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, 22 June 2015

Ice-Skating, Botanic Gardens and River Ness

On Saturday, my friend Mavis invited me out to go ice-skating because Inverness Ice Centre apparently has cheap public skating on a Saturday afternoon. It was £5 for over an hour of skating, with an extra £1 for skate hire. Other people certainly bought their own skates, so that is an option. Both Mavis and I have been ice-skating before - but both somewhere between 12 and 15 years ago! Neither of us could remember how to ice-skate. By about my fourth or fifth circumnavigation of the ice-rink, I finally remembered how to skate well enough to stop hanging onto the wall and skate relatively freely with a little confidence. I even remembered how to turn on the spot and approximately how to stop without falling over. We both thought we'd escaped from falling onto the ice, right until 8 minutes before our session was over, when Mavis fell onto the ice. I came close several times, but thankfully the edge wall was there to save me, although I did do some rather ungainly slips! Mavis was a bit bashed but mostly OK. 

Photo by Mavis. Editing by me.
After we went skating, we thought about visiting Inverness Botanic Gardens (Floral Hall) which is pretty much nextdoor to the ice-rink, but they were just closing up. Instead, we posed for photos by the exterior of the perimeter wall, which had some rather pretty climbing plants growing on it. I get a little creeped out by certain bugs, which Mavis kept insisting on talking about, and I started getting worried that there'd be some in the bush I was posing by, hence why some of the poses get further and further away from the bush! I'm not entirely sure what the flowers were, but they were quite pretty. I am also not entirely sure how old the stone wall is; it looks quite old, but I'm not really sure how to tell beyond the profusion of lichens and the rather established climbing plants. 

Photo by Mavis, editing by HouseCat.

My thanks go to Mavis for taking these photos. She took them on my rather dire phone camera, so I am impressed that they came out this well because it is very rare for any photograph taken on my phone to come out well. It works better outdoors, certainly, but these are far nicer than my outdoor shots with the same phone camera. I did the editing afterwards because they were on my phone, but all I did was crop them down to squares, tweak the contrast slightly and apply the 'dusk' filter from ::PicMonkey:: because the grey weather made everything look dull, so all the actual photographic stuff was done by her.  


Photograph by Mavis, editing by HouseCat

My outfit might look like it's a bit much for the day before the midsummer Solstice, but the weather was grey and prone to rain showers, plus it was obviously going to be cold in the ice-rink, so I was wearing my thick and warm winter tights, a skirt with petticoats, bloomers, and a slip under my corset, blouse and dress... with a shrug! While I was skating I did think that it might have been sensible for me to have been wearing lace gloves. I almost always wear lace gloves, every single day, and the one day I don't (because I do have to wash them all occassionally) is the one day I regret not wearing them... typical! 

Photo by Mavis, Editing by HouseCat

My hair is currently pastel turquoise because that is what colour the green fades to when it has not been dyed in a while. My hair has become very fine and brittle after being repeatedly bleached, and my roots are growing out. My work have not made any complaints about my pastel-coloured hair, so I have not dyed it back to dark green. I do not mind covering up the bleached hair with dye, but I do not want to have to bleach my roots, as I do not want my hair to get any more damaged. My hair is snapping, both at points where it has been bleached and at points in the new growth, and it is also simply falling out. I naturally have rather thick, straightish hair that grows into a wave as it gets longer, but it is noticeably thinning around my hair-line, and also instead of growing into a neat wave, the ends curve and kink in all sorts of frizzy directions. I am laying off the hair-dye and bleaching for a good while! I have actually got nearly 2 inches of regrowth, but I am posing to try and avoid showing this. I do not plan on dyeing or bleachung my hair again until September, and I will need to get the fried-looking ends trimmed out of my hair, as the constant snags probably are not helping the snapping problem.

Photograph by Mavis, editing by HouseCat
The outfit I am wearing is: a ruffled blouse from eBay from one of many Chinese importers, a secondhand Bodyline dress that is from their 'separates' range and a bit short for Lolita so I wear it as a Goth dress, my favourite crochet lace shrug that was originally from Tesco but also bought secondhand, thick winter tights from Tesco, and a pair of very comfortable brogues with a slight heel from Gabor that I bought secondhand. I was wearing some extra layers under all that, including an underbust corset. I love thrift shopping, eBay shopping and scouring alternative-specific secondhand sales pages for bargains; it is the cheapest way to get nice Goth clothes.  

Photo by Mavis, edit by me
After we stopped for photos outside the Botanic Gardens, we wandered down towards Ness Islands. It turns out that it was the same day as the grand opening of the new skate-park on the ice-rink/Aquadome/Botanic Gardens side of the river, so we paused for a minute to watch people doing stunts on all the new ramps and things. There were people on rollerblades, stunt bikes, skateboards, etc. I used to do rollerderby on quad skates, and when I was younger I used to do a few stunts on inline skates (but nothing spectacular) and watching the kids (most of the people there were younger teens) on their skates made me a little bit jealous, but considering my unbalanced performance  on the ice skates, and considering that I have a co-ordination, balance and spatial awareness disorder, I probably won't try and join them any time soon. I no longer bounce like I did was younger,  and these days I risk actually injuring myself. 

Photograph by Mavis. Editing by HouseCat
Inverness has a series of pedestrian suspension bridges across the River Ness - two at Ness Islands,  and two between more central points within the city, so four in total, and the two bigger ones downstream are both of a rather pretty design. The two at Ness Islands are smaller and narrower, and replacements built in 1987/1988 for much nicer and sturdier-looking Victorian era suspension bridges (which were a replacement for earlier suspension bridges that got washed away in a flood...). The general idea was maintained in the new design, but it just isn't quite the same, and whenever anybody jogs or walks quickly across either of the bridges, they bounce like a trampoline which is really quite unnerving! The Happy Pontist blogged about them ::here::. 


Photograph by Mavis, editing by HouseCat

I also took some photographs of Mavis on the bridge, and she took some of me. My phone camera struggles with varied lighting, and the bright grey-white sky and reflections off the river really threw it, leaving the edges of the photos faded and my pastel hair looking almost as if it were glowing. In my edits for these photos I decided to enhance this effect and further fade out the edges. I darkened myself and the background slightly, too, in order to boost the contrast a little. The final effect makes me think of how I sometimes remember dreams; there are items, events and people who seem as clear as in reality, but then the setting seems to fade away into obscurity around them. My hair blew in the wind and went up above my head, all floofy, and my phone camera captured this really badly, so I just coloured in the blurry mix of white, brown, and turquoise with a turquoise to match my hy hair and make it look less like some weird monster had landed on my head. 

Photo by Mavis, editing by HouseCat
Mavis had never been for a proper walk around Ness Islands before, so we walked down to the bench and stoney prominance built into the flow of the river at the most upstream point of the islands, and then across all the various foot-bridges down to the most downstream end of the islands and then walked back into the town down the South bank of the river, passing lots of lovely houses and gardens, and then going up to ::La Tortilla Asesena:: for tapas. I had never had tapas food before, so that was certainly a novel experience for me,  and it was all rather delicious, especially the churros I had for desert. 


8 comments:

  1. I really like your outfit, and the photos are beautiful. It sounds like a fun day! Maybe apart from the skating though, I am really terrible at it and always fall over and get all soggy and grumpy and end up regretting even trying!

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    1. I skate like a baby deer... that is also drunk and dizzy :P I did, however, improve over my time skating.

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  2. Great outfit! I especially love that last picture with the water... looks magical :)

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    1. Thank-you :) Mavis deserves the thanks for the photographs.

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  3. All in all, it looks like you had a great day.

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    1. Thank-you :) We did have a great day. Summer in Scotland might often be grey and dull, but that doesn't mean life in summer has to be dull.

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  4. Lovely pictures for sure and well, I am a bit scared, never been ice skating and it sounds even more difficult now XD

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    1. I was petrified when I started! I used the outer barrier/wall as a support as I started getting the hang of it, and by about half an hour/45 minutes into it, I was feeling a lot more confident, and skating about without needing to hold on. New stuff is often scary to begin with, but if someone with co-ordination and balance issues like me can do it, anyone can!

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