Sunday, 30 May 2010

Disaster averted

The loo did block and after trying to flush it through with the compressed air drain unblocker, it was my beloved to the rescue.

The offending item was found by my hero at 1.50 pm Greenwich meantime, neatly lodged over the outflow pipe and was victoriously handed back to me a few minutes later. It is now being sterilised and won't see the light of day until it's been immersed for at least 24 hours.

Thank god for a man who can and Milton fluid!

Still it means no embarrassing dentist talk, and even more to the point no blocked loo. I'm still in two minds as to whether to get in touch with BP, as I have to say my attempt at blocking pipes was wholly more successful than theirs.

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Another disaster

This one, you'll be pleased to hear, is not of the foliage variety.

I use a mouth guard at night to stop me from grinding my teeth as I sleep. Last night as I was brushing my teeth and getting ready for bed, I flushed the loo and as the water was going down the pan I was getting my mouth guard out of it's plastic box, when the box literally jumped out of my hand and headed down the loo. I have never seen anything disappear quite so fast down a toilet and before I knew it, it was gone! I am now waiting for the drains to be blocked.

I will have to have a rather embarrassing conversation with my dentist, the delightful Chris, as to why I need a new one, and who I know will add this to the ever growing list of what he calls 'eccentric stories'. And I also know he will repeat it to me until he gets me to laugh as I sit in his chair awaiting the torture of my next check-up.

However, I'm now wondering whether I should contact BP and offer own my unique take on how to block the rather enormous hole that is gushing oil out into the Gulf of Mexico. I mean they've resorted to using all kinds of other rubbish in their efforts.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010


Today I got back from work to find my prized coffee plant with a shrivelled leaf. The moment I touched it the leaf dropped off. It was dried out and dead. I'm very concerned. The rest of the leaves all look healthy enough and there is quite a lot of new growth and the only thing I could think to do was to raise the growlight, which has been done.

The poorest one has not responded in any way to the 'great chop'. The tiny leaf remains, but with nothing happening at all, that too is quite a worry.

Keep your fingers crossed for both of the invalids and hope that they both make a full recovery.

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Unbelievable things

Last week before I headed for my working week in London, I took a photo of our beech hedge. Today, when I got home, the change was unbelievable. I love the way one day it looks like it's dead and within a short space of time the whole thing is green and verdant. Isn't nature wonderful?

This is in total contrast to the abomination that arrived at the door of my Sleepless carriage at 6.15 this morning as we were stopped at Carstairs to wait the appropriate amount of time so that fare paying customers knew they'd got their moneys worth on their train journey. First of all I was a bit taken aback at putting up my blind to find we were outside the State Hospital, but the 'breakfast' that came to me via a very chirpy rail worker took me aback even further.

I have since emailed Scotrail Customer Relations to challenge them to eat the vegetarian breakfast. It was supposed to be a muffin with vege sausage, egg, mushroom and a bit of mayo. However, apart from the consistency of worn tyres that have seen too much action round a Formula 1 track, the taste was truly extraordinary... and that's not the good extraordinary either. One bite was enough to convince me that unless I wanted to be seriously ill I should go no further. That on top of another sleepless night (no, the good start at Euston sadly did not bode well) has decided me that that will probably be the very last time I ever take a Sleeper. The Orient Express is definitely off the cards.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Reliving the past

I'm now waiting for the Sleepless in the First Class lounge at Euston, which I can highly recommend. Free coffee, tea and soft drinks, and a fully stocked bar. So much better than the one in Edinburgh, which had a few seats and a tv and that was pretty much it. Maybe this bodes well for the journey home. I'm travelling alone, as my beloved headed back a couple of days ago to let me get on with the work that needed to be done and to get on with his, so it'll be straight to my bed once I'm on the train, and hopefully, just hopefully I might get some sleep.

Bizarrely I met up with some radiographers from Inverness who I worked with back in 2006. It was lovely to catch up, but the First Class lounge at Euston was the very last place I would've expected to see them.

Last night I was supposed to meet up with a friend, but she couldn't make it, so instead of sitting about I decided to take myself off and see what was on in the West End.

I ended up going to see Hair, which was fun and energetic. But it was rather weird to be sitting in a theatre full of older middle aged folk clapping their hands and tapping their feet and singing along - that is of course until I realised I was one of them. I had an interesting conversation with the Americans sitting next to me, who like me had seen the original. We agreed it wasn't quite the same, but nevertheless enjoyable. However I couldn't help but think in another 20 odd years all those good looking, svelte young people, who had no qualms in stripping and showing off their buff bodies will sadly end up looking like the majority of the audience.

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

The sleepless

Here I am, well past midnight, on the sleeper, heading for London for a few days of work.

Usually this trip takes approx 3.5 hours, but, hey we're such lucky folk and my beloved won 2 free 1st class tickets on the sleeper. So now I find myself wide awake at a time when I'd usually be asleep on a journey that is due to take twice as long as normal because we seem to be going via Carlisle just to make sure of those extra hours, and I have to say, probably the last thing I'll do is manage much sleep. Still the steward, called John, who was serving the wine and sundries was very jolly, as was his pal Del. And it just so happens that the interconnecting berths that my beloved so carefully booked, are indeed interconnected, but just not to each other. But it all adds to the intrigue of the journey.

Sadly I still have no idea why these things are called sleepers, as sleeping is the very last thing I've ever been able to do on one. Thank goodness for my iPhone so I can catch up with emails, play a game or two or even watch something on BBC iplayer.

Makes 5 days in London with my family almost sound like a treat!!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Just for the record

Today I got 4 seven letter words in one scrabble game.... and I'm hoping I haven't lost a friend at the same time. It took me a while to persuade She Who Must Not Be Named to play with me and I'm concerned that she may not want to play again.

Meanwhile I've been out in the woods again today and the sighting of quite a few more peacock butterflies made it a wonderful experience.

Not quite so wonderful is that the poor, delicate coffee plant, that was so brutally pruned down to one tiny leaf in the vain hope that it might encourage some growth, has shown no signs of further life. I will leave it to see what happens and won't be premature in declaring it a non-plant, but it doesn't look good.

And finally... how much money do you all spend on bird life? I seem to spend an extraordinary amount. My friend Jenny gave us a perspex bird feeder that attaches to our kitchen window and it's quite fab to watch the bird life come and go. But today, when I went to buy a new sack of feed for them, and opted for the less messy variety with no husks - to save our kitchen window ledge from the husk mountain I need to clear - at the grand price of £21.99, I began to think I was a bit on the mad side. I also have two hanging feeders and a suet ball holder that all seem to need continuous filling too. Yup... definitely mad!

Saturday, 15 May 2010


What a fantastic day. Bright blue sky, and according to the temperature gauge in my car, it was 19 out there. Nell (the dog) and I went walking in the woods that I've nicknamed 'butterfly alley' because of the wonderful range of butterflies that bide there. Today there were mainly peacock butterflies and the odd cabbage white. So lovely to see.

The only problem was I'd forgotten to switch the central heating off in the house, and Beloved's away for the weekend... I'm sure he'd have noticed. It's been on for the past week due to the freezing weather as it's felt more like October than May for what seems forever. So when we got back from our walk, the house was baking hot. I know the saying goes "ne'er cast a cloot til May is oot" but heck... it's hot in here!

Thursday, 13 May 2010

The answer

Well folks... the answer is to yesterday's question at first glance seems to be 'no'.

However, if I look at the simple things that happened today, such as I had to get 2 new front tires for my car and was wondering where I could get this done, when I had to travel out of the office to see someone for work. I ended up right next (no exaggeration) to a tire place who replaced my extremely worn ones for brand new ones whilst I was doing my hour of work, and then all I had to do was nip next door, pay (of course), and then zip home.

I was concerned that I would be late for Jackie, the village hairdresser, but got home at the exact moment that she turned up. "How lucky is that?" she said.

Then, after the weather report this morning that promised rain 'later' and I had carried my brolly with me all day just in case, I noticed that not long after Jackie left the rain started and has not stopped for the last couple of hours.

You know... maybe the answer to the question is 'yes' after all!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010


When I got home from work yesterday there was a package from my friend Tracy, who is currently travelling in Nepal. She sent us a 'care' package from India, but it had taken a while to get here. It contained blessing cords for my beloved and me from The Karmapa, and HH The Dalai Lama, together with a couple of cd's of The Dalai Lama's talks, and some incense from Tashi Jong monastery. In the pack was also a blessing cord for Nell, who now proudly wears her orange cord hanging from her collar. Beloved and I felt very lucky.

So when I turned on my computer today and there was a message from She Who Must Not Be Named to inform me (and the world) that she had got a 7 letter word on her first turn, which garnered her the fantastic score of 82, I felt in great need of luck. I took a long look at my letters which initially didn't turn up much, but then the word 'deicides' - using the second 'e' that She Who Must Not Be Named had placed - became clear for me. This gave me a score of 74. Being only 8 behind gives me a fighting chance. So for a second day running I felt very lucky.

Can I be lucky 3 days in a row? Wait until tomorrow and I'll let you all know.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

My next home?

Hi folks

Back from the last weekend of my six month course. What was it like? I think the word is 'interesting'! Nuff said.

There is one bit that I will tell, and that was Mr Malcolm, a most delightful, learned 70+ year old, had bought himself a new Porsche. Even though he professed embarrassment he was also extremely proud of new green shiny mobile, and I was offered a go. Not to drive I hasten to add, but to speed along the narrow roads on the side of the river Esk with the hood down, wind in the hair, chauffeur driven by the man himself. That wasn't the funny bit, but the thing that was, was when we got back to Samye Ling, young James, hippie extraordinaire, was waiting his turn. This was much to the chagrin of Mr Malcolm, who found himself driving up and down the road, giving us all a turn. Carnival rides arrived at Samye Ling. Thank you Mr Malcolm, it really was fun!

However, during the weekend one of my friends, who is about to embark on building a new home for herself was told about Eco houses and now my heart is set on a two story eco pod. I think they're fantastic, and might just satisfy my love of bedsit accommodation combined with space enough to live. Now I just have to think where I could place my new home and then of course I will have to sell this house.

Beloved has yet to be informed of the new plan, but hey, it's just a dream right now... right?

Friday, 7 May 2010

Small is good?

Having nurtured my plants, I'm now off for the weekend to nurture my mind at Samye Ling on the banks of the River Esk in the Scottish Borders. The last weekend of a 6 month course. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and also spending a bit of quiet time.

I think underneath it all I have what I call 'bedsit mentality', which is that I actually love being in a small room that contains all I need. Ok, for those who know will, I think, be screaming at me something along the lines of "yeh, that'll be right!" right now. They know that I live in quite a large house, and each room is packed to the brim with all kinds of things that I've never been able to throw away just in case they might come in useful some day.

But there is something rather lovely about simplicity, even if it is only for a weekend. And hey I'm allowed to fool myself for a short while, and then feel really good coming back to my house full of junk and feel good about that too!

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Cut down in it's (not so) prime

The dreaded deed has been done!

All that is left is a tiny stub and a tiny leaf to go with it.

What was extraordinary was that the poor pathetic plant had one hell of a strong stem. Once I'd started cutting and realised how strong the stem actually was I almost decided to stop, but then again, once I'd started it seemed ridiculous to stop.

I'm not sure that it will survive such drastic action, only time will tell. But it was not doing well in the state it was and so doing something seemed better than doing nothing.

Keep your fingers crossed.

Saturday, 1 May 2010


This week was my beloved's grandson's first birthday, so off we went to Glasgow for a day of partying armed with highchair for the boy himself and alcohol for his mum and dad. As you can see from the photo, he had the cutest wee shirt that his dad had printed for him.

It was a fun day, and we had a delicious dinner at Crab Shakk, which I highly recommend. But after a sleepless night courtesy of our Glasgow hotel, where the room was so hot that I was sweating like I was in a sauna, it was good to get home.

It's funny, but after being away just for 24 hours I tend to notice so much more and so I was overjoyed to see that the coffee plant that is doing the best has just sprouted even more new leaves and is looking quite resplendent. Sadly the weakest of the bunch is not doing quite so well and I'm thinking of drastic action to see if that will jerk it into wanting to grow.

I will keep you posted.