Monday, 25 March 2019
A day trip by bus with Anne saw us leave Buchanan Bus Station and under an hour later roll into Kilmarnock, a town 18km or 11 miles inland from the coastal town of Ayr, both around a similar size with populations just under 50,000 residents. The Dick Institute above.
The building itself came as something of a surprise, unexpectedly grand and ornate, as did this entire preserved district, carefully landscaped with fine period buildings in the surrounding vicinity.
Although a household name worldwide I think it's fair to say that Burns is mainly championed in the UK by certain actors, certain traditional folk singers or intellectual types to prove their deep Scottish roots in some strange fashion and not really by the general public at large. For a modern audience it can be hard to understand and appreciate fully. Many Russians apparently are fond of Burns but over here he's mainly trotted out at Burns suppers once a year... or hogmanay, usually in middle class households as a dinner party variation, or in more upmarket hotels, restaurants and public buildings, as a Scottish treat/icon for tourists where they have made the effort to pronounce the poems correctly, often through specialized help, like a guest Burns speaker, or talented non professional.
Similar to the equally renowned James Joyce, apart from a few well known examples ( Auld Lang Syne) you just can't dip in to these writers immediately with any level of ease- they require time, study, and practice to get it sounding spot on. There may be exceptions but in thousands of ordinary Scottish houses I've visited over decades in work I've never seen Robert Burns displayed or mentioned in any of them. A bit like the definition of a classic book- titles known by everyone but read by very few. Except in certain domestic bookcases where a copy of Burns poetry would seem like an omission to a well balanced thoughtful collection, a tasteful blend to complement the house overall, not necessarily to be well thumbed or remembered. But everyone knows the name.
Friday, 15 March 2019
During the winter months, when darkness falls early, and days can be cold, grey, and grim I get my colour fix by going out at night- not every night- that would turn it into mere routine- just occasionally, on still clear nights... or when the opportunity arises.
So this is a winter collection- at night. Lock 27 here- a waterside pub on the Forth and Clyde Canal. Great reflections.
Speaking of which, I've been enjoying a recent series on Yesterday UK TV Chanel--- Secrets of The Bible.
The episode last night featured the black African tribe from Zimbabwe called the Lemba people who always believed they were Jewish descendants of one of the lost tribes of Israel. Although interested, most white historians took this claim with a pinch of salt without proof until DNA testing and a maverick lone archeologist traced their journey overland and found it to be genuine. Traced through the middle east and Senna. Oral ancient history can be remarkably accurate for passing on important information even after many centuries and another possible find was discovered recently by following the exact descriptions in the Bible leading to.... The City of Sodom....and Gomorrah....or the probable location anyway, which is still being excavated and examined by experts. And a rational reason why they ended so abruptly. It was not due to sinful behaviour exactly, just very bad luck. Fascinating stuff. I learned a lot. The discovery of Sodom is still disputed at present so time will tell if it's the real deal
Pond ice reflections. The end.