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Side Streets of Aberdeen

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It was a bright but chilly day today; Steve and I headed into town on a fruitless hunt for birthday presents (any suggestions what to get for the mother who has everything and/or a very stylish and creative friend?!). Perhaps we would have been more successful if we could have faced fighting our way along the main road instead of sneaking around down side streets, staring up at the rooftops!

(picture of me as a GIANT by Steve)

The Week I’ve Had (30th January 2011)

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Slàinte mhath! Steve, MR Willox and I celebrated Burns Night with haggis, whisky and the traditional Toast to the Lassies (as the only lassie present, I insisted).

Lunch with Karen at Provost Skene’s House. I asked my friend Pauline about the creepy face on the corner of the house (she tends to know about this stuff – or at least know where to find out), and the three stories she’s heard are these:

  1. It’s Baillie Alexander Ragg, a magistrate of the City. The house was on the corner of Broad Street and Ragg’s Lane (now long gone). There are some very similar faces on the old well by the Castlegate which are also believed to be him.
  2. It’s Homer and was put there to advertise the bookseller who owned the building.
  3. George Russel, a sculptor living at no 35, had a grudge against a neighbouring ironmonger, Alexander Stephen, and to spite him modelled a likeness of the tradesman showing his most irate, unhappy face. The caricature was then put in a prominent position designed to infuriate Stephen every time he passed Ragg’s Lane.

She got the details from this book.

I crocheted a flower! So pleased with myself!

I just liked the light on Friday afternoon.Walking home from Sunday brunch at Papagallo’s, we spotted Santa stuck in an empty shop. Further down the street – much more excitingly – shiny reflective things. Ooh!

Aberdeen to Glasgow

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On Saturday, Lola and I had a daytrip to Glasgow. Our train left Aberdeen at half past six in the morning and my plan was to take pictures out of the window as the sky changed from black to blue; I didn’t realise I would also be watching the world change from green to white. We were stunned when snow suddenly appeared on the ground just past Dundee – it was so cold down south/out west, but incredibly pretty. Anyway, here you go… Scotland, from dark to light:

And reaching Glasgow Queen Street at nine o’clock:

(note: I love some of these pictures and I hope that you do, too, but I’d like to take this chance to talk about copyright. Namely, that I hold it. If you’re using any of these images IN YOUR BLOG please ensure I’m properly credited, that this post/ is linked to and that you make me aware that you have done so; if you would like to use them FOR ANY OTHER PURPOSE, please ask my permission first – I’m very approachable, really! Thanks!)

The Week I’ve Had (23rd January 2011)

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A busy few weeks have caught up with me; I was shattered at work on Monday. Luckily, I had a gingerbread man and a nice cup of tea to get me through it.

It’s been a chilly but otherwise lovely week – bright blue skies; little fluffy clouds; gorgeous sunsets. This is Wednesday’s, taken through the window at work (hence the pale line across it – darn reflections!).

I first saw these illustrated scaffolding covers in Edinburgh a year or so ago – I love them! This one’s over an old theatre in Aberdeen which is finally being restored after decades of sitting empty.

I spotted this heart on the way to work on Friday. I know it’s from one of those pairs of jeans which anyone who’s hit puberty can’t get past their ankles, but by itself I found it quite distressing.

On Saturday, Lola and I went to a crochet, knitting and sewing class at The Life Craft in Glasgow which was heaps of fun – crochet is my new [temporary] favourite craft. There are at least two posts’ worth of Glasgow/travelling photos to share with you this coming week but, in the meantime, here are our winter woollies on the train and Lola hard at work:

And today, The Green Hornet and veggie haggis. Happy Sunday everyone!

The Week I’ve Had (9th January 2011)

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There was an incident with the manky old 80s light fitting in the kitchen melting, followed by a mad dash to B&Q for a replacement:

Tuesday was the last day of the holidays so Steve, some friends and I sought solace in a pub lunch.

The pub was Old Blackfriars which is a particular favourite – lots of quirky details and interesting history (though unfortunately it’s no longer explained on the back of the menu); proper pub food.

Other than that, it’s been a bit of a struggle this week getting back into work-dictated sleep patterns, ploughing through I Capture the Castle in time for my book group, and getting ready for my first exhibition… which opens TODAY!!! Expect many, many related pictures very soon! I could not be more excited!

Lola’s Party, Cellar 35

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Saturday night was Lola‘s birthday party at Cellar 35 on Rosemount Viaduct.

Having always had to compete with Christmas for festive attention, she had never made a fuss of her birthday before; this year, a few of her friends talked her into having a proper celebration – and it turned out to be a wonderful night!

Here I am with the birthday girl:

It was a snowy night, so we were all glammed up in kneehigh boots and wellies:

Sue made cute little lactose-free cupcakes:

And Lola went snap happy with her camera:

The venue is this tiny little basement, kitted out like a bohemian slacker’s living room. Here are a few shots I took on the night:

And one from Steve:


The Week I’ve Had (19th Dec 2010)

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I love the way the light’s hitting Marischal College (the spiky, scaffolding-clad building).

On Wednesday, Steve took me out for a belated birthday dinner. Yeah, I can drag my birthday out for a fortnight when I really try. I think that’s it for this year, though…

Thursday, we had an open day at work:

The snow reappeared overnight. This little guy was waiting outside work when I got to the office on Friday morning:

And I took these trudging home from Lola’s superduper birthday party (pics to follow in a separate post) on Saturday:

Snowy Afternoon

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So, the snow’s back and we all got sent home from work this afternoon because of it. Even me. And I live less than five minutes walk away.

I took the meandering route back home…


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Yes, that’s a man in a kilt.

No, I don’t know why.

Ever since I bought my flat, I’ve been a little obsessed with rundown old buildings. I had to have work done on the roof; now I look for slipped slates everywhere. I spent a fortune replacing rotten windowframes; now I look for signs of damage all around me.

This place in particular breaks my heart. Whenever I pass it – and the scary old men who drink inside it aren’t standing at the doorway, smoking and swearing – I stop and gaze at it mournfully. Look at all the slates cascading down the roof. Look at the crumbling windowframes and the cracked panes of glass. I know it would cost a fortune to repair, but I also know it’s such a beautiful old building in such an important location that the owners would be hard pushed not to get grant funding for the work. I wish they would.

When I was about nineteen, I attended a surprise Significant Birthday celebration for my then-boyfriend’s aunt in the function room upstairs. There were sandwiches with the crusts cut off, balloons, excitable children, and countless drunken uncles asking me when I was going to be made an honest woman of. My then-boyfriend and I snuck off a little before midnight to watch Fight Club at a cinema which has now turned into a gym. But former cinemas could be a whole post unto themselves…

In the mean time, for beautiful shots of rundown buildings, take a look at The Kingston Lounge. If I was wealthy, I would buy so many of these prints.

Bonus Sunday

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The original plan for today had been to sit in our flat, watching window fitters rip great big holes in it and feeling the icy gale force winds blast through it. But when that plan fell apart (see previous post), Steve and I decided to make the most of an unexpected day of freedom.

We slithered across the slush to Belmont Street:

This was the view from our table in the Wild Boar:

We got off quite lightly, having to postpone the window installation. We have friends who can’t get back to Aberdeen, can’t get out of Aberdeen, can’t get out of their homes in the country, in one case can’t get to their home in the country, and who are in the middle of trying to move house in this weather. The thick snow’s one thing, but the gale force winds are making it so much worse. It doesn’t look too bad in these pictures because this is the city centre and the worst of the snow has been trodden under foot, but (judging by our friends’ photos and stressed out Facebook updates) it’s properly deep a few streets over!

Luckily for us, we were in the warm pub enjoying lunch:

After lunch, we headed to Union Terrace to see if the International Market was actually on. We were not surprised to find that it was missing:

But that didn’t matter because we headed to the cinema instead and laughed our way through Megamind. Much more fun than noisy home improvements!

The Week I’ve Had (28 Nov 2010)

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Mother Nature does not take orders from asphalt.

Wednesday saw the first real snow of the winter. Lovely to look at, not so great to walk in… and ever so slightly alarming when you’re due to have new windows fitted in a matter of days. Scaffolding? Hazardous when icy? Are you sure…?

To distract myself from the bad weather, I started reading The Worst Date Ever by Jane Bussmann. It sounded like chick-lit but bore a recommendation from Jon Snow of all people (non-UK readers: he’s a silver fox newsreader with a fondness for lurid ties). He was not wrong! This is the first book in a long time that I haven’t felt the need to put down every other chapter so I could check whether anything more entertaining was happening on Facebook.

In between reading, I actually went in to work this week. These are some random snaps I took on my way back in on Thursday lunchtime – I think Marischal College (right) looks like a spaceship sticking out of the scaffolding like that, especially now that 500+ years’ worth of grime has been sandblasted off it and it’s back to its original silvery shades.

As for the orange berries, I just liked the vivid colours.

Thursday evening, I parcelled up a load of teabags and a tea cup photo for my partner in the Fancy Tea Swap 2010. I hope she likes them!

Friday was book group at Rhona’s flat (the location of these Starburst-coloured candles). This month we were reading This is Paradise!: My North Korean Childhood by Hyok Kang, the true story of a young boy growing up amidst and eventually escaping from poverty and famine in North Korea.

Today – much to my surprise given the gale force winds and thick layer of snow – six cheery window fitters arrived at 7am sharp. Unfortunately, the scaffolder who was supposed to be coming back to fit all the safety nets and handrails he forgot about last week (being beheaded by runaway roof slates could ruin somebody’s Christmas, apparently) did not show up, so at half past eight the cheery window fitters went away again and I was left with my condensation-soaked single glazing and rotten windowframes. *sigh*


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A big welcome to anyone who’s found me through the lovely Sometimes Sweet!

For those of you who are currently going, “Eh?”: today, I’m giving a little blog tour of my home city over here. I’m thrilled to have my pictures included on Dani’s gorgeous blog, and especially excited to be involved this week as Dani has been introducing her brand new baby boy to the world! Pop on over and take a look around!

Where I’ve Been…

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Yesterday, Motorhead at an enormous conference centre:

Today, working at a 1920s ballroom:

The combination of late night/early morning has left me knackered so tonight I’m not straying far from the sofa. Season 5 of How I Met Your Mother arrived in today’s post so I think I’m all set for a cosy night in!

Chills Up My Spine

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I hope everyone’s having a spoooooooooooooky Halloween!

I spotted this chap on the way back from a pub lunch with Steve. It was a traditional, old man style pub and I found it a bit odd to see it decked out in black and orange paraphenalia:

Halloween’s only recently become a big deal in the UK (the internet’s probably a factor in that!); when I was little, it extended to making a costume out of bin liners and bed sheets, inflicting poorly memorised poetry upon elderly neighbours, and going home with a bagful of peanuts and pennies. The parties and decorations that we’re starting to tie in with it are still a surprise to me.

That said, I spent my twenties dying my hair various shades of black, so any excuse to don a silly outfit and watch vampire movies is fine by me!

Darth Elvis and the Tattoine Trio

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Last night, we headed into space to watch Darth Elvis and the Tattoine Trio. Yes, indeed: Elvis songs with slightly mutated Star Wars themed lyrics. Fantastic.

Castles, Cathedrals and Whatnot

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I’ve been digging through my archive on request from a friend of a friend; I really need to take more castle pictures!



This is a tiny file; I wouldn’t like to print over 8×6″.

Aberdeen Town House


The Beach Ballroom

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So, one of the things I’ve been ridiculously busy with this week was last night’s Bowling for Soup gig. The support were The Dollyrots (fun!), A (retro!) and Forever the Sickest Kids (Oh. Right.).

More importantly, though, the gig was at The Beach Ballroom. So pretty!

I’m going to try to sneak a few well lit shots in a few weeks’ time when I’m working a conference there, but in the mean time, here are a handful of snaps from last night:

I had to share this carpet – amazing!

Sweet mirrors!

October Sunset

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I do love a rooftop sunset shot (especially when it’s the first time in weeks that there’s been a sun to set).

It’s Cold Out

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(cup of tea picture by Steve)

Remember when it seemed like a good idea to build children’s playparks out of concrete? No? Here’s a refresher:

Steve and I found ourselves up there because I wanted to take pictures of the view much more than I wanted to get to Asda to do the shopping:

And, just because I took it, here’s a random picture of shiny colours showing through a pint glass:

Happy Sunday Evening. Where did the weekend go?

Old Aberdeen

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My friend Lola lives right beside the Aberdeen University campus. It’s absolutely gorgeous around there so yesterday we went for a short walk with our cameras.

First, we explored the grounds of an old nursery school which is disused and for sale just up the hill:

Then we explored the High Street and a couple of the university buildings which sit along it:

And then I realised my spare camera battery was in my other bag!

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