Thursday, December 12, 2013


Several years ago, I was visiting friends in New Mexico, USA and they took me to a museum on a weekend afternoon, where they were donating their time to help prepare for the evening's symphony event, which we were scheduled to attend. At that time, I was still in need of a cane to move about and opted to wait outside, in the shade, while they went inside to prepare. I found a nice location under a tree and joined a gentleman of mature years who was already enjoying a comfortable bench in the shade, and who offered me a quick smile and nod, before returning his attention to the pipe and drum group warming up in front of us. Within a minute or so we had struck up a conversation, as people often do, when not immersed in their iPods/iPads/iwhatevers, and he asked me if I enjoyed the pipes, to which I replied that I did and very much so. After some discussion, and comments on the warming-up of the performers, he asked me if I had a favorite, to which I replied:
"When I was a boy, I heard the Black Watch perform Amazing Grace, and I have never heard it performed better than with bagpipes."
"Would you like to hear it, now?" he asked.
His name was Patrick and it turned out that he was the driving force behind the organization and was an old piper, himself. After a quick chat with the Pipe Major, they began to play my favorite. I was stunned and very moved, not only by their expert rendition of this wonderful work, but also by the kindness and graciousness of this man I had just met, minutes before.
During the time we sat together, speaking of music, bagpipes and single malt whisky, I learned a great deal about how the bagpipes came to be in Albuquerque and even more about this truly unique individual. Teaching the music was as important to him as playing it, which is why there were several generations present who could attest to his influence. At the end of their public performance, it was he who asked the performers if they would pose for me and I was very pleased that we were able to convince him to join in. The woman behind him and to his left is his daughter, Patricia.
It was a rare afternoon and the kind you only can have when your head is up and you are participating with your surroundings. Technology can never replace the experience of meeting new people and engaging them in real conversation.
If you are ever in the Albuquerque area and decide to take one of the tours around the Native American reservations, be prepared to see young Native American children coming out of their homes with the bag under their arms and their pipes high. It's the legacy of a very interesting man.

Tartan: Clan Wallace


Sunday, July 21, 2013


It has been a busy and productive Spring/Summer period, so far.  Finished several projects, including a workshop my partner thought I needed.  He was right, I do need it and now it is finished.  I have the studio in which to write and work on graphics, so this is a space in which I can use my hands and let my brain take a rest.  Windows are coming and that will lighten up the inside a bit.  It has electricity and it is - from my perspective - rather cute, as well as extremely functional.  Here is one view of the finished item:

There is a need for creative minds to give their brain a rest and working with one's hands can provide this, whether in a garden, workshop or other non-mental pursuit.  A mixed bag keeps a person sane(r), I am told.

Instigated by one of my previous blog posts, a reader sent a photo of what happens to be my second favorite Rolls Royce: a 1937 Gurney-Nutting bodied Drop-Head Coupe.  I adore this auto and, if you are familiar with 'The Boys of St. Precocious Academy,'  you will recognize the origin of my creative treatment for Kristie's Rolls:

For those of you who learned of the loss of my family member, through our post on 'The Boys of St. Precocious,' I wish to thank you for your kind words and notes.  Whatever relationship we have with our families, a passing will have an impact.  As I stated on our blog, 'Time is not conscious of our best intentions,' so don't wait to mend fences.

My best regards to you all and have a safe and fun-filled summer holiday.  I suggest the coast, if it close.




Tuesday, January 1, 2013


The fall weather prompted a trip to central France, and then up to Mulhouse, to take in the terrific exhibit of vintage voiture on display at le Musée de l'Automobile Mulhouse.  I had hoped to see more Delage autos, but they were not in abundance.  However, one cannot accuse the museum of being without great visuals.  I have included a photo of one of the Mercedes Benz models that appealed to us.  I can confirm that, although we asked nicely, they did decline our request to take it for a ride:

It was balmy and warm, in October, surprisingly.  Perfect travel weather for France, in my estimation.  When I went for my morning walk before breakfast, in Colmar, I was greeted with the quiet street scene, below.  A mere ten seconds later, it was teeming with children heading for school and adults off to earn their geld.  It seems that autos are not allowed to pass through this street, which made it nice for me and my walking sticks.

All in all, it has been an interesting year and I hope for the sake of everyone on this orb that sanity seeps into the mindset of our leaders, so that we can all live in peace and enjoy prosperity.

Best wishes to everyone, for the new year.