Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

Today has been full of dressing up, parties and ‘door to door’. Sam won ‘best dressed boy’ at his nursery and got a new book as a prize ~ he was very pleased. The teachers at his school all had wonderful outfits too and l was lucky to snap this photo of Sam with his own teacher (Minnie) and another lovely lady with the enormous wig! LOL
This evening the temperature dropped suddenly but we still went out 'door to door' for a while and Sam got lots of sweeties ~ he fell asleep on the way home :)
Hope you all have had a lovely day too.

Throughout the centuries, pagan and Christian beliefs intertwine- Read here

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Land of the First Scots

Thanks to you all for the lovely comments left regarding my Dad. I have passed the get-well wishes on, am pleased to say that he is feeling much better now and let you know that we had a super time visiting him. It was great seeing Daniel too and we made a visit to the supermarket to stock him up with enough food for the next fortnight. He looks well but assessments are in full swing as there are exams due before Christmas. We were relieved to catch the last ferry home that night at the end of a long day. Wee Sam and Mel are back at school today after the October holidays and it is Halloween tomorrow already so will be busy with nursery parties and ‘door to door’ in the evening- oh the joys! Will be making my way around to visit with you all ASAP. For now, my belated post on Kilmartin.
Bests and hugs to all my blogger friends!!

A while ago l went to Kilmartin. This is by Lochgilphead and is the site of significant importance in the ancient history of Scotland.
There is an amazing concentration of ancient monuments in this area – megalithic history. Within a six-mile radius of the Kilmartin village there are 350 ancient monuments, out of which 150 of them are prehistoric! Far too many to visit on one day but good news for me as we live close by and can visit again soon.

I spent time climbing Dunadd hill fort ~ the capital of the kingdom of Dalriada (Dal Riata). This iron age hill fort was where power, hard won, was ritually passed on to the next king ~ an important ceremonial centre. Ten thousand years ago the surrounding land was under the sea so this hill fort was far more prominent and important for trading. Standing alone on the summit I thought about this place where the ancient kings of Scotland had been crowned. l thought of the people who would have climbed the same path and of those who had lived and loved and died here. l wondered if the rock held memories of times past and battles won. I placed my foot in the hollowed out footprint near the summit ~ used during the inauguration ceremonies so long ago.

Alas, weather has scant respect for history and it poured with rain as you can see by the wet splodges on the camera lens ~ the pictures that l got do not do the place justice.

adj : of or relating to megaliths or the people who erected megaliths; "megalithic monuments like Stonehenge"

Friday, October 27, 2006


My Dad took a fall last night, cracking his head quite badly- he had to be rushed to hospital in an ambulance. Although now back home and in bed he is still recovering from the shock of it all. Thankfully he did not fracture his skull, however he did have to have the cut in his head stapled together – ouch! Dad’s humour always shines through and even in this he is whipping up the usual witty remarks about the whole thing.
We are heading up to see Dad tomorrow, taking the kids and picking up Daniel also along the way. It will be a good surprise but for obvious reasons we will keep it short. l just want to give him a cuddle.
l was looking through old disks tonight to post a photo of Dad and came across one that l like from 2001. He looks so well in this photo but the truth is that in the past 5 years his health has much deteriorated.
l can't sleep tonight for thinking about him. There are so very many good thoughts that are going around in my head about times shared with Dad and of the person he is. We are very alike.

Time moves on so quickly and moments are so very precious.
Bests for now.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Halloween Swap Success!

Thank you so much Cathy for the smashing Halloween box sent all the way from Nova Scotia! What a wonderful surprise for Sam and l this morning ~ it has made our day.
I’m especially thrilled with the pure Canadian Maple syrup – yum!! The Halloween tea towels are brilliant ~ so different to what you can get over here! Laughed when l saw the inflatable pumpkin because we had sent the same :) Sam was straight into the sweets as well and is walking around here holding onto the Teddy and stickers with a vice grip.
Thank you for putting such thought into this parcel and for paying such postage to get it to us on time! l am happy to have made a lovely new friend in you Cathy.

Thanks also to our Pea for organizing this swap!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Passwords, Panic & Pumpkins

Been a bit scarce for a few days!
Scared - in no small way. Somehow l accidentally activated the Master password prompt on starting up my Mac /Boot up. This had been set when l first configured the machine. Of course you always remember it – don’t you? Well don't you!
Every seeming combination of name and password failed with a sneering judder on the screen. How many ways can you type your own name and the two passwords ever only used? Answer – a heck of a lot.
After an hour of trying every permutation the panic sirens were on, turned to max. and the air was gaining a distinctly azure tinge. A little research on the net. added further bowel wrenching screams when the article promised that failure to succeed would end in total loss of all data, the end of the universe and life as we know it.
Aha! Enter hubby stage left who, with awesome Enigma solving skills (and pure chance) happens to hit the right combination. Roll of the drum, twitch of the curtain - lights, music – and I am back!

News update:
I had to go collect Daniel from university on Thursday. He was very ill (flu) and we were lucky to get an appointment with the doctor on short notice. So we all hunkered down for a long weekend. Sam and l are much better ~ thanks to all for the well wishes. Daniel is away back to university feeling better than he was ~ his antibiotics and steroids have kicked in now and he has eaten well over the weekend. On Saturday Daniel took us all out for lunch which was really nice and we had fun carving pumpkins with wee Sam. All in all it has been a quiet few days inside with the family.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The card finally arrives!

My son, Daniel bought a card for me and posted it before my birthday in a mail box on the campus ~ its a bit 'hit and miss' as to how often these post boxes are emptied but l am happy to report that my card finally arrived today!
Daniel is coming home at the weekend and wants to take me down the town to shop and have lunch (his treat). I am just so excited to have him home and spend some time with him.
This letter below was in the card and it brought a tear to my eye. I called to ask if l could post this ~ he said that he did not mind.

Dear Mum,
Wishing you all the best on your b'day. Oh my God! You are so OLD! lol Got in from the city centre a few minutes ago and just shoved some dinner on - sure have been missing the feasts you would make me each night back home. The guys in the flat are already gearing up for a party tonight so can't see myself getting much sleep. Hope you have fun with G. at the Smiddy, that's if you can manage to make it, but l am sure that breakfast in bed tomorrow will help the cold you have go away. Sorry l'm not there this weekend - would have liked to have made you breakfast myself, but will sure try and get home next weekend or the following so we can spend some time together. I'm missing the family loads (even the ginger one) and wish l was with you all. ••••••• is great but it still doesn't feel like home - miss the wee mans footsteps running mad around the house- miss dinner on the table at 6 instead of 9 - miss G. playing the guitar. I even miss having to share a room with the little dude, but most of all, not having the family within a few feet of me when l need a hug or advice. Miss you loads Mum and l appreciate everything you do for me - even although it may seem like l do not always at the time. Thank God we still have far too many years for me to try and make it all up to you. lol Say hello to everyone for me and pass on my love.
Your son, D. xoxoxoxoxo
PS- one day soon you will have that car with the big bow.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The life of Riley

I do not need to say much tonight ~ this photograph is enough. Wee Sam has caught my cold virus and has not had much energy all day. Here he is asleep after his bath.
This morning I brought the airbed into the lounge so that he could have a cosy-bed downstairs, near the fire and the television. We played dominoes for a while and watched a Disney movie in the afternoon. It was warm and comfy and with the curtains pulled over we cuddled up together.

Waving across the water to Kerri - Get Well Soon

May you have -

Walls for the wind

And a roof for the rain,

And drinks bedside the fire

Laughter to cheer you

And those you love near you,

And all that your heart may desire

~ A Celtic Blessing

"Living the life of Riley" suggests an ideal life of prosperity and contentment, possibly living on someone else's money, time or work. Rather than a negative freeloading or golddigging aspect, it instead implies that someone is kept or advantaged.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Birthday Blessings

Yesterday l celebrated my birthday quietly, at home with the family. I woke up with a cold on Friday and so we did not make it to the Smiddy ~ l was a little sad about missing this venue but did not want to spread a virus around. There is always another time for that anyway as it is not far from here. My brother and sister-in-law called around, phone calls wishing me the best came through, my blogging friends left kind messages and my husband gifted me with such thoughtful presents ~ not forgetting the musical video clip with our wee Sam. I will cherish these memories and gifts always.
I have recorded a short thank you poem by Norman MacCaig . He is one of my favourite poets and G. gave me a big book of his works for my birthday. In the film below you can hear me reading from the pages. This poem reminds me of my grandparents, they were married for 75years and were a fantastic couple. The love of poetry in my family comes through this line (dad’s) and l can still hear the lilt in my Granny’s voice, as she would recite her favourite poems. My Grandpa was a wonderful tenor. Between them both l remember fun times gathered at their place, listening to poetry and singing.
G. also bought me a music CD by Dougie MacLean. He is one of Scotland’s foremost singers and songwriters ~ he lives in Dunkeld. G. called him up to see if he would sign my copy (he did!) They ended up having a wee chat about guitars over the phone. G. said to Dougie, “l know all of the tunings you use” and Dougie replied, “ I am glad someone does as l can never remember!” :)
For dinner we had our traditional Sunday Roast ~ made by G. He also made a delicious chocolate cake! I made a dish to accompany the dinner called Potatoes Dauphinois~ goodness knows how many calories were in every bite but it was delicious! Towards the evening we gathered around the dining table and played Trivial Pursuit, drank ample amounts of red wine and laughed. It was a good day. Thank you again for helping to make it so.

Friday, October 13, 2006

. . . . . .to herself!!
On Sunday - but she probably won't tell you this so I have burgled my way into her place to let you all know.
Thought all you friends might want to know.
No age mentioned mind you - but handy for me I have a welding mask!!
From . . .Himself
(don't let her know I sent this!)

Happy Birthday Pea!!

Sending you a pink rose for perfect happiness today.
And Pea ~ you really can fly when it comes to blogging- you're a wonder to us all and a lovely person to boot.

Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

"Valley of Ghosts"

Well today l'm off at the crack of dawn to visit Kilmartin. G. has work in Lochgilphead and so l will drop him off and head eight miles further north. My friend Claire has been there a few times lately herself and has put me in the mood for the visit.
I just hope it doesn't rain on me. 'Why does it always rain on me?' ~ l think that is a song. Oh my, put the kettle on Horizon- time to wake up!! This is an ungodly hour for me you know- yawn.
Cathy has got my Halloween package done already- ready for posting at the weekend- now l am in panic mode- hope to find what l am looking for up Kilmartin way- surely they don't call it the 'valley of the ghosts' for nothing!

Kilmartin Glen

I never saw the intricate connections
with quite this sunny clarity before,
such intimate revealing of relations
in brilliance, and at such an hour:
the West and Islands open to the sea
and Ireland, always seemed to be
alive with colour: bright blue waters,
emeralds and snow; but shapes and movement,
glacial striations, ox-bow lakes, tidal rivers,
hill-tops making patterns to each other--
all connect in vision as the art of men
and women finds its laws in natural
reciprocation; raindrops in a quiet pool
form expanding spirals on the bending plane:
an ancient brooch, the lanulae--
silver, gold: water, sunlight, eyes
to see the clearness of design. And this
takes place in mind, imagination:
across 10,000 years, while now
outside the car my father drives, the rain
drives down on grass and bracken, heather
rocks and hills and lochs and lochans,
midges and elusive little fish. The forestry
have camouflaged the earth's wet dark
antiquity; the road between Kilmartin
and the ferry just approaching Oban is
impatient, twisty, a hard fast exit through
this valley of old ghosts. And yet the vision stays
perception, the clarity of sunlight's
careful disposition, in
this undifferentiated time.

Alan Riach

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Happy Birthday Sue!!!

Ok Sue... we know it's your birthday and all but don't you think it's time to come out of the limo?

The Ladies Limo Ride... What an adventure that was!

The Seal Diary

The most typical seashore mammal is the seal. Grey seals tend to prefer this western part of Scotland ~ the more remote the better. They have a fairly comfortable life, with the sea full of fish close at hand, and a gregarious beach full of their fellows for company.
Grey seals drop their pups well above the high-water mark in caves or at the back of the beach, and the young seal normally lives ashore until he is a month old. In the space of only twenty-one days, fed only on their mother’s rich milk, they grow from small white –coated baby seals into barrel-shaped grey-coated ones. At this stage they are then abandoned and have to fend for themselves. It’s a harsh world.

It is in this month of October that these colonies of seals congregate on our shores to mate and raise their pups. The link below will take you to a few short pre-recorded videos of a show that l watch (was watching last night in fact). It is a fascinating insight into the lives of these wonderful mammals on the Monach Isles. Gordon is enjoyable to listen to with his Scottish accent and running commentary.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday morning blues

Our old car goes in for it's MOT this afternoon ~ help. I am a bit worried about the suspension and fear the cost. These days doing anything to it should be a consideration as the car itself is not worth much.
The house needs a good clean and laundry attended to ~ l spent the weekend doing Daniel's. He came home with a huge black bag full, bed sheets and all!
I'll start with another cup of tea.

The sun is out and we passed the MOT- yeahhhhh!!!! I just had the call two mins. ago. Thank you to my friends for the kind comments. Wow...what a smashing day this has turned out to be. :) Ok, now I need another cup of tea ~ LOL.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Sunday again and another poem

This is one of the finest of poems written in the English language by one of the great romantic poets. It is melancholy, full of the sights sounds and scenes of autumn and lies heavy on the senses. Written on September 19 1819 after a walk John Keats shows us vividly the change of the season – the fullness and ripening of it all.
He was, as romantic poets were, concerned with nature and the human relationship to it and it is sad that although he wrote this wonderful celebration at the age of 24 he died a year after.

Ode to Autumn by J. Keats

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness!

Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;

Conspiring with him how to load and bless

With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eaves run;

To bend with apples the mossed cottage-trees,

And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;

To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells

With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,

And still more, later flowers for the bees,

Until they think warm days will never cease,

For Summer has o'erbrimmed their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store?

Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find

Thee sitting careless on a granary floor,

Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;

Or on a half-reaped furrow sound asleep,

Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook

Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers;

And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep

Steady thy laden head across a brook;

Or by a cider-press, with patient look,

Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they?

Think not of them, thou hast thy music too, -

While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day

And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;

Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn

Among the river sallows, borne aloft

Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies;

And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn;

Hedge-crickets sing, and now with treble soft

The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft;

And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

The digital artwork above is by Robin Rowlands, entitled: Autumn Cycle

Daniel is away back to university. He left only half an hour ago and l miss him already.
This poem in its way is a celebration of progress ~Keats himself seems to totally accept the natural world, a mixture of ripening, fulfillment, dying, and death. It makes me think of the seasons of life; it makes me wonder where l will meet Autumn in my life. As for Daniel, he is just at the beginning- lucky lad.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

I wonder about these things….

The above title came from a friends past post. It made me think of things that l see in our daily lives.
The other day I was thinking about our temperate little town and the way we all wave at each other graciously for pulling in to let others by. The photo shows our single track roads in the surrounding countryside.
I have started to notice and enjoy the different waves of the passing drivers and wonder if they reflect the people that we are? Do you think that waves perhaps are another body language feature revealing our personalities?

Here are some types of waves that l have observed during my motoring meanderings when l pull in to let others pass by.

CHEERY: unpretentious and free - hand usually leaving the steering wheel completely and at a slant

NONCHALANT: a mere thumb or finger raised

SCARY: people who also show too many teeth and later wake you with a stir in the middle of the night. Their palms are always showing, flapping hands side to side ~ a bit like Tony Blair. I mean, lets face it, if you were on a bus with Tony Blair and he smiled over at you as he does wouldn't you get off at the next stop? LOL

SUPERIOR: hand half stuck to the steering wheel and fingers pushed outwards.
Favoured by 4*4 drivers and, if they can manage, a spatter of gravel for added relish.

PASSIVE: could care less- you’re not important to me- slight flick outward of the finger. Similar to NONCHALANT but favoured by young racers who wonder how you have the nerve to be on their road.

Two imperial waves
1. The power (Clinton) wave- bless you my child an do you like my Jag? Hand forward, palm showing but no movement side to side.
2. Closely related to this is the Queen wave- ‘thank you, my subjects’ back of hand and slight movement.

FOPPISH: the listless wave- flapping their hand vertically like a child would.

SALUTE: war veteran wave- ‘I thank you sir- that was an operation in driving well done’.

STOP SIGN: hand upright, palm out.

And not forgetting those that refuse to wave (unusual)
They consider themselves better. 'Get out of my way I'm coming through!' attitude. They often throw the head back just a tad. Again with added gravel or debris.

As for me, G. says l'm mostly of the cheery disposition and so give a nice friendly wave. G. does the Clinton (resemblance ends there he says!)

Yes, l do wonder about these things...

Friday, October 06, 2006

Calm waters gae nae skill tae tars

I've been having a lot of bother with Blogger this past 24hours. As the title says 'Easy tasks won't enhance your skills' so I will use this as a learning experience and always have some backup handy. Here is my backup for today :)
I could have told you that water was my element! LOL
Bests all.

Your Element Is Water

A bit of a contradiction, you can seem both lighthearted and serious.

That's because you're good at going with the flow - but you also are deep.

Highly intuitive, you tune in to people's emotions and moods easily.

You are able to tap into deep emotional connections and connect with others.

You prefer a smooth, harmonious life - but you can navigate your way around waves.

You have a knack for getting people to get along and making life a little more peaceful.

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Daniel called me tonight- it is the first time that l have heard him feel a bit down since leaving for university. I worry for him and miss him so much as well.
It has rattled me a bit to hear him sound like this so l am thrilled to hear that he is heading home this weekend. I will be cooking up some great meaty stews and supplying non-stop hugs!
Who is Daniel?
He is very clever young man, extremely funny, good looking and loving. Who could ask for more in a son? Oh, yes and a tall boy too ~ just look at the picture ~ l am 5foot 9in. and still look short! LOL. The photo was taken the day we took him to his new dorm- look to the eyes- see how we both felt. It was hard to hold back the tears l tell you.
Bests all.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Notes from the Bay

Copied from my note pad yesterday:

As l write this, Sam is digging for treasure with his new bucket and spade. He loves this beach in particular as it is near his 'Pirate' ship. He is overly excited and keeps blowing on his new whistle for me to come over and see what interesting things he has found.
The seagulls are over the other side of the bay but keep calling back to Sam each time they hear the sound.
There is a gentle wind and the sun is glinting on the vast stretch of silver water and I'm quietly taking in the view. I can truthfully tell you that l have not had as calm an afternoon as this in a long while. This whole beach to ourselves!
Bute to me is a wonderful Isle- lots of treasured bays and mysteries. It is an old place, the land itself owes much to the seismic convulsions of 340 million years ago; the stone circles, chambered cairns are more recent - four millennia ago; and then there's the iron age defence and early Christian ruins. Each visit always yields something new and l can see why they call it 'the unexplored isle'.
I have to wonder of the many people who have sat where l am sitting now and took in this view. It is also hard for me to imagine a world out there that is anything other than this tranquil place.

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