A major difficulty for residents of Speyside is finding words that do justice to the beauty of this area. I live in Aberlour and am very fortunate to know a local man whose photographs capture the ever changing mood and light of this area better than any poet of whom I am aware.
Bill is a lad o pairts and is very weel kent and respected internationally in the world of whisky and, since his retiral from that business, he has devoted much of his time to world travel but is always around this area to photograph the key transitions of the seasons and changing moods of the magnificent Speyside landscape. I will be featuring Bill's wonderful photographs to illustrate this blog.
It has been a strange year weather wise with few really warm summery days although generally it has been really good walking weather, not too hot, not too wet and offering clear views of the ever changing countryside around Aberlour.
I have been holding storytelling sessions with groups throughout Moray that are organised by NESS (North East Sensory Services) an organisation that works to achieve independence for blind and deaf people. These sessions have been really enjoyable and reaffirm for me the simple pleasures to be had by sharing stories within a small group.
I have also held sessions with some of the BALL (Be Active Live Longer) groups who meet weekly in various community halls in the area. All participant are over 60 years of age and have been very lively and fun to work with. Storytelling for me is a two way street and I have gained valuable local knowledge and learned stories from each of those participating groups.
However, the autumn chills have arrived on Speyside and the land is beginning to rest and settle down for the winter. Too soon for many in the village. Apart from occasional groups of whisky tourists at this time of year there are few foreign visitors around and their prescence is missed particularly in the local bars, cafes and shops where the sound of their variety of languages of languages and cheerful banter give a real international feel to Aberlour in Spring and Summer.
We face a very difficult few weeks in Britain as our society tears itself apart over the madness that is Brexit. This is my first blog through which I will keep you all up to date with news about Stories by the Way and hope to meet with you all next year still in my preferred persona of a Scottish European.
photo: Sunset on the Spey - Bill Morgan