Saturday, August 30, 2014

where do birds sit nowadays?

I’ve been prompted to ask myself this question (and to ponder what they did pre industrialisation) as I search for item 3 in Rinda’s summer scavenger hunt – birds on a wire.

When I first read the list I imagined a lovely image of a blue sky with a row of birds perched on a wire – perhaps all facing the same way, perhaps a nice mix of poses – rather like the decal I have on my bathroom wall


Then as I started to look around I realised this was going to be hard.  For a start I don’t see many wires in my normal walks.  When I was taking the train to the Commonwealth Games daily I spotted lines along the rail tracks but taking photos of birds on a wire from a moving train is near impossible and the one time I saw a bird on the wires at the station it was camouflaged against the bushes as I shared in this zoom in zoom out


I took to scanning urban skylines but the birds seemed to prefer the roof ridges


as the end date of the hunt drew nearer I even spent some time watching a group of birds on the grass under some wires in the hopes they would decide to take a break on the wires – they didn’t


I was despairing of finding birds on a wire and then I spotted some starlings hopping on and off a wire fence – close enough I thought and waited until more than one bird was on the wire and now I’m calling item 3 done


check out how others having been progressing on the scavenger hunt over at Rinda’s blog.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

zoom in on the harvest

my garden is rather lacking in colour at the moment.  In the front garden none of the plants are flowering, just a few marigolds and the remains of the hydrangea - after producing wave after wave of flowers since February, this is a down period.  In the back garden there is plenty of green and the sweetpeas are still in bloom but the thing that really sings is the apple tree with lovely red apples nearly ready to pick

looking forward to seeing what has caught your eye this week

Friday, August 22, 2014

fringe fun

August in Edinburgh means creativity and fun as the city is flooded with performers and audience for the Fringe festival. Enjoying the fringe is so much a part of summer for me that I used it for my scavenger hunt item ‘me with something seasonal’


The purple structure in the background is a massive tent that is used for the underbelly venues.

I’ve seen 20 shows so far ranging from very serious theatre to roll in the aisle comedy via some fabulous dance and several treatments of Shakespeare (Seussication of Midsummer Nights dream was the best).

One of the other aspects of the Fringe that I love is the buzzing creativity of the block on the Royal Mile that is used as a gathering place where performers hunt an audience in any way they can – doing taters on the stages, leafleting, stunts, pleading, sales pitch etc.  Street performers also entertain in this space (yes I found a juggler for the scavenger hunt) alongside balloon sculptors and those people who pretend to be statues of various kinds.

This year I’ve noticed a new form of busking – they perform in the hope of being paid so I think of it as busking.


people dressed up in various crowd stopping ways, waiting to pose (including with people)


I’m impressed with the imagination and construction skills of these people


and think it must be a tiring way to earn money.  I always put a coin in their box when I take a photo as I appreciate the work they have done to create something that I want to photograph.

The other act that was attracting a lot of attention at the weekend was this wonderful puppet – i saw several children mesmerised and playing with it as they would a real puppy


now if I could just bottle some of the creative buzz for later in the year!

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

zoom in on the ears

my craft for charity group is having a stall to sell things that we have made in a few weeks - we want to raise some money for our costs of postage and materials and to encourage crafting for charity.  We decided to concentrate on making small items to attract the 'pocket money' or 'treat for me' market.  I've been making little pocket animals and my current batch have very long ears.  I make a whole batch of ears first (the zoom in picture) and then finish each animal

I think they are rabbits but others have greeted them as dogs - we all agree they are cute - and  I don't care really what people call them as long as they sell

looking forward to what others have captured this week as they zoom in and out

Monday, August 18, 2014

scavenger hunt finds at the games

when I saw Rinda’s scavenger hunt list for this year I was pretty sure I would find a parade and a mascot while I was involved in the Commonwealth games and I was right
while a spectator I also found a photo bomb
and I had plenty of options for a group of tourists but I went with an unusual and unexpected one.  Every time I walked along the public area outside the transport hub for the athletes’ village I noticed a small group of men with big cameras.  My first thought was that they were trying to capture famous athletes who were travelling in the buses.  But no – they were interested in the buses from other cities.  In order to find enough buses and drivers they had been brought in from across the country including London, Belfast, Manchester and the Highlands – and the bus spotters were there to record them.
thanks to Rinda for another great scavenger hunt list

Friday, August 15, 2014

enjoying a night of athletics

I’ve never been to a live athletics meet before so was not sure what to expect on our night of athletics at the Commonwealth Games.  The Scottish national football ground had been transformed into an athletics venue for the games, including a raised floor (the football ground is 2 meters below the track which is supported on hundreds of supports).


and given how much it rained I was delighted to discover that all seats are under the roof – although the athletes and officials aren’t – the poor long jump judges were cloaked in rain ponchos but sitting in a puddle and using a soaking wet flag


I took some photos of the action, but I was not equipped as well as the official photographers - lined up here for the discus competition and I think the volunteer is there to warn of incoming missiles if the discus throwers go off course.


I hadn’t realised that there is some form of competition taking place all the time and often 2 events with the jumps and throws taking place while the races are run.  Add in the rituals at the start of each race and then the medal ceremonies, there was plenty to watch all night.

We were sitting near the 2nd bend so had a great view on the longer races (200m and 800m), with runners


and para wheelchairs (1 500m) won by David Weir by several wheelchair lengths (in 3rd place in this photo). I enjoyed seeing para sports incorporated into the event.


We were also well placed for the long jump action (the rain had stopped by the end of the competition)


and we were directly opposite the finishing line (shown by the arrow)  which was great for watching the action (but hard to capture)


we were also opposite the bank of seats for athletes (in lovely colour blocks) and media


and of course all of the winners do a lap so that everyone sees them – you can hear their progress as a cheer follows them around.  Here Nijel Amos who won the 800m, enjoys the cheers with the 3rd place South African – lovely to see how well the athletes get on once the race is over


Have you been to an athletics event?  i will definitely be looking for tickets when international events next come to a venue near me. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

zoom in on fringe

August in Edinburgh means the Fringe festival with over 3 000 shows and crowds of performers seeking an audience, meaning a lovely creative buzz on the Royal Mile

and amazing balloon creations - that is a hat

week 33 and I'm thrilled at new people joining, regular sharers and those who play along occasionally

Monday, August 11, 2014

around the village

after our welcome to the athlete’s village lets have a bit of a wander, starting with the village green which was the hub with a space for fun events, the avenue of flags and surrounded by key places like the medical clinic and dining room.


One of the funniest events was the mascot race which was open to any team mascot – some teams bring a full mascot outfit and a few bought one when they heard about the race (and yes one of the mascots will feature again in my scavenger hunt photos).  The meeting in the top left photo had us clutching our sides with laughter – one of the volunteers had a trainee guide dog for the blind with him and they came along the watch the mascots; well the cat mascot wandered near the dog who sniffed it and got quite excited so the cat mascot stopped to speak to the dog and ended up rolling on the ground with a very happy dog.


Behind the village green were some more photo opportunities with a statue of the games mascot – Clyde the thistle and a clever painting that looked 3D through a camera lens (modelled by 2 of the Samoan athletes)


Moving off around the village I enjoyed the different ways in which each country decorated their space.  Scotland, as the host, were central and as well as lots of flag bunting, they had decorated the end of their Porto cabin offices


other decorations I liked included the dragon logo used by Wales, the New Zealand maps filled with local phrases, the stylised bird of paradise in Papua New Guinea’s banners, the Manx cat cut-outs around the Isle of Man houses (home of the tail less Manx cat) and the inflatable giraffes outside the Tanzanian office.


The village is in the city centre but the site is bounded by the river and the Samoan houses were on the river edge so we had this lovely rural looking view from the houses.  There was a pair of storks on the river and I saw several foxes walk along the pathway, seemingly oblivious to the bustle.  That big fence will be removed when the site is handed over as housing so people will have access to the river side pathway.


and finally on a more mundane, but important note, there were trios of bins everywhere so all compostable and re-cyclable items were separated from the general waste


Hope you enjoyed these glimpses of the village.  Later in the week I’ll share my spectator experience at the athletics and next week I have some photos of life as a volunteer in the village

Friday, August 8, 2014

welcome to the village

the official team welcome seems a good place to start my stories from 3 weeks of volunteering in the Commonwealth Games in the athletes’ village. 

Each team was invited to a welcome ceremony which started with the team (dressed in their finery) parading into the international zone (yes this photo will appear again for the scavenger hunt). My team (Samoa) sang as they walked into our session, which we shared with Jamaica (their famous sprinters were absent), Singapore and Tonga


then we were entertained by the National Youth Theatre with a tale of kites, young love and festivals


Then the village chieftain (a role shared by several retired athletes) welcomed each team with an exchange of gifts (Samoa gave a kava bowl and received a quaich – both vessels used to share festive drink so an appropriate pairing)


and then the national anthem and flag raising for each country (so everyone hears it at least once during the games)


and then time for a few more formal photos


and a group photo on the village green (some athletes missed this as they were at training)

So now you have been welcomed to the village we are ready for more stories on life in the village and at the competition over the coming weeks

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

zoom in on the window

a final zoom from the Commonwealth Games athletes village, a bity grainy as I only had my phone camera on me when I walked by this site and had to capture it for my zoom in zoom out.

there were often items hangin out of the upstairs windows in the houses - flags, drying clothes, airing boots - but I was amazed to see medals - 4 gold medals - hanging our of the windows

looking forward to see what you are all sharing this week (and fingers crossed the linky works as it is meant to this week - it seems to have suffered a time lag several times recently)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Summing up July

this really was a month of 2 halves – 11 days of ‘normal’ and then the rest of the month full on as a volunteer for the Commonwealth Games

In the early part of the month I

* posted 6 postcards for Sian’s postcard pile swap (and I know that 1 of them arrived).  I received 5 fabulous postcards and sent a card to 4 of them (the 5th had no contact details)


* watched all 13 episodes in series 1 of Orange is the New Black, watching 2 a night most nights as I was drawn into the stories and enjoyed the range of characters and excellent acting

* spent 1 day in Dundee to celebrate my nephew’s graduation after 4 years at University


* crocheted 7 blanket squares and 12 pocket bears


And then I took my first of 34  train journeys between home and  Glasgow and the Commonwealth Games village and got to know 6 train stations for the various routes. 


In the village I worked with the 61 athletes and support staff who make up Team Samoa in their 6 houses. I’ll share more about my experience later this month when I’ve finished and had a rest.


I was a spectator 5 times for 8 sports (rugby 7s, weightlifting, discus, long jump, hurdles, wheelchair racing, running, road cycle race)


I also joined over 700 000 people in over 2 000 cinemas around the world to watch 5 retiring comedians in their last show (the live streaming of the final Monty Python show) and laughed lots.

I was so pleased to be able to access my kindle library on my tablet during all those train journeys and read 6 books ranging from Vikings in Scotland to police tracking down murderers in Aberdeen to a women saving orphans in 1940s Burma.

Thanks to Julie for the fabulous meme Month in Numbers which encourages us to look back over the month wearing abacus glasses