To be

Portobello morning, Edinburgh

Q: What is a lover of minimalist architecture like me really drawn to?

A: Space and light and shadow. Space to be, and light and dark’s revealing. Place and space in which to breathe – life’s invitation to become the architect of our own life-giving, life-directing inner space.

Q: What is a beach lover like me really drawn to?

A: All of the above – with the addition of invitation to return again and again to ponder on ever-changing reflections, and be blown and filled and washed with gratitude – for the governing tides of time that are the ‘housekeepers’ of our sands …

These swimmers will have clearer heads and hearts and minds by the time they’re back on land. And I walk home slowly, clearer too, the same but different. I know I’ll soon return to this ‘space to be’ which is, moment by moment, the same but – yes! – different …


Portobello beach, Edinburgh

There’s something visceral, primal, about my love for walking shoreline. Tonight, eyes streaming in a stiff and chilly wind, the endorphins raced and coursed, cobwebs flew and mind was cleared.

Noticing people walking into the wind on a beach is to observe a kind of grim determination. Noticing the same faces retracing earlier steps is to see innumerable smiles.

We meditate, and contemplate, and deflate – letting off the pressure – often without knowing at the time that it is so. Yes: visceral and primal. And wonder-full!

Our Lives in Watercolour

Paul Jacob Naftel, The Queen and Prince Albert landing at St Pierre, Guernsey, 24 August 1846 ©

Our Lives in Watercolour (link to the Exhibition online) – is one of the most beautiful exhibitions of watercolours one could imagine. The Exhibition poster, featuring Naftel’s work, gives a glimpse – but, as it turns out, only a glimpse, of an utterly sumptuous collection of paintings, illustrating aspects of the lives of the royal couple, that draw one in as though present at the time.

Photography is one of my passions. I dabble in watercolour. But until yesterday I had little idea that watercolour paintings could be quite so exquisitely detailed, nor that the vast array of colour in the works could survive so vibrantly across 175+ years.

Visiting this marvellous exhibition so soon after the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, has been doubly poignant. The contribution to the wellbeing of two great monarchs, and of this nation, by two visionary Consorts has been extraordinary.

The Queen’s Gallery at The Palace of Holyroodhouse has a beauty in its own right. Our Lives in Watercolour made a visit educational – and pure delight.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

The Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh

The family of things

Mary Oliver famously wrote about your / our ‘place in the family of things’ in her glorious poem Wild Geese – which still strikes awe in me after the umpteenth reading …

... the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting —
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Now I know that some of us are great and enthusiastic ‘returners’ and some not. My family and friends know well that I’m certainly one of those happy wanderers who’s always hugely grateful to return to home-base and reflection upon the adventures of the day.

Here, in these Edinburgh days, life beneath Arthur’s Seat is time and place that brings about a gratitude – a ‘knowing my place’ – in me that I’ll never forget until the end of my days.

Solid as rock – well, nowadays anyway – 350 million years ago Arthur’s Seat was an erupting volcano! Sometimes the changing of the light across the Crags illuminates my very soul.

Contemplating cycles

It is said that a person’s being awestruck leads to moments of contemplation – whether expected or intended, or not.

And contemplation quietly leads us to the paths of humility before a greatness that is largely incomprehensible – and staggeringly beautiful – and often appearing to us in ways that seem entirely accidental.

By way of just such an ‘accident’ the beautifully made film hereunder has hushed, humbled and touched my day …

Does an ocean contemplate? Perhaps it should not very much surprise that the Moon that governs the ebb and flow of the tides I love to watch also touches the ocean-soul of my ‘thought,’ and ‘time,’ and ‘light,’ and ‘dark,’ and ‘my’ ongoing, reaching, being, contemplation 🙂

Illuminating supper

What is it about light that draws me so powerfully? I can’t say just now, at least not in a few words. I only know that it does. All day, every day. And in moonlit night too. In the course of my supper tonight I’ve been awestruck by the movement of the light every fifteen to thirty seconds, here at Holyrood Park in Edinburgh. And whilst there are zillions of such views and opportunities all over the earth, I’m grateful every day to be in one place, often enough, for long enough, to feel myself a part of one of this world’s stupefyingly beautiful ‘works’ of art. The movement of the light across The Crags and Arthur’s Seat – from the sun’s rising to its setting – makes me glad to be alive!


Just twenty minutes away from Edinburgh City and the cobwebs are cheerfully blown to I don’t know where. Nobody to be seen – human or canine – without a wide smile on their face!

And then back home to Holyrood where, beneath the moon set in a deep blue sky, the gorse on the Crags and Arthur’s Seat smells of warm coconut. Happy Saturday! 🙂🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿