Tuesday, 14 October 2008

View From My Window

I've recently moved back to Inverkeithing after a fifty two year gap! This is part of the view out my window - a contour drawing without looking at the paper, which is a brilliant exercise in quieting the bossy side of the brain. In the background Arthur's Seat leads on to the Castle Hill, Blackford Hill and the Soutra Gap behind. Then on to the Pentlands, not all drawn, but I can see the whole range. Then in the middle ground Corstorphine Hill and Cramond Hill are a backdrop to tanker and tug in the Forth. The defunct paper mill chimney dominates the foreground, with Inverkeithing Bay behind. Rooftops of flats and houses lead me back to my window seat in a Glasgow style tenement built about one hundred years ago to house paper mill workers. Further right tucked in from view is the cemetry where all my grandparents are buried. If I chart a line from the cemetry through the flat and on to the north I come to my grandad's small holding where I moved too when I was three. All my cousins on both sides cherish memories of the smallholding and helping my grandad with his pigs, hens, bullocks and heifers.

There is a strong feeling of homecoming after a long journey.

In art there is a recurring tension between being nomadic and being settled, as I guess there is generally. I remember in the late 70's after I completed a mosaic mural with some children in Lerwick, Shetland, I pondered the possibility of becoming a wandering muralist, relying on the generosity and hospitality of residents in places I would end up. I wasn't brave enough to even try it...something I've mildly regretted over the years.

Now I find I have a strong sense of belonging in Inverkeithing. I ponder the possibility of artistic interventions without the discomfort of questioning my right to intervene 'in other people's business'.

1 comment:

bob said...

As one of the many cousins who visited the small holding ... I recall hot dusty summers chasing the chickens around, daring to spend time in the steamy and smelly pig barn and then by contrast, being almost snowed in one winter when the only working mode of transport seemed to be Rosie's dad's tractor. Inverkeithing was were I was born (well Dunfermline hospital actually) and spent the first ten years of my life before moving to Belfast. It also has fond memories for me as a boy playing games that now would either be banned due to health and safety reasons or felt to be non PC. My fondest childhood memories of Inverkeithing relate to this time of year and getting together for vast family parties, singing, dancing and us cousins watching with great amusement the antics of our parents after a 'wee half' too many.
Best season wishes and kind regards especially to the cousins who visited the small holding and share my fond memories,
Bob, aka Bobbie