Henry Meynell Rheam: The Sorceress (1898)
The Scots Language Centre posted a photo this week that gave me a new motto:
This windae is in a leebrary in Aigle (‘Edzell’) in Angus. Caw cannie an flee laich is an auld saw that micht be set in Inglis as “Go carefully and don’t take on too much.” Tak tent that the ‘apologetic apostrophe’ kythes in the spellings here. The spelling laigh shuid be soondit as ‘lay-ch’ (wi the ‘ch’ as in loch).
Photie taen bi Steve Murdoch.
The Proverbs of Scotland give a slightly different version:
And I was struck by a similar note in Jessica Abel’s email today (if you’re not following her posts on making a success of your creative life, you’re missing out) lamenting how easy it is to forget these resolutions:
I keep telling you that taking on too much is a recipe for things not happening, so why do I think I’m immune? I’m coughing my lungs up; I’m clearly not immune to anything. Life has taught me this lesson over and over again. When will I learn?
I am doing better on the whole at not taking on ever-more stuff. I know that seems ironic given yesterday’s announcement, but the way I’m handling that project is the model for how to do things now: clear timelines (giving myself space to finish what I’m working on now), careful collaboration with trusted people (knowing you can count on people is half the battle), not doing everything myself (this is opening the doors for others).
But there are always temptations: the more I delve into Medieval Scots literature and culture, the more intrigues I find, like Nicnevin and the Weird Sisters…
I dropped by the McManus to check out what was on and caught the Reflections on Celts exhibit which combined a few of their own treasures with borrowed items from the British Museum and the National Museums of Scotland. You can see my pictures here (along with the other two exhibits on) and read more about it here. I was unable to resist buying things in the shop but mostly kept myself to buying cards to send off to other people and a book on medieval Scotland because that is a woeful lack in my knowledge (and a potential site of new research). As you can see, Duncan’s Riders of the Sidhe has come down from the upstairs gallery to gallop through this exhibit.
Grades are in and I am safely come to Dundee. There were happy family greetings, gifts, and packages waiting — and even a bit of sun. And much silliness, of course. Now #tea and the opportunity to idle and write. There’s time to let much of the madness of a harsh year slip away, if only to return to the resistance later strengthened.
At passport control, the fellow asked ‘Purpose of your visit?’
‘To avoid having to hear about that orange idiot twenty-four hours a day.’
Always a delight to visit the McManus Galleries in Dundee. I visit my favourites like Rossetti’s Dante’s Dream and usually the Sidhe Riders though that seems to be wandering again. I’m always interested, too, in seeing what’s new. There’s a terrific drawing exhibit on with a wide variety of images and styles called Draw the Line: Old Masters to the Beano. There’s also a showcase of new acquisitions which included someone who just bowled me over completely: Frances Walker.
This is just a glimpse and probably cannot convey how utterly stunning these landscapes of Antarctica are or how agog the prints she made as cards will render you but trust me. If you are in the area, you need to see these. Absolutely breathtaking! I swear they made the room colder by putting you into the glacial waters. Her diary in the case made me want to break the glass and flip through it to see everything through her eyes. The exhibit catalogue (which I guess is actually from the original showing in Aberdeen) also has her paintings of the islands in the west, especially Skye but also Orkney so I must have it — and was heartbroken they didn’t have it in the shop (though apparently they’re trying to get it).
Absolutely amazing that she gave the paintings to the McManus:
Frances Walker is acknowledged as one of Scotland’s finest artists. Inspired by wild and remote places, she captures the edges of civilisation – scenes of rugged coastlines and craggy beaches. She had long wanted to visit the Antarctic and realised her ambition after being presented with the James McBey Travel Award in 2007. The result is a series of paintings in which she evokes the dramatic icescapes of Antarctica. It is the most significant gift by an artist to Dundee’s nationally significant fine art collection for over 25 years.
Here are a couple videos. I cannot tell you how much I love her work. I need more!
Grades are in, things are done, or sorted or packed away until autumn in New York and I am on my way back to Dundee today. My bags are full of electronics, cables, books, folders, notebooks and, where there’s room, clothes. Many projects to work on, but there will be fun and reading, too. When did reading become such a precious luxury?
As always the journey is a bit circuitous because both Hudson and Dundee are a bit off the beaten track. I’m slightly concerned because the airline is already begging for volunteers to rebook longest leg. Supposedly I have my seat confirmed but travel is always such an ordeal these days. Fingers crossed it will all go as smoothly as planned and I will arrive before the kids get out of school tomorrow.
Up for grabs today: the 2nd Hard Boiled Witch saga, Toil and Trouble! Collect them all. Just 99¢/99p each (buy UK) for all the adventures of Dundee’s favourite witch.
Click the picture to buy!
Hecate Sidlaw finds herself caught between a wannabe witch and one of the oldest hereditary powers in the land. When she and her familiar Henry end up as seconds in a magical duel, will anyone be left standing at the end of the shootout? Enter the dark streets and weird magic of HARD-BOILED WITCH and your life will never be quite the same. This is the second episode in the short story series.
Also, be sure to wish my sweetie @lochee a Happy Birthday 🙂 wish I could be there to bake him a cake.