‘Learn to make a right use of your eyes’
Behind the house there is a very small courtyard – Miller’s Garden of Wonders, which has several engraved paving slabs showing various fossils and also one showing a stonemason’s hammer and chisel. Pupils of Cromarty Primary School buried a time capsule under this slab. There is also a slab of stone attached to the wall, bearing the words ‘ Learn to make a right use of your eyes’. I am often reminded of this when out and about, especially when my eagle-eyed daughter and granddaughter spot something I would have missed e.g. the beautiful curly young ferns, or the small bug, both spotted by them a few weeks ago. I am sure that 99 out of 100 people would have walked right past them without noticing.
Also in Hugh Miller’s yard is the best centrepiece I have ever seen. It is in the form of a stylised ammonite. When I came to this part of the writing, I realised that I didn’t know very much about the sculpture, so thought I should maybe make a ‘right use’ of my tongue – and ask. A telephone call to the property manager gave me some quite fascinating information. The base on which the ammonite rests is made of various sandstones, the blocks all being dressed and fitted without mortar. The ammonite itself which rests on top is made of scrap metal, including old brass doorknobs, trays, coal scuttles and paraffin lamps. I hadn’t realised this, but now that I know, of course that is where the designs are from! What an ingenious and clever idea, wonderfully assembled by artist Helen Denerley!
I thoroughly enjoyed looking at her website and will certainly be trying to see some more of her work in various parts of Scotland.
Do you have Eagle Eyes?
By the way, did you spot the underlying peregrine falcon on Hugh Miller’s message?
Photos and Pages on this post created by Irene McDonald ©2014 Irene McDonald