Just So

m_lamp repairs in colour
There’s a shop on Howe Street, tucked into a basement, which rejoices in the name of Lonsdale & Dutch. I believe that they are technically called tinsmiths, but I think of it as the lantern shop. For in the window are all kinds of outdoor lanterns and their fittings such are common in Edinburgh’s New Town. Figures can be glimpsed, bent over lathes, through a blue mist of dust and metal particles in the workshop. I’ve never had the nerve to ask if I could photograph inside the workshop, but I long to do so.

The window display (if display’s the right word) rarely changes – one rickety lantern replacing another and a fresh scattering of nuts and bolts. And while it’s fascinating by day, it’s at night that it really comes alive to evoke the spirit of an older Edinburgh. I’ve spent what feels like hours aiming my camera at the lit window on cold winter nights, only giving up when my hands were too frozen to continue. This picture is one of the results.


m_lattice

Once upon a time, I swore I’d never take what I call chocolate box pictures. But, you know, never is such a long time and pretty pictures are, whether we like it or not, all around us. And here’s an example.

You’d swear this is a carefully constructed composition for Country Living magazine. (Incidentally, that magazine is one of my guilty pleasures – it’s as good as eating an entire box of chocolates and almost as good as sex – well, as good as bad sex, if you see what I mean). The beautiful latticed ironwork of the table and chair, a birdbox placed just so, a shabby chic enamel watering can and planters and a garden fence to set it all off. A stylist would be in heaven – why all it needs is a faded Cath Kidston apron and a child with tousled curls named Imogen!

But it isn’t. I swear. On my mother’s life. OK Mother isn’t with us any more, but if she were, she’d have said now this is lovely – I don’t know why you can’t take nice pictures like this all the time, instead of that weird stuff. Yes Mum.

The location, by the way, was one of the handkerchief-size gardens of the Stockbridge Colonies – and yes, shabby chic is big down there, let me tell you…

All Photographs © Rachel Cowan

Photos

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Family History

I have a passion for researching my family history, so this section of the site is devoted to my ancestors and their families. Although it makes sense to follow only direct ancestors, that’s not my approach. So out of nearly 1600 individuals, only some of those will spin directly back into history. The rest will be those little branches that are so tantalising simply because they are often just out of reach.

The search so far has wound back to the 1660s and the newest member of the family was born in 2010. Some are harder to track down than the Golden Fleece while others turn out to be related to everyone you could imagine.

We’re a family of common names (the genealogist’s nightmare) and common occupations. There’s nobody grand among us. We were farmers, tanners, cordiners, burgesses of the town and, overwhelmingly, coal miners. Some of our branches are from across the Irish Sea. Some went to Canada when that country was young. And two soldiers, a coalminer and his shoemaker father-in-law, took the Queen’s Shilling for service in India, where they became enmeshed with an Anglo-Indian dynasty.

Our surnames (so far) are:

Adamson Alexander Allibone Anderson Armstrong Baillie Balance Barclay Barnes Barnett Barry Bartley Baxter Bayne Bell Bennie Benson Bilton Binnie Bishop Black Blake Box Braidwood Bray Breen Breslin Brimton Brook Brookes Brown Brownlie Brunton Bryden Burby Burd De Butts Calder Caldwell Cameron Campbell Carlier Carrie Carter Cather Chaplin Charlton Clark Clarke Clephane Cochran Cook Copland Corr Cotter Courtney Cowan Craib Craig Craigen Crichton Crooks Cunningham Curran Currie Cuthbertson Dargie Davis D’Cruz Dewar Dick Dickinson Dickson Divine Docherty Donnelland Dontree Douglas Dove Dow Dowie Doyle D’Rozario Drummond Dundass Dunlop Dunn Easton Edgar Elder Elliott Evans
Farbrother Ferguson Ferrier Fisher Fleming Fletcher Foley Forrest Frame Francis Fraser Frazer Freer Fulton Gardiner Gardner Geddes Gibb Gibson Gill Gold Goldbury Good Gordon Gorman Graham Greenaway Hall Halliburn Hamilton Hardie Hastie Hay Henderson Hicken Higgins Hill Hodgeskies Holod Hunt Hunter Hutchinson Hyslop Ignatius Ingram Irwin Jackson Jacobs Jamieson Japp Johnston Johnstone Jones Joy Judge Keer Kelly Kennedy Kerr Kidd Killalee Kirkland Lane Law Lawson Lee Lewars Lin Lindsay Lithgow Lundy
MacDonald MacEwan Maclaren Maclean MacMillan Madill Magnay Mangen Marlain Marshell Martin Matheson McArthur McAughey McAulay McCallum McCandless McClelland McCord McCulloch McDougall McGhee McGregor McIlwraith McInnes McKenzie McLachlan McLean McLellan McListon McNair McQuiston McTaggart McVicar Mellis Michie Middleton Miller Mitchell Monaghan Moncur Morgan Morris Morrison Mowatt Muir Muirhead Munro Munt Murray Nathaniel Neil Nelson Newlands Nisbet Noir O’Brien O’Donnell Ola Old Owens Paczsusky Pairman Parrott Paterson Paton Patrick Patterson Peat Pedio Peters Pollack Potts Preston Pritchard Radford Raggett Ralston Redway Reed Reid Robario Robb Roberts Robertson Robinson Rodger Rodney Rodrigues Rogers Ross Russell
Salmon Sandilands Scott Selfridge Shaw Simmons Slater Smillie Smith Somerville Spence Squire Stanners Steel Stevenson Stewart Storione Tait Taylor Tennant Thom Thomson Tudhope Turnbull Wallace Ward Wason Watson Watt Waugh Weaver Weir Wells Whitelaw Whiteway Whyt Williams Williamson Wilson Wood Wormleighton Young
Family History

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