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Showing posts from February, 2013


So having written about the initial impact of our our lovely sunny Sunday it did not seem right to leave Weatherheads without a little piece about how the place fits into our story.

 I must admit that while the Weatherheads yard did dominate the harbour I was surprised at the size of the boat yard, it was much smaller than I had imagined. Industry today always conjures "big", everything has got to be multi this multi that and global to boot. From banking and supermarkets through to the NHS, industry has grown too big. Whilst I am all in favour of endeavour and enterprise it seems to me that there has to be room for all sizes of "industry" from the small and simple to the multi and the global. As a partner in a small business I am fully aware of the struggle to survive and the tightening noose that is becoming more and more acute in the world of small business. We are coping daily with increased pressures from the banks and the government, with the onset of well int…


This was going to be the first Shemaron blog of 2013 and in some ways it still is, I started the day expecting to find old boats, a bit of industrial decay and certainly the sea and found all this plus so much more.

We arrived in Cockenzie after blasting through the sunshine and enjoying a MacDonalds by the roadside whilst admiring a view of Aydon Castle. The tide was out and the sun was up for the day, we were poking round the old ramshackle buildings of yesteryear with the intention of taking some photographs.

It was warm and still as I turned down a gap between two buildings that I thought would take me to the shore. I was half way down before I noticed a child perched where the sun hit  the wall, the colours of her clothing  muted so well with her surroundings that she was not immediately apparent to me. I walked carefully, aware that I might somehow be interrupting her moment, but she greeted me brightly, and I continued to the beach and the rusted steel rails that had caught my a…


I hear the roar of the wind through the sash window gaps, when I get up to look the trees are still and it is the sea that rolls beneath the hill, breaking white behind empty trunks. It has hidden from the moon through the clouded winter night and is reaching for the shore in the steely hours of dawn.
The yard is stirring in the uncertain reaches of the mull, and I am here at last.
 I can feel it just the same, it has not gone away or changed, it seems stronger in the winter rain. There is something that goes on here and I think they know, the snowdrops nodding in the breeze that hunker round the roots of the naked trees.
Up the hill and by the copse the moss has buried the sharp edged wall in layers so deep its purpose has been rendered obsolete, a flourishing embrace seeking with verdant tread soft and yielding on the stone. A Hornbeam shivers its tawny leaves waving variance to the churning mantle on the sea.
Along the track water spills, banished from the heavy hills.  Leaf rot …


Who do you think you are ……………………….. ?
I am Fiona Malkin and I walked passed St. Nicholas Mental Hospital often as a child, the endless tarmac path stretching before me pulling my feet to the ground and hanging on them, so every step was a challenge draining me of energy. I walked along the sand stone wall that reached above my head hiding everything on the other side. I walked passed the gaping windows though I did not see them then, as they gazed over the field that was the space between my world and theirs. Where life inside was all and life beyond the wall was a confused and distant thing.
I am Fiona Malkin and I walked in later years through the leafy Gosforth streets, where blossom snowed in the wind that blew behind other walls and down long driveways. The elderly gent tipped his hat to me each morning and I smiled through the window of Millburn’s Fish shop and was greeted with a nod and a wink. I never thought of Annie Gertrude.
I am Fiona Malkin and my grandmother reaches ou…


The colour of the day was beige and grey but I stepped into it anyway, I took up the reigns and went out into my life. I moved beyond the five mile radius within which I have lived since the snow first hemmed the city and the ice locked me just outside the city walls.

Having missed the traditional mid- winter swim due to adverse weather conditions and poor health we made a spontaneous decision to drive up to Cheswick today both parties being amenable. Driving past the crushed verges which had not quite freed themselves from the iron grip of winter and still held pockets of snow here and there we made our way North. The roadsides were the colour of straw and it seemed they were re emerging dazed after the shock of the cold, gasping for air by the grey tarmac freed gradually from the stifling snow fall.
We crossed the dunes and it was as if they were a boundary between one life and another, the damp colours that deadened the roadside enhanced the sands and the wind which tugged at the …


I have started on this thread in the hope of finding out a little more about my grand mother Annie Gertrude Harland it has immersed me in childhood memory and deep thought.

So many lives have finished over the past several years; we all learn to live with our losses and maybe even a subtle sense of becoming lost. We are who we are to a degree because of our parents, they are the walls around us that provide protection during our journey to adulthood, at which point we start to accept responsibility for our lives as individuals. When people start disappearing these walls start to crumble, we need eventually to rely on our sense of self and look harder to find it in order to keep the walls strong around our own families. It has become important to me now to uncover some of the mysteries of my grandmothers life or death and I feel that it could be the starting point in my own search for why I am the way I am, after all between her death in 1954 and my birth in 1961 there is not such a hu…