Sunset at Leith

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Sitting in a fish restaurant by the harbour in Leith, near Edinburgh, we forgot about eating as we witnessed a superb sunset.

The layers of colour seemed to mimic the shape of the hills on the opposite shore.

A meal with a view….the food was pretty good too!

 

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Broccoli overhead

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This may be a reminder to eat your greens, inspired by the overhead view of what appears to be a large head of broccoli.

In fact, it’s a shot of the lush vegetation seen on the Hanging Bridges rain forest walk I did in Costa Rica last year.

I also saw a snoozing snake, its skin coloured like savoury sprinkles or nutty seeds.

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Here be Goblins

ET Goblins State Park

It’s hot here in the UK. Far hotter than is usual for June. Cool rooms away from the sunny side of the house are a good place to loiter after a brief spell in the sun or under the shade on the south-facing patio. The current heatwave got me thinking about seriously hot places I’ve visited. One of them was Goblin Valley State Park in Utah.

With the sun beating down and the essential sunhat on my head, I explored this weird and wonderfully evocative State Park, my imagination running overtime as I snapped different formations of the hoodoos which fill it.

Shown above is what I named “ET”.

Others seen, as I wandered around this amazing space, I dubbed “Friendly Dog”, “Council Meeting”, “Eagle or Tortoise” and “Donald Duck”. You may see something different in them – it’s all down to the imagination.

 

I found a video of The Killers on YouTube, singing “Human” in Goblin Valley. I could look at this to remind me of this amazing place and how hot it was when I was there. Or I could, in this current heatwave, just go into my garden where the grass is taking on a parched, yellow appearance after weeks with little rain and scorching sunshine.

Dog friendly

Having recently embarked on another tour of dog ownership after a pause of five years, we’ve decided that this time, we’re not going to patronise establishments unless they are dog-friendly.

With our previous dogs, in previous years, it was often a matter of feeling like a third class citizen,  being excluded and not wanted (“No Dogs” signs) or being consigned to sitting outside the pub or cafe concerned. Now that’s OK when the weather is fine, but it’s a no-go area when it’s not, like when you’re visiting a town as a tourist, it’s pelting with rain and you’re wanting a drink.

So this time around, unless the cafe, pub or other establishment is dog-friendly, we’re passing by and not spending our money there.

It’s very different in France. Travelling with our last dog, we tended to ask if we could bring the dog into cafes and restaurants, and were greeted with a surprised, “Mais, bien-sur!” (“Of course!”). Our dog was even offered a drink of water in a champagne bucket in one restaurant.

Things have changed in the UK though. There are many more places advertising their dog-friendliness with a notice in the window or on the door. One cafe in our local town welcomes dogs, and has a short set of expectations for dog owners and dogs displayed on the window. All of them are commonsense. Dog-friendly cafes, restaurants, beaches etc. are listed on line – a quick search before a day out will indicate where you and dog will be welcome – and there are apps, too, giving similar information.

There seem to be many more dogs about these days – things have moved on in the five years we’ve been dogless; equipment, toys and tolerance of dogs has come on in leaps and bounds. A local shopkeeper, on hearing we had a new dog, said “Bring him in to see us, we welcome dogs and it’s good for his socialisation.” Said new dog was perfectly behaved when we did visit, sitting quietly and proving that some of the training was taking effect!

The bottom line for me, as a dog owner, is that the owner is always responsible. The dog shouldn’t be blamed. It should be on a lead and under the control of the owner.

But don’t get me started on people who pick up their dog’s poos in a plastic bag and then hang the bag on a nearby tree branch or leave it on the ground. There’s another blog post in that, for when I’m in need of a rant!

 

Scruffy baby Goldfinch

This is the time of year when the fledglings are feeding independently. I like seeing them on the feeders; they always look scruffy, dusty and dowdy as their full plumage hasn’t yet come through.

This baby Goldfinch with a wonky wing feather and an emerging feathery ruff on its chest has been tucking in to the niger seeds quite a lot, then flying off to perch nearby before returning for another feast.

Baby Coal Tits and Great Tits have been feeding on sunflower seeds, looking faded as yet. But when the adult plumage appears for all these young birds, they will look superb.

Right now though, it’s plumage in progress.

Empathy

I’m touched by the truth in this poem. Connection with others, other beings, with the world of nature are all so important yet can be scary for many in these days of less trust, less open-ness, less one-ness.

The Italian psychologist, Roberto Assagioli, says empathy means approaching the other “…with sympathy, with respect, even with wonder, as a ‘Thou’ and thus establishing a deeper inner relationship.”

(quoted from his book “The Act of Will – a Guide to Self-Actualisation and Self-Realisation”)

I can't believe it!

Following is another great poem by Steve Taylor in his latest newsletter. It expresses in poetic form an important truth behind much of what is ‘wrong’ with the world today. The polarity and separation evident in much of today’s politics suggests that we have a long way to go.

Empathy

If you have no empathy, you see enemies everywhere –
when others come close, you sense danger;
so you strengthen your defences and protect your resources
afraid they might steal what’s rightfully yours.

But if you have empathy, you see brothers and sisters;
when others come close, you sense kinship;
so you welcome them, embrace them, open your life up to them,
knowing they’re entitled to share what’s yours.

If you have no empathy, you feel incomplete
and the goal of your life is to accumulate –
to build an empire of achievements and possessions
to try to make yourself…

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