Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Islands and highlands

One of the joys of living in London is that you can use it as a base for holidays across Britain, Ireland and Europe. While working in London in 1990 and 1991, we "escaped" to the Inner Hebrides off the west coast of Scotland for a special visit to the Isle of Mull.

This I recall as the view across a bay at Oban, the port on the mainland from which we took a ferry across the Firth of Lorn to Craignure on Mull.

Another landmark on our way out of Oban.

While I have a myriad photographs of our visit to the ancient Christian settlement at Iona, and also to the main town of Tobermory, I did few sketches on this trip. This was done from a lovely B&B on Mull called Red Bay Cottage.

A few Red Bay Cottage locals.

On another occasion - it was actually the spring or autumn equinox, by coincidence - we headed down to Salisbury to visit Stonehenge. Bizarrely, the police were on hand keeping "travellers" out. We were lucky to be granted entry to the site, which was virtually empty.

A close-up of some of the amazing standing stones, complete with mortise and tenon joints.

One place we visited in the summer was Richmond, on the Thames, where people sat around outside a pub, soaking up the beers and the weak English sunlight.

Back then people still wrote letters. This pose takes me back to the many sketches I did during my two years' national conscription and subsequent camps, of blokes writing home.

During that trip, done as usual using public transport, we encountered this ancient fellow.

His gnarled hands and characterful face make him an ideal subject.

Now, would you believe, we're back in the Shebeen pub, listening to more Irish music.

Fiddler's Green.

We met this guy earlier, in a previous posting, the lead singer with the Crack, an Irish duo who played at the Shebeen in Acton.

My son Luke, aged a couple of years, felt he could improve on my sketch of Sean Brady, who did a song for the Birmingham Six - Irish Republican activists detained, I suspect, under British anti-terrorism laws.

Now we could be in Gunnersbury Park, a sprawling piece of greenery on the edge of Acton.

These are possibly park patrons.

Back in the city, with another view of Parliament from across the Thames.

Some of the shady plane trees along the Embankment, not far from Parliament.

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