Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Coming home...

Mr Gnome shamelessly flaunts his invitation to one of many top-notch events celebrating the opening of the transformed Royal Shakespeare Theatre.

Closed for over three years, the riverside complex has been massively re-shaped and upgraded. Sources suggest that the gigantic project is coming in on time and on budget. No mean feat.

Better still, the buzz hints that the new spaces (public and performance) will outstrip all expectations.

Sunday, 12 September 2010


I missed the otter frolicking beside the ferry, but the rainbow proved to be slightly more obliging.

The Craignure-Oban ferry ride offers an extraordinary amount of breathtaking moments in its 45-minute timespan.

Duart Castle, the Lismore Light and the distant views over to Islay and Jura (I think): always varying in their aspect according to the ever-changing light and weather conditions.

On Friday's return journey a perfect rainbow added a hint of both elegy and promise...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Iona again

Trains, ferries and the trans-Mull bus have brought me once again to remote Iona, on the western edge of the Hebrides.

A week's residence with the community remains a splendid taster of a gentle, simple way of living in this traditionally 'thin place' where earth and heaven seem not-too-far apart.

Actually 'thin' doesn't apply to the gloriously substantial amounts of food served up three time a day, with intermittent servings of scones and oatcakes.

This year's group is slightly less international than in previous years, but eclectic all the same. I've met some remarkable people.

There's been a speaker - the American Franciscan Richard Rohr.

But, for me, the memorable moments come in unplanned encounters over food, or while stomping through wind and rain on the round-the-island 'pilgrimage' - this year enlivened by a close encounter with the Iona bull. A very big boy.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Small change

How exciting to glance at one's loose change today and discover that this long-ago coin had found its way to my pocket - more than fifty years after it ceased to be legal tender.

I can remember the farthing clearly from my childhood, mainly for its small size and the charming image of the wren, Britain's second-smallest native bird (I believe).

Not for its purchasing power. By 1956, there wasn't much you could buy for a farthing. But save up 960 of them and you would have £1.00, with which you could buy plenty.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010


Glad tidings in an appropriately minimal format from Saturday's Daily Telegraph.

The dark and, let's face it, rather triste forces of gnomophobia appear to be in retreat.

Joy unconfined.