Photography · Scotland · Travel

Friday photo: shy sheep

I’m fond of sheep and like trying to photograph them, but they’re not the best of models. This one didn’t get the idea at all, or perhaps it did and wanted to make a bold statement.

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Sheep in Glen Lyon, Perthshire.
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Scotland

News of Fergus

On another blog I used to have, I wrote about my brother Fergus, who went missing in Switzerland on 9 September 2014 (you can read the post here).

He was due to attend a work conference with colleagues in the Swiss town of Martigny, and although he arrived in Geneva and bought a train ticket at the station there, he failed to turn up to dinner in Martigny that evening. He also failed to appear at the conference the following day, and had not checked in to his accommodation.

Nothing has been heard from him since 9 September 2104 and we’ve been left wondering what happened to him on that day. Searches were undertaken in the area in which he was believed to have disappeared, but nothing was found.

Earlier this year, someone out walking on a forested hillside beneath steep cliffs in an area just outside Martigny came across some bones and a passport. The passport was in Fergus’s name. The Swiss police contacted their Scottish counterparts, who gave us the news, but said they were unable to confirm that the bones belonged to Fergus until DNA testing had been carried out. The testing took several weeks, and although we were convinced the bones were Fergus’s, it wasn’t until a few days ago that we received confirmation.

There were no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death, and the cause remains unexplained. The two obvious solutions are that he met with an accident on the cliffs, or that he took his own life. He had a history of depression and had attempted to take his own life once before, in similar terrain in Scotland, but had been unable to go through with it. My dad believes that in Switzerland he faced the same situation, but this time achieved a different outcome. My mum prefers to believe it to have been an accident. I don’t suppose we’ll ever know what actually happened that day.

We’ve decided against having a traditional funeral for Fergus, and intend to have some kind of memorial in Scotland that would reflect his interests and values. He was a passionate supporter of environmental issues and an active member of the Scottish Green Party. He was also a very keen croquet player, and was involved for many years with the Scottish Croquet Association. They have set up a trophy in his name, known as the Fergus McInnes Tankard, to be awarded annually for completion of a ‘triple peel’, a particularly tricky croquet achievement.

Although it’s very sad to have definite news of his death, it’s a great relief to have some sort of closure. Some families of missing people never get this sort of confirmation, and I was more or less convinced we’d remain in that category. We still don’t have all the answers, but we’re fortunate to have the knowledge we’ve got. Being in this position allows us to obtain a death certificate and finally take care of his affairs.

My dad is working on a booklet about Fergus, which he hopes to publish in due course. Fergus himself was a very thoughtful and creative person, and enjoyed expressing himself through writing. He kept an online blog of sorts, which is kindly still hosted by the University of Edinburgh where he worked. He called it his ‘brain online’ and it contains many short articles on topics that interested him. I like what he wrote about Being Scottish, and I’ve included the link in case it interests any readers of this blog.

Photography · Scotland · Travel

Friday photo: gnomes

While wandering around the Aberdeenshire village of Braemar last summer, I spotted the little chaps shown below looking out from the front window of a house near the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park. Highland games are held in the park each September, attended by the Queen and various other royals. I wonder if any of the Royal Family have seen the gnomes as they’ve made their way into the park. I like to think so.

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Cheerful little gnomes on a window ledge in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
Garden · Nature · Photography · Scotland · Travel

Friday photo: burgeoning arch

Floors Castle, near Kelso in the Scottish Borders, is a magnificent old stately home sitting in splendid grounds. It has an excellent tearoom, garden centre and adventure playground, and the gardens round the back of the house are a delight to wander round. The archway shown below is one of the many attractive features of Floors: a profusion of greenery cascading over a stone wall leading into a paved courtyard.

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Burgeoning archway at Floors Castle, near Kelso in the Scottish Borders.
Photography · Travel

Friday photo: Dubai

When I went to have my hair cut this morning I learned that my hairdresser had just returned from holiday in Dubai. She told me how she’d spent her time there: bouncing around on sand dunes in a 4×4, camel riding, visiting a race track and scaring herself on a roller-coaster. It was all a bit different from my memories of Dubai, where I worked for a while in the dry docks. The brownish lump of steel shown below on the right hand side of the picture is the hull of the Asima, the ship I was working on.

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Large lumps of steel in Dubai Dry Docks.
Photography

Friday photo: a very fancy biscuit

I completely forgot to do a Friday photo last week so I’m posting two today. I recently received an unexpected and splendid present through the post from a friend. The first photo shows the outer packaging and the second shows the contents. It fairly delighted my heart to gaze upon this exceptionally fancy gift and I have no qualms about eating it, because the least I can do is allow it to fulfil its destiny. I bit into it this morning and discovered it was chocolate flavoured and utterly delicious.

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A beautifully designed box containing a tasty treat.
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The fanciest biscuit I’ve ever been given.
Garden · Photography · Scotland

Friday photo: peaceful garden

Today’s choice of photo was inspired by the book mentioned in my previous post. The garden shown below is Glenwhan, a beautiful retreat in the quiet area of Galloway, on Scotland’s south-west coast. To my mind, a peaceful garden features a predominance of green, enlivened with small splashes of colour. There’s something soothing about green foliage, in its vast array of shades and textures. Benefiting from a relatively warm, wet climate, Glenwhan is a haven of lush, restful greenery: a refreshingly peaceful garden.

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A grassy path winds its way round a pond at Glenwhan Gardens, Galloway, May 2017.