Friday, July 28, 2006

Tour of Homes ~ Failte!

Failte means Welcome.
Thank you for taking the time to drop by my blog. I have had quite the morning going though BooMama's list and am still only halfway done-lol. Need to take a break and make a wee man some lunch- if l do not get through this list today will in the very near future- your homes are all lovely- thank you for sharing.

RockYou slideshow | View | Add Favorite

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Listen to the rain.

This song (linked below) by Enya is for all my blogger friends, but in particular, Connie who has been going through an awful lot lately.
A Welsh Lady Marion who is still not back online from having gone through her operation. I hope you are getting better.
Sharon has been looking after her daughter who also went through an operation.
Other blogging friends have also been going through difficult times with people who leave nasty comments. I just do not understand the point of that.
Please go and make a cup of tea because it needs a little time to play right through first ~ it can become annoying if it constantly keeps stopping and the song is ruined.
Anyway love and hugs to you all.

Don't forget to listen to the rain. :)

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Has it all gone down the toilet?

“Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, he walks into mine.” MOVIE: Casablanca, amended version.

I called up an advertisement in the paper a few weeks ago for a local carpenter tradesman, most were busy but one came right out. It was not long before we realised that we had grown up together in the same area ~ even came to find out he played with my brother! A few years down the road and here we are, older, both a little rounder etc. He looked over the job, says that he has done work for the Duke of Argyll, charges roughly £20 an hour; he makes furniture but will stop anything for a kitchen; that’s his favourite job! He tells the “hubby” and me it will be about a weeks work and his fee would be around- wait for it… £1200. Now that is only sitting putting together flat packs. He asks for half up front as he needs to buy materials. Next day he appears and like a fool l give him the money. We just assumed he was being honest and that this was the going rate. “Hubby” would have built the cabinets but most of his work colleagues are on holiday juat now so he is working till late.
I called my Dad who just had his kitchen done, around the same size, four men, a day and a half- £600, l call a few more local builders and start to realize that this old friend has charged us way in excess- even if he has done work for the Duke, it’s not as if he is painting the Sistine Chapel- these are flat packs, 3 days work- max.! I call him up and say that if he worked flat out for seven days then at £20 per hour we should only be paying £980 so does this include the electrics/plumbing?? He says no. ARGHHH. My lights are flashing and the more l think about it all the more l realise what an idiot l have been ~red warning flags were everywhere. None less than the fact the only thing he had to buy was some fixings for the wall cabinets- nothing else!
I offer him 10%, keep £50 for his troubles and tell him it will blow our budget if we proceed with his offer so can we get our money back. He says he will have to keep a bit. Oh no…… now l am feeling ill. I had been far too trusting and handed the money over in good faith. I did not sleep much last night.

Our poor wee 'Black Jack' passed yesterday evening ~ flushed away to his watery heaven. Sam is coping well; l told him that the wee fish was off to find his Mummy ~ a bit like Nemo in reverse.

Sometimes life’s lessons are hard. I will learn from this and move on. The worst thing though is the feeling of being cheated.

Update: He came around tonight and handed me the envelope, thankfully he only took the £50 offered. My dad still thinks he should have given it all back ~ I’m not unhappy with the result. We all have to live in the same small town.

'Blog Fodder': I went out to a friends today and 'low and behold' her husband is going to help- he can plumb and is a qualified electrician. He is even putting together their own kitchen units at the moment, bought from the same place!!! How wonderful is that?! RESULT

So today l hired a van to take across the water this weekend and G. and l will collect our kitchen and bring it home.... then the hard work begins... flat packs!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Scrunchy Mum~ here l come!

I was visiting Sue’s blog this morning and the topic was ‘Bad Hair Days’ ~ so l am joining in and snapped this pic. of me in the bathroom moments ago. Every day my hair ends up like this; l’m a scrunchy mum – busy with life and family. Truthfully l should probably go with a shorter style as my hair tends to annoy me hanging around my face.
I have always been a bit of a Tomboy that way ~ l don’t do nails, makeup, earrings, handbags and for that matter hair! I walk around the house barefoot, garden without gloves and cut my own fringe when it needs it. I’ve also had a few perms in the past ~ not again! One time Mel just looked at me, burst into tears and said, “Your so ugly mum ~ you look like a poodle!” I have had two other bad perms as well; one that singed my hair to the scalp ~ l had a much larger forehead than usual for a while. The other frizzed terribly- l tried to wash and comb it out- that just made it worse. ☺
My wonderful sister is coming home to visit soon from Australia and she is a good Hairdresser ~ she said that she wants to do my hair and is bringing over some highlight packs, etc. I am looking forward to that and will blog the ‘Do’ when it’s done.

For me a bad hair day is everyday but ask me if l care??? LoL
Too much to do, too little time ~ l feel like the Roadrunner, beep beep!!

This photo is of me when l started school ~ l was only 4yrs.old. Don’t you think l look like a wee boy?? My mum really had my hair short and the school uniform was shirt, tie and grey jumper which didn’t help.
Bests to all.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

First there were two...

..and now there are four! More fish and a bigger tank, this time with pump and filter- lets keep the wee guys happy.
Yesterday went well- all cupboards and appliances ordered. We got through the ordeal without too much fuss. G. bought cement and l bought Sam a swing- it hangs up back on one of the Silver Birch trees. The Montbrecia below Sam will blaze gold and red come August.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Gadgets and even more gadgets!

We're off across the water today to buy the new kitchen units and countertops. I am a little anxious on two counts, the first: not forgetting any of the many fittings/fixtures, and the other: letting my husband loose in a store where he could buy every gadget conceivable- and believe me my husband loves gadgets.
Below are just a few from my Betterware catalogue- some made me laugh, others cringe.

Left: Handy wee contraption- don't you think? Will hand it to my Tennis loving daughter and voila- "love-15" to us!
Question: When they are zapped- where do they land?

Left: Look closely- these things cling to your window- how much lovelier when they are covered in flies- talk about lifelike! Think perhaps l shall stick with the option above.

Above: Ok l must admit that on first glance this looked like sticky tape to me and l laughed- just what l needed to decorate my pots. Anyway on closer inspection- seems like a good option.

Above: Is this a joke? Would never last in this house.

Above: Finish on a funny :)

It was just so elaborate and so luxurious. We had every gadget imaginable. You know, I had the little gun that came out, and I had the little gun in the heel of the shoe.
Robert Conrad

Friday, July 21, 2006

Neighbour, garden and soggy toast

I have started the morning with soggy toast- is this an omen? My daughter was making some toast; she shouts me in when it is ready; l grab some butter and spread, unbeknown that she had already done the same. Woe is me. My tomatoes are falling off left, right and centre! lol

The photos of the garden were taken yesterday- it was overcast and humid. I had deadheaded the roses earlier; you can see some still lying on the bench. This cottage style garden will look its best come August- everything is just getting ready to bloom. :)
I am so blessed with my neighbour, he loves gardening and we are often out the front at the same time. His wife passed on a few years back and he is now 87yrs. I admire his spirit and enjoy my time with him when we are gardening together- l think he feels the same. We will often bring each other out a cup of tea and chat across the railing.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Mucky work indeed!

Today has been quite productive, my boys and l decided it was time to set to work and work we did! We chipped around the outside of the old 1950's fireplace in the dining room and pulled it out- it weighed a ton! The hardest bit by far was manoeuvring it outside.

My husband has been left with a lovely big hole to make good- slap on a fair bit of cement, build up with some breeze blocks and l am sure it will be fine-lol.
When l ripped back the carpet l was surprised to see the floor ~ a few years back when l had been feeling creative l had decided to cover the floor with a collage of famous composers, artists etc. Unfortunately the varnish did not set and l gave up. The other part of the floor which looks better has music sheets in between. I wonder down the road when someone else goes to replace the flooring- l wonder what they will think of this-lol.

I have to say l was as happy as Larry in the dirt- the thought of doing something- covered in coal dust and muck- kind of reminded me of my Grandfathers- both coal Miners.

I remember when my Dad worked at the hospital he got a peek at his father's medical records- over the years my Grandfather had broken just about every bone in his body! My Dad was stunned to find this out- most of the breaks had come from mining but my Grandfather was also a Boxer- who fought as a prize fighter - also a preacher - go figure!

My Mum's father was also a Miner but he was a Shotfirer-the one who worked with explosives- they were few, got paid more but it was extremely dangerous. My Mum remembers her Mother watching every night by the gate for her husband to appear at the bottom of the brae. My Mum has always loved that song by Patsy Cline, ‘A Coalminer’s Daughter’.
I am very proud of both of my Granddads- they worked hard to provide for their families- l have great memories of them both.

Hey when l think about it- today l was covered in coal and this past week l planted my coal bunker-lol.
Is there a message here??

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Just a note

First one from Randy:
Nothing succeeds like a toothless budgie... l may be timid; l may have no teeth but my dearest Rosa... your words of endearment have fastened my resolve- l must fly this nest and come to you.

Oh boy has it been busy these past few days and hot, hot, hot. When l lived in the U.S. l can remember temps. with humidity at 120! Often in the 90's and long periods without rain.
Here in Scotland we are having a heat wave this week and it is killing me. Sleeping with the windows open, hardly a sheet to cover and the fan on high. Believe it or not it even got to a whopping 86
Ok l laugh a bit too but don't forget that your blood thickens up in cooler climates and thins out in hot climates- this takes a while to process though. I would have loved this temp. years back but at the moment it had better not go any higher.
The photo is of a British beach this past weekend!
The kitchen renovation is in full swing, starting to rip out and make good the space for the installation. l am headed across the water this weekend to order every part of the units and there are loads! It has been like putting a giant puzzle together - not to mention in the heat! Ok l'm moaning- forgive plz.
Have also been helping out my mumzer with some things.
Good news - washings all up to date, kids are all home and well, my blogging friends are still there. I haven't had a chance to comment.
I can hardly see my computer screen for paperwork on this kitchen at moment-lol
- a very messy creative person.

Waves to all from over the horizon :)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Earth laughs in flowers

Such glorious weather we are having here in Scotland- shame to stay inside so will be out in the garden much of the day- getting my fingers dirty!
Anyway- some garden photos from last few days attached and the job on the coal bunker done.
Photos from top:
• Coal Bunker Planted
• Victorian Petunias
• Penstemon- grown from seed last year
• Clouds and Silver Birch tree
• Sweet Williams

Monday, July 17, 2006

Tennis Tournament & Maturity

Melissa did really well at the tennis tournaments - held behind the castle house this year.
She won two silver medals and one gold - the gold trophy was for Singles.
Her strategy: just having fun.
Truth: at 6ft she can hit those tennis balls high and deep – watch out!
I found out later (not from Mel) that she threw a game for a boy who was not doing so well - some teachers at the Grammar had been quite impressed with this. She used her left hand instead; even though her friends thought she was mad to do it.
I am very proud of Melissa for being so kind hearted and thoughtful of his feelings. Every mum wants their kids to grow up and do well in the world but as a mother l am also concerned that my kids use discretion and show care.
Well done Mel.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Pictures from Saturday

*A wee bird found its final resting spot in one of my flower baskets.
*Geraniums from the front porch ~ one of our Geraniums is over 50yrs. old.
*Sam is very pleased with his new fish (thanX Tammy)~ he changes their names every day.
*I am working out back today, putting some flowers in the old coal bunker.
Bests to all.

PS- You can now leave comments on the post below- had so much bother with Blogger on that one. :)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Trip to Rothesay ~ Isle of Bute

Hope you will be able to leave a comment on this post ~ having trouble with Blogger today.

The Isle of Bute, in the Firth of Clyde, is only 15 miles long and 3 miles wide. Bute is separated from the mainland of Scotland by a narrow channel called the Kyles of Bute.
During its heyday in the 1950’s, Rothesay could attract up to 700,000 holidaymakers during July and August. Glaswegians would go over to Rothesay with their weans for the summer holidays, buckets and spades in tow.
Now the Island of Rothesay is enjoying a comeback and has become popular with tourists who are interested in the outdoors: hill walking, fishing, cycling etc. Connoisseurs of Victoriana will have a field day here with so much to see in architecture and other artifacts.
Lets not forget the wedding of Paul McCartney’s daughter last year, held at Mount Stuart (home of the Marquesses of Bute) and Sir Richard Attenborough who also has his home on this wee Island.
Last year during the arrival of all the A-list celebrities for the wedding of Stella McCartney my husband was working on Rothesay. Daily he would commute on the ferry and during this time saw the arrival of many a limousine- he caught a glimpse of the supermodel, Grace Jones- ‘ she was just frightening!’ he said. LOL
Not such an important occasion but on Thursday l went to Rothesay with Gerald, did some shopping when he had to work- wonder who got the better deal?
The photo journey is quite long so feel free to go get a stiff drink-lol- just hope l don’t bore your socks off.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Cultural Sharing

Main Entry: totem
Function: noun
Etymology: Ojibwa his totem
1 a : an object (as an animal or plant) serving as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry; also : a usually carved or painted representation of such an object b : a family or clan identified by a common totemic object
2 : one that serves as an emblem or revered symbol

Main Entry: totem pole
Function: noun
1 : a pole or pillar carved and painted with a series of totemic symbols representing family lineage and often mythical or historical incidents and erected by Indian tribes of the northwest coast of North America
2 : an order of rank : HIERARCHY

Earlier this morning l was listening to the radio and heard news of a Scottish artisan, Kenny Grieve who has started a project to erect totem poles all over Scotland in collaboration with the Canadian First Nation Indian carvers. An unusual thing to do in Scotland you many think but believe it or not we have many similarities, none least, our own historical totems - standing stones, cairns, clan crests, tartans, the Wallace monument, etc. Our Neolithic communities also had a special affinity with certain animals: some with dogs, some with deer, or with white-tailed sea eagles. Many eagle bones and talons have been found in highland cairns - a totem of the people who lived there. It is thought that the standing stones were even thought to be portals into other worlds.
These newly raised totem poles will be national monuments for the future- to share with future generations. They will combine symbolism from Celtic and Canadian Northwest Coast cultures.
A thought however occurs to me that without a story to go along with them, how will the future understand their meaning. In this country, before we could read we passed our traditions and tales by story/song- the old Scottish Bards, Folksongs etc.
If l had a totem pole perhaps it would reflect my love for the garden, nature, design and mothering. For some it would reflect playing an instrument, the Good Shepherd or achievements in sports. We have to ask ourselves however, ‘how do we explain these carvings?’ I have heard the phrase, ‘A picture paints a thousand words’- is a thousand therefore enough? What if that sport or particular instrument is no longer in play, who was the Good Shepherd anyway? Stories give meanings to things- a description of order. How else could you explain that your Granny was such a character? If a totem pole has a story to tell (good or bad) then how do we understand the story unless we know the poles history? What were the stacked symbols meant to honour or memorialize?
I think that the new totem poles and this transatlantic sharing is a wonderful idea and it does not really surprise me that the Scottish people are soaking up the idea and that these sculptured cedars are popping up all over the Highlands. School children are being given the opportunity to help design the carvings – a fantastic hands on experience for them.
Hopefully these totems will depict the history and achievements of Scotland and its people - perhaps even with an accompanying folksong or story.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Did we know we'd have days like this?

"Be not afeard. The isle is full of noises, Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight, and hurt not. Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices, that, if I then had wak'd after long sleep, will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming, the clouds methought would open and show riches ready to drop upon me, that, when I wak'd, I cried to dream again."
William Shakespeare
The Tempest, Act. 3, Sc. 2

Ahh, just to stop and listen ~ quiet is good.
To feel nature, be in touch with our land/life, to feel part of something bigger. Sometimes it is good just to stop, breath, hug your kids- hug yourself!
Blogging can be a wonderful thing; you meet others who share the same interests and build new friendships. However, even blogging should have it's own ‘check and balance’ sheet- don’t you think? At the end of each computer is a human being with a life that requires attention as much/more!
I only started blogging back in March but have already found myself emotionally undulating like the waves in the sea – more preoccupied at times with my posts and leaving comments than making the tea! I have had a steep learning curve to climb but think perhaps l have now levelled out.
Sometimes l don’t say much, perhaps l just post some photos- that is me 'taking a breather'. Other days l love to let it all out; have so much to say; the rattle of my typing is almost melodic. Life is such as this: fast days and slow ones.
Hugs to all my blogging friends out there.

Melissa and Samuel

Melissa is a typical teenager, full of angst and hormones but she has a wonderfully loving side too. This past weekend she made a pirate game with Sam and let him stick it all down with tape. He was so delighted with the result ~ especially the Parrot. Poor Randy (our Love bird) got himself into quite a flutter when Sam held it up to his cage. Melissa is so creative, a wonder at dressmaking and is sitting her Advanced Highers in Art this year ~ she is thinking about using the subject of American Indians ~ anyone out there with any ideas on what she could do?

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Sunday Showers & Sunshine

Rained much of the day but got a few shots in anyways. Gerald and l have decided to start on the kitchen renovation so we cleared that room out today. Roast lamb for dinner tonight with fresh mint from up back- yum.
Hope your all enjoying the weekend.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ice Cream Shenanigans

Took my kids out to run some earns yesterday ~ afterwards bought some ice cream. It was a little overcast but still quite warm. Photos are of the boys in the back seat- l can take them nowhere!

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