52and40/24 Galaxy Formation

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I grew up thinking I had an un-mathematic brain.  Yet as I’ve aged I’ve discovered my brain’s just fine with mathematics.   Science too.  Whaddya know till you retry?

Viewing an often chaotic world through an organised lens can be comforting.  I’ve found maths and science have overlap with understanding human behaviour, too.  This week, with help, I’m considering fractals;

‘Fractals are infinitely complex patterns… […] …self-similar across different scales. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos.  Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals.’

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Into randomness and order?  You’ll find more about #52and40 here.

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52and40/10 Air In Your Hair

I’ve never seen a Scottish Autumn and Winter as beautiful, so far, as what 2016’s given.

The beauty in these seasons is going a long, gentle way to keeping breathing through the humanity shitstorm we’ve seen happen around the world this year.  It’s easier to believe we’re not all doomed when nature’s on its best behaviour.

As my own shield and sword, I’ve added focus to health and work ethic. These things help my locus of control  stay internal so fear doesn’t breed with downtime to create mischief.

Everything else is weather.

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More info on #52and40 here.

52and39/42 Are You Straight?

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A few weeks ago on the number 16 going down Leith Walk a tourist got on, cleared her throat, radiated deep blushes and asked the driver in a beautifully accented voice, ‘Are you straight?‘, while pointing down the big road through the front windows.  The driver replied with,  ‘yes, I’m going straight on’.

She paid, thanked him, smiled a lot and humphed on her huge rucksack and hand luggage.

This week in France I told a farmer I only speak a petit pois of French.

52and39Good enough is amusing.  And good enough.

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The Birds & The Bees

There’s a lovely new, wee shop on Comiston Road in Morningside, just up from the landmark Morningside Clock.   I noticed this when I was running about one Saturday morning, ricocheting from one cash-point to another, trying to find an ATM with cash after what must’ve been a busy Friday night for taxis and local pubs.

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The stylish little oasis of Blackbird Studios‘ frontage called me over and from there, as they say, it was love.  Well, at the very least it was a continuing lusty affair with painted porcelain, stunning stationery and frankly anything with a bird on it that makes me smile and think whimsically (vultures & turkeys need not apply).

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It turns out Blackbird is run by a lady called Sheila Angus who’s moved back to Edinburgh after a long stint in Banchory where she was an art teacher at the local High School.  The very High School, in fact, that my kids would’ve gone to had we stayed in Banchory instead of moving to Edinburgh four years ago.  There’s one of those sliding doors moments again, see?  2015 has been full of them.  I’d never met Sheila before (the kids were in primary school when we left the Aberdeenshire Hood) but I was really pleased to meet her in her new setting and to have a gander among creativity while marvelling at how tiny Scotland is; city or not, most folk here are barely separated by six scones in a tea-room never mind the zoomed out, six degrees, global separation chain of connectedness.

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Anywho, Sheila invited me to her Summer Exhibition Opening the following week where I got a fab chance to wander again, take some photos and to meet another local business – Edward and Irwyn  – whose little workshop with stable door on Morningside Drive has intrigued me in passing every time I’ve driven by over the last few months.  More on them below.

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So, the lowdown on Blackbird Studios according to me is as follows;

Sheila’s business and art are a welcome addition to a Morningside shopping environment that seems to have gone a bit highly-priced-charity-shop-hysterical in recent times.  Shops like Sheila’s help the balance and are essential for keeping the street relevant to a range of shoppers.  Sheila has created and chosen a fantastic range of items and the shop’s vibe is relaxed and non pushy – a total hit with me.  I get the feeling that in a year or so Sheila will be firmly established in the Edinburgh arts and crafts network and the shop will daisy chain into lots of ideas and talent in and around the city.  It already has the feel of a hub for shoppers & artists who appreciate unpretentious, accessible originality – no mean feat in a short time-scale.

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My favourite things were;

1. A Prism of Starlings stationery

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2.  The felt & denim blue tits handmade in Fife

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3.  Sheila’s own ceramic tiles in frames (above) or with hanging wires (below) – a simple, perfectly executed idea in a fab range of colours and designs.  Instant artiness added to a home with these.  I now have two and they’ve really given character to a previously blank space.

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All of the above are super affordable, prices ranging from £6 to £20 (tiles in frames, most of the ones pictured here are £8-£10) with quality and individuality factors being super high: SCORE.

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At the higher end of the offerings there are gorgeous prints, canvases, ceramic plaques and mosaic wall art pieces that would be fantastic statements in a lucky home.  Again, quality is high and pricing is extremely reasonable.  This is indeed a boon for visitors and locals to Morningside alike.

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And so to the chocolate….

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Edward and Irwyn (E&I) make very, very, very good chocolate, i.e., the kind that you are reminded of two weeks after tasting it and the flavour is once again somehow on your tongue, rendering all other chocolate dead to you instantly.  The honeycomb chocolate we tasted on the night of the exhibition opening was made with honey from bees who live idyllically at The Secret Herb Garden where, incidentally, you can do a course to learn how to keep your own bees, should your heart desire that as a possibility.  Remember my post about that lovely place here?  It’s a wee gem that seems to be going quickly from strength to strength and has become a destination for Edinburghers with a day off or spare weekend time.

Back to chocolate for now though.  If you pass E&I during the week there’s a fair chance you’ll see the two best chum chocolatiers sitting outside in their whites having a break between batches.  They always seem to be deep in conversation and happy.  This is happy chocolate made with salt from Iceland and, sometimes, happy bee’s honey.  It’s available from various places around Edinburgh and you can also pop into E&I on a Saturday afternoon to buy some of anything they have left over from the week’s orders.

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Edward & Irwyn are on Twitter @EdwardandIrwyn and Blackbird Studios is happily tweeting from @BlackbirdScot.  That’s my Christmas present ideas totally sorted and we’ve not even finished June.  Happy Days…

52and39/20 Kingfisher Karma

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Last year, around summertime, I fixed on the idea that 2014 would be my year to see a Kingfisher again.  Cheesy?  Maybe.

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I’ve only seen one once before, in childhood.  The rarity of the sighting was impressed upon me excitedly.

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In 2014, the memory of the Irn Bru glitter ball bird of tiny glory came back to me.

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I invented some whimsical folklore in my head that I’d see one again soon, thus meaning that the heavens would be aligned, the cosmos cleansed, and the laundry tamed, etc.

So, erm, 2015 for sure, right?

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