The man with the child in his eyes

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The author Adam Nicolson in "Sea Room":

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The poet and doctor William Carlos Williams talked of an adventure:

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Mukul Kesavan in "Looking through glass"

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Captain Charles Ryder in Brideshead Revisited about Sebastian:

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Max Porter in "Grief is the thing with feathers":

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"Dallas", Boat of Garten home of John and Mary Scott:

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'The diary that washed ashore': Alexander MacCallum Scott:

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Peter Davidson in 'Distance and Memory':

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Hale Bopp rescues John and Mary Scott's teddy bears:

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Norman MacCaig, from the poetry wall outside the Scottish Parliament:

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A.L. Kennedy in 'Serious Sweet'

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Richard Holloway in 'Leaving Alexandria'

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Max Porter in "Grief is the thing with feathers":

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'Meet you at the statue in an hour' by Peter for Sian

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Liz Lochhead in "Fugitive Colours"

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'Deeside Tales: the stories of a small glen' by Peter J Gordon

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A timely approach to the diagnosis of dementia championed by Peter

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Candia McWilliams on her father Colin McWilliams:

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Mukul Kesavan in "Looking through glass"

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Margaret Drabble in 'The Pure Gold Baby'

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Liz Lochhead in "Fugitive Colours"

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Kenneth C Calman in "A Doctor's Line"

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The gateway to Saturdays [removed]

This short film is about Carnock House, near Airth.

Carnock House was demolished in 1938. Only its old oak door survives.

Actually the old oak door was taken from the “Old Carnock” castle when “New Carnock” House was built by the King’s Master Mason in the 16th century.

Just imagine how many interesting folk with forgotten lives may have passed through this old door to Carnock!

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Old Carnock castle was at some stage re-named as “Bruce’s Castle”. Whilst now a ruin thousands pass it each day on the M9 but it is rarely noticed.

As ever I took the teddy “Hale Bopp” and the mouse “The Pawky Duke of Lost” on my recent trip to Carnock. We had a braw adventure through an imaginary gateway to oor Saturday.

The Carnock Door. Next time you go to the Stirling Smith gallery have a look at it. Touch it, ‘feel’ the time, and let your imagination go!

The gateway to Saturdays [removed] from omphalos on Vimeo.

Carnock, Stirlingshire, Easter Sunday 2016 (8)

Survives as a pair of Gate-posts

Edinburgh Zoo pandas

Next time you got to Edinburgh Zoo with your children or grandchildren stop at the entrance gates and look up. You will see a pair of Falcons. This film is about this gate. You might be surprised at the lost history the gate-posts survive to symbolise:

Edinburgh Zoo gate + Falcons from Falcon Hall

Survives as a pair of gate-posts far away from omphalos on Vimeo.

The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike

This film is based on a recent visit to Pitfour Estate near Mintlaw.

In essence the film is about the relationships between civilisation and nature.

The stars move still, time runs, the clock will strike. from omphalos on Vimeo

Pitfour Mansion House was demolished in 1929 however some of the designed landscape survives such as the Lake and the Temple of Theseus

At one point, when walking through partly cleared shrubbery I found that I was walking on a very large circular stone foundation. When I looked back at the the Pitfour plan I realised that I had walked around the base of the long-gone central fountain. This took my mind straight back to the fountain scenes in Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh.

The designer of Pitfour Estate was William S Gilpin who in his eighties was still working at creating the “Picturesque” for large estates such as Pitfour. At the time of working Gilpin was lampooned as “Dr Syntax” and the notion of the Picturesque presented as folly. I guess we can all agree that the passing of time – where civilisation meets the wonder of nature – can itself create the picturesque. Where one might not agree is on how much of the landscape should be “civilised”?

This film was made just after I had read “My Own Life” on the 17th century antiquary, John Aubrey. What a wonderful book this is, reminding us as it does, that history comes in small detail as well as large. It also reveals that biography is surely closer to the truth it carries the everyday thoughts, experiences and journeys.

I deliberately chose two songs for this film on Pitfour:

1) “Head over Heels” by Hawk (cover of the Tears for Fears song). The words might suggest how nature and civilisation can perhaps go head-over-heels. It might also suggest the Northern search for a “Southern elsewhere” – as in the surviving antiquities of Pitfour.

(2) “Utopia” by Goldfrapp. This song is haunting and is about the over-engineering of humankind. In Pitfour there is no DNA yet there is the haunting sense of past engineering and of past opulence now garnered by nature and somehow just as beautiful for that.

The Ferguson of Pitfour family shared origins with the Gordons and in particular a branch of the Gordon family that made clocks. The clock on the ruined steading has hands that have stopped at 3.15. I wonder what day, month and year the clock stopped and who was the last to wind it? However hard science tries we will never know. Numbers can mean everything and nothing.

I dedicate this film to Dr John Byrom my Tutor of Landscape Architecture when I studied at Edinburgh University.

Acknowledgements:
I take a notebook where ever I go. A commonplace book in which 
I gather observations, quotes and happenings. My films generally 
contain what I term "borrowed words from my betters". 

This film has quotes from Peter Davidson, Evelyn Waugh, Kenneth 
Calman, Julian Barnes, Gabriel García Márquez, Richard Holloway,
Will Cohu, John Aubrey, Adam Nicolson and Patrick Deeley

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