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08 Moss on the Branches

The plants are eating the remains o Boyne Castle as it sits there on it's rock. In alo there's a gorge kin o thing wi a burn at its fit. Thir's trees awye 'n thir's a slow, peaceful, timelessness aboot the place except fan the burnie gurgles happily o'er some stanes or fin the win catches the upper leaves to ripple the sunspots inaneth. So thir's the twa phases o the spirit - the steady, underlyin pulse thit's forivir and the sudden wee bursts o bricht chaos. The timescale's eternal and thir's 'Moss on the Brances'.

09 The Kid wi the Crab

It wiz a bonny sunny day so I took a travil doon by Sunnyside Beach. On the wye doon the brae I could see a bairnie getting excited aboot somethin in amang the rocks. Fin I got closer I could see that it wiz dein some kinna informal jig wi a crab. The energy that drives me's the same as the energy that drives a'thin. These twa livin things were drivin by the same energy as they scuttilt aboot - 'The Kid wi the Crab'.

12 Dog on the Shore

The same day that I saw 'The Kid wi the Crab' on Sunnyside Beach I could see a collie dog hayin a gran time chasing the waves in and oot. The energy kin turn itsel intae a' kin o shapes and sizes and can even play wi itsel! Yi kin hear the dog barking in the second half o the tune - the 'Dog on the Shore'.

14. Dawn Sing in the Hedge

I wiz lyin in ma bed aye mornin haf wye atween sleepin 'n wakkin fin the chirpin o the birdies in the hedge ootside got inta ma heed. It wisnae jist the aye birdie that sang the hale o this tune so thir's a bit of 'poetic licence' in the wye I've stuck the bits thegither. Ge'en the nature o the inspiration, I ca'd the tune 'Dawn Sing in the Hedge'.

28 The Rollickin Rooster

Roosters tend to be 'cocksure' o themsels. This is the energy in domesticated free range feathers and feelin like a doggie wi twa tails.

34. Bean Ween

I wrote this tune on the evenin o a day fin a'd made rice and beans fir ma denner. It's true fit they say aboot beens. Quite fit the tune his tae dae wi they pleasant smelling kidney bean farts a jist dinna ken bit that wiz fit wiz on ma mine fin the muse sent the tune.

39. The Kittiwake

This tune wiz inspired by that mair delicate o gows - the ane wi its 'dipped in ink' wing tips - 'The Kittiwake' (Rissa tridactyla). They're bonnie birdies 'n they've a big nesting colony on Foul's Heugh jist ootside Stonehaven. I ken cause I wiz oot coontin them on a wee boaty aye time 'n ended up an affa mess o spew. I spose I'm kinna jealous o the wye they kin soar aboot catchin the updrafts aside the cliffs.

40. The Herrin's Aid

I hiv a bit o a guilty conscience aboot Clupea harengus. I'm affa fond o barbequed kippers bit, tae satisfy ma palette, these delicate wee fishies hiv tae be nettit 'n hauled oot o their natural medium. The good news is that the boy that took the dizzin boxes o kippers tae the Glastonbury Festival couldna sell ony. So the 'genteel' tastes o the new age hippies is comin to the 'Herrin's Aid'.

41. The Flounderin Flattie

I jist canna find it in masel tae tak the flounder seriously. I aye think o't as a cartoon character. I suppose that this wid mak ma intae some kind o chauvinistic specist or a piscean racist. So this wee tuny's tae mak amends tae Platichthys flesus that bides in estauries 'n ates worms, molluscs and shrimps; it hiz as much right tae be here and be tratit as daysint as ony ither - the Flounderin Flattie.

43. The Jolly Jellyfish

The jeelyfish that maist fouk ken is Aurelia aurita - the ane thit gets washed up on the beach wi the fower purple hoops on't. Bit, fin I wrote this tune I wiz thinkin mair o the Portugese Man o War Physalia physalis; nae thit I've ivir seen een live bit I've read aboot them and seen them in films. They dinna hae onythin worth ca'in a brain and thir body's made up o aboot 95% water so thir's nae really onything very much tae them. But hud weel back kiz some o them can gi oot wi a rare sting.

44. The Codlin Hole

A mile or so affshore fae Portsoy is the Codlin Hole far we eest tae go tae catch mackerel wi a 12 hook temet, 'n if they werna biting, wi wid try ripping for cod. Often anough we widna catch nithin but I wisnae a that worried - it seemed a shame tae disturb them as they and a the ither fishies darted aboot in aneth the water.

47. Where Skuas Soar

There wiz a filey a fyow 'ear ago fin the skuas (Stercorarius parasiticus I think) were threatenin tae oust the herring gulls fae their breeding places on the cliffs alang the coast hereaboots. They get their mait by chasing ither birds till they throw up 'n then they ate the vomit. They hiv shorter tails than ither gows and they cruise aboot maist o the time lookin for a victim and then mak fest, hawk-like doon-dashes. So they're a queer mixtir o gracefulness and menace.

48. Conger in the Kelp

An adult Conger conger can be mair than seven feet lang and thicker than an athlete's thigh. I eest to be feart that I might get ane on ma hook fin I wiz fishin aff the herbir wa fin I wiz a loon. The chance o that wid iv bin fairly sma though cause adult eels tend to gi wa tae the Azores or the Bahamas tae breed and they dee there. Bit onywye, I tend tae think o them as lively thingies slitherin aboot amangst the kelp on the sea bed and that's fit the tune tries tae capture.

51 Trees in the sun

If yi come intae Portsoy fae the Cullen side yi’ll gi bye the Kirk wi its rows o trees oot the front. My hoose is jist across the street ‘n I wrote this tune aye weenie evenin in Merch fin the sun wiz catchin the branches that hid the first signs o green on them. They maybe lookit deed kine bit they trees wiz jist burstin wi life and joey de veevir.

55 Bachy

I’d bin listnin tae a CD o Bach tunes ‘n I wiz fascinated bi the wye he manages to git a they diffrint bitties runnin at the same time. I thocht I’d hae a go at it masel. Thir’s the three bits – the slow, easy-goin lad trampin alang atween the dreels (the bass), the win blowin slow kine through the tattie shaws (the tune), and then a wee flock of swifts dartin aboot abeen the boy’s heed (the arpeggio bittie).

61 Tree Leafs

The biggest tree in the gairdin’s a Japanese Flowering Cherry. I sling ma hammock atween it n the telephone pole. I wiz lyin there aye warm aifterneen ‘n the leaves were flutterin slow and easy in that wordless, thochtless wye they hiv o jist bein themsells. Rale peacefae like.

62 Thrushy Fiver

Thir’s a Thrush thit hemmers snails on the flagsteens ootside ma kitchen windae. I tried tae tap alang weet and noticed that it wiz hemmerin in 5/4 time. So I tried pittin a tunie tae the thrushie’s beat. It cam oot pleasin enough wi that restless, watchfae wye the birdies hiv fin thir atein – makin sure that the cat disnae catch them unawares.

63 Epple Swellin

The gairdin’s fairly big bit its nearly a in grass. Fin a moved in ma breether in law choppit doon maist o the trees. Ain o the stumps hid bin an epple tree bit it wisnae tae be humbuggit – it sent up branches ‘n this year they’re jist covert wi epples that hiv been swellin afore ma een. Lookin at it across the grass on a hot ‘n close aifterneen it seems weel enough at hame wi the bum bees, butterflees ‘n birdies makin regular visits.

71 September Song

Yi kin tell that the year’s weerin on cause, even at denner time, the sun’s nae as heech in the sky as it wiz. Bit it’s still there ‘n its still warm despite August bein ahins. I ken yir supposed tae be able tae tak the roch wi the smooth bit I canna help getting a buzz fae warm sunshine. This tuny seems tae work best against a background o wave noises and birdies singing.

72 Sunshine efter rain

It hid bin a bonnie summer wi nae enough rain tae please the fairmirs of the gairdenirs. So the darkness at noon wi the monsoon rain cam as a shock. Bit then, fin a woke the next mornin, the sun wiz reflectin aff the wa ootside ‘n shinin in the windae.

77 The Drakensbergs

I’ll be startin a jobbie in Lesotho in a couple o months time. It’s the country wi the highest lowest spot in the warl; the Drackensberg Mountains tak up a good haf o the country – maist o the fouk are in the east. Thir’s bin a lot o soil erosion ‘n Alaister fae Inverness tells me that it’s a bleak bit beautiful place. This tuny tries tae capture fit I imagine tae be the timelessness of the soarin peaks.


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