Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Stormy Hogmanay!

I've been awfy busy cleaning oot ma hoose fir the New Year~ junk drawers, the lot! There are no ashes in my fireplace and well, the dept's nae too bad. Jist a real stormy night ootside but don't go worryin because ma candles are lit. Jist sittin here on ma ain waitin fir the bells.

A guid New Year to ane an a' And mony may ye see (A good New Year to one and all And many may you see) I looking forward to blogging with you in 2007!
Now, l wonder who will be oor 'first foot'?

"Should auld acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot and auld lang syne
For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne,
We'll take a cup o kindness yet, for auld lang syne."

A Few Scottish New Year Traditions HERE


"HOGMANAY celebrations across Scotland - including the capital's multi-million-pound street party - will be battered by one of this year's strongest storms, say forecasters."

"Met Office forecasters said on Sunday they expected stormy weather across much of the country, with gusts of wind up to 80 mph in the worst affected areas and bouts of heavy rain. The worst weather will hit northern Britain"

Now l'm signing of before my windows blow in.
Bests all x

Hogmanay Festivals

And to those of you who are brave enough to go out in this weather, Gie it laldie!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Vibes and Jives

We have had a wonderful few days here at home- thanks all for the lovely comments left and well wishes too. I thought of you all just before heading to bed on Christmas Eve, presents laid out under the tree, the twinkle of the lights reflected in the window ~ standing there in the silence pregnant with suspense. I thought about the different times of day or night around the world and what you all might be doing ~ whatever it was and wherever you were l pinged out first-rate vibes across the horizon.

Christmas morning was magical, even with the usual haystack of wrapping, early tangerine peelings, etc.; the place was filled with warmth, love and the enticing aroma of roast turkey! It did my heart good to see the kids getting along so well and everyone chipping in to make it more special. I couldn’t wait to put in my new CD of ‘Boney M’ music gifted by G. This was music that l grew up with in the 1970’s – disco music wrapped up in bouncy reggae rhythm! You should have seen mouths drop open as l boogied around the room, singing out the lyrics- LOL.

Daddy Cool HERE & Rasputin HERE

Sam was over the moon with all of his presents but especially with the key that he found ~ the one that Santa dropped – a magical key! Last year Santa had left footprints in snow (talcum powder) that trailed from the chimney but this year he forgot his key ~ silly old boy.
Now Scotland is gearing up for the big one- Hogmanay. Unfortunately the weather outside is blowing a hooly, not a fantastic outlook especially for those who have purchased tickets for the bigger city events.
I’m away now to memorise all the verses to ‘Auld Lang Syne’ – l don’t want to be left speechless when the bells chime and everyone crosses arms to sing in the new year. If you too need to practice then you can sing along with the Karaoke HERE.
Photos below of some special Christmas moments. On Christmas Eve my mum came up with my brother, his wife and their wee baby Sorley.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Happy Christmas!

The photo above is of my home town taken a few years back. Unfortunately it does not look like we are going to get snow for this years big day which is a little sad. This past year has been the warmest year overall for Britain ever recorded! l wanted to check in here and wish you all the very best and apologise if l have not got around to commenting on your blog sites. This certainly has been a busy time.
So from my home to yours, have a lovely Christmas with your family and friends ~ take care and enjoy! l will be thinking of you all.

My Scottish Blogging friend, Claire tagged me to do this meme
5 Things you may not know about me

1. I always read at bedtime with a Horlicks hot drink and eat ‘old fashioned’ boilings & aromatics that l hide under the pillow. Last month l read, ‘The Nazi Officer’s Wife’ by Edith Hahn, ‘Labyrinth’ by Kate Moss, ‘Midnight is a Lonely Place’ by Barbara Erskine and at present am reading another Barbara Erskine called ‘House of Echoes’. My favourite was ‘Labyrinth’. Sometimes l even read using a torch- LOL.

2. I am actually a very shy person. The internet is a wonderful medium for people like myself to make friends and project themselves. In reality l keep myself to myself, can hold my own in social gatherings but am really very shy.

3. It is very important to me that my family do family things. I love camping, and this Christmas will drive my kids crazy with board games, home movies, and lots of silliness inside the house etc.

4. I cannot ignore good architecture and design when l see it- it truly inspires me and so l talk about buildings and interiors with my children all the time and drive them batty.

5. I can make a terrible mess when l am being creative- makes my poor hubby cringe ☺ Glue, paper, scraps, everywhere!!! Everything l do – l do with all my heart- no half measures. ☺ l work intently on each project whatever.

Another blogging friend, Connie did a post on what Christmas movie you just can't miss each year. For us it is tradition to watch a 'A Christmas Story'.
This is a wonderful story set in the 1940's America about a wee lad called Ralphie who is desperate for a BB gun at Christmas. So many funny scenes like when the father wins the 'leg' lamp and the Christmas dinner at the Chinese restaurant- wonderful. Ralphie as an adult narrates throughout the film.
[narrating] Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man.

The magic of Christmas for me is sharing it with the children, especially wee Sam. Below he is pictured painting his ceramic Santa.
Merry Christmas all !

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Lego Santa for Christmas

This past week has been a real ‘run-around’ for me as l am sure it has been for many of my blogging buddies too. Every year, incidentally around this time, l promise myself that next December will be more organised, that l will buy through the months before, make good of the January sales and make my cards ahead of time- dream on Horizon!
Anyway, I managed to get all packages and cards posted in time for Christmas delivery- literally 5 minutes to spare in the post office but done nevertheless. I made lots of magnetic teapots like dear Pea’s- copied the wonderful idea for family and friends. Thank you Pea.
Shopping is mostly all done, pockets full of endless lists of ‘things to do’ that l can now empty- l am sure women the world over know how that works! Mad dashing around with folded paper and pencilled through lines-lol. What must we look like?
I have still not bought the turkey- am so tempted because of the prices to wait until the last minute when they are trying to give them away- l am still wrestling with this idea though.
Today is Sam’s Christmas party at nursery. Sam likes to be ‘stylish’ so we have picked out something suitable, t-shirt with matching shirt over but not buttoned-lol. He is very fussy about these things for a lad :)
Melissa built this Lego Santa (pictured) – l think it is great. What you do not see is the inside where she has built in ALL the organs-lol. Being the biology genius that she is Mel has fixed this wee guy up so good that if the Christmas fairy decided; he could become a ‘real boy’!
Finally, my exercise ball arrived!! It is great fun however on my first full swivel l heard/felt in succession three clicks in my lower back. Lets hope all is now where it should be! LOL
I am in a funny mood today- am honestly quite relieved that l can now relax a bit. It does seem to me that all this ‘mad dashing’ around seems to be done by the one person each year while others relax and enjoy.

Bests all.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

The gift that just keeps on giving.

Firstly l would like to note that l am having a bad time with Blogger- buttons are not working properly and l am very frustrated. l have been trying to leave comments on your blogs but can't. I am checking in with you all and wanted you to know.

We have several old newspapers at home. This advertisment (below) came from 'The Daily Telegraph' dated December 11th, 1936. The headline was about the abdication of King Edward VIII.

The recommended gift for Christmas was a pack of cigarettes. Certainly before the days of health warnings, it wasn't only socially acceptable - it was the 'thing to do'.
Double click on the image for easier reading :)

This next advertisment is from the same newspaper. It just goes to show you that although people smoked they were still genuinely concerned about 'healthy air'. "The healthiest heat on tap" it reads. I guess their carbon monoxide detectors were little yellow Canaries?
Read about Carbon Monoxide Awareness HERE.
A life saving device for your family- carbon monoxide detectors should be a MUST HAVE, especially if you have a gas boiler, gas appliances or gas fire. It is a silent killer, you can't smell or see it. Most people have fire detectors so please do yourself and your family a favour this December and go buy one- they are inexpensive and having one is just common sense.
I don't mean to sound like a Miss Jean Brody but l thing especially at this time of the year when we are heating up our homes for the winter it should be noted.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Another idea for hanging cards

Here is one idea for hanging up the Christmas cards Tammy :)Very basic but gives you an option.
You could design your own card shape and just use a solid colour. A scalpel knife and good surface under to cut slits for cards.

Cut down to size :) 11.5ft! LOL

Outside there's a pine tree standing straight and tall.
It need no decorations--nature's done it all.
Pinecones on its branches with icicles glistening bright,
Snow upon its needles and birds at rest from flight.
I see it from my window, and take the time to say,
Thank you for your beauty, tree, on this Christmas day.

It has been a busy day this end, posting of cards, shopping, cleaning and cooking. l made a Somerset pork casserole for tonight with fresh asparagus so the house smells wonderful.
Had a difficult time signing into blogger earlier but will get around to visit you all ASAP.

Photos below of the tree.
It is so lovely here in the evening when the fire is on and the scent fills the room ~ the twinkly lights make it feel very cosy too.
Keep well all.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Showers of blessings

Today l sat for a little while and looked through some old photos. As the wind and rain lashed against the windowpanes my mind was flooded with memories. How fast children grow and time passes by.
So many of my blogging friends have been going through very difficult times this past year ~ my heart goes out to them all. Each of us in our own way go through the trials of life, some times worse than others. It has all made me realise that l should be thankful for the little things that we sometimes take for granted: our homes, health, and families. Thankful even for these raindrops that are falling mightily from the heavens- some countries are so very desperate for this kind of weather.
On a lighter note here are some photographs that made me smile earlier. The first is of my three children taken a few years back now, l think Dec, 2003. The second is of Daniel(now 18) with Santa ~ is one that l could never hand out due to his zip being down! And lastly, Melissa(now 17) sitting at the table with a halo ~ l love it. :)

May the forgiving spirit of Him to whom we dedicate this season prevail again on earth.
May hateful persecution and wanton aggression cease.
May man live in freedom and security, worshipping as he sees fit, loving his fellow man.
May the sanctity of the home be ever preserved.
May peace, everlasting peace, reign supreme.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

O Christmas Tree! O Christmas Tree!

Yesterday we went on our yearly pilgrimage to Glenbranter, home of our local forestry commission and community. Every year they sell fresh Christmas trees of different types: Nordmann fir, Norway Spruce, Lodgepole pine and Scots pine. From the tiny 3ft to 23ft+ for town centre ~ the choices are endless. I have to note that the drive there alone is stupendous and with additional holiday music it really does feel quite festive.
Set in a forest of towering pine trees it has a real Narnia feel about it.
On the people-watching front the phychology of the place is also quite interesting. There are always the sideways glances of who is looking at what tree, the panic if someone looks at the tree you almost picked, etc.
Fathers and sons pick one up one tree after another as the wife and daughters get to select the choicest one. The mixed smells of pine, hot coffee, leather gloves, muddy boots and mince pies mingle with the laughter of children as they jump trees and puddles.
So we finally pick the tree. Considering the bay window at home we wanted one that was full towards the top and not too wide at the bottom. Although we have a larger living area, by the time the tree and other decorations are added it can become too busy. Anyway Melissa and l decided this was the one. The forestry worker had said it was 9ft and it did look grand.
Once wrapped and loaded on top of the car we were off home- a bit slower than usual as we didn’t want to loose pine needles along the way, or the tree for that matter.
However the hysteria began once we unloaded and brought the monster inside. With everyone in charge, screams and brute force we got it into launch position.
If trees could smile!
This was no 9ft tree!. Our ceilings are 12ft high and as the tree lurched to the vertical the top three feet whiplashed across the ceiling like the tail of the creature from that movie ‘Alien’. We all stood looking up at the lofty spire and the gouge across the ceiling. “I’ll go and get the ladder then” - Himself was undaunted.
I don't know if you've ever seen the movie, Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase but this -- was all too similar. Who would cut the netting and should we?

Going to get the tree is by far the best bit of Christmas for me. As for G., here is his take on the whole matter, worth the read and very funny.

More photographs to follow later :)
Hope you are all well.

‘lets go and get the tree today’
- she says over breakfast. Horror music and effects enter left. This an incantation to the hunt many men secretly dread and which quickly return them to the cave man knuckle grazing no forehead grump and grunt creature within seconds. Normally mild, inoffensive and pliable men peel off the veneer of submission to become whooping Neanderthals bent on ensuring the survival of their tribe. This is no mere purchase of a felled arboreal decoration but a call from the wild and a primeval survival ritual.
Looking the part is important to ‘tree man’. From the back of the cupboard are brought out the big boots (steel toes are good), heavy gloves(leather not pansy gardeny ones), a very big coat( white Arran sweater underneath for extra chest), woolly hat (fur trim and ear flaps if possible). Quietly practice low voice talking, lip curling and eyebrow lowering for later on. Putting on of the roof rack with associated scraped knuckles, screams and ritual swearing is completed with the essential hunting kit of ‘treeman’.
Big chopper (“in case it needs trimming’) and enough rope and elastic ties to circumnavigate the globe.
At the ‘place of trees’ the ‘chase to the kill’ of treeman proceeds with slow and grisly inevitability. Normally able to run in, grab the first thing in sight on other less fundamental acquisition expeditions is not allowed here. Each tree has to be vertically examined for its architecture and branch hanging qualities. The incantation is said – ‘lets have a good look around!’. The chant of the dance of death to the male hunter. It begins. This is when treeman, with other adjacent treemen enact the age old gesticulations of sideways looks, rapid lip curling and eyebrow lowering while making deep grunting noises intended to intimidate and scare off rivals for the best tree.
This can go on for some time if there are a lot of trees.
Eventually, with the selected tree cocooned in the plastic wrapping the ceremony can be concluded with the ‘loading onto the car’. But the worst is over and treeman is not threatened now. Elevated to supreme hunter status he can stand for a while with arms folded and a triumphant smirk as other hapless and wild eyed contenders arrive with trepidation for the ritual. This is the time for smug leering and chest puffing.
Job done.
Loading onto the car is a carefully co-ordinated shambles of scratched paintwork and curses but, for another year – the survival of the species is assured.
Once home the exhausted males collapse into the nest and may not emerge for some time.

Friday, December 08, 2006

The Terror of Glen Lean

"In the gloom it came along the branches towards me, its round, hypnotic eyes blazing, its spoon-like ears turning to and fro like radar dishes, its white whiskers twitching and moving like sensors; its black hands, with their thin fingers, the third seeming terribly elongated, tapping delicately on the branches as it moved along." -from The Aye-aye and I by Gerald Durrell.

A few posts back l inserted a photo of this animal. I had no idea as to what it was but the terrified stare of the thing fitted perfectly with what l was posting about at the time. Anyway many of you asked what it could be so l went hunting but came up empty.
The other day my brother and l were talking, we were both looking at the animal together and he knew immediately what it was. He said, “ l think it is called an Aye-Aye, they’re primates that live in Madagascar.” Wow- he was right. My brother is a fountain of knowledge on the weirdest of things- he never ceases to amaze me.
So l did a search on the Aye Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis) and came up with tons of information.

Here is what it sounds like LINK
Wild facts about the Aye-aye LINK
The Aye-aye is the rarest of the Lemurs and are classified as critically endangered.
Aye-aye movie clips HERE

So now we know ;)

'George Bush - the Wilderness Years'

Dr. Neuron the Neurologist

Today l ordered my new exercise ball, 65cm diameter and highly recommended by my physiotherapist, Amy. I have been doing a bit of training on them already and they are fun- hard to balance at first but you soon get into it.

Definitions of Exercise ball on the Web: * Swiss balls — also known as exercise balls, gym balls, sports balls, therapy balls or body balls — are used in physical therapy and exercise. They are elastic rubber balls with a diameter of usually 55 to 85 cm (22 to 34 inches).

The reason for the physio. is that I fractured my sacrum about 8 years ago – a serious injury while sledding and have suffered from back pain off and on since.

One of the big advantages of working with a fitness ball is that it targets your core muscles (back and abs) improving your posture, balance, and core strength. A strong core also decreases lower back pain so l am told.

At the time of the accident l also had done nerve damage to that area and was sent to a neurologist called Dr. Neuron! LOL He was as strange as they come and if you have ever watched Seinfeld then you would have thought that this guy was Kramer’s twin- the walk, the talk and the hair! It was all a bit surreal. I really believed he enjoyed his work a little too much because during the electric testing (electromyography) he couldn’t help but smile as my legs flew from the table. That was a fun day indeed ☹.

Bests all.

P.S. If you haven't already seen the 'TOLD OFF BY A GRANNY' video on the RATTLE BAG then LINK HERE for a giggle. You need to let it play through first with your sound turned down and then replay.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Remember You're A Womble!

Last night l headed to bed early as you know from the below post- hubby sent me packing ☺.
Anyway l slept well and dreamt much. Strange sort of dreams of old shows l’d watched as a child- all quite nostalgic. l could remember the theme songs and even the lyrics! Funnily enough l thought that the theme tune to ‘Jim’ll Fix It’ would run smoothly with a key change into the theme tune for the ‘Wombles of Wimbledon’. So in effect l was dreaming of music and modulations. What did l eat?
The Wombles were ahead of their time in the 1970’s- they recycled everyday rubbish in useful and ingenious ways even before we knew about the word ‘green’! Why didn’t more grown-ups watch this show?
Link HERE to some other shows l watched in the 1970’s.

“Between 1975 and 1995 Jimmy Saville made children's dreams come true each and every week. Through the infamous catchphrase, "Jim'll fix it!" Saville would read a child's letter aloud and promise to make or her dream a reality. The series ran for 19 long years, and forever a place in the heart's of an entire generation of children.” TV.COM

The days are drawing in now- it is getting dimpsy* before 4pm and by 5pm it is pitch black. Good news is that these early nights make it easier for heading to bed early so l am off to read for a bit and then dream- l wonder what of tonight?
Bests all

* 'Dimpsy' for that time of night when darkness is just beginning to fall, a sort of in between time after the sun has gone down but before the light has finally failed.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sleepy Mum and ickle one

Just tiptoeing in to let you lot know that I came home to a very tired herself and ickle man after a very busy day. Both fell asleep on the sofa and been summarily sent to bed early (with no milk or biscuit). So - no fingers to keyboard and tales of hilarity and wisdom from herself tonight. There there. Sad for you band of pilgrims yes but, good fortune in abundance for moi and box of delights for you. It gives me the opportunity (and you the unquestionable pleasure) of letting you hear of and maybe, maybe I said, see some of my impressive collection of Donkeys' false knee caps which has been a life study of mine. Aghast you cry - I knew as much. Where shall I begin? Sit back for a yarn of yore to send the senses reeling giddy.
Well it all began with a close encounter with a three legged Dartmoor pony called 'Lucky' who stumbled over my stout tent one gloomed and misty night on old Hessary Tor. 'Bad luck' I cried as I heard the crack of shin on tent peg and the twang of guy rope. No 'Lucky' he shrieked. At that moment . . .
. . . no wait - I hear footsteps on the stairs. Herself is coming. I depart with stealth and potential headache - to return another time.
Farewell from . . . . . Himself.

Christmas cards

Photobucket - Video and Image HostingToday l am going to write my Christmas cards out. Don't forget to post early folks! Love this stamp gif at the side- even the Queen in the corner ages over the years- lol.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Welcome Home Sorley

Just got back in from seeing our new nephew, Sorley for the first time. My brother and sister-in-law's first child and he is a stunning wee chap indeed. Mum and baby are doing well and glad to be home. l am a very proud auntie once again and G. the proud uncle.
My brother's blog and birth announcement here.
My sister-in-law kept a pregnancy diary here.
Congratulations M & J!

And just for Sorley here is a snatch of a favourite Carol for this time of the year . . . .
'In the Bleak Midwinter' - words by Christina Rossetti.
Played by my hubby.

In the bleak midwinter

In the bleak midwinter, frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron, water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow, snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter, long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him, nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away when He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter a stable place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty, Jesus Christ.

What can I give Him, poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
If I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him: give my heart.

Beat the clock!

Some days l just wake up and have no motivation. l look around at the mess and think, just that… l think. Anyway to get me motivated to get this place in shape l love to race, sounds silly but l used to have a best friend when l lived in Maine, New England. Her name was Kath. We’d call each other each morning and race to clean our homes. We’d agree on what we would both do and then break off sharply from the phone, saying the words, “ok- you’re on!” It was great, l’d scurry around like a mad woman and although she’d always beat me (lol) it didn’t matter. What mattered was that l had the rest of the day to get on with whatever. I miss Kath- l miss that extra time.
These days with my young Sam are becoming a bit drawn in again; he is great fun but wreaks havoc wherever he goes. In ten minutes a room can be decimated! Is this my life? LOL So to motivate myself l race the clock (sometimes with Sam), play a good dose of music at an upbeat tempo- it works. Sam’s favourite is the Gruffalo song- based on the book, 'The Gruffalo'.
So now l’m off to get the dreadful deed done- TIDY.

If you are thinking of gifts for any young children the Gruffalo book/CD is brilliant.
I would highly recommend it.

Older post from April on cleaning- lol. You can see that l was feeling more energised than now. :)

Monday, December 04, 2006


Yesterday l was reading this weeks Private Eye magazine. Private eye is the UK's number 1 best-selling news and current affairs magazine offering "a unique blend of humour, social and political observations and investigative journalism." In the classifieds section l came across this Support Site for F.A.I.R.I.E.S.

F.A.I.R.I.E.S (Freedom to Act against Inflatable Reindeer and Illuminated Electronic Santas)

This website by Mrs Dorothy Wills-Doncaster is very Tongue-in-cheek. She attempts to uphold good strong British values- sadly missing in todays baseless and boorish society :) Ok, now that's me being tongue-in-cheek!
Tongue-in-cheek is a term that refers to a style of humour in which things are said only half seriously.

The quote below is taken from here:

"The proliferation of hideously illuminated houses during December is a threat to society as we know it - with liberated helium-filled polar bears representing a serious danger to aircraft and the national grid becoming close to shut down. Furthermore the unseasonal light causes hibernating animals to wake from their essential slumber, attracts poisonous bats, widens the hole in the ozone layer, directly leads to the destruction of the arctic icecap and leads to the deaths of thousands of penguins. The practice also puts millions of pounds into the economy of China (for they manufacture 95% of inflatable polar bears and flashing carol-singing Pingu's) and is therefore bringing world war three ever closer. "


The ultimate guide to tacky Christmas decorations site here

"You've seen them everywhere: tacky Christmas decorations. When your parents make you drive through the neighborhood to "see the lights" you are forced to gaze at the millions of watts of Christmas lights, thousands of acres of fake snow, hundreds of plastic Santas. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you think to yourself, "I can do better." Well, now you can! Collected from thousands of years of Christmas experience, I have compiled the ultimate guide to tacky decorations. In just hours, you too can have your own masterpiece. The number one rule to remember to ensure a tacky Christmas is: avoid mediocrity."

This all sounds a little 'bah humbug', but it did make me laugh :)

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