Category: Art

So who is Sam?

You loved Sam Grant’s photos of Casper and Scotland. Learn more about her.

Last Sunday my Picture Parade was primarily a recent item that appeared on the BBC website.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

By Ewan Murrie, BBC Scotland news website, 3rd June 2017

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

I went on to republish a wonderful set of photographs that had been taken by Sam. You all loved them and that led me to ask Sam if I could republish her About Me page on her blog. Sam very kindly said that would be fine.

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Scotland with the Wee White Dug

A Scottish travel blog showcasing the best of Scotland. Scotland with the Wee White Dug is a comprehensive and informative guide to Scotland, covering history, outdoor activities, events, visitor attractions, accommodation, eating out and more.

About Me

A little bit about me

Hello and welcome to my Scottish travel blog which I hope you’ll find informative and interesting, but most of all fun.

I’m Samantha but am generally known as Sam, Mrs G or Mum.  I’m married to Alex (Mr G) and we live in Edinburgh with a well travelled wee white dug called Casper.  We also share our home with the The Teen, Casper’s sloth like and gadget obsessed big sister.

All of my free time is spent road-tripping around Scotland.  I’ve travelled extensively throughout the country and never tire of its jawdropping and diverse beauty.

I have a vast knowledge of where to stay, eat and what to do in Scotland. Whether it be an afternoon out, a day trip or an extended tour. I also know all of the best places to go with your four legged friend.

I’m a Visit Scotland Ambassador and I helped launch their online Community in the spring of 2016.  The Community is a Scottish travel forum for sharing insider hints and tips about visiting Scotland.  Visit Scotland’s Ambassadors were selected for their expert knowledge of the country.

In January 2017 I took up the role of resident blogger for East Lothian Council on their Visit East Lothian website.  I write a fortnightly post for their blog, highlighting the delights of East Lothian.

I’m passionate about the history, language, literature, customs and myths of Scotland. I read History at the University of Edinburgh and during my time there I studied Scottish History, Literature and Politics which gave me an excellent understanding of how Scotland became the country that it is today.

I absolutely adore the great outdoors – it’s my happy place.  I love hiking, have been known to summit a Munro or two and am happiest when surrounded by lochs, moors and mountains.

My photography

I’ve been an avid hobby photographer since joining Instagram several years ago.  I’m part of a diverse group of Scottish Instagrammers with a passion for sharing Scotland with the World.

My feed @bean_nighe has appeared on Instagram’s prestigious Suggested User list.  You’ll find the Wee White Dug on Instagram too @theweewhitedug.  His feed is also dedicated to sharing our Scottish travels.

I’ve featured in articles recommending the best Scottish Instagram accounts to follow by The ScotsmanMatador Network and the award winning travel blog Stories my suitcase could tell.

My photos appear regularly on various social media channels including those of Canon UK, BBC, Skyscanners, Scottish Memories Magazine, Scotrail, Historic Scotland, Visit Scotland and The Guardian.

I share my Scottish travels on Facebook and Twitter too so if you’re on those sites stop by and say hello.

I’m passionate about promoting Scotland as a wonderful place to visit.  It’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.

I appreciate you taking the time to stop by my blog to join me on my travels.  I hope ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’ inspires you to visit Scotland, helps you to plan for a forthcoming trip or makes you reminisce fondly about a past visit.

If you’re interested in working with me you can find out more here.

Sam

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Just glorious!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Ten

Pictures of Casper.

(All will become clear shortly!)

Dear friend of this place, Margaret K. from Tasmania (MargfromTassie), recently sent me an email with a link to a story that had appeared on the BBC website.

I thought the photographs would make a fabulous Picture Parade.

But first sufficient of the news story for the photographs to be seen in proper context.

Meet Scotland’s ‘most well-travelled dog’

After photographs of her West Highland Terrier received more “likes” on social media than even the most stunning Glencoe landscapes she could capture, Sam Grant conceded that “the wee white dug” should star in her Scottish travel blog.

“Casper is my unique selling point,” says Sam Grant, an Edinburgh-based VisitScotland ambassador who spends her spare time travelling the country with her pet.

She adds: “There are lots of travel bloggers out there who are very good writers, but they don’t have the wee white dug.”

Here are almost all of those photographs that the BBC presented.

You will love them.

Please note that all of the photographs were taken by Sam Grant who, I am sure, retains copyright ownership of them. Sam’s blogsite is Scotland With The Wee White Dug and well worth a visit.

The village of Crianlarich is located in Glen Strathfillan to the north of the Trossachs, around eight miles north of the head of Loch Lomond

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The village of Carrbridge, in the Scottish Highlands is famous for its 18th Century packhorse bridge.

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Whiting Bay, Isle of Arran, offers views across to Holy Isle.

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Culzean Castle is perched on the Ayrshire cliffs.

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Culloden Moor in the Highlands is where the Battle of Culloden took place in 1746.

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Iona, Inner Hebrides, is often described as a “tiny island paradise”.

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The Tomb of the Eagles, Orkney, is thought to be more than 5,000 years old.

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North Berwick, East Lothian, boasts many great beaches and coastal scenery.

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“Dolphin Spirit” is a boat to take tourists onto the waters of the inner Moray Firth to see the dolphin pods.

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Bow Fiddle Rock is a natural sea arch near Portknockie on the north-eastern coast of Scotland.

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Kilchurn Castle is a ruined castle on a rocky peninsula at the northeastern end of Loch Awe, Argyll and Bute.

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Snow capped Ben More in Glen More, Isle of Mull, Western Isles.

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Balnakeil Bay is near Durness, Scottish Highlands.

I can’t resist including the rest of the text that the BBC published for the photographs are strengthened enormously by Sam’s words.

Her eccentric website details places of interest in areas including Orkney, Loch Lomond and the Scottish Borders.

It was launched in 2015 after an Instagram account written from Casper’s perspective proved popular with followers.

The social media profile has nearly 4,000 followers, who Sam says “can’t get enough” of the wee white dug’s quirky anecdotes about his travels.

Sam says travelling with Casper has given her lots of insight into Scotland’s best pet-friendly tourist attractions and holiday accommodation.

She says: “There are loads of good places that you can visit nowadays where you can bring along your four-legged friends.”

Sam hopes the blog could encourage more Scots to look around their own country, as well as attracting other visitors.

She says: “If you visit the beaches in the Outer Hebrides, you’ll see there’s really no need to go to the Caribbean – unless you’re a sun worshipper.

“Scotland’s a country with a rich history and heritage. A country full of stories just waiting to be told.”

Sam says most traffic to her website comes from the UK and US but she has had visitors from more than 100 countries – including China.

“When I see that I’ve had visitors from far-flung countries, I imagine them on the other side of the world reading about Scotland and the wee white dug,” the writer adds.

Asked if she thinks some people could say her pictures are a bit twee, Sam replied: “I did worry about that at first, so I try to make a joke of it.

“But if people like my pictures and they bring a bit of happiness to someone’s day, then why not?”

I guarantee that all of you dear people who view these photographs will have much happiness brought to you. As was brought to Jeannie and me.

Tanja Brandt

I promised you more background information.

You will all recall that when we were ‘enjoying’ the chaos of having new flooring installed in three of our rooms I posted over a number of days a selection of wonderful, incredible photographs taken by Tanja Brandt.  Here is one of those photos.

We were all utterly enthralled by them and wanted to know more about Tanja.

But Tanja is German and her website and blogsite are, not surprisingly, in German. However, a good friend of mine from times past, Chris Snuggs, who is fluent in German (and French) came to the rescue when I asked for a favour of an English translation.

I sent Chris the link to Tanja’s ‘About Me’ page and here is what Chris emailed me yesterday.

Paul

At this URL: https://www.ingoundelse.de/%C3%BCber-mich/

…. she introduces herself with two short texts followed by a list of publications and/or photographic events and awards etc.

I have done a translation of the two elements of her introduction but not attempted to translate the list that follows.

I am assuming that if you want to write an introduction to her you can take her words according to my translation and reformulate them in your own words.

If you want a proper translation of her own words then I think I would need to work on it a bit more. The difficulty there is that if I translate her words directly it will not sound great in English; to get her meaning across in good English I would have to be a bit more free with the phrasing.

I hope that makes sense.

Made sense to me! Wonderful sense!
Here are those translations with the original German in blockquotes and the English translation by Chris topped and tailed with Tanja’s photographs:

Über mich …
Verlasse dich auf dein Herz – es schlug schon, bevor du denken konntest …

…. gibt es nicht so viel zu erzählen. Meine große Leidenschaft, seit ich in Windeln krabbeln kann, sind Tiere.

Tiere im Allgemeinen – vor allem auch Greifvögel und Raubkatzen – und Hunde im Speziellen.

Ich glaube, ich spreche ihre Sprache.

Ein Leben ohne Tiere ist für mich schwer vorstellbar und wenn Jemand keine Tiere mag, dann wird er sich vermutlich nicht sehr lange bei mir aufhalten.

About me
Trust your heart; it was beating before you were capable of thought.

There’s not all that much to say. My greatest passion even since I was a baby are animals – all kinds of animals, above all birds of prey and big cats – and especially dogs.

I believe I speak their language!

For me a life without animals is difficult to imagine, and if someone doesn’t like animals, then he or she would probably not be around me for long.

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Fotografie ist meine Leidenschaft

Wie es begann?

Ich wollte schöne Fotos von meinen Tieren. Bzw überhaupt von Tieren. Fotos, die die Seele und den Charakter des jeweiligen Tieres widerspiegeln. Nicht einfach nur Fotos.

So kam mir der Gedanke, mit einer professionellen Kamera dürfte das kein Problem sein. Die Kamera wurde gekauft und es ging los – das Ergebnis war ernüchternd ….

Ich musste dann doch noch einige Workshops besuchen, um da zu sein, wo ich heute stehe.Kurse, Workshops, Webinare, Bücher, Austausch mit anderen Fotografen und viel üben. Und ich versuche jeden Tag, was dazu zu lernen und zu entdecken.

Aber allein das Technikverständnis macht es nicht aus, um die Seele der Tiere zu zeigen und die Arbeit mit den Tieren ist so wertvoll. Ich kann Tiere nur fotografieren, wenn sie sich wohlfühlen und mit Begeisterung mitmachen oder Wildtiere eben keine Angst vor mir haben.

Photography is my passion. How did it all begin?
I wanted to take beautiful photos of my animals, indeed, of all animals: photos which would reveal the soul and character of each animal – not just snaps …..

So I had the idea that all I needed was a professional camera. The camera was bought and off I went – the experience was chastening. I realized I needed training to get where I am now: went to workshops, on courses, internet lessons, books, exchanges with other photographers and lots more. And I still try every day to discover and learn something new.

But technique alone doesn’t suffice to lay bare the soul of a creature. Working with animals is so fulfilling, but I can only photograph them when they are at ease and enthusiastically join in the process, or if with wild animals when they are not afraid of me.

So many things make presenting this blog to you so very special for me. Then something comes along that takes it into the stratosphere of being special. That is Tanja Brandt. Tanja’s photographs and how she describes herself are stratospheric!

I am so pleased to have been granted permission by Tanja to share her photographs; something I never want to stop doing!

Picture Parade Two Hundred and Nine

Just a few memories of the last week.

Our English guests, Mark and Debbie, who stayed with us after traveling to Warm Springs, South-East of Portland, Oregon, to view the eclipse took the following three photographs.

See the crescents in the dappled shade of a near by bush. 10 minutes before totality.

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Totality – August 21st, 2017.

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Our English guests.

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Then you will love the next one. Sent in by Neil Kelly from Devon, England.

Madison wears sunglasses to view the eclipse along the Cumberland River, Nashville, USA

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And another beauty courtesy of Neil K.

Last but not least ….

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Back to the stars!

The rising moon a little after 5am on the 19th August.

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And there hanging above that rising moon was Venus!

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Finally, back to Tanja Brandt whose most beautiful photographs will be gracing these Picture Parades in the future.

Flooring Saga Day Five

Hopefully back to normal for tomorrow.

(And, apologies, if there have been some duplications of these fabulous photographs.)

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Don’t know about you but returning to my ‘normal’ style of blog posts could run the risk of being seen as inferior to the posts of the last four days!

But can’t resist sharing one further photograph with you.

Just stunningly beautiful!

Sabrina’s Loyalty

Lisa Mae DeMasi offers you all a beautiful guest post.

Not going to allow my words to delay you reading this wonderful essay from Lisa.

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How this Handler and Service Dog Nurture One Another

by Lisa Mae DeMasi

At two years old, Lady’s ribs protruded from her coat and her belly was swollen with milk.

Like the thirteen other Labs that had arrived at a rest stop in Union, CT on the straight 12½-hour drive from Muncie, IN, she was presented to us on a crisp autumn day amid the chaos of respective adopters.

My husband Dennis had never experienced the warmth and companionship of having a dog and well, I surprised him with Lady, who we quickly renamed to Sabrina. The very afternoon we picked her up, we raced to the park, wanting her to feel the joy of freedom and play. My husband’s face lit up and while I was thrilled at the opportunity to befriend and care for Sabrina; it meant closing the 20-year gap since our beloved German Shepard from my childhood passed away.

Until laying my eyes on Sabrina’s profile, my heart couldn’t entertain loving another dog.

And what canine isn’t after the same love?

 In Sabrina’s case, she couldn’t know of the family members that awaited to embrace her presence. Within days of the initial hair-raising excitement, the cat sought out occasions to groom her ears. Our pet rat was free to waddle the kitchen floor un-bothered, and the pair of bonded bunnies in want of company stretched out beside her on the living room floor.

Dog, cat, rat, rabbit?
You bet.
And Dennis and me?
Like kids again.
Sabrina settled into the folds of our lives, well-nourished and exercised in Boston’s epic snowfall in the winter of 2009-2010, taking careful watch over all of us. The fear expressed in her eyes pre-adoption disappeared.
Eight years later, she watches over me in particular. Thirty years ago, I was struck and thrown from the passenger side of a car until my abdomen collided with the steering wheel—blunt force that called for iterative repair to my digestive system  and caused permanent damage to the nerves that signal my bladder is full.

Today when I’m busy working away, Sabrina will alert me to get up every couple of hours to make a trip to the restroom by gently placing her head in my lap.

When I suffer acute intestinal cramping, Crohns-like symptoms, she’ll sit at my side and lean her body against mine. Her calm and steady source of nurturing, helps me to relax and mitigates the cramps.

In 2008, the Department of Justice amended the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This was amended to include digestive, bowel and bladder impairments that limit major life activities as the disabled, calling for employers to make reasonable accommodations and if the individual elects, to allow task-oriented service animals [dog or miniature horse] to accompany them on the job.

Sabrina, serving in the capacity of a sensory/medical assist – alerting me to get up and take care of myself –  qualifies.

The HR Director, Debra Susler of Reputation Institute in Cambridge, MA this past April would not allow Sabrina to accompany me on-the-job. I sent her an elaborate email explaining my condition and Sabrina’s certification. She did not reply to me but to my supervisor.

She said “no”.

My response?

I walked out of the place

Sabrina: rescue dog to devoted helper dog.

Respectively, Sabrina’s competencies and understanding of language cease to astound us and her behavior on-the-job at Dell EMC is so well-mannered, coworkers never run out of compliments.

And bystanders in public? The grocery store, pharmacy, gym, dentist, doctor?

Gazes from cell phones are broken, conversations fall short.

Then, come the smiles. A question. Praises. The feel-good moment.

Sabrina brings people together.

I recently read a distressing post from a woman who said every time she looks into a service dog’s eyes, she sees sadness. Even Ingrid Newkirk, CEO and Co-Founder of PETA, has told me, “the life of a typical service dog is a terrible one.”

It’s true. Any canine enslaved to servitude is doomed a dog’s life unlived.

Service animals are working animals, not pets.

The ADA confirms it.

But that’s not the relationship Sabrina and I share [and I understand it can’t be the same with other handlers and service dogs]. In addition to being my devoted helper, Sabrina teaches me to exist in the moment — just like she does. To enjoy the sight of the sun shimmering through the trees, the call of the birds, the fragrance of wildflowers, the feel of the soft soil I tread a few yards behind her when we’re on our hikes.

What more could a dog do for a girl?

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There is something rather special about Lisa’s guest post; special in an introspective way!

That will be better appreciated if you go across to Lisa’s blog site at Nurture Is My Nature.
In particular when you read, via her ‘About’ link, what Lisa offers about herself. Republished here in full.

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As time goes by and you’re getting older and stuff like that—getting older sucks. You know, I hear all this crap about, ‘Oh, you can age with dignity.’ Really? —Mickey Rourke

Lisa’s creative work has recently placed second in Fiftiness’s 2017 Writing Contest (Why I Love Bike Commuting in Boston) and been featured in the anthologies, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex & Intimacy After Fifty (9/17, print) and The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal (11/17, print). Her essays have been published in the lit journals and several other media outlets. She considers Massachusetts her home, but has lived in Connecticut, Vermont, New York State and two other planets called Wyoming and Arizona. She earned a B.A. from Regis College and an MBA from Babson College, and holds a Master certificate in Reiki.

Lisa is seeking a development editor [that gets her] to work on her collection of essays and her memoir.

Published work:

Contests:

Why I Love Bike Commuting in Boston, Fiftiness, Second Place Winner, 5/23/17

Anthologies:

  1. The Kickass Formula that Restored My Libido, Unmasked, Women Write About Sex & Intimacy After Fifty, print, 9/17
  2. Grievances, Vine Leaves Vignette Collection (coffee table book), 11/1/17

Literary journals:

  1. This Writer’s Secret (Fiction Southeast, 11/1/170
  2. Snowflake (Crux Magazine, 9/17) [FINALLY got picked up!]
  3. Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Gravel, 12/4/16)
  4. T-boned (Gravel, 12/4/16)
  5. Forgive Me (Slippery Elm, 12/16)
  6. What More Is There to Ask? (Foliate Oak, 9/1/16)
  7. Becoming Our Fathers (East Bay Review, 2/23/16)
  8. The Subversive Writer (Shark Reef, 7/9/14)

Media Outlets:

  1. Not Having Children Was My Perfect Path (Fiftiness, 12/16)
  2. What More Is There to Ask? (Huffpost, 9/16)
  3. The Secret to Doing What You Love (The Artist Unleashed 9/16; HuffPost 3/15)
  4. The Kickass Formula That Restored My Libido (HuffPost 2/16; Rebelle Society 4/15)
  5. My Dear Friend, the Dirty (HuffPost 1/16; Elephant Journal, 12/14)
  6. She, Mother. Me, Daughter. (Huffpost 2/16; Elephant Journal, 1/15)
  7. What the Wrong Job Can Teach You (HuffPost 1/16)
  8. What Happened When I Performed Reiki on My Conservative Mother (Elephant Journal, 1/15)
  9. Why Regret Is So Deliciously Fun (HuffPost 1/16; Midlife Boulevard 8/15)

 Write to me at lisa dot demasi at gmail

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Now please watch “Just Like Heaven,” the video Lisa filmed of Sabrina, post-adoption in 2009.