Saturday, 31 December 2011


Made a wee video today for Youtube so posting the photos here for my non English speaking friends who want to check the words. Whatever, let me just say wherever you are in the world, I would like to wish you all the very best for the coming year ahead. Life is never all plain sailing but when the next storms hit may the wild winds only serve to blow you along the path you're already on ;-)

Thursday, 8 December 2011


They say a dog is man's best friend. Well for sure, many years on I have never forgotten the two dogs I had when young, the first a most obedient and loving Labrador the second a real character of a Jack Russell (not unlike my pal's dog on the left).

Jack Russells are dogs full of 'character' which is a nice way of saying that they will often hear their owners cries to come back but decide that, well, they'd much rather go off and do what they want to do. Unfortunately, Chester above did that recently and everyone was very concerned at him being lost. But thankfully, after going missing on a walk through a park in Ireland, finally over a week later Chester was found. Now home for Christmas, how great it is that Chester is reunited with his owner and this week the canine star was even played a record dedicated to him on my radio show. And now, here's his photo in a blog too! But really this is an unusual blog for me, this time it is just a means to share a joke which Chester's owner sent to me today and it made me laugh. Aye, and it made me think - there can be great wisdom in some of these jokes.  So, I hope it makes you think and, of course, I hope it makes you smile too!

A big old dog starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers he's lost. Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old dog thinks, "Oh, oh! I'm in trouble now!"

Noticing some bones on the ground close by, quickly the old dog settles down and immediately begins to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat. Just as the panther is about to leap, the dog exclaims loudly, "Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?"

Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees. "Whew!," says the panther, "That was close! That big dog nearly had me!"

Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.

The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and strikes a deal for himself with the panther. The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, "Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what's going to happen to that conniving canine!"

Now, the old dog sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, "What am I going to do now?," but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn't seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old dog says...

"Where's that squirrel?
I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!"

Moral of this story...
Don't mess with the old dogs...
Age and skill can overcome youth and treachery!

Thursday, 10 November 2011


Gulls and the creatures of the sea - what would they tell us if they could talk?

I took this photo as the position of the two birds caught my eye - plenty room I thought for an amusing caption to be added. They looked like two friends discussing life. And then I imagined the one on the right saying "I'm telling you - I think we're being watched" because just behind the birds a seal had raised its head. I was delighted to get this photo as I have seen the seals before (so close to Edinburgh) but often folks find it hard to believe that such nature could be a stone's throw from Scotland's capital city. But indeed, our seas are full of things we can't readily see and (just because we can not see these things) we should not forget how incredibily, how vitally important it is for us to protect our marine environment.

A Seal at Port Seton Harbour
Shona McMillan ©

Looking at the seal's face [click photo to enlarge] - there was such a gentle questioning look on its face, almost as if a sad question was playing on its mind. I could have imagined it asking someone on the shore "please, tell me, what are you doing to my home?" Yet, beneath the waters... without seeing the seal - how easy to forget it could even be there. And too often, we humans can evaluate the world in terms of what it can do for us - not the other way around...

The last fishing boat from Fisherrow, arriving in to Port Seton
Shona McMillan ©

Tonight, I was at the harbour to watch the boats come in. Indeed, around sixty years ago my parents went on their first date here, taking a car trip to Port Seton harbour - to watch the boats come in at sunset. From a long line of Fisherrow fisher folk, my mum loved to watch the boats, when they would put out to sea but especially, she loved to watch them when they came safely back home. My granda' and great-grandfather (fishermen and then, each in their tim becoming Harbour Masters of Fisherrow) - how many times they fished in the Firth of Forth. But, as a child, I recall my granda's changing position and his great concern as he would say "If people are not careful, one day they will fish the seas dry". My granda' was a great believer in sustainable fishing (tho' in these days there wasn't that term - he just saw it as important to limit a catch so that the fish stocks could replenish themselves". Now today, (unlike the small boats seen in East Lothian harbous) huge boats have seriously impacted on the world's fishing stocks. YET, it is very important to point out that the need for marine conservation is NOT all about the issue of fishing. Plastic bags that end up in the sea, pollution from our towns and cities - people need to realise that marine conservation is an issue for everyone to consider and address.

A large flock of birds diving down to settle on the sea
Shona McMillan ©

Myself, I am in a variety of different environmental organisations and often use my blog and Facebook page to post comments eg: protecting butterfly habitat, feeding birds when their natural food supply is scarce, talking about our problems with litter etc. Yet, whatever each of us chooses to do (or not to) - I am sure that we all agree that each of us could always do more. And, getting involved with  environmental charities as a volunteer can also be a great way of meeting new people who share similar interests to ourselves... It seems to me that getting involved as a volunteer is something that benefirts us all. Watching the birds diving to the sea tonight and overhead - seeing HUGE numbers of geese passing over enroute to Aberlady Nature Reserve, I thought how the sound of their calls was just their way of communicating, coming together in a large group for safety, to find food and shelter. And when humans work together, what great things we too can achieve...

Click to enlarge photo and see the geese in flight
Shona McMillan ©

Geese fly around the world to Winter in Scotland and many fish migrate great distances too. From where these journies begin to where they end - people are all over the world and my blog (I know) has been building up an international following. So I ask you, wherever you are when you read my words and enjoy my photos - give some thought to the natural environment around you in your part of the world. If you want to do more to get involved, I can guarantee you that there will be many environmental charities that will gladly receive your time and any financial donations you wish to make. Id be delighted to try and motivated everyone to get outdoors more, get involved and see what you can do to help out more. And again, what I would highlight as a closing thought to take away from my blog is - just because we can not so easily see what is happening in our seas in respect of the marine environment - it doesn't mean that our seas do not need urgently our help. Please, let's all try to do more in whatever way that we can to - "Protect Our Seas"

Wading birds feeding on the East Lothian shoreline
Shona McMillan ©

Sunday, 30 October 2011


Have you ever - watched a honey bee at work? Flying from flower to flower, it doesn't quit. Working away, always busy. Indeed, a honey bee could visit 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey - the sweetest reward to be found from a long, long hard struggle.

There are many quotes which can be recalled upon to give inspiration to a tired and flagging spirit. One of my most favourite comes from the Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson who said: "never underate the duty of being happy." A man suffering from many health problems throughout his life - he was one who made a very conscious decision as to how he wanted to approach his life - he chose to look for and seek out the positive, something I think that everyone should try to do (for their own personal benefit).

Today, in Scotland, (and other European countries) the clocks went back. I was reminded by a friend in Spain who sent me the cheery wee image here (thanks Tony!).

An extra hour, 60 minutes to enjoy a longer, lazy snooze in bed or the potential of an hour to do something else - something more memorable. As I thought about how to use my 'extra hour' - I recalled a series of events from a few years back...

Some time ago, I set up an online group called ":-D SMILE and pass it on!" Within 3 weeks it exceeded 1,000 members. People posted to the group wall their photos and sayings which made them smile. But, to me personally, a number of questions were directed - why was I doing this? What was my motive? And even criticisms that, at the time, I really didn't need... I'd just lost my mum to cancer and behind my cheery public smile I was very much working hard to be outwardly positive. Then, one night, words in an email did 'cut in' bitterly and very quietly I slowly began to remove the online group. People's comments - good and bad can influence all of us and it is sad that they pushed me into removing a group which was certainly doing nothing negative. Yet, as time has passed, I have bounced back again. Stronger in mind, happier in myself and with a quiet 'determination' - this is my life and I aim to live it! Getting out and enjoying the world around me, like the endless beauty of the changing seasons in Scotland, always nourishment for my heart and soul and something to share with others. 

27.10.11 Let there be light, Shona McMillan © 

And of course - I benefit too from a great group of friends. People who I know have certainly helped me in what they've said but also in the things that they have done and continue to do. One friend being the catalyst to me beginning an album of funny photos on my Celtic Reflections page. For sure, there's nothing Celtic about these photos, except that their journey to me was latterly from Ireland. My friend there has the motto "A day without laughter is wasted" - and my goodness, he has shared a lot of laughter with me since we met. Back then at that time, I was recovering from the shock of losing my mum to cancer and then, this year, I also lost my dad. And throughout these tough times, my friend was ALWAYS there to send me an endless supply of daft, funny photos, pictures and positive sayings. In the same way that my friend from Spain (before his English became so good) he would send to me masses of musical links to tunes and clips that he thought I'd enjoy... Yes, these are all quite small gestures if each is evaluated on its own but, over time, these many small gestures do add up to make a BIG difference! (they certainly have brightened my days and made a big difference to me!). And then, last night, when I was beginning to feel pretty aggravated at being unable to find something "I'd put away in a safe place" (an absolute recipe for it to be lost!) - my aggravation turned in to a big smile as I remembered one of the funny pictres I had been sent some time ago - a photo now very relevant. 

I found the photo again online - posted first to my page on 25.09.10. Sharing it again on Facebook in 2011, new people commented about it and we all shared another laugh. So this morning - when I wondered what to do with my extra hour from the clocks going back, it seemed to me that it was the perfect opportunity to begin a new chapter in my own 'philosophy in practise' - my ":-D SMILE and pass it on" an album for me to share with others - rippling out through the internet things to make people smile and promote positive thinking and action. Therefore, on my Facebook page SHONA MCMILLAN CELTIC REFLECTIONS more photos will be added together with sayings that I enjoy and I hope others benefit from too. [And if you would like to contribute a funny photo or inspirational saying - please do get in touch]. We live in the real world - it is not always beautiful, life is not easy and people can be mean... BUT the real world can be good as well as bad. In my photos I try to show the beauty of what I see around me, I'd also like to add: positive thinking and humour. I realise that I am just one person posting things on the internet but just as I have benefitted, from a friend's photo (sent to me over a year ago) so too then do others have the potential to benefit. And yes I know, I'd like to take a wee bit of time in my life - to try and help shine out a light and share a smile with others.

I shared a story yesterday with a friend - one of the last stories my mum shared with me. Mum told me that she was going to work early and this day, in poor weather, was an old lady at her garden gate and sweeping her path. Mum smiled and said to her "fancy being up and out at this time on such a morning" - but something in the woman's expression made mum stop this morning so she could listen and talk. Sure enough, the lady smiled back "Och I know my dear but in truth, ever since you smiled at me weeks back - I get up to start my day with your smile. My family are all gone now and sometimes it's just nice to say hello to you and see you smile back at me. Your smile it brightens my day". I recall my mum saying she had smiled and promised "I'll never pass you by without a hello and a smile". Mum went on to say to me "Never underestimate the power and the value of a smile, it costs nothing to give but it can mean oh so very much to receive" - wise words and my reflecting on these was my starting place for :-D SMILE and pass it on! It is a beautiful world but there's room for improvement and everyone has the potential to do something to make it a better place.

People can be negative and say - what hope do you have of making a difference and I'd say - no hope if we never begin to try. The world is full of what I'd call "emotional polluters' and me, I don't have the inclination to reserve a place in my life for their negativity. Each day is a new beginning, each day is the start of the rest of our lives, each day containing 24 hours of potential to :-D SMILE and pass it on!


Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Autumn has come around again, the strange spells of warmth in this September - now replaced by a biting chill in the air. Leaves turning from green to golden shades of yellow, orange and some even tinged with red like this beautiful rowan tree standing in front of the iconic Edinburgh Castle. Autumn, a latter stage in the cycle of life, yet no less beautiful - all stages of life containing their own beauty and contributing to Nature's bigger picture of a world where things that are born will eventually pass away as a new generation follows on.

Walking through any woodland in Autumn - what fun it is to kick up the newly fallen leaves. As a child with my friends - the fun to "scrunch" through the leaves. What an adventure life can be when young but that excitement for life can be retained by people of any age - I trully believing that age is more of a state of mind than from a number on a birth certificate. In life their is always the potential to benefit from new learning and continuing development for education and learning opens up a person's world to give them a view beyond the horizon of the position in which they stand.

From dawn to dusk - our world (wherever it is we live) is a place that can be full of potential and with a wee bit of effort there is so much around us to be seen, to be appreciated and enjoyed.

When I was a child I remember my mum reading to me a favourite poem "IF" by Rudyard Kipling and that poem came in to my mind today when I received an email from a friend who said to me once - I never want to look back on my life and wonder "What IF". Lessons in the poem and in my friend's comment (which certainly touched me) are there for anyone to consider and to benefit from.

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
' Or walk with Kings - nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

Autumn - a time when leaves fall, Greylag geese migrate and the ever moving cycle of life, death and regeneration moves on.

Success and happiness in life could be to look back on life and never feel regret at "What if". How glad I am and how much I appreciate the family and friends who have stepped forward (at times) to give me advice and to guide me on my own journey through life.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011


Some months ago a wee character called "Ava" became part of the family. Ava is a gorgeous Ridgeback and mischief on four legs. "Adopted" by one of my best friends I've enjoyed watching Ava grow up. But of course, any life is not without incident and Ava's had to learn to tell the difference between what to eat and what not to. You could say there are times when she is still learning these lessons but like any mum, my friend is always there for Ava.

This Sunday, having my customary "bacon roll" breakfast at my pal's house - we were talking about "mum's". No matter what age you get, it seems that when we don't feel well these are the times we will always feel "I want my mum!" Watching Ava, suffering a bit of a sore tummy - I watched her interacting with my friend, effectively "Ava's mum". Ava rolled her big brown puppy dog eyes, whined longingly and in a moment my pal was up to snuggle her in a blanket, give her a cuddle and then prepare a small piece of chicken for the patient...

I did not want to use the flash on my camera and risk disturbing Ava, so some of the photos are quite dark but I think they tell a wee photo story. And the last photo shows Ava in full health. Indeed, after some chicken and a wee 20 minute snooze - the speed of Ava's full recovery was quite remarkable! It never fails to amaze me what the word WALKIES can do to a previously sleeping dog!



As so often in life
- a mum's efforts really do 
help to make things so much better!

"Hmm, so -
what mischief could I
get up to next?..."

Sunday, 18 September 2011


Throughout a person's life they will encounter many crossroads and it is the sum of the decisions taken at these times which build up and shape a life. When I was at primary school - I can recall the worry of self doubt. I could see some children excelled in lessons, others excelled in sports, yet others in music, it seemed that I would always be able to identify someone who was smarter/prettier than me.

Sharing my thoughts with my mum,  she persuaded me to see that this critical look at the world was not a good (or a healthy) way to see things. Instead, my mum explained to me that she believed every single person had a talent - in her eyes everyone was equal because every person had their very own gift, their totally unique talent. A person could be good at making others laugh, or listening to a friend in trouble or perhaps a skill at being able to look after someone who was ill. Not all talents could be evaluated in terms of exams passed and money earned. And, if everyone had a gift - there was no point competing with others, much better to discover what was your own talent and then to nuture that as only you could do. I was told that it was healthier to look inwards at myself and think, "what do I want to do and how do I go about learning the skills I need to try and achieve what I want to".

Firth of Forth as the sun sinks behind the Lomond Hills
Shona McMilan © All Rights Reserved

In pursuit of goals it can also be very inhibitating if we set targets which are not personally realistic. Recently, David Walliams (who has swum the English Channel and now the Thames) I heard him say - he had realised early on that he'd never be able to win a swimming race as he just didn't have the speed. But, he realised - that when others stopped, he could keep going and that this seemed to be his talent. In life, we can set unrealistic targets and fail but surely true failure is only when something might be achieved but that goal is not tried for in the first place. Later on in life, it can seem as if time is speeding up. When we watch the end of a sunset - how fast the sun seems to slip away in these last moments. In a person's life, the years appear to pass faster with age. However, it still seems to me that if a person wants to start 'a new' - then why not?   Nothing was ever achieved just by thinking about it. And nothing is ever accomplished without that first step on the journey towards a goal.

The eternal surge of the sea as the waves break on the shore
Shona McMilan © All Rights Reserved

In childhood, around the time my mum told me to concentrate on developing my own talents and abilities (and not to worry about others) I came across this poem below. Eventually, I copied out the words, put them underneath a photo of a sunset and every night before I went to sleep I would read this. Today, the same poem is displayed on my wall, a poem anyone can benefit from:

If you think you are beaten you are
If you think you dare not you don't
If you'd like to win but think you can't
Well then you surely won't

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster one
Soon or late the one who wins
Is the one who thinks they can

Boats in the harbour are safe
- but they weren't built for that

Photos and Copy
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

Like a book we can see our lives to be like a collection of new chapters, new beginnings. We can not influence the start of our life's story but we can influence how our story turns out. Good and bad flows in to every life, sometimes it is useful to ride out the storm, at other times it is prudent to stop, re-evaluate the situation and start again with renewed vigour, with courage and determination to strive to get the best out of our time in life. This blog prompted today as, for two very different reasons - me and a friend decided Sept 2011 is a positive new start to the next chapter in our respective lives.

Onwards and upwards ;-D
celebrating a new beginning
in our lives, during our
45 yr friendship

Sunday, 28 August 2011


Where did the Summer go? Just last week I was photographing butterflies in East Lothian and then, yesterday evening - huge rain clouds rolled in over the Firth of Forth as the sun set behind Edinburgh. Now today, brrr, it's freezing cold and the rain is pouring down as I write! Just as well I got my walking in first thing this morning. Tho' in truth - I do have a huge golf brolly and, with waterproofs and wellies, a wee bit of rain is never going to stop me getting outdoors. Yes, in all seasons - it's a joy to be outdoors and every season offers us something different to enjoy in Scotland. Beautiful scenery and wildlife in our natural environment which we should never take forgranted.

Sunset over Edinburgh from Musselburgh East Lothian
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

Incredible to think that such fragile creatures as butterflies can visit us from so very far across the sea. And, so important that we each do what we can to help them survive our ever changing world. If each gardner left just one nettle and one thistle plant in their garden for them to feed on - what a difference that would make in halting the frighteningly quick, steady decline there has been in their numbers over recent years. Once, it was a common sight to see butterflies in Edinburgh but now, it takes a lot of effort to find them - and the above two were not in the city but down the coast in East Lothian.

Seacliff, East Lothian
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

There are various flowers which are particular favourites of butterflies and these are also much enjoyed by Honey bees which are equally under threat from loss of habitat, man's increased use of pesticides and changes in our climate. The following link gives a lot of helpful information for what you can do to help our threatened insect wildlife And of course, for information to help our 'feathered friends' you can visit the website of the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds)

Swans photographed at the foot of the River Esk, Musselburgh
Leith and the built up Edinburgh skyline behind
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

We have a wonderful environment, one we must strive to preserve
so that generations to come have the same opportunities to enjoy and appreciate this world as we do.

Dawn: Looking from Edinburgh to East Lothian
Shona McMillan © All Rights Reserved

For more photos from Scotland, please visit my website and you can also follow my regular "Out and About" postings on my Facebook Page:

By the Firth of Forth
Shona McMillan ©  All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 31 July 2011


Fisherrow Fish Market, Shona McMillan ©

Considering the many photos I've shared in exhibitions and online, (within the last 24 hours) I had joked to friends on Facebook that Karma must be due me a BIG payout. Well, if there is such a thing as Karma - it just came my way "BIG TIME" in the shape of a very special photo I have been fortunate enough to have taken today. A photo connected to the above postcard showing a scene at Fisherrow around 1890... This old postcard, when I bought in 2005, it marked the start of a journey for me which would also touch many others to create RIPPLES  FROM EAST LOTHIAN out AROUND THE WORLD. But first, let me cover the events which brought me full circle back again to Fisherrow, East Lothian and the harbour there today.

I have not written for a while as, since I last wrote, life seems to have been just one big event after another. Working fulltime in project management, of late my personal time for my freelance photo-journalism has been somewhat curtailed. Nevertheless, working in a voluntary, unpaid capacity in my own time, I have managed to maintain my photo and film interests, (if not my writing) and in the last weeks, I have posted a great body of my photographic work (across all my projects) to my Facebook Page: SHONA MCMILLAN CELTIC REFLECTIONS

Recently, my Page reflects my travels in Scotland, Out and About in JUNE and JULY.  My much awaited return trip to IRELAND seeing the WATERBOYS at Waterford's Tall Ships Festival. Playing music in Spiddal and Galway and finally in Ireland, catching up with the exceptional fiddler MARTIN HAYES and the TULLA CEILIDH BAND in during Miltown Malbay's Willie Clancy Week.

Then, after Ireland I had a trip up north to the Tall Ships Festival in Ulapool and there, enoyed the music of Irish band the Sawdoctors. So yes, recently I've had a very strong Celtic influence in my postings and today, I had expected to be back enroute to Ireland, to Co Clare for a week's holiday taking in the Feakle Festival. Yet, IF travelling today, I would have missed the last day of the Musselburgh Festival. However, attending so many COMMUNITY EVENTS in Musselburgh this week, I had thought I'd make the trade off - missing the last day to be in Ireland for a week's music festival but - life is not always as we plan and today, instead, saw me back in Fisherrow on a more important personal journey...

My mum's folks were from Fisherrow, PEOPLE OF THE SEA from the fishing family the Thorburns. My granda' Billy and my great-grandfather Auld Arch' were fisherman and then Fisherrow Harbour Masters, my great-granny Jeannie Ritchie was a fishwife who carried the creel (selling fish from the harbour), my granny Crissie sung in Fisherrow Fishwives Choir, a fine singer like my mum Jean who encouraged me in my own music (as a singer and fiddle player). Indeed, it was the strength of the Fisherrow family connections that set me off on my PEOPLE AND SONGS OF THE SEA journey. And, within that project, the first postcard I ever bought was the old postcard I opened this blog with - the picture showing the women all dressed in their fishwives costumes at the open air fishmarket at Fisherrow harbour (where the crowds gathered today at the end of the Musselburgh Festival Week).

My project to 'celebrate the fishing community' - it gathered momentum in 2006 as my mum fell ill with cancer and after, (for me) it became a sort of legacy project for mum AND the fishing community. Continuing to work on this, I first built up my collection of other people's photographs. But finally, I began to take photos of fisher folk myself and more and more the body of my own work grew. Over time, I also learnt pieces of information which I would try to pull together (as best as I could) to build up a sort of jigsaw picture which I could share with others. One of the things most important to me was the discovery of the names of those people in the old photograph postcard. And through these names - many very happy family connections were rebuilt around the world through Facebook (through sharing my work online, the children descended from the original women in the old photograph, now re-connecting to lost family and friends through the internet, 100+ years on).

In the old postcard, the names of those photographed being L - R:

1 (Christine) Teenie Hamilton Craig
2 Robert Brown
3 Kirsty Pate Hamilton
4 Margaret Thorburn
5 Auld Hooker
6 (Isabella) Bella Ritchie
7 Margaret Williamson
8 (Isabella) Bella Walker
9 Marion Thorburn
10 (Margaret) Maggie Boyle
11 (Margaret) Maggie Elgin
12 (Isabella) Bella Gray
13 Annie Halley
14 (Elizabeth) Betty Watson
15 Nan Christie
16 Jean Walker
17 Kirstie Cunningham
18 Marion Langlands
19 Ailie Gibson
20 (Elizabeth) Lizzie Gibson
21 Ailie Gibson Brown
22 Helen Ritchie

.... and JUST OUT OF THE (CROPPED) POSTCARD SHOT, but on the original photograph, my great granny Jeannie Ritchie who had married my great grandfather Archie Thorburn.

Yes, a photograph of GREAT SIGNIFICANCE to me (and many others). Something I have admired over the years, a photo communicating social history and what a privillege for that photographer to have taken this picture. All the time, me in my own photo efforts, myself constantly pushing and pushing myself to try and improve my own skills so I could respectfully capture the photos of the fisher people as I wanted to - capturing them just as they are/were... And then at today's event - suddenly I saw an opportunity in 2011 for me to bring together in the same place the woman there today in all their beautiful costumes (passed down through Fisherrow's fisher families from generation to generation). History breathing new life today.

There was NOTHING organised about any photo being taken and the women in costume were scattered around the area but as the idea took hold I ran through the crowd to ask people to gather together for a photo. For twenty minutes I coaxed people towards a photo, firstly taking the hands of friends and asking them to follow me through the crowds to the harbour wall (and there I had to make space for a photo to be taken!). The women began to move and then others joined, and then more, and then more - the fishwives coming together through the crowds to make this beautiful photo. Finally together (shouting to everyone to try and look at me at the one time) with only seconds to grab the moment "I DID MY BEST!" Then, back home, I sat this evening and very quietly looked back through the lovely photos of the smiling faces (a moment for posterity).

My photo in 2011, something similar to the postcard I first saw SIX YEARS AGO, the photo which had helped to inspire me in my journey but a photo which I thought I would never ever be able to recreate (as the fishing community numbers grow small and smaller each year...). But here it is in 2011, a wonderful photo at Fisherrow harbour more than a hundred years on. However, my journey is not at an end yet... Now I have the photo taken, my research (detective work) begins to obtain the full name of EVERY single woman captured in the photo today. (My contact details across my photo to try and prompt people to get in touch with others, to get people talking and to get the information back to me so I can give an exact name to EVERY SINGLE one of the women I photographed today).

- this photos means everything to me and
I hope it is special for all of you!

And for 'you' reading my blog, I leave a clip of me singing "Fisherrow"
on a track from my PEOPLE & SONGS OF THE SEA ALBUM
 together with my video of my Thorburn family's Fisherrow photos


Collecting for the RNLI at Fisherrow Harbour (1930s)

Photograph shows: Second from the right, my mum Jean,
sister Wilma far right & sister Chris with the flag. And other friends