The View from my Window


We are going to have weekly themes to try to inspire people across Catch 23 and provide a topic to talk about.  This week’s them is “The View from my Window.” I am going to put the content of this week’s handout here, but will also link a PDF file and send that out to our writers. If anyone else would like it, and you can’t download it from here, email me via the Contact page.  Sorry if this seems like overkill and you end up with the same content in 57 varieties of format, but we are trying to work out the best way of making sure that it is available to everyone.

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This week’s them is The View from my Window and I am very lucky here. It is not that my view is spectacularly beautiful. It is a bit of a mess to be honest. My untidy front garden and the ordinary houses opposite dominate. Or rather their roofs do – I can’t see much more from my living room as they are bungalows and further down the hill.


But from the front bedroom  the vista opens up. I can see over those roofs to the conifer block that fronts Smith Avenue, and the fields beyond.  Further yet I can make out the wind turbines at Holm.  And sometimes, on those rare clear days, most often in winter, I can see the mountains of the mainland. Torridon, this must be, and I think the smaller, notched peak is The Horns of Alligin.   Measuring by means of Google Maps I have worked out that, on clear days, my scruffy, messy,     miscellaneous view extends well over forty miles.

There isn’t much sea to be seen. I can get a glimpse of the Outer Harbour between the warehouse roofs of Newton industrial estate and an even more fugitive slip of Broad Bay if I lean out of the window. And sometimes in the summer, but perhaps not this one, the top half a dozen decks of some massive cruise liner materialises beyond the rooftops.


If my house had another story or was ten feet further up Goathill he view would be spectacular.

Human life is sparse in my view.  A few cars and buses, some pedestrians pass by on their way to school or to the Health Centre but real interest is rare.  In Islington, before I moved here it was the other way around. My second story flat had views down a long crescent.  There was a bus garage half way down which was a problem;  the buses would process in the early hours, their diesel engines  thundering, making it impossible to sleep with the window open – and in hot humid London summers it was often impossible to sleep with it closed.

But there were compensations: dramas, curious people to look at. Once a badly damaged fast car groaned clanked on blown tyres, up the road towards me, giving up the struggle  about fifty yards away. At that point the driver forced the battered door open and ran off – police sirens  already blaring in the distance.  Such excitement is rarer in Stornoway


If the human life is more subdued in my Stornoway view, then the bird life makes up for it.  All sorts of birds use The Cut, that big ditch that runs from Engebrets towards Broad Bay, to cross from Broad Bay to the Minch. I can’t see it from my window but I see the birds fly by.  Wild geese, buzzards, sparrowhawks, whooper swans and divers, even a merlin once, have all crossed my field  of view. Closer still a range of birds visit my garden including a brambling and, most surprising of all, a turtle dove last January (the first and only winter record for the Hebrides for this fast declining summer visitor to Southern England).


You don’t need a forty mile view for bird watching. You don’t even need a garden though a feeding      station is nice, and might attract a rarity if you are lucky. Almost anything might fly by here, from        goldcrests to golden eagles.  I have even heard a corncrake from my front garden though never seen one, from my window, or anywhere else!

There is one thing that everyone can enjoy so long as you can see a patch of sky from your  window. Our weather is not always kind to us and we do get more than our fair share of dreich days and gunmetal skies. But those endless frontal systems sweeping in from the Atlantic do give us spectacular cloudscapes.  The sky may be dull and grey for what seems like weeks but suddenly becomes absolutely glorious.

And, at least if you live out of town, you might even glimpse the aurora borealis from your window.





The View



19 thoughts on “The View from my Window

  1. Urszula asked me to post this for her:


    I am in the over 70s stay at home group

    My fourth day of self isolation
    Rain and wet snow slide down the glass
    Icy patterns form on the windows
    Grey sky, perhaps no walk today

    On fifth day
    Just been for walk
    Blinding sun going down the hill
    Wind and icy wet rain coming back

    Wrapped up in warm clothes
    And a long scarf
    Occasionally a car stops
    We have a chat through the window

    The chickens and ducks carry on as normal
    Wild greylag geese flying in the sky
    But the geese have taken up residence in my back garden
    They nibble the grass and keep it short

    Day seven I got a lift
    Went to the cemetery walked along the top
    Overlooking the sea
    Walked along the path
    Again wrapped up warm

    Now on day eight
    Staying in, the weather has turned
    Rain and unpleasant strong winds
    Watched a film
    Now finishing this writing
    Will go on the exercise bike and watch through
    The large windows of our porch

    Have managed a week of isolation
    Am treating this as a three month holiday
    Staying in

    Urszula Ghee Więckowska 23 March 2020

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We have another great contribution from Cathy MacLeod

    The View from my Window

    Stark grey
    Shark like
    Like a great shark mouth
    The gable ends
    Of the house opposite threaten
    To swallow my house whole, so
    I divert my eyes up and above
    To the sea like sky
    Ever changing
    Like the seas
    Where I have seen
    Rainbows looping hope.
    A glance to the left and there is a wedge of moor
    Whereon have stood a family of deer
    Far from the safety of their isolation.
    A shard of a tree on stands on the horizon
    Next to a giant gorse Bush
    That can be mistaken for a giant rock.
    Back in the garden
    A bird flits by
    Followed by another and another.
    Still they chirp and sing
    Hanging into the wall of the great grey shark opposite.
    Quite often they alight onto the fence outside my window.
    Bobbing and nodding
    Dancing and curtsying
    Darts of light and substance of life
    A neighbour walks by with less grace
    Still nice to see though.
    Sometimes my mind
    Flies over the gable end
    Up into
    The sea sky
    And I see the universe
    Stretched out before me
    I see everything, even when, the lights
    Switch off
    At 11 PM precisely.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. And we have now gone International. My friend Steve Smith took these photos of his view in Tuscany. The first one is looking towards Pisa and you can see the leaning tower from his kitchen window ( in the far distance, you are unlikely to spot it in the photo!


  4. James posted this poem on the Wild Geese thread but I thought it was as relevant to this one – and more likely to be seen:

    “The air is cold, this windy day,
    We’re stuck indoors, gazing out
    The doors and windows barred and bolted.
    Through thin plaster walls, on hard wooden floors
    The neighbours’ heels knock, tic toc
    Our confinement marked by this relentless clock
    “Why can’t they stop?”, we mutter.”


  5. Some info about the view from Trevor
    The location is close to Puivert in the Cathar country of the Pyrenean foothills. The far off dot in the middle of the horizon is actually the ruins of the old cathar Chateau de Puivert. Montaillou, the famed village of the book by Emanuel le Roy Ladurie lies about 30 km south west. Here’s the castle


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