Sunday, 28 October 2012


Caol     cold     clear

I spent the day up here on a visit to Room 13, ( to tap into their philosophy and feel energised. This is pretty much what I wrote as I went a walk along the beach.

Familiar wanderings, asking that same question, ‘could I live here?’

Sad council houses smelling of coal. Ask a runner beside his spotless, sleek, black BMW, of his life here; an out of work gamekeeper who likes the life. I never realised gamekeepers could be out of work surrounded by mountains and lochs.
Small, untidy shops with locals rushing in; there’s a hairdresser’s almost empty, I almost go in for a shampoo and chat, but don’t in the end. Too artificial?

Old man passes me on the shoreline, ‘nice and chilly…………it’s good right enough’.
My glasses are steaming up it’s so cold. I can hear the rushing hum of traffic over the water at Fort William; clunking of old wine bottles being binned, laughter, curlews. It’s remote yet connected to that mainland ‘pulse’.

Sand/mudflats, tide far out, like my memory of Lochgilphead, but not quite. The drifting scent of seaweed, traffic noises………..I try to re-connect with home. Nostalgia, another word creeping into my vocabulary of place, I’ve begun to use it more and wish I didn’t, it’s disloyal somehow.

Walking towards Ben Nevis now, no camera, interesting that I forgot to bring it…………but remembered my little black notebook? I’ve changed.

I’m trying to re-connect with a ‘past place’, find that feeling again, the one I can’t define but know.

Beached boats rotting.

Walking along the tideline now. Every shoreline has a part like a ‘no man’s land’. I’ve crossed this one, onto grassy hummocks, like low living, crawling creatures making their timeless way towards the sea. Slimy, hard, impacted greens underneath. Lots of leaves on the shore in between the seaweed. Train in the distance. A ferry bell? Walking on the soft hummocks, nice underfoot, shades of yellow/green. It’s the textures – intermixed, jaggy, spongy, spirally – beautiful.

It’s good to just look.

Beneath Ben Nevis now; clear and not that high, not like Arran mountains. Knobbly, rounded, dusted in snow. That can’t be a chair lift? It looks all wrong beneath it; dark.

2 black and white dogs bounding up to greet me, territorial, ears flattened but tails wagging. Yells from swings, incessant traffic – surprising and incongruous. Numb fingers now. Bleak mountain, soft hummocks on the shore, leaves in seaweed, beached boats rotting, familiar smells, wrong sounds………….of people.

Reading this again, it strikes me that I keep looking for home.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

uneasy hands

I see or rather I felt/sensed/suspected that it had been a while since I last added to my blog. Since coming back south from Shetland, I've been swamped with real life research stuff, things I've had to accomplish in a very short time, or so it's seemed to me now. Going 'round the houses', as a good friend told me, is par for the course, literally. Where have these past 2 years gone, as I disappeared into books and my own head? Am I the same? I doubt that. Does it matter? Probably not any more. Our multiples selves all morph into one, given enough time. Is it the same for men I wonder? being multiple people with lots of performances; probably their wardrobes aren't quite so crucial as ours.
Someone asked me this week if I miss making. It was like a cold blade on my skin. What could I answer without sounding trite. I smiled my reply. If, as I've been telling myself, that I think through making, always have done, then what are these recent thoughts made of? I find words difficult, not to say but to use meaningfully. I have no such issue with images. It's rather like swimming underwater; images flow and seem to belong to one another in a unified way; the continuing threads are easy to spot. Just like the seaweed floating in front of my window at The Booth. I can't feel this with words, they're like a foreign language, or being deafened by ghetto blasters, or blindfolded, my mind closes down that part of me which feels.
Why am I rambling on.......I just wanted to I've no idea who reads them but am happy to know some read them.
I miss islands in my life and have constructed my own, in a field full of sheep. Tonight I watched them all stand still, heads alert and watching, as the heavens opened and straight down rain fell. To a man, they did this, like an invisible message whispered along the grass, 'watch out'.
Maybe what I really wanted to write tonight is the knowledge that I'm not alone, for all that I feel that I am doing this research. Looking at other women artists who are also older, I see connections; Noggle, Bourgeois, Wilke; and now me. Defiant in decrepitude? no, not quite yet. We touch each other over time.