The Family Tie that Binds – “The Closer We Get”

Today the Screen Machine offered a free add- on  to LaLa Land and Trainspotting 2, a film  which took place a bit closer to home in Largs,  just up the Ayrshire coast and in Ethiopia.

Local filmmaker Karen Guthrie set her camera in the midst of her family and portrayed an amazing dynamic that came about when her mother had a stroke a few years ago,  bringing the family together to work out her care, including her father who returned home post-divorce to help keep her mother at home.

Karen answered questions from the audience after the showing of the film and it was clear that the openness of the film, the warts and all portrayal of a typical West of Scotland family in crisis spoke to those present. It certainly did to me, the  similarity between her father and mine was astonishing in their ability not to show emotion and place the blame elsewhere when questioned. This made me realise that while I always thought my family was singularly dysfunctional, here that was protrayed in such a way as to make it clear that this similarity was cultural. The friend I was with could relate to it as well, West of Scotland lassie that she is.

I won’t tell the story or the twist in the tale, because it is possible to watch the film on or purchase the DVD and I highly recommend either.

We are so fortunate to have access to the award-winning musical and this very real Scottish film in the same weekend just up the road, not to mention the Auchrannie Spa nearby for apres-film cappucinos and fresh-baked scones.

The Closer We Get


Winter Twilight, Innes Wheels and the Glen Estate Lunch Club

At the moment the light is incredible through my living room window, which incidentally is outlined for the tenth Christmas in a row in the deep blue Christmas lights I bought at Habitat before that magical place closed down.

The pale winter sun in a calm sky belies the weather forecast of a windy Christmas with boat disruptions which may or may not happen. My family don’t get here until after New Year so maybe, with any luck, etc., etc.

The room is now lit by candlelight as the sky reflects the last of the sun and the clouds disappear slowly. With the radio playing a mix of classical music and carols, my soul is contented.

Just as I started to write this the mail arrived with what will sadly be the last edition of the magazine “Yarnmaker”. There was my article which I wrote a few months ago about my good friend Col. James Innes, OBE who built the spinning wheels I used for teaching at Silverbirch when I first came to Arran. It was lovely to read it all again and reminisce about the rapport we had and the love of handspinning and wheels. Information about the magazine and about spinning will be available on the website

Writing about this day would indeed not be complete without mentioning the amazing lunch we had today at the Glen Estate Lunch Club. Michael the chef made the most succulent turkey with mashed potatoes and brussel sprouts and carrots cooked to perfection. With millionaire shortbread cheesecake to follow, body as well as soul is contented in this winter twilight.


Innes Wheels l. to r. St. Kilda, Argyll and Foula models

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