goes.

I actually remember the River Ness bursting its banks in 1989, long before there were flood defence walls in place. There was the river, steep sloping grassy banks, then only a small open metal fence that made a sieve look solid separating the pavement and road from the rising water levels. I remember the army layering sandbags all along the riverbank, but the river breached them anyway and scarily the railway bridge was dramatically washed away in the middle – it looked so strange, just rails hanging across thin air. Not a great memory.

Our new house in Inverness is situated about half way between the river and the canal, so we have a vested interest in hoping the flood defences hold tonight and again tomorrow, when the forecast is for… snow. Or at least this close to the coast, probably more like sleet. Oh yeah, and more wind… But at least our power stayed on, some people in Inverness had power cuts earlier today…