Baler twine.



Ink and gouache on paper – 21 x 30 cm.


A gloomy, growly dog of a day. It feels like it might bite, yet. A pack of dark grey clouds pummel in from the west. Every now and then the Forth is sunlit – an ocean liner sparkles, watched by the stone submarine of the Isle of May guarding the entrance to the North sea. Wind turbines mutter, busy, inattentive to the two swallows buffeted by the strong winds. Carole tells me about the storm last week . They lost an old apple tree and the power went off for a few hours. That was all. The combining finished yesterday and now its ploughing and seeding , no let up for at least another month. Wellies scatter outside the back door at tea time, curling stones hold open a byre door. The trees are starting to turn, sycamore leaves are crisp in the high drying winds. Orange baler twine, burnished broon conkers, the musty yellow of dried wheat, brick red pan tiles stacked in crates, these are the colours here on the hill.

Hong Kong typhoon.



I wake up listening to the wind. It whines and roars in troughs and peaks, wheeking, skirling, birling, blowing a hoolie through this forest of buildings. Looking out of the window the palm trees are bent double, a lamp post wobbles. Torrents of water, rubbish flies through the air. The windows opposite have tape stuck to them, dozens of saltires, preparing to repel the damage of the bomb blast gusts. It feels as if the city is under siege, and yet curiously we all want to go out and feel what its like. Outside the streets are all but deserted. The rain lashes in waves . A man steps out and tells me to stay safe. We all take pictures but none tell the story of what this is really like. Signs, trees blown over, yet the seven eleven is still open. Lights flicker, sparrows hop from doorway to doorway. Cockroaches escape the rising tide of water. Slams and things falling. Emergency vehicles siren past. People in plastic ponchos run, the odd taxi still cruises the streets looking for a fare. A sudden gust booms and I hide behind my grown up son, unaware at that moment of the regime change that has just taken place. I laugh at this new turn of events and how my sons are now the ones who need to protect me. The eye of the storm passes over and gradually the wind moves north. A friend messages saying it can’t have been worse than Orkney . Hmmmm…..A different kind of scary.