This picture shows the effects of rotational heather burning on a moorland in the county of Angus. The purplish patches on the hillside are areas of heather that have been burned in different years. Burning heather gets rid of older plants and encourages new growth, and burning small areas in successive years creates a patchwork of plants of different heights. Moorlands like this one support a variety of wildlife, including several species of ground-nesting birds that prefer to nest in recently burned areas.
Two wild goats in the Queen Elizabeth forest park in Galloway, Scotland. Supposed to be kept on a strict grass-based diet, this ancient breed of long-haired beasts will happily relieve you of your sandwiches given half a chance.
A peaceful scene of contented cows grazing beneath a verdant hillside in Glen Lochay on a beautiful summer’s day. As I look out at the cold grey January weather today, I’m dreaming of countryside rambles under blue skies in warm sunshine.
This photo was taken on the Fife Coastal Path, looking north to the picturesque fishing village of Pittenweem on Scotland’s east coast. The red pantiled roofs are typical of many Fife villages, particularly along the coast. The tiles were originally brought in Belgian and Dutch ships as ballast during the 16th and 17th Centuries, and proved ideal roofing material for Scotland’s growing housing market. Most of the oldest houses in the village cluster round the curved West Shore shown in the picture, and some of them are available as holiday lets.
New Year’s Day is one of my favourite days of the year. I like the feeling of making a fresh start, leaving behind the old year and marching on into new territory.
Every January I enjoy reading fellow blogger Darlene’s end of year report and her resolutions for the coming year. It’s some years since I last posted my new year’s resolutions on a blog, and I think it’s time I did it again, in an attempt to hold myself more accountable.
Last year I was aiming to read 100 books, but I dropped that total to 90 when 100 seemed unlikely. As of last night I had read 89, but if I had known I was going to report my reading achievements online I might have made more of an effort to finish the one I’m currently reading (“A room with a view” by E M Forster, which I’m finding more of a slog than I thought I would).
My resolutions for 2018 are as follows:
1. Read 100 books, at least 35 of which are non-fiction, and at least one of which concerns Greek history/mythology.
2. Write (and post on this blog) at least 12 book reviews.
3. Visit the McManus Galleries in Dundee (a museum and art gallery I’ve been meaning to visit for years).
4. Finish writing the novel I started last month (over the past few years I’ve started several stories I thought might turn into novels, only to have them dwindle away to nothing).
5. Edit the novel mentioned above and submit it to 5 publishers.
Of the above resolutions, numbers 4 and 5 are the two that seem most likely to fail. I’m nervous about making them public because I’ve been in this position before with my writing, and I know how easily I fall by the wayside. Hopefully, by declaring my intentions online I might find the motivation I need to achieve them.
A very Happy New Year to you, and I hope 2018 brings many interesting experiences.
While working at sea, I was occasionally on a ship when it was approached by the local coastguard asking if they could practice manoeuvres. On one memorable occasion, a member of the helicopter crew landed on our vessel, where he had a brief chat with us before being winched back into the chopper. Being a bit of a wag, and aware of a captive audience, he did a few tricks on the way back up. When he turned himself upside down and waggled his legs in the air we gave him a joyous round of applause.
We had quite a bit of snow yesterday morning, but in the afternoon the sun came out and brightened things up. I expect the birds enjoy a bit of winter warmth on their feathers, just as humans appreciate it against the skin.