Tag Archives: #blogging

It’s all about perspective

OCT 8

As a creature of habit, I take the same route when I go for a walk along the shore at Lunderston Bay, a beauty spot near where I live. It’s very easy to allow routine to kick in and to not look around you.

More recently I’ve been using these walks almost as mindfulness sessions, taking the time to myself to clear my mind. I’ve left my iPod at home and focussed on the sounds of the world around me- the seabirds, the waves, the kids laughter as they play on the beach or in the playpark, dogs barking as they too play on the beach or in the water, the sheep in the fields, the wind around me. I’ve paid attention to the ground beneath my feet- the soft sand, the damp hardpacked sand along the water’s edge, the squishy feeling of the seaweed, the gravel of the path. I’ve paid attention to the sights – the small shells and bright white pebbles in the sand, the sun glinting off the water, the wildflowers that grow along the paths.

I wonder how many people visit this spot and see and hear and feel nothing, seeing it purely as place to let the kids or the dog run free?

OCT 7

Sometimes though you need to look at even the most beautiful places from a different perspective….and you can have a little fun whilst doing it.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

quotes sourced via Google- credits to the owners

Advertisements

A Quick Beer With Silver Lake…….

I was enjoying a quiet beer at the Green Turtle last weekend when two familiar faces came into the bar.

greene-turtle-2

It’s been a while since I caught up with the guys from Silver Lake so, not wanting to waste the opportunity, I offered Messrs Edwards and Cooper a beer in exchange for a few brief moments of their time.

“We literally only have a few minutes,” apologised Paul, checking the time on his cell. “We’re due to meet up with the others at Jake and Lori’s for a BBQ half an hour ago and we kind of have dinner in the back of Grey’s truck.”

“Fish,” explained Grey from under his snapback. “Fresh sea bass and some croaker. Couple of flounder too. Caught and gutted by our own fair hands.”

“Not just talented musicians then?” I teased. “So, what have Silver Lake been up to apart from fishing? Been a while since I interviewed you guys.”

“Back on the Bonded Souls cycle, wasn’t it?” checked Paul.

“Yes, it was. Well remembered.”

“We’ve been fishing,” joked Grey with a wink. “You miss our Elements run?”

I shook my head, “No, not at all. Great album. Even caught a few shows on that tour too. Just didn’t manage to get a press pass. C’est la vie. Can we expect some new music from Silver Lake soon?”

Paul nodded, “But we can’t talk about it. Maddison would gut us if we told you we’ve been out at JJL.”

“New album in the works?”

This time, Grey nodded, “We’re working on it but you never heard that from us.”

“And some tour dates?”

“Maybe,” teased Paul, before taking a long chug on his beer. “There’s a lot of detail to be worked out. We’ve all got family commitments to schedule round. Every tour it gets more complicated. Jethro and Maddison do an awesome job sorting out the logistics so we are home for school shows, birthdays and things.”

“They even occasionally get Mr Power to turn up on time!” joked Grey.

Silver Lake front man, Jake Power, is notorious for running late and the story goes that Grey fines him twenty dollars every time he’s late for rehearsal or a band meeting or an interview.

“How much is in that pot now?” I quizzed, hoping for some insight into the inner sanctum of band life.

“We’ve not counted it for a long time,” confessed the band’s bass player. “Reckon there’s a couple of thousand bucks in there. We really should count it up and make a donation to charity.”

“When can the fans hope for a press release or official update from the band?”

“Soon,” said Grey cryptically.

“Cut her some slack,” laughed Paul, taking pity on me. “You can catch up with all things Silver Lake on December 6th in the fourth book in the series, Shattered Hearts.”

Deciding to leave the guys in peace to enjoy their beer, I bade my farewells.

Shattered Hearts release date promo pic

 

 

Pre-order details for Shattered Hearts will be available soon.

If you’ve missed the first three books in the Silver Lake series, you’ve time to catch up. Here’s the links:

Amazon.com links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

Amazon.co.uk links –

Stronger Within – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00VXDSC1M

Impossible Depths – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01C0GS30K

Bonded Souls – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XSQHG71

 

(Image of the Green Turtle sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

The Motivational Power Of The Humble Post-It Note

20190923_200816

I’ve confessed before on here that I’d be lost in life without Post It notes. I use them daily both at home and at work in the salt mine but did you realise the motivational potential they contained?

No?

Read on….

20190923_20061620190923_20062220190923_20073720190923_20063920190923_20065220190923_200632

and my personal favourite

20190923_200829

So, go on, make someone’s day today or tomorrow or the next day or whenever you think they need some kind words and leave them a Post It 😉

 

Summer is holding onto her colours as Autumn encroaches….

0919 10

There’s no denying it….Summer has slipped by all too fast.

The mornings are darker, the evenings are darker, the sun isn’t quite as hot as it was a couple of weeks ago…there’s an Autumnal feel to the world.

However, my patio garden isn’t letting go of Summer without a fight- a colour fight!

0919 10919 20919 30919 40919 50919 60919 70919 80919 9

Even, Sioux,  is still holding onto his Summer “brown rather than black” look.

20190915_151440

Till next year, Lady Summer.

Today is not for lengthy blogs….

69982437_10156896685219071_4997580746844536832_n

 

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day.

It’s not a day for wordy blogs.

It’s a day to pause, check up on those friends you’ve not reached out to in a while.

If there’s a change in a friend’s behaviour or mood, check they’re ok.

Go for a walk with them.

Go for a coffee with them.

Be there for them.

 

Who cares if one more light goes out?…. I do

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tm8LGxTLtQk

 

 

Credits to the owner of the image

Credits to the owner of the video- shared via You Tube

Deadline looming……..

typing

Furiously typing…… normal blog service will resume next week.

 

 

What Local History Are You Missing Out On?……… A Medieval Castle Perhaps?

How often do you drive or walk past the history on your own doorstep without so much as a second glance?

I’ll confess …. maybe not quite daily but it’s a regular occurrence and it transpires I’m not the only one in the house who does so.

Less than 10 miles from our house there’s a 15th Century castle. A national tourist attraction. Do you know how many times I’ve visited it? Until today, once! (Hangs her head in shame.)

So, on a dreich Sunday afternoon, Girl Child, the Big Green Gummi Bear and I decided the time had come to visit the castle. (About 15 years ago I had taken both Boy Child and Girl Child there but neither of them remembers it!)

Newark Castle sits on the banks of the River Clyde near Port Glasgow.

It was built circa 1480 by George Maxwell and is one of the finest late-medieval buildings in Scotland. Both the Gatehouse and Towerhouse date back to that era as does the Doocot in the grounds. The rest of the castle was remodelled in 1590 by Patrick Maxwell, transforming the cramped medieval castle into an elegant Renaissance mansion. Both the north wing and east wing were remodelled and the grounds transformed.

Today, the castle stands pretty much as it did back then.

Newark Castle

 

Newark Castle is a veritable labyrinth spread over three levels. It also boasts one of only three surviving anti-clockwise staircases to be found in Scotland’s castles.   You enter via the 15th century Gatehouse which leads through to the cellars, kitchen, bakehouse and the Towerhouse cellar. There are numerous staircases giving access to the upper floors. From the Towerhouse cellar you can climb up to the roof lookout point. It’s quite a twisty climb! From the wine cellar, there is a staircase leading straight up to the great hall. A further staircase leads from the kitchen to the great hall.

The upper level has a long gallery running the length of the north wing and this is where the laird’s private chambers and, including the rooms in the east wing, the family bed chambers and guest rooms would have been. One bedroom features original wood panelling and a rare example of a wall bed.

The windows in the east wing afford a view over the grounds and the Doocot (dovecot) whish has survived from the 1480’s. Doocots were popular in the 15th century as the pigeons (doos/doves) provided a source of fresh meat during the long winter months.

Newark Castle floor plan

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The building is well worth a visit.

Equally intriguing is the history of the owners through the ages.

The land that the castle stands  on belonged originally to the Denniston family but became part of the Maxwell estate in 1402 when Elizabeth Denniston married Sir Robert Maxwell of Calderwood.

At that time, Newark was part of the barony of Finlaystone, an estate some five miles to the east. ( http://www.finlaystone.co.uk/ ) If the Denniston family had a castle it is highly likely that it formed part of the Finlaystone estate.

In 1478 George Maxwell inherited the barony of Finlaystone and within a few years was being styled as “George Maxwell of Newark and Finlaystone”. This all ties in nicely with the construction dates for the original castle buildings. It is also documented that in 1495 James IV visited Newark Castle whilst on a mission to quash disturbances in the Western Isles. (It’s likely that the laird would have had to surrender his sumptuous bed chamber in the Towerhouse to the king during his stay.)

Over time the Maxwell family became a powerful and influential family in the area. Historically, the most notable member of the family was Sir Patrick Maxwell, who was the laird of Newark Castle circa 1580. Initially, he was held up as a pillar of society, well-educated and a justice of the peace as well as being the architect behind the extensive remodelling of Newark Castle in 1590. He enjoyed the patronage of James VI. However, there were two sides to Sir Patrick. He was a wife beater, a child abuser and a murderer. He reportedly murdered two members of the Montgomerie family from Skelmorlie some twelve miles to the west of the castle. Sir Patrick also quarrelled with his son, Patrick, and was implicated in his untimely death. Undoubtedly his wife, Lady Margaret Crawford, suffered worst at his hand. She was married to him for 44 years and bore him 16 children! After years of abuse and ill-treatment she finally escaped from his clutches in 1632 and fled across the River Clyde to Dumbarton. Sir Patrick never answered to the charges raised against him as by that time he was too ill to travel to Edinburgh to face trial and it’s assumed he died shortly thereafter.

New-port Glasgow (modern day Port Glasgow) became a bustling trading post during the 1600’s. The castle’s laird, George Maxwell soon became involved in this merchant trade.

When the last Maxwell laird died in 1694, Newark Castle and its grounds were sold to another influential businessman, William Cochrane of Kilmarnock.

The 1700’s saw trade in the area continue to flourish but sadly the castle began to decline and it changed hands several times. The Cochrane’s sold it to the Hamilton family who in turn sold it in the 1820’s to a London banker, Robert Farquar. In 1825, Robert Farquar’s daughter married Sir Michael Shaw-Stewart, another well known local family from Ardgowan estate in Inverkip some eight miles west ( http://www.ardgowan.co.uk/ ) Newark Castle remained under the care of the Shaw-Stewart family until 1909 when it was entrusted to the State. Today it is curated by Historic Scotland.

During the 18th and 19th centuries the castle was leased to various tenants. The grounds too were leased out to local market gardeners. One tenant was John Orr, a ropemaker with a rather unusual side-line business. He traded in wild animals (panthers, leopards, bears etc) purchased from passing ships that arrived into the port. It is presumed that until he found a buyer for the creatures that they were kept in the castle’s cellars, giving rise to rumours that the castle was haunted as the locals reported strange howling during the night.

Newark Castle is a historical gem that in more recent times has been hidden, literally, by the Clyde’s shipbuilding industry. For much of the 20th Century it was surrounded to the west, east and south by Ferguson’s and Lamont’s Shipbuilders. As the shipbuilding industry fell into decline in the 1980’s Lamont’s closed its doors and was subsequently demolished, revealing the castle’s southern and eastern exposures to the world once more.

Today, but for how much longer, Ferguson’s still remains to the west of Newark Castle, a modern-day industrial neighbour to this discrete medieval gem.

castle and yard

 

 

If you want to discover more about Newark Castle check out the site below:

https://www.historicenvironment.scot/visit-a-place/places/newark-castle/

(some images sourced via Google – credits to the owners)