Portree Special excursion – the MS Center – June 21

This wasn't the easiest way to get there from the bus stop

This wasn’t the easiest way to get there from the bus stop

In The UK they have a number of MS Centers, each offering a variety of services and information. Most having a hyperbaric chamber. It is the MS Center in Portree that initially drew my attention to The Isle of Skye. So I got a bus that went sort of near by – actually its not that far but it was in a sort of industrial kind of area.

View from the parking lot.

View from the parking lot.

 

So A massage therapist was there but I didn’t have cash. So one of the volunteers took me to the grocery store with her and back. And after a short wait I had a massage. Which felt great. Meanwhile before and after I got to chat with the other MS folks and learned how the system works there and what was involved with “taking a dive”. I would report on these things but I’m not sure that I remember correctly.

Before a dive. Some very friendly and funny (humorous) people

Before a dive. Some very friendly and funny (humorous) people

The space was small but very cozy. and of course I was offered tea ad biscuits

The space was small but very cozy. and of course I was offered tea ad biscuits

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Portree: Special excursions: Shilasdair

Shilasdair is a yellow Iris ans it is one of the plants used for yellow dye

Shilasdair is a yellow Iris ans it is one of the plants used for yellow dye

Shilasdair (http://www.theskyeshilasdairshop.co.uk/) is a yarn shop specializing in wool that is dyed with natural dyes. When I called for directions I was told to get off the bus at Faery Bridge and the proprieter – Judy  -would pick me up. The bus driver said ” Do you know that’s the middle of nowhere?” Indeed it was.

Front of the Bus stop at Faery Bridge

Front of the Bus stop at Faery Bridge

 Behind The faery bridge bus stop

Behind The faery bridge bus stop. Similar view in the other directions.

I'm sorry this is the best picture I have Judy picking me up. But you can see a picture of her and the shop at the web site. See the link.

I’m sorry this is the best picture I have Judy picking me up. But you can see a picture of her and the shop at the web site. See the link.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But Judy picked me up and took me to the  store where I looked and shopped. We talked on the way about how the land and sea scape is never the same one minute to the next.

View from the shop garden

View from the shop garden

more garden views

more garden views

view from the shop

view from the shop

When I was done shopping she took me to a place to have tea then came and got me and took me to wait for the next bus. (How nice was that?)

Where I went for tea

Where I went for tea

in front of where I went to tea

in front of where I went to tea

 

 

 

 

 

I had a half hour wait and it was the last bus and it was raining so that was a long half hour. On the other hand I didn’t feel that hitch hiking was totally out of the question.

my picture taken by the school bus driver waiting for his charges

my picture taken by the school bus driver waiting for his charges

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Back to Skye – Portree, June 18 to 22, In General

The Pub from the Hostel

The Pub, (the white one), from the Hostel

The Hostel from the Pub,(The Yellow One)

The Hostel,(the yellow one),  from the Pub

 

 

 

Portree is just to the left of Hydro’s photo on the map of Scotland there. The very best part of Portree to me  – not counting the location and surrounding scenery – was that the hostel  was right across the square from the pub that had music every night. So I could have my pint , or a half or two, listen to music even use the wifi, and just walk across the square to my bed.

the space between the two. Including a nice tea place and bakery

the space between the two. Including a nice tea place and bakery

The town itself is very nice little tourist town with a few stores that would make it a year round place to live, It has the center bus place for the Island to get to the many places I did not get to, I did get a nice walk out of town to a beach and up a hill with a view but forgot my camera.

the kitchen and eating area

the kitchen and eating area

The view from the kitchen

The view from the kitchen

The Hostel: This was a very friendly and brightly colored place. The kitchen dining area was huge and allowed for lots of interactions with all the nice foreigners like me or the traveling Scottish people. I was on the ground floor in a four bed female bunk room. There were several women from several places all traveling on their own except for two young women traveling together. The main drawback to the hostel was the lack of wifi. However thanks to that I now have a Library card to the Portree Library. But that was the beginning of the end to my keeping up with the blog.

The view from my bunkroom

The view from my bunkroom

One of my bunkmates but can't find where I have her name written.

One of my bunkmates but can’t find where I have her name written.

The Pub Across: A mix of international  tourists and local folk. For two nights had a three piece – 2 accordions and a drummer, which were marvelous and the 3rd had a singing guitarist and I got to share a sing with a woman at the next table when he did “Take me Home Country Road.” The fourth night – the 21st -what I had thought would be a transcendental night for me,  – was not great music but I had a great time having a laugh with a very handsome man who is the last with no cell phone let alone a computer. He said he liked being in Portree because he could be in a remote part of Scotland and still meet people from all over the world.

around the corner from the pub

around the corner from the pub

Jamie Robertson

My Solstice friend, Jamie

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Back to the future: where I’m at now

Where I live from Sylvia's balcony. The skylights are my room.

Where I live from Sylvia’s balcony. The skylights are my room.

Alex and Gabe on the back balcony

Alex and Gabe on the back balcony

 

So As I said I am recounting my trip from where I am living in  Stroud.  I am lucky to be  living in the home of Alex as her lodger. Living with Alex and until  recently her son Gabe – who just went back to school in Brighton and Ozzy the cat. I have the loft room. with great light. One of the many positive things about being with Alex and Gabe is that they both have American experience, to put it mildly, and are able to translate for me and explain the things I just don’t get.

Alex in the kitchen. Me in the mirror.

Alex in the kitchen cooking. Me in the mirror documenting.

 

Gabe keeping up with the news so he can explain it to me.

Gabe keeping up with the news so he can explain it to me.

where I work - a clay area in the antiroom.

where I work – a clay area in the antiroom.

where I sleep

where I sleep

Where Ozzy sleeps when in my room

Where Ozzy sleeps when in my room

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Future interruption then back to Kyleakin:

across the street

across the street from hostel in Kyleakin ( kie LOCK in)

Hi – any of my blog followers may have noticed that I am quite behind in my postings time wise. I am interrupting to tell you that I am writing safely from here in Stroud in a welcoming and supportive home and friendly and  helpful co housing community in a very interesting town in a quite quaint region. Would have loved to include photos but at the moment my computer is not recognizing my camera. So I shall attempt to address this issue, and meanwhile we will return to the journey so far – the Isle of Skye, first stop Kyleakin.

Kyleakin from the Hostel fire escape.

Kyleakin from the Hostel fire escape.

I had one full day in Kyleakin. – June 17, Arriving the evening before and leaving the morning of the 18. It was a planned resting stop and did serve as a good way to catch up on computer things – like money and some blogging as the wifi worked and the window was so big I could be in my room and not feel bad about not being outside.

me on the beach, which was made of these stones. Do you beleive I only brought 3 with me? What you don't see is how red and black and sometimes white they are.

me on the beach, which was made of these stones. Do you believe I only picked up 3 to keep? What you don’t see is how red and black and sometimes white they are.

But I did get a walk in this tiny place.The village is a strip of a few things along the shore and a few houses gathered behind, a hotel and the hostel and several B&Bs – It seemed that many people use it as a place to the things on that part of the island from.  – Car required.  That’s what the English couple I ate with both nights at Saucy Mary’s. But there is good bus service (except Sundays) ,during the day to the main towns on Skye and back to the the mainland – or do you call it the main Island?

Please go here to see the local historical landmark that I didn’t walk to but thought about it:

http://www.skye-tour.com/Kyleakin.htm.

My walk was mostly along the beach looking at the stones trying to grasp that I was on Skye the place I had wanted to come too for a few years now. but come next day was anxious to move on to Portree.

waiting for the bus to Portree

waiting for the bus to Portree

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June 16 From Comrie to Kyleakin – mostly Pictures

Spent the morning celebrating the sun as did the native folk. Had I mentioned that yesterday was freezing until the evening? After Breakfast took a walk up the hill to where the sauna was – they like their saunas like we like our fireworks – and into some kind of magical woods and met John a volunteer who works in exchange for room and board. John schlepped my bag to the bus for me. It was nice that Annette was getting the same bus back to Perth so she could go back to Glasgow area.

Clouds just passing by the sauna place. Woods to the left.

Clouds just passing by the sauna place. Woods to the left.

What you don't see is the pine smell

What you don’t see is the pine smell

waiting for the bus with John ( a different one) and Annette

waiting for the bus with John and Annette

Pretty sure this is perth station as I was not in Inverness very long

Pretty sure this is Perth station as I was not in Inverness very long

Perth  station detail

Perth station detail

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then it was from the bus station to the train station in Perth to Inverness to change  in a hurry  to Kyleakin in a train car with  John – yes another John – a man from Atlanta but raised in Pittsburgh,  and a young man – Jonathan for a change – who told me where to sit for the best view. And sure enough I could see why I wanted to come here.  I overheard John makingplans to rent a  car to take to Carbost and asked if he would care to take me and Jonathan who could help direct him. Such a Dad thing to do but I was so tired of schlepping this luggage.

From the train window

From the train window

Looking back at the train Station

Looking back at the train Station from the car.

John getting his lesson. One point stay in the middle of the lane, not drift left where you'll end up in the gutter.

John getting his UK driving pointers.

So they took me across the bridge to the Saucy Mary’s hostel then went on to Broadford and then he was going on to Carbost. Let me tell you nothing is close to anything here. I think the land is stretched tighter on this part of the sphere.

So I am now on The Isle of Skye – on Kyleakin a village looking nothing like I expected. I check into Saucy Mary’ (This name is an historical reference), my second hostel, where I have a four bed room to myself with an excellent view of the mainland through a big picture window  with a nice dollop of seagull shit in the middle.

View from my window looking back at the mainland

View from my window looking back at the mainland

The Bridge we came across- ignore the blob in the middle.

The Bridge we came across- ignore the blob in the middle.

When I went to bed maybe 11ish the sky was still red.

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A few notable people and events at the Convergence

First Lucy and Danny Alderslowe.

Lucy Anderslowe in her  favorite Urban Eco Steward Shirt

Lucy Anderslowe in her favorite Urban Eco Steward Shirt

Lucy complemented my Urban Eco Steward Shirt so she won my extra one. And she kindly mentioned it in her report on the convergence.

Danny Anderslowe   which he successfully auctioned for I think 1 million pound beside a planter

Danny Anderslowe next to a plant stand which he successfully auctioned for I think 1 million pounds

Danny- like many people here remind me of someone else either in appearance manner or just the vibe. Well Danny reminded me of someone in all these ways – I couldn’t place who  – until he was the one to MC our  Saturday ceilidh and Auction some items – oh of course John Wray. One of John’s many responsibilities at Waverly  – (my church back in Pittsburgh) is to be the MC and auctioneer at our annual fundraiser. Their style is oddly similar. Also it turns out Danny is Friends with Jake Black of Alabama 3. ( See June 8) and says they have done fundraisers for Permaculture Scotland. Small world.

John Wray : I don't want to know what he is so happy about boxing up

John Wray : I don’t want to know what he is so happy about boxing up

The ceilidh was fun but the most exciting part for me was our little singing class got up and did two of our songs- several were as taken aback as I was at the turn of events but the truth is if you couldn’t sing in front of these kind folks then you couldn’t get up in front of anyone. I was very nervous but it was fun.

final rehearsal

final rehearsal

me singing with people in front of other people

me singing with people in front of other people

There are two other folks I want to mention. Abigail and John – I had the best time talking with them at the fire after the dancing after the singing. I mostly remember getting a lesson on North and South – it’s an issue here. but we laughed a lot. I am very sorry that I don’t have a photo of Abigail whom I had several very good conversations with and I really enjoyed her company. Now John I mostly talked to Saturday and he was a trip in that had I had a child at 16 I would have thought he could be him. Or if we worked together we would need to be separated because we would have encouraged each other with our bad attitudes. We both have an in ability to keep our mouths shut in a politic way. Plus he had a wonderful story involving him getting a tire to stand on and a broom stick to be ready to save the very overly imbibed electrician he happened upon while improving a squat.

John at left

John at left

After the stories and everyone had drifted to bed a piper played a lullaby for us.

this was the next day but its what lullaby sounded like.

this was the next day but its what lullaby sounded like.

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Permaculture Part 2: Saturday Workshops

Spoon carving workshop an example of one I did not attend but would have wanted too

Spoon carving workshop an example of one I did not attend but would have wanted too

So first -There’s two reasons I’m here, well 3,  maybe 4. One is it looked like fun to me with a “knees up” and all, and two is I thought I might meet up with some kindred spirit folk like the ones that love Alabama3. But The two official reasons are:learning skills, etc to take back with me and the other one is harder to express. How about this: to start to make the personal changes required  to operate in an intentional permaculture focused community.

In fact that conversation was started on the bus by Annette and Judy talking about Joanna Macy and David Holmgren.

my bunk on bottom left where I spent time between classes.

my bunk on bottom left where I spent time between classes.

Cafen on site where I spent time between classes with a hot coffee and something sweet and decadent. And several sweaters to everyone elses one.

Cafen on site where I spent time between classes with a hot coffee and something sweet and decadent. And several sweaters to everyone elses one.

So that said – given my nice neurological condition I took advantage of just a few of the many workshops offered  – Unfortunately the Medicinal herbs one was not able to run – That sentence was for my Doctor, Martin Seltman – who is taking a course of study along those lines – I love my Doctor – any way  – so I attended very few workshops sometimes due to intentional management and sometimes due to getting distracted by conversations and just not paying attention which is a shame because I missed several I would have liked to be part of.

That said what I did do was plenty:

The first workshop was in the freezing stone barn on the first really cold and wet miserable day of my stay. I was late and I didn’t write down the teachers name but it was quite emotional talking about different ways to see our developing selves in a different light than grow up, get a job/make babies then die point of view.  She referenced the work of Bill Plotkin – Nature & the Human Soul and sang a lovely song, When I rise which I find attributed to Tich Nhat Hanh one place with the words by Wendell Berry. She had a beautiful voice. And the best part was having a very heartfelt time with Luci Ransom. Also the facilitator used the phrase of “trying to figure out a delivery system of the soul’s work”. I think that sums up the situation. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=s53fd9KJj5Y

The next two I went to were in the yurt which was warm and cozy – I am very sorry that I don’t have pictures of Fiona Macdougall, or the baskets she had as examples,  or the warm cozy yurt with all the samples of plant stuffs.  There was a lot of information here but what I mostly remember – aside from Fiona – a sort of wee force of nature –  stripping a long nettle stem with her bare hands and saying with a smile”If you do it fast it doesn’t hurt-much”  – were that I can use daffodil leaves to make a rope – oh I can’t wait for next spring.And how to do a two twine rope. Cant wait to get some materials and to sit with this – It’s definitely a telly watching, porch sitting, visiting with friends, tolerating a meeting kind of activity.When I can find a website or something I will have a picture of her and her work.

Us singing in a yurt

Us singing in a yurt

more of us singing in a yurt

more of us singing in a yurt

Then after lunch was the singing. There were 9  us including the teacher  Rachel Bailey I think -and we learned several rounds and I learned a little about natural voice singing. Aside from just wanting to sing  I think that that is an important thing to be able to do with people and we don’t do that much where I’m from. That we need it to heal those that go out to fight the fight and we need it as a way to be with each other that doesn’t involve talking.

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June 14 – 16 The Scotland Permaculture Convergence in Comrie Part 1

Queen Street Station, Glasgow

Queen Street Station, Glasgow

So Friday it’s a taxi to Queens Street Station where a lovely man that I swear was Cormack- Jamie’s husband- in appearance, tone and mannerism put me on the train.I didn’t get a picture of him but if I had one of Cormack I could put it here.

 Stirling

Stirling

I can’t remember much of the trip across  to Perth but I think I did get a picture of Stirling for Andy(Stirling). Then a bus to Comrie –  which  goes through Crieff , which looks like a big Holmfirth.

Less picturesqe Stirling

Less picturesqe Stirling

 

 

On that Bus I met other Permaculturists Judy and Annette. And thank God for that because the road to the Hostel was uphill and gravel and Annette God bless her took that suitcase., I’m sure Judy schlepped something for me too – plus their own stuff of course.

Annette and Judy

Annette and Judy

Annette with a positive attitude

Annette with a positive attitude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So of course this place is beautiful. And the rest of the day involved naps and dinner and meeting more people.

 This is what get's me: There's a bus stop at the bottom of this road. One that runs regularly and at reasonable intervals.

This is what get’s me: There’s a bus stop at the bottom of this road. One that runs regularly and at reasonable intervals.

The barn where meals, some workshops and dances  and dances happened.

The barn where meals, some workshops and dances happened.

But the best part was the band that played for the dance. The Dance started with The Virginia Reel and finished with Strip the Willow. The best part would have been Dancing itself but by doing one where the gent has two partners thank God – ’cause I got a break when he’d do a step with the other – Any way that’s when it was made plain what I had forgotten – I can’t dance like that anymore. Broke my heart. But still the band was great I enjoyed my chats with Judy and felt comfortable doing my little steps to the music.

this was a fun one to watch

this was a fun one to watch

Anyway I was last to my bunk room of young ladies. I had trouble falling asleep at first because they made no sound at all any of them. not a breath, not a toss nor a turn – very disconcerting as I knew I would soon be making many.

Flashback to Camp Karandawana folkdance weekends

Flashback to Camp Karandawana folkdance weekends

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Glasgow – Plane B

between the 57 and the 6a (I think)

between the 57 and the 6a (I think)

across from Kelvingrove

across from Kelvingrove

So what I did get to do is to travel around by bus to West End where the appropriate bank Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and the Vodafone store is. A 57 across the river past the Central Station then transfer to a number 8. Oh what fun!, (thats not sarcastic)  Wonderful view at the front of a top of a double bus with a camera that was out of juice and forgeting that I had my back up camera from Bill. Must say I love the bridges. A lot of them remind me of the bridges over the Charles in Cambridge Mass. Also the ubiquitous stone and heaviness of the buildings. Very cozy.

view of the cranes from the Transportation Museum. And you can see how the sky is closer here.

view of the cranes from the Transportation Museum. And you can see how the sky is closer here.

The initial plan was to go to Kelvingrove Museum Where Dali’s St. John of the Cross is. But the nice hockey fan I met at the news stand place suggested the transportation museum. Got to ride the subway – There are two tracks that go in a circle -inner and outer. Then walked in a sort of nowhere feeling place across a road way of some sort to this really swell Museum. Noticed that the sky is closer here. On the way saw these huge cranes. I’m not sure if they are still alive or if they are ghosts of the Shipbuilding times. That is where the Museum and nowhere area is:  where the ships used to be built. Just like in Pgh where there are  little bits of  J&L Steel,  (JAYnelstill) left to be sculpture where the tech buildings, shopping malls and brownfields are  now. So I have a picture of that from the Transportation Museum. Would have loved to have the Great nephews there. (Not being sexist – there are no great nieces.)

I didn't notice the river part

I didn’t notice the river part

So the next day I did get to the Kelvingrove after taking care of business at Vodafone. So it’s on either other side of these University of Glasgow Buildings – After glancing at a campus map thought I would take a walk across what I somehow thought was a flat green to the Kelvingrove. It wasn’t a flat green.In any case once there I did see amongst other things Dali’s Saint John on the Cross. So of course it’s impressive but they have it in a little room so you can’t stand back and you have to sort of squeeze in with other folks some of whom are praying to it.

this is the flat green space

this is the flat green space

at first it looks close

at first it looks close

I'm thinking that maybe you can't get there from here.

I’m thinking that maybe you can’t get there from here.

you can see my cranes from up here

you can see my cranes from up here

this is the river you cross just before you actually get to the building

this is the river you cross just before you actually get to the building

Glasgow Willie

Glasgow Willie

My Glasgow culture evening out was thanks Glasgow Willie whom I had just met last weekend at The Alabama 3 with the Alabama 3 folks. He made time to take me for a pint which was very gracious as he obviously had had a long day and very appreciated as I was not able to meet up with the other people whom I would meet the next weekend. (As they were busy with the conference and in fact didn’t know me). So thanks to Willie I got to go to a proper Glasgow Pub and learned to order Tennent’s Lager which served me well in Portree,- one with no music in and area near city center called Merchant City which I had assumed was something horrible but was wrong. It wasn’t built last week like it would have been, you know,where I’m from.

The Babbity Bowster

The Babbity Bowster

Also found myself uncharacteristically chatty with poor Willie and Teri and the cats which I think is an affect of traveling alone.

 

 

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