Monday, March 28, 2011

All mixed up

For the longest time l've been ogling this mixer called the Kitchenaid. It has a really stylish retro design and you can even colour co-ordinate!

I have no doubt that it would accent my kitchen beautifully as you can see from the picture but.. LOOK at the price - around £400!!!

I've had a small hand mixer for ages and it's done really well, that was... until last week. It broke down with all the 'thumps, bangs and whistles' you can imagine- quite frightening really. I blame it on my son(22ys) who was using it at the time and didn't seem to notice the smoke billowing around him – he's an engineer for goodness sake!!! He blamed it on the ingredients l was using, hmm - cheeky boy. No more Brownies for him!

Anyway, here l am now – mixerless and torn because l can't justify spending that amount of money on a kitchen gadget - however nice it might be. I keep thinking, "that could buy me a new petrol mower!" Arghh!

And what if l did buy it and my 'so called' ingredients blew it up! 'Adventures of the runaway whisk' - now that would make for an interesting story.

Night all. I'm away for some sleep.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Clowning around

Yesterday was Red Nose Day and the theme at Sam's school this year was 'clowns'. All the children had to take in home baking and dress up either as a clown or in bright colours. The home baking was sold by Sam's class at a stall to raise money for Comic Relief. Red Nose Day is the highlight of Comic Relief's appeal- a charity founded in the UK (1985) to raise money for children in this country and Africa – based at the time on the famine in Ethiopia. On this day people can dress up and exhibit their own sense of humour in odd and creative ways, raising money to help transform the lives of children both home and abroad. One of the women at my husbands work came in in her pyjamas- she raised over £50 just in the office! My son had to dress up for his work too and later went out in the evening to raise more money.

Most all schools participate, places of work team together and there is an all day telethon held where loads of singers perform, TV actors do daft things and we see where the money raised from the previous year was used in charity projects.

This year the UK raised over £74million pounds!!! A staggering amount when you think of the size of our country and the economic situation for most at the moment - so many out of work and yet such an incredible response. I wish the people that ran this country had as much compassion and generosity for the plight that most of us are in!

I went across the water on Thursday to do the shopping (and scout around for a clown wig :) and was lucky enough to get the last spot on the ferry. The weather was lovely so l got out and took a few photos. Last night l downloaded another photo editing app from the Apple store and tinkered around with some of the photos. See below.

Looking forward to the SUPERMOON tonight! Yesterday evening, just before bedtime, wee Sam and l sat on our front steps wrapped together in a blanket looking up at the moon. It was so bright that you had to keep looking away and then back again. We had a cuddle under the moonlight and l told him that the next time the moon would be this close to earth he would be around 27yrs old!!! I tried to take a still frame of that moment in my mind - a snap shot to remember us sitting there so close. It would be lovely to think that 18yrs from now l might be sitting looking up at the next Supermoon with my husband and all of my children and grandchildren together.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Toe Tappingly Good

Today l went to the local community theatre to watch my son participate in the Scottish Country Dancing with other village schools in the area, a total of 260+ children (7-9yrs) – even a school class came from across the water to join in! There was live accordion music and the event was piped in by two young lads.

It was a wonderful sight to see all of these primary school children dancing the strathspeys, jigs and reels – l felt like l had stepped back in time to my own childhood and beyond.

They danced The Highland Fair, Virginia Reel, Reel for Jeanie, Fun in Argyll, Flowers of Dunbeg and more- some children wore their kilts and not one child shied away from joining in. Local volunteers from the country dancing group helped to run the event and were fantastic in organising the children.

I took my mum along with me and we sat up in the balcony with the other spectators- all clapping and toe tapping to the music. :)

What more can l say, it was just a fantastic sight to see.

The lighting was not the best as you can see from the photo above - blobs where l caught the dust as the flash went off. At least you can see the movement and hear the music from the video below. Sam is dancing in the 'white shirt' group farthest from me in this footage.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sometimes you just feel it in the air

It's happening gradually, of course, but l'm starting to feel the beginnings of spring! We've had another strange week of mixed weather, even snow, but through it all the Crocus, Snowdrops, Primula and Tom Thumbs (mini daffodils) are out.

As l walked home along the road this morning the trees were filled with so many birds - their warbled singsong just gladdened my heart. One tree had over 30 Siskin and on the neighbouring tree there was a single Robin hurling abuse at them. Robins tend to be very territorial but to me it still sounded beautiful!

This flock of Siskin roost nearby and arrive in the treetops when it is still dimpsy (twilight) - they enjoy making a bit of a commotion early before attacking the feeders, including ours, when it starts to brighten up. We've been watching them from the kitchen window over the past few days - lovely wee things.

For me, the real countdown to spring can be seen in the London Pride that grows by our gate – it grows in other parts of our garden too but because we pass this area so often we tend to notice the changes - at present it has started to stand to attention. It's period of growth will now guide us all the way into May.

'London Pride' came into its own in the Second World War, where it appeared as a hybrid on bomb sites in London and all over the country. In the garden it does better if it has its own space as it likes to spread out forming a mat of ground cover but it is not aggressively invasive. It grows great under our Rowan tree- enjoying this shady spot and on the wall around back.

Below are some other photos taken this morning.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


For the last few days my brain has been a maelstrom of activity-a thunderous chasm of details, ideas, stresses and strains- and not all in the correct order. I've felt overwhelmed! I've even lost some passwords for my computer again!

I think l need two heads- my brain keeps firing off in all directions and sometimes it is hard to sit down and get things in the right order. I get like this, become so enthused with ideas and creativity that l loose track of the job order and so l start to make lists... and lists on top of lists! You can actually see the build up of it all in 'real time' by the paperwork cluttering my desk.

I think it's the Libra in me that makes me feel so awash with it all- desperate to strike a balance.

On the news front, l've been watching the disaster in Japan and it certainly puts things into perspective. Watching that tsunami on television seemed so surreal to me- it's hard to imagine the impact and strength of it all and the nightmare for those people. My heart goes out to them.

It makes me feel thankful for this wee part of Scotland that l live in- thankful for last nights snowfall, thankful for this little bit of life that we have carved out for ourselves, because as quick as lightening it can all be ripped away and that does not bear thinking about.

So little things like loosing passwords and messy desks fall into insignificance when the bottom line swirls into focus – your family's wellbeing and the love that you share.

Take care all.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Last night everyone had gone to bed before me and l sat in the hall quietly listening to the creaks and strains of this old house as the wind blew in fitful bursts against it. I thought of all the people who had lived here, laughed and loved here- l thought of those who had perhaps sat just like me, listening to the sounds it made. If you were to stay for the night you might think it haunted with all the squeaks and moans but l don't believe it is- this house has a good feeling to it - feels comfortable. If these old walls hold memories- l would like to imagine that they would be mostly good ones because we have been happy here and so were the family before us.

It may be a subjective thing to say but l think that certain homes have an influence on those who are sensitive and creative and, sometimes, such people leave behind an atmosphere that lingers- perhaps the walls do retain memories – perhaps we do leave something of ourselves behind.

I've just finished watching a series on television called Marchlands – this series was based on the American TV series “The Oaks”- written by David Schulner. Both stories are similar - three families who have lived in the same house at different times- tied together with a ghost story to keep you interested. I love watching any type of drama like this where you get an insight into the attitudes, furnishings and styles of different historical periods.

Our old house retains a lot of original features - l especially love the sweeping staircase with twisted banister and spindles and can imagine the ladies from times past descending in their long gowns donned with gloves and parasol for a summertime preamble. There are pillars and cornicing but sadly at some point the ceiling roses were removed. We modernised the back room a bit too when we fitted the kitchen but l tried to retain the character where l could by incorporating it into the new design. In the same room we opened up the old shutters that had been closed off and painted over for years. What a pleasure it is, for us to close them over of an evening and eat dinner by candlelight while listening to the warbles of Billy Holiday float in the background! :)

When we stripped the wallpaper in our bedroom and lounge, underneath we found signatures, dates and signed artwork of the people who had lived here before- even the decorators had signed their work. We added our own mark so that we might be remembered after we've moved on too.

Below is a list of some other things we have uncovered in this old house:

  • a cast iron fireplace in bedroom- boarded off
  • lots of medicine bottles and jam jars under the house
  • old pottery buried in the garden
  • an old copper posser- from the outside laundry house
  • the old back door – covered over with boarding- old heavy handles too
  • lovely old tools in the shed
  • a vintage parlour stove heater
  • marble mantelpieces under the paintwork- not wood as we first thought!! (I'd always wondered why l couldn't get a tack in to hang the Christmas stockings!!)
  • old newspapers and magazines under the linoleum
  • an old iron wheel
  • two large stone urns- buried up back
  • an old painting 1913 by Charles Fox (1855-1929)

This house has revealed itself to us in so many ways, it's 2ft thick walls have sheltered us and so far have stood the test of time (built around 1900). May it stand for many more years to come!

Monday, March 07, 2011

Plumbers Rut

This weekend we've been putting in our laundry room Belfast sink and at points have reached the depths of plumbers rut - sounds so much like 'builders butt' l used it for the title ;)

We got the tap and inflow pipes fitted up quickly- thought the outflow would be a doddle after that- aghh- think again!!

The u bend and plastic fittings for drainage were easy enough but the waste fitting 'plug hole' for the sink would not fit snuggly against the porcelain and so we were advised to use a plumbers bond and seal- so we did, let it set for 24hrs but when we ran the taps this morning it sprung a leak where the plug met the sink edge- scream!!!

Tomorrow l'm going directly to the builders merchant for a cement type bond that glues it all together so fingers crossed that will work!

I love going into this particular builders yard - I love the patter, jargon and constant mic taking. Some women might be put off by this but here are some tips l use to get me through (tongue-in-cheek):

  • Wear old clothes and roll up your sleeves

  • Tie your hair up in a scrunchy - a few dirty marks to the face helps

  • These guys are very relaxed so keep your actions to a minimal and tone level- if there's a coffee machine - grab one (not the machine- a coffee-lol) and don't keep staring at your list if you've brought one.

  • Look confident but don't take it too far. Mirror the actions of those around you- relax your body posture but again, don't take it... too far.

  • Don't ask for the sizes you want, ask what sizes they have - most things are sold in lengths (think meters) or sheets. Most blokes in the yard still deal in inches rather than millimetres so don't try to be clever.

  • Never look like you're not sure what you're talking about – Google it before you go round so you're at one with the lingo and options for the job. If you are having difficulty with a project ask the guy what he thinks- get to know his name so next time you come in you can say, “Hey Davy, you got some brass 15 mill compressed elbow joints through the back?”. This looks good.

  • Adopting a hard man swagger should be a no go if you're a woman- use your feminine attributes to your advantage - stand tall if you know what l mean and toss out a compliment or joke – this always creates a bit of jovial banter.

  • If all else fails look at your list like it's written in brail and blame it on your husband's writing- say you're going to go figure this out and get out of there quick smart.

Friday, March 04, 2011

A bit of space back!

I've been clearing up my office/craft room tonight. Here is my computer area- looks all neat now and l can actually see the desk again!! You will note that l did not take a before photo, cough-splutter.
Can't show you the other side of the room either as it is filled with my son's boxes and clothes from university.
For the moment this is my wee corner of the world.
All of my crafting, drafting and paint stuff's packed away- at least for tonight. I'm sure that within a day or so they will start migrating back.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

New Wellies

Yesterday my granddaughter's boots arrived- a bright pair of butterfly wellies. I'd been looking forward to taking these down to her.
If you watch the slide below you will see what happened... l sat there in horror!!! :)
The wee besom!!

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Hard Letting Go

From the earliest moments of pregnancy, even before your child is born, you love them and feel protective. During this time you follow all the rules, take the correct vitamins and pray for a healthy baby. That tenderness and love keeps growing and when you eventually get to hold your wee one in your arms that love manifolds itself ten hundred times over.

You watch them grow up, develop, make mistakes, learn – each period another tick of the clock. Having two older children l realise how quickly time can pass - perhaps this is why l notice it all the more with my youngest. I am pleased he is becoming more confident in himself but l also feel a loss for the wee boy he was. This year he is stretching in so many ways- his topics of conversation, his thinking, his humour, sleeping on the top bunk, walking to school, crossing the streets, wanting to explore, cooking, making tea- argh! It is getting hard to stay one step ahead of him these days.

This morning he said, “You can't keep me forever, you have to let me do things mum!”- ouch! He wanted to cross the bigger road by himself and although l know he has to learn, it is a wrench on so many levels. I stood back and he did well – perhaps even a little over cautious.
I want to cherish as many moments as l can with him now- before they're gone too.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

March on Spring

“March bustles in on windy feet and sweeps my doorstep and my street. She washes and cleans with pounding rain, scrubbing the earth of winter stains.
She shakes the grime from carpet green till naught but fresh new blades are seen.
Then house in order, all neat as a pin, she ushers gentle springtime in.” -Susan Reiner

We've had a few good days of sunshine and it has felt good to be outside working- today is still dry but a wee bit overcast – sun tomorrow again though. It's hard to believe we're already in March.

I woke up to the sound of gulls on our roof again this morning – normally l don't mind their plaintive cry but at the moment they are in the throws of courtship and mating - the incessant shrill that accompanies this is driving me barmy. I'm jumping out of bed first thing- forget the alarm clock!

We live in a seaside town so gulls come with the territory. Above is the view that they have from our home - looking south.

Most people use the term 'seagull' when referring to these birds - understandable really because there are so many of them and a lot of species. Would you recognise a first winter herring gull form a second winter lesser black-backed gull?

If you look at these gulls though you will see so many different plumage phases and markings. Ironically the common gull is the least common of the commonly seen gulls- whoa - l hope you followed that. Anyway you can read more about the different types of gulls HERE.

I'm away to get on with some chores- also waiting on a delivery to arrive. I've ordered these Kidorable rain boots for my granddaughter.

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