My personal blog as a 'grown-up' Goth and Romantic living in the Highlands of Scotland. I write about the places I go, the things I see and my thoughts on life as a Goth and the subculture. Sometimes I write about music I like and sometimes I review things. This blog often includes architectural photography, graveyards and other images from the darker side of life.

The Gothic subculture is not just about imitating each other, it is a creative movement and subculture that grew out of post-punk and is based on seeing beauty in the dark places of the world, and looks back to the various ways throughout history in which people have confronted and explored the macabre, the dark and the taboo, and as such I'm going to post about more than the just the standards of the subculture (Tim Burton, Siouxsie Sioux and Anne Rice et al.) and look at things by people who might not consider themselves anything to do with the subculture, but have eyes for the dark places. Goth should not be limited by what is considered "goth", inspiration comes from all places, the key is to look with open eyes, listen carefully and think with an open mind..

Monday, 11 March 2013

Snow, Executions, Graveyards and Cats

Well isn't that a strange list of things!

Firstly, it snowed. I know it is mid-March, and theoretically Spring began on March 1st (for those places that use other dates than the equinoxes and solstices as seasonal starts) but it is once again terribly cold and snowy. We have had patches of warmer, brighter weather, but it seems to have plunged once again into winter. 

Snow and trees. Photograph by me.

This is a photo I took in local woodland. It was around 09:20 (I wasn't working at that point, my shift was later) in the morning, and the sun was quite low in the sky soon. Snow had blanketed everything in powdery whiteness, and the branches glittered brightly in the sun. The sky was blue, with more snow-clouds blowing in. I spent some time walking around the woods with the camera, and took a few other pictures, but this one was the best.

I caught a bus shortly after this and went into the city. I was surprised that it was so snowy in the city itself, as it is usually slightly warmer than the surrounding countryside, and often if it is snowing out on the hills, it is only raining in the city. Instead, I found great swirling flurries of snow. I wandered into the graveyard on Church St. to take photos, as I know it to always be very pretty, and the church beside it is a lovely Gothic Revival example (the church in it being much older).

Old High Church Graveyard
The sky, as you can see, had begun to cloud over once again, as more snow was falling and even more snow heading our way. I try not to photograph individual graves too legibly, but some were included as I tried to get a photograph of the overall scene. I will remember to photograph from the opposite angle in future, where I only get the backs of the stones. They are not (by any means) recent graves, and I hope I cause no offence to the families of those interred there. I tried very hard to photograph a rather fluffed-up crow that was scooting between the stones, and at one point perched on top of an urn-shaped grave stone, but he was too flighty (probably a result of the cold). 

Graveyard in the snow.

While I was there, I noticed that the visitor's board - the educational one with a brief history of the church and grounds - was buried under snow, so I cleared it off. Having cleared it off, I glanced over it, thinking I had read it all before, but then realised I hadn't, and that the parts missed included a rather gruesome episode in the Church's history. After the Battle of Culloden, Jacobite prisoners were kept there temporarily, and executed in the graveyard. There were, and are, two stones in the graveyard, one with a groove in the top that was used as a musket rest, and one 9 yards directly in front of it, facing the river, where the prisoner to be executed was placed. I think quite a few died there. Apparently the executioner missed once, and there is dent in the wall of the house opposite. Reading about it sent chills down my spine, and it seemed quite eerie that the churchyard that is now peaceful and pretty and full of wildlife and nice statuary was once witness to such bloodshed. While graveyards are often associated with death, it is rare for people to have actually died in them. 

I had to go home at this point, as I had to get ready for my shift at work, but the weather started improving again. A lot of the snow melted in the afternoon. 

There's a cat perched on me. 

On a lighter note, on the way home to change for work, this friendly cat from a neighbour's house came over to see me. She likes clambering on me, and as you can see in the photograph, especially likes sitting on my shoulders. She's a very, very cute little kitty. And yes, I am terrible at taking selfies. I often get to play with her on my way too and from the bus, and once she refused to get off my shoulders, and I wondered if she was hoping to sneak onto the bus with me... Eventually she climbed onto a fence next me and was content to be petted while sitting up there. 

8 comments:

  1. That graveyard looks really beautiful covered in snow! It's odd to think of an execution happening there..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think several prisoners were shot there... It is really strange. These days it is such a tranquil place, with plenty of birds and rabbits. I've sat yards from where they were shot, on the grass and admiring the view over the river, all the time unaware. It's actually moved me quite a bit. It's not like I'll stop going there, but I think I will always see the place a bit differently.

      Delete
  2. What a fascinating story! It's so strange to discover something like that after going somewhere so long. Maybe they are at peace now too. I like the idea of keeping the dead company like in the past, when people would hang around graveyards to keep their family company.

    The cat is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I often talk out loud to those interred in graveyards, and I used to sing hymns to the dead (and excerpts of requiems) when I was younger and more Christian - which is sort of illogical in Christian thinking because surely their souls would be in Heaven, Hell or Purgatory and thus all I would be doing is singing to their bones, but I guess it was some sort of prayer, and with very old graveyards, I did wonder if the dead felt ignored after they had faded from living memory. I was never very good at being Christian.

      The cat is definitely lovely! She's the cutest thing :)

      Delete
  3. Beautiful photos! Especially the perched kitty! :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cats improve everything, especially when on my head :P

      Delete
  4. Very nice photos. It was also interesting learning abut the executions of so many prisoners there in times past.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of Scottish history is very bloody, and what the Hanoverian forces did that day against the Jacobites was surely a war-crime before such things had laws and names against them.

      Delete

Please be polite and respectful. Comments containing gratuitous swearing and insults will be deleted.