I was pretty stationary during my last time off ( pretty stationery ). There seems to have been plenty to do in Kirkcudbright what with the Arts and Craft trail and musical goings on. When the weather is kind, the town is more picturesque than most, even when you've grown rather accustomed to it. It might only be at the end of my street but I still like to imagine how grand Maclellan's Castle must have looked in it's day. You can be sure the local laird would have had a bit more garden space between him and the rest of the town than there is now.
Even nearer is the Tolbooth. These days, a local art gallery and wee cafe, but when it was built, somewhere between 1625 and 1629, much of the town bureaucracy would have been conducted here. The building also included a jail which is famous for having imprisoned a local sailing captain, one John Paul Jones, for having flogged a man so badly he died. My American friends will of course know that he overcame this early hiccough in his career and later fought against Britain on behalf of America and is now known as one of the fathers of the United States navy.
As well as hosting art exhibitions, the building has a small collection of it's own on permanent display, several feature the Tolbooth itself, though mainly from the back. This one is by Helen S. Johnston.
This painting of the Tolbooth is by Scottish Colourist Samuel Peploe .He spent quite a lot of time in Kirkcudbright, too much it seems and came to dislike the place. Some of his later pictures of the town show up this dislike.
A one legged seagull enjoys the sun.
I wasn't in Kirkcudbright quite all of the time and on my regular visit to Dunoon, I passed through Largs, where I saw this chap guarding the coast.
Largs is the scene of Battle of Largs in 1263 in which the Scots under Alexander III defeated the Norwegian army of King Hakon Hakonerson and put an end to Viking problems on the mainland for ever. Actually, importance of the battle has rather varied over the years and it was more a series of running skirmishes than a battle and it is perhaps debatable who actually won, either way, in the later part of the century our Southern neighbours were certainly a greater problem than longships from across the North Sea. Whatever happened in the battle, Largs likes to make a feature of it's Viking connection.
This scale model of a Viking ship sits outside the Vikingar! museum.
Many years ago when I lived in Polmont, the local church had taken down it's bell and installed loud speakers in it's bell tower to blast out the sound of the church bell on a Sunday morning. I spotted that a Galloway church had done the same. Good grief - what's the problem with using the bell and a length of rope. How soulless!!
There are horse and cart rides round the town in the Summer. It drives past our house on the High Street. In Kirkcudbright, the High Street is only the High Street by name - the main centre and bulk of the town shops are elsewhere. Often the horse is heard to come past the house more often than cars - it must have been what town streets all sounded like before the motor car, rather pleasant really.
It wouldn't do to work the horse too hard and the owner has at least two horses that he rotates on the job.
Some years ago we had a comedy on the telly here called Bread where the family at the centre of the story used to reserve the piece of the road outside their own house for parking their car by placing police cones there. Round the corner, on Union Street, a similar attempt to reserve a piece of the public highway for private use - naughty.
A dalek outside our local bookshop. You can't spend all day exterminating things and a little time spent with a book is time well spent.
This dalek was spotted in a local cafe.
Last year or maybe the year before, time goes so quickly, the Parish Church had one of their gargoyles replaced. This is the new one starting to weather in a bit.
I was up in the balcony of the church looking at their stained glass (now that's not like me, is it!) and found the old gargoyle stashed with a few other items at the bottom of the stairs. Poor fellow - might be happier round at the museum.
Here's a busy fellow.
Look out! Pirates on the river.
Have no fear, it's just a boating regatta down by the harbour.
Inspired by Scotland's current most popular residents, this boat has got their own panda.
Most of my time off has been spent in music one way or another. Matt Seattle appeared at the Mill on the Fleet playing the Border Pipes, sometimes traditional tunes, sometimes not.
Most of the entertainment has been home grown. Cafe Largo played a charity concert in the parish Church featuring musicians from a few miles away to my next door neighbour.
Much of the music was connected to the Arts and Crafts trail. Here's my niece, Hazel, and Mary playing piano duets, also in the church.
Once a month in the Gordon House we have an open mic night. This month (the first one I've managed to get to for ages) there was an influx of Dalbeattie musicians to boast our numbers.
The Kirkcudbright Bay Hotel has recently fitted out it's courtyard with a bar and had been asking local tunesters round on a Sunday afternoon in the Summer to provide entertainment. Thanks to all my fellow folkies who came to support me through my afternoon there, but the last few weeks have also featured Stirring the Stoor and the Dykeside Ramblers (they have a CD at £4 each but no home on the web). A small delay in my working trip meant I could also catch 44 Blues at the 'Bay.