Taking photos here feels tremendously successful, as I’m snapping them – it’s only when I get home and pore through them that I realise it is just one landscape after another, poorly represented. I’m starting to realise why there are artists that paint landscapes all their lives.
One of my goals (not yet achieved), has been to capture a ‘complete’ image of the Scottish countryside. In order to do so, many things need to come together; cows and sheep (although one would probably do), gorse bushes, dry stone walls, green (oh, so green) grass, rolling hills, a stone building, and, preferably, the faint outline of wind turbines on the horizon. A glimpse of a live hedgehog, badger, pheasant or deer would give me a triple word score, since it is impossible to capture the way the lambs wiggle their tails as they feed. Occasionally, I see an opportunity, but it inevitably presents itself when Jimmy and I are hurtling down a single lane track.
It is important to take advantage of opportunities here. When I arrived, I wanted a photo of the lines of daffodils that hug the road as I drive into Eaglesfield, both to prove to Jimmy that they were still in flower (‘thair all deid noo‘), and so I could remember smiling as I drove past them each evening. Then, just like that, they had all slumped and browned, and were no longer. This was taken on my first day here:
I also wanted one of Chapelcross, the site of Scotland’s first commercial nuclear power station (opened in 1959 and decommissioned in 2004), with the hazy sun suspended low and heavy beside it, as it has been every evening as I zip around the back streets, trying to beat nightfall. But the sun is now nowhere to be seen.
On my last night here, Jimmy and I ate yet another magnificent dinner.
And looked through some of his photos together. Opportunities taken, moments captured in time.
They don’t come any better than this.