Saturday, 22 October 2011

Beauty, memories and Portobello beach

Today a visit to Portobello was on the program as there was a quilt show by the Milton Quilters in the Portobello Old Parish Church. The quilts were colourful and a lovely mix, reminding me as if that was needed, how I enjoy seeing quilts in traditional patterns. So that was the first lot of beauty today, as well as memories as some of the quilt patterns have been around for centuries.

I had visited the venue before to give a talk but that had been during the evening so I hadn't realized that there were gravestones about. And what gravestones they were. A real treasure trove.

Some of them are being slowly overcome by vegetation but the above impressive grave monument, set into the wall, and sumptiously decorated can still be read at the moment:

Sacred to the memory of Jessie Rae, wife of David Craig, paper maker Portobello who died on the 2nd March 1870 aged 58 years. Also David Craig, died 29th December 1884, aged 72 years.

But the above gravestone really featured someone who was determined to make people remember her. I've never seen so much text, it must have cost a fortune. And she couldn't make up her mind between the various Bible texts and in the end (pun definitely intended) decided to go for all 3!

Here is the full inscription:

In remembrance of Agnes Kidd, born 12th January 1769, in that memorable year being remarkable for the birth of great people (she definitely wasn't shy, or humble!!), died 31 August 1863. Also her husband Alexander Orrock, merchant who died at Edinburgh of a moments illness to her inexpressive sorrow, 3rd August 1809. Her tenderness of heart, her charible disposition, her love to do the will of God made her justly beloved and respected by those who knew her till at last she fell asleep in the hopes of her blessed Lord and Savious Jesus Christ.

Thomas Orrock, died February 6th 1879 aged 76 years.

Jews said I am the Resurrection and the life. John XI, chap. 25

I sat down under his shadow with great delight and his fruit was sweet to my taste. Solomons Song IL, chap. 1.4(?)

He bought me to the banquetting house and his banner over me was love.

She achieved her goal as today I definitely thought about her, although perhaps not in the way she had intended!
I parked very close to the beach so the first thing I did was stroll to the water. Sadly it's no longer weather for Crocs and I was wearing heavy boots, otherwise I would have paddled a bit in the water, whatever the temperature. This is a different look at sea and sky and sometimes it's a good idea to get a new perspective, not just on the view but on life in generally which is what a stroll along the waves usually provides for me.

I thought about the beautiful film I saw yesterday with the Pentland Film Society which I joined recently. If all the offerings are as good as last night I won't regret it. It was The Secret in Their Eyes, an Argentinian film which has won an Oscar. The film is a detective story, a view of what revenge can be like, of how people live with sometimes tragic memories, but it's also a beautiful love story. It's filmed in a dark, brooding way with numerous flash-backs and as soon as it was finished I wanted to see it all over again. Which is probably the highest praise you can give a film. I spend a lot of time today thinking about it, mainly about how our memories shape us, whether they are good or bad. Gravestones slot in perfectly to that theme, after all they are meant to keep the memories alive as per the text of the gravestones above.

Portobello beach was almost completely deserted as you can see at the top of this blog (my blip today) and above. I find a seaside visit almost irristible, although strictly speaking this isn't the sea but the river Forth. It soothes my soul to think this water has been flowing to the sea for times immemorable and it will continue to do so long after we have gone. It provides continuity when our own lives are in flow themselves and walking along a beach is the best way I know of making myself feel peaceful and calm. Having said that today it also provided a refreshing blow-out of mental cobwebs as it was very windy!

Portobello beach is adorned with these Victorian and fairly massive urn shapes which are decorated with fruit and flower garlands. They seem to serve no useful purpose as far as I can tell and are there, I guess, to beautify the beach, and who's to say that is not the very best purpose of all. And after all this there was still time to walk the dogs and do some stitching at home. Sometimes days can seem endless and filled to the brim while other days fly past without leaving much of a memory behind and that's fine too.


peggy gatto said...

thank you for taking me here!!!!!

Lenna Young Andrews said...

I love your reflective posts Frieda, and I too cannot resist a walk along the sea or river -as we have both here too! Enjoyed your post very much. xo lenna

Doreen said...

Lovely to see you at our Exhibition yesterday Frieda.Glad you enjoyed your visit to Portobello, both the show and the beach! Sorry we couldn't provide the sunshine for your walk along the Prom!



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