Saturday, 28 January 2012

Apple to the rescue!

I was about to trash this blog as I was having problems with the site.  My browser not supported by Blogger!  Ok, ..I usually use Macs unless I'm on this wee netbook and cursed to use Windows...yeeeuch...but Apple don't do a netbook!  So needs must.  Anyway downloaded Safari and hey presto Blogger works again.  Maybe an i-Pad is the real answer.  Might get one for my birthday.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

A New Year again! What happened to 2011?

I can't believe it is 2012 and I have not written an entry in this blog since Feb 2010!!!!
Life goes on but I am in a much better place despite increasing uncertainty at work where yet again we are going through a major re-organisation. Never ends, but this time I don't think my section will survive quite as unscathed as we have in the past. Already lost a member of staff who has been seconded to another dept to help them survive after losing experienced members of their team! Crazy times but my forays into Zen and Shamanism have given me the tools to survive in the midst of the madness around me. The tragic part is watching those who are struggling to cope. Good people who have given a lot being treated badly. At least that is how I see it, I am sure the visionaries would give you a different interpretation of it all.
I continue to enjoy my time spent in the great outdoors although I really need to try and get out more. The weather at this time of year does not help nor to the very short days we have this far north. It has been a wet and windy winter with not so much snow this year. Feels dark and oppressive in the overcast and wet days that merge into long spells where venturing out does not have a lot of appeal. Excuses I know..never used to hold me back. I made the mistake of trying out a brief exploration of Second Life last year and I have to confess to becoming a little addicted to paddling a sea kayak through virtual seas and archipelagos. Not to mention a spell base jumping and exploring the large "homeland sims" on horseback!! Nuts I know. So if you value the little free time you have stay clear of Second Life.....despite the frustrations of the crude graphics it is surprisingly compelling. You have been warned so don't blame me if you get sucked in and can't escape.
I will try and resurrect this blog and create some, hopefully more readable, entries. Best wishes to anyone who reads this. Take care and have fun.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Tempus Fugit

Slioch - Torridonian sandstone overlying Lewisian gneiss basement.
These are old rocks. In fact the shallow "valley" that you can see under the mountain so to speak, is an ancient landform that was subsequently filled with the sediment now forming the mountain and re-exposed. Uplift and erosion.

Mind bending stuff. That valley I can walk in was originally a valley millions of years ago; buried then re-exposed again.
The area I visited, and shown below, is at the bottom right of the picture

It has been a while, time to write just hasn't been available to me. Way too busy at work and I am also just starting to get to grips with taking my employers to task over the re-grading exercise which left me a grade lower than I feel is appropriate. I now have the support of my head of dept so that is promising though it will involve an awful lot of work with only limited chance of success. A lot at stake salary wise and pension wise. That is why I'm sitting here on Saturday morning putting off time till I can face wading into the pile of documents next to me

It has been a very cold winter here this year and there is still snow on the ground, albeit rather wet and slushy now. Although I live in the Highlands of Scotland I am only 74 meters above sea level and we usually don't get hit hard with snow. This year, however it started before Christmas and we had deep snow lying until well into January; this week it is back again and the roads and railways have been closed for a spell with the snow drifting in strong winds. Good weather for staying in I suppose.
Last weekend, however, was beautiful; cold and dry with all day sunshine so I went out west for field trip looking at the ancient basement metamorphic rocks which underly the Torridonian sandstone mountains of this area at Loch Maree.

Dark hornblende gneiss of igneous origin.
This rock forms a dyke like structure cutting through a more typical foliated gneiss as shown in the next photograph.

This gneiss shows obvious banding and the rock is shown in the same orientation as you would have seen it in the field.
It is a spectacular area, full of wildlife and amazing mountain scenery. At this time of year I had it almost all to myself. A brief window of fine weather in amongst the long spell of bad weather and difficult driving conditions. A gift to be out there. Wish I was there now!
Well I must go - think I'll take a break and start work after lunch and keep going till tea time. You can tell I am keen, it is like starting to study for exams. Only I'm getting too old for it these days. I need my weekend to recover and re-connect with who I am.

One good thing for anyone reading my posts though is I have been too pre-occupied to write any poetry!! Could always post some of my old stuff I suppose. Only kidding.

Take care out there and have fun whenever the opportunity comes your way.

Friday, 7 August 2009

Time I was writing something for this blog! I have been busy recently but life has been good and I tend not to write so much when things are going well. There is definitely something therapeutic about writing. I guess its true what they say - its the process of writing not the content that is important in making you feel better. No doubt this is why many journal entries have that "poor me" quality, a point discussed in Tristine Rainer's book "The New Diary" where one journal writer talks about the "negative" vibe to much of her writing. The book explains how it is by writing this stuff that we let it free from our life and so move on, whereas people who try to avoid dealing with negative life events store up a lot of grief which will ultimately surface in some form or another. So, I for one will keep writing my worries away, it is doing me a power of good.
Struggling to write any poetry just now too - thank goodness for that you might say - but hey! it does me good and you don't have to read it. :) Just thought I would share this little gem which came to me a few weeks ago while out walking at lunchtime. It was a stressful day.
Narcosis is familiar to divers, it clouds your judgement and the effects are exacerbated by depth. You can end up believing that going deeper is ok when really it is time to bail out.


Again, I descend through the trees.
Free of work for an hour I try to unravel
the knot that holds me
in this seemingly eternal pattern.
Futilely seeking the future beyond that black veil
which hangs before me,
forever just beyond reach.
Like diving into the dark abyss of Loch Striven
all those years ago, (two lives soon to be lost there).
Perhaps, if I just turn around,
as then, I will see
the diffuse green light revealing my steep descent
into the blackness yet illuminating a way back
to a brighter, warmer place.

Pushing on down into the cold and dark
searching for - something?
Some knowledge of myself ?
Or seeking a purpose, something to make
the discomfort
and fear worthwhile.
The experience is everything, or so I once thought.
But now - older and in a job that no longer,
if it ever did, resonate with my sense of self
or what I want to become - takes me to new depths.
Feeling my way through this dark
uncomfortable place that erodes my soul -
yet makes everything possible for those I love.
Difficult decisions.
I could make them once; deep in the sea or high on the crag.
Why then, this agony of indecision as life slips between my fingers?
If only I could see just a bit further.
Maybe there is a light - a bit further
- a little deeper down.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Fairy Lochs

A post for Spiral Dancer - This is a magical wee spot up in the hills near you. You probably know it well but I was surprised to hear about it only 2 yrs ago. I think they are known as the Fairy Lochs. That is my wife and my mother on the wee island, back in 2007. It amazes me how well my mother gets around despite having only very limited vision left.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

A Good Day - (and still the sun shines)

Had a good day today; been getting reports back from my team about how our boss has been treating them. He is now trying to be pleasant to everyone - except me, but I was prepared for that. They have also stuck together and all told him they were upset by his behaviour. I have spoke to my Union Rep and if my informal attempts to tackle this fail I am ready to take this further through mediation and formal procedures if required. Hopefully it will not come to that.
Best of all is I have received a lot of support from other people not directly involved but who also have to work with this guy. I'll just have to wait and see what happens next. Never a dull moment!
Thanks for the comments Spiral D, I can see you have been in this situation before from what you write. I suspect you are right, the fall-out from this will last a while yet, even if things appear to settle quickly.

Monday, 29 June 2009

Bad To Worse

Sure that was a Jim Steinman LP back in the 70's. He was the guy who made Meatloaf famous by writing such great songs. Maybe it was Bad for Good - I don't remember.
Anyway, life is getting tough again, had to intervene at work when my boss started verbally abusing my team, the worst he has been since March. I went to see him and told him I would report him if he behaved like that again. Since then he has been going around being very nice to most of my staff, but only to undermine any case I might try to make against him. A slick bully, knows all the tricks, and everyone too intimidated to speak up in their own defence. He can barely speak to me at the moment, I think he feels betrayed by my intervention. He has lost face by having to back down and apologise, at least to some staff, and he will not forgive me for that. I'll just have to see what happens next. I have a meeting with a Union Rep tomorrow to get advice. All adds to the stress, but I had to do something. Who knows he might back off, he won't want an investigation for bullying just as he is contemplating retiring. It would be a severe dent to his ego if the complaint was upheld.
Enough griping and complaining, I had a good weekend last week; Went to the Scottish swine flu hot spot to visit my mother who was reasonably well, a nice long trip on the motorcycle despite some heavy showers. This weekend I went to roast on the west coast; took my tent and spent the night, returning on Sunday. Excellent weather and breezy enough to keep the midges away. See pic above.