St Andrews

As you may have read in my biography in the about page, I completed my Bachelor of Science by reading Geography at The University of St Andrews, Scotland's first University. I have only made a handful of visits since I completed this course. A few occasions to use their laser seive to analyse sediment from Greenland while researching my PhD, but since then I have only made two trips. Once in late December in 2005 with some friends and then again last Sunday.

The thought of returning to a place I became so familiar with after such a long absence has always made me feel a little uneasy. When I was there in 2005 I was horrified that Costa Coffee has opened up, the whole idea of 'chain' shops seemed to go against the idea of St Andrews and its 'lost in time feeling'.

Of course, finding Starbucks, Pizza Express and a whole host of other multinational shops in the city this time certainly shocked me, although if I had thought about it for more than a few minutes before I arrived I would have figured out that this was an obvious progression. 

It's hard going back, it's hard not looking for the familiar signs, the people and the feeling that doesn't seem to be there anymore. I think it was the excitement of being there as a student, not knowing what was going to happen each day. I think I could see it in the eyes of the students that I did see though, I did feel a pinch of jealousy.

Of course, some things never change, the red gowns were adorned by the students coming out from St Salvators Chapel heading towards the Pier Walk, possibly heading to the Hebdomadar's office for sherry, or perhaps a new tradition of heading to Starbucks for a Frappuccino. Trust me, the sherry was always better.

I didn't take many photographs as I was mainly walking around in my own thoughts of years gone by. Click the thumbnail for the large version.

Something for the weekend

Fuck Yes or No

I recently discovered an old web browser bookmarks file that I hadn't uploaded to my browser when I last upgraded my iMac. This led to an inane amount of time re-discovering websites that I used to haunt and waste time on. I re-discovered a site that I used read a lot, Mark Manson. It's a hard site to describe, he is basically someone that became popular on after publishing an article on Medium that was originally published on his website titled "Fuck Yes or No". He describes himself as an Author, Thinker and Life Enthusiast. He published the NYT bestseller The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck

I noticed the post on Medium quite a few years ago in which he suggests that we should apply this question to relationships and other aspects of our life. It's either Fuck Yes... or No. That we should be 100% behind our choice or not  it. It's an interesting idea, one which I have used in the past and perhaps not enough of late. As you can probably tell his use of profanity is a theme throughout his website.

I thought I would link to some of his articles that I like here as I can think of a couple of people that could be doing with reading some of his work.

Fuck Yes or No – The most important rule of dating and relationships.
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck – The most popular article on the site. And for good reason.
Screw Finding Your Passion – You already know what you love to do. You’ve just forgotten how to do it.

Check out his website, it makes for interesting reading whether you agree with his life views or not.


The choices we make reveal the true nature of our character.

Going for an almost 320 mile drive today to get a picture, passing through the Cairngorm mountains and up to the capital of the highlands, Inverness. Truth be told I am going for a little more than a picture. But, a great shot at Carrbridge of Scotlands (allegedly) oldest stone bridge with a great sunset would be nice. It'd be a tough trip to go back on a nicer evening to get that shot. But I guess that's the kind of choices I have been making lately.

I have been on an unfamiliar path for a while now and I haven't been taking the time to look around and see what is going on, assessing my surroundings and asking myself questions. I think the questions we ask ourselves shape our path. I have travelled a fair amount recently, looking for new paths to follow and I have been disappointed at where I have been.

Time for a new direction, via Inverness if nothing else.


Reflective Practice

Recent circumstances have left me thinking a lot about reflective practice. 

Reflective practice is a process by which you: stop and think about your practice, consciously analyse your decision making and draw on theory and relate it to what you do in practice. Critical analysis and evaluation refocuses your thinking on your existing knowledge and helps generate new knowledge and ideas.

I was first formally introduced to this idea when I was enrolled in a teaching in higher education diploma. Primarily I was encouraged to have a teaching / demonstrating program before the lesson and to reflect on what went well and what could be done better by reflecting on the experience afterwards. It is a particularly powerful technique for advancing teaching standards.

I think this had been drummed into so much that it has crept into all other aspects of my life (perhaps subconsciously). I realized this recently with website consulting work that I have been doing and my photography.

I spend a lot of time reflecting on what went well in my photography and things that could have been better and why. After a recent meeting I also found myself wondering what could have been better and did I miss anything out; more importantly would I get the chance to rectify this? 

Easily done with photography, not so much with a paying client.