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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Tunisia/Nabeul Market

There was a time when winter arrived here in Scotland I would go off on a long stay somewhere till the weather changed for the better. On this occasion I chose Tunisia.

I caught a local bendi-bus from Hammamet up the coast to the busy market town of Nabeul where all forms of transport come together —

That poor camel will be in trouble if someone drives off in the pickup.

Much safer being hooked up to a door – especially if you are a sad ol’ donkey 😦

The busy horse seemed to be doing the work of a white van in the immediate area around the market —

I like the old plastic chair for the pillion on the bicycle by the tree – good idea 🙂

There was lots of haggling going on —

I was to be jostled by a blanket wearing ‘hoodie’ later in the busy, narrow streets where the butchers had there stalls while his mate un-zipped and ‘dipped’ my trouser pocket for my wallet. Luckily I forgot about protecting my head for a second or two and dropped my hand to my pocket to find there were already five stealthy fingers in there gripping my wallet 😦

Thankfully my attackers legged it empty handed into the crowd at that point.

When I made my way back to my digs I found the Italian Motorcycling Press had a whole bunch of Yamaha off-road bikes on test and were using the posh hotel across the road as their base. Lucky ol’ me managed to blag a ride down the beach on this YZF250 which made me feel a whole lot better about my day 🙂

Next time I go to Nabeul Market I will be wearing a tin suit just like this guy I met playing the accordian on the promenade 😉 🙂

Tunisia/Nabeul Market

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2011 in out and about

 

Cherry Tree

My pic of the day and perhaps anyday.

The beautiful cherry tree growing beside the Episcopal Church at the end of my street —

Just four months or so to go before it blooms again 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2011 in out and about

 

Swan Lake

I had an encounter with a swan earlier this year while on a walk by Loch Ken. A washed up tree trunk on the shore made a seat for my lunchtime picnic. All was quiet and the view across the loch lovely.

A swan caught sight of me from a long way off and paddled over. I thought he was after my sandwiches but nope – he showed no interest in them at all.

He fiddled about in the long grass at the water’s edge for a while then wandered over to say hello.

with a non-too friendly peck at my foot!

Before standing up to his full height and giving me a look that said ‘I am the boss around here!’

so I let him have his tree trunk back 🙂

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2011 in out and about

 

Tenere on Tour

A nice pic to start the day.

My Yamaha Tenere XT660Z posing just outside of town with a bunch of roadside daffodils —

It was quite a big bunch actually —

I had been out for the day to meet and ride with some friends over by Keilder Dam last spring —

and took some photos on my way home.

But it isn’t always sunshine and flowers with the Tenere —

sometimes the roads are rough —

or snow can catch us out like it did on an early spring weekend at Braemar where a bunch of us stayed in a bunkhouse —

the road was blocked for a while  —

but opened in time for the trip home over Glenshee —

I can see a visit to the Post Office for Road Tax coming up early in the New Year cos my Tenere is no delicate flower and I feel an itch coming on that I will have to scratch.

Especially when I see those photographs.

Tenere

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Ben Ledi and the Trossachs

Would you believe – the school here in Kirkcudbright has been closed today supposedly because of the weather! We must be the only part of Scotland that doesn’t have snow so I will import some from my old stamping ground by Ben Ledi and the Trossachs —

Ben Ledi – north of Calendar in the Trossachs. I was beside David Stirling’s memorial on the Hill of Row when I took that pic and we are looking all the way across Doune and Calendar to the snow-covered mountains.

and this is what it’s like to be up where the icicles are horizontal —

It’s not so bad on the way up past the tree-line —

but the weather can change all too quickly by the time you reach the summit —

Blame the photographer for that grainy pic He was just a guy in a hurry that I met on the mountain 🙂

I’ve found a few more photos from those parts so I will put them altogether —

I was facing west for that last pic so the peak is probably Ben Lomond with the Arrochar Hills behind.

and for these two I’m back with Ben Ledi.

The straw from the combine harvester has been left to rot where it fell. Changed days! We would have used the straw to bed the milk cows and sold the excess. Yes – this field in the foreground was to be the scene of my last job on a farm – make that any farm.

I had a difference of opinion with my gaffer’s son while harvesting that very field fifty years before I took this last photo. So I walked off the job didn’t I, straight into a better one with a steel fabrication company. Those were the days! I didn’t know a thing about marking out, drilling, diamond toothed saws, oxy-acetylene cutting and welding, slinging and erecting, lining and levelling or even crane driving but I was a quick learner!

I couldn’t live life fast enough as an eighteen year old! 😉 🙂

Ben Ledi

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2011 in out and about

 

Rainbow Warrior

Like many people I’ve been dodging showers today while trying to get my walk in. Lumps of ice – hail – sleety snow. You name it we’ve had it!

The best of the sunshine was this morning on my way for my daily newspaper – oh yes – I’m fast becoming a creature of habit 🙂

I was trying to get a shot of the end of the rainbow on the King Challenger —

Then I could have called it the Rainbow Warrior 🙂  It’s there but very faint.

No worries – at least I can photograph trees —

bits of trees and clouds – yeh – I can do them —

I had a beautiful shot of snow covered hills lined up behind me this afternoon then this cloud blanked out the sun before I could click it!

So you will have to settle for this picture of a new developement over Gatehouse of Fleet way —

A monster cattle shed – presumably paid for with the profits from Galloway Ice Cream. Yes, the ice cream factory is just across the road and soon we will be following the German example of housing most of our livestock indoors.

In winter with the animals hock deep in mud it could be a good idea —

Rainbow Warrior

 
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Posted by on December 7, 2011 in out and about

 

Pisa

It’s hard to believe that not much more than a year ago I was in Pisa —

with it’s beautiful churches —

but my favourite photos from my visit were of the river despite or perhaps because of it’s polution —

and the woods behind my hotel —

I suppose that says more about me than it does about Pisa.

but there’s usually an interesting motorbike to point my camera at – 😉 🙂

This time it was down on the coast where I was based when the Moto-Guzzi Owner’s Club rode into town.

Pisa

 
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Posted by on December 6, 2011 in out and about

 

John the Baptist

I met John the Baptist striding across the hills when I was out and about in Galloway.

I’m the one wearing jeans and a jumper. I bet John is wishing that Rodin had sculpted him with clothes on now that winter is here.

There are five or six Rodin sculptures dotted about the hills north of Shawhead. The Jardine Mathieson clan who made their money during the opium wars with the Chinese are responsible for this bit of culture in the raw.

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2011 in out and about

 

Golden Eagle

I spotted one of these guys by the roadside on my way home from Brighouse Bay recently —

Yup – a golden eagle! I’ve heard rumours for some time that there is a pair nesting in Dumfries & Galloway and more across the Solway Firth in the Lake District. I’m as sure as I can be that I saw one on Saturday. He was on the grass verge with his back to the hedge having lunch as I drove past and stared straight at me with his bold eyes. I parked my car in a field gateway round the corner and walked back with my camera but he was too clever for me and flew away as I approached.

This bird was too big to be a buzzard, was very powerful looking in his stance,  beautifully coloured with the sprinkle of gold feathers at it’s neck and when it flew off it had those very broad wings that only the eagle has. I’ve been checking my bird books and looking for info on the internet since then and I don’t think I’m mistaken.

Thanks to National Geographic for the use of their eagle pic. With luck I will have my own next time.

Golden Eagle

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2011 in out and about

 

Photos from the Dee Estuary

A few photos from my walks by the Dee estuary —

 
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Posted by on December 2, 2011 in out and about