Saturday, 30 April 2011

How to celebrate

No, not that celebration, the other one.... my step-grandson's 2nd Birthday!

For some reason a couple decided to get married yesterday, while we were off in sunny (but bloody cold) Glasgae, drinking champagne and eating BBQ while the delightful child seemed a bit overwhelmed with it all, but once his cousins turned up and he had an opportunity to jump on the bouncy castle his mother had spent many hours blowing up, he looked like he was enjoying himself.

We couldn't stay for too long as my Beloved had a date with Loch Ness and had to get off up to the Highlands. This weekend he's ministering to anyone who needs it while they complete the Monster Bike and Hike, and he needed to be up there for early this morning. So after our date in Glasgow we headed back to Edinburgh for him to pick up his truck and me to pick up the dog and get home. So off he went in one direction and me and the dog in the other.

Apparently he met up with a friend last night and revisited the climbing wall in Inverness where they spent a happy hour or so heaving themselves up and down, and then he went off for a night in the hills in his tent. I've already had a call from the happy camper to say it's a glorious day over Loch Ness and luckily I was able to say it was the same at this end of the country.

The dog and I have decided on a quiet weekend, where I have to catch up with some work and she has to catch up on some zeds, her favourite activity and one which she does extremely well.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

An embarrassing start

Today my Beloved's new employee, who started last week when I was away, turned up for work. I'd completely forgotten she was coming and was languishing lazily in bed a mere five minutes before she came, so that on the reminder that her arrival was imminent, I managed to jump in the shower and was pretty much dressed by the time she arrived.

There was just one problem. I had promised my OU friends a photo of what I would have worn if I'd been able to go down to Cambridge this Friday. One of our number is having a weekend of fun in lieu of her birthday, which just happens to be on the same day as some royal event or other. It just so happens that it's my step-grandson's 2nd birthday that day too, so we will be off to Glasgow for a fun-filled day of jelly and cake. I had said that if I had been going I would've worn my fairy dress and photos were demanded, and as I'm off to Edinburgh today for the rest of the week, it was this morning or not at all and a promise is a promise.

I don't know about you, but if I'd just started a job and I was faced with my boss going, 'Yes, that's it... no a little more to the right... erm left... erm right,' while the boss's wife was parading in a mauve fairy dress while I was making the coffee I'm not quite sure how I would've reacted.

Suffice it to say I think Lesley will fit in rather well here as she took it all in her stride. I think it must have something to do with the fact that she has a Harley and is quite used to an incongruous dress sense!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

It didn't work

Last night was the first for me of the outdoor bowls season as I was away last week when everyone else started. Having gotten on so well with the indoor bowls I thought I'd wing it well once the outdoor began. But it was not to be. I'd forgotten just how different the outdoor game is.

I've been playing outdoor for quite some years now, so it was with extreme embarrassment that I could hardly get my bowls to travel the required distance, not helped I have to say by it being damn cold out there and my hands were freezing. I had of course left my handwarmers at home in my nice warm kitchen, typical!

So today, once work is done, I'm off out there to have a practice, so that by the next time I play at least I'll be able to hold my head up.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Another plug

Last night I got a message from Andy, the father of the Hannah who's exam performance I attended a couple of weeks ago. Hannah has now finished her EP, which is part of her course, so if any of you would like to have a listen then you can find it here. I'm not sure if the amount of hits she gets will be part of her overall exam mark, but anyway, the more hits she gets the better it will be for her. So please spread the word.

I've also been asked to endorse someone else. This is on Linkedin, not a site I use a lot. In fact I don't use it at all. I'm sure it would be really useful if I had the time or the inclination, but I don't really like to be contacted by people I don't know to be their professional friend. I have a rule on Facebook and that is that I'll say yes to being anyone's friend as long as I know them, which seems reasonable, but I seem to get contacted on Linkedin by people I've never heard of. A bit like cold calling I suppose and I'm not a fan of that.

Anyway, I digress. I've been asked to endorse someone I do know, but I have a bit of a problem and that is, the course of theirs I took wasn't to my liking and I'm finding it hard to know what to say. In fact I gave very honest feedback at the time and am surprised to be contacted. I don't like misleading people so don't worry I won't be writing anything that isn't true, but nevertheless it is a bit of a dilemma and not one I like.

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter

It's been a funny old Easter as I only just realised it was actually Easter Sunday part way through the day. There's something about things like Easter that only really make sense when you have kids around and this year, the first Easter when No 2 son is in Bristol and therefore not within Easter egg dropping off territory, and because I was away I didn't have time to drop one off for No 1 son, neither of them got one.

My Beloved and I spent time in the garden soaking up the glorious sun, while trying to denude the garden of dandelions, which I think is going to be one of those neverending chores. In my week's absence my man has been out planting all kinds of goodies so hopefully we'll have a good supply of home grown produce as the summer really gets going.

Apart from that it's been time to get my next OU assignment together, which has caused me quite a bit of angst. But sitting out in the sun armed with my Roget's Thesaurus has meant I've cobbled something together. The sun certainly helped, must've warmed my brain or something. Anyway it's pretty much done which is a relief.

Tomorrow night outdoor bowls starts. I'm hoping my experience at the indoor bowls will have helped me to be a bit quicker off the mark than usual. I've found someone in the village who wants to start playing and is keen to practice during the day, so maybe this year will prove better than the last couple for me. I'm not sure the start will be that good tho as the weather forecast suggests rain tomorrow night. Typical!

Saturday, 23 April 2011

A speedy return

I'm back from the Highlands and the only way to describe the whole experience was it was 'interesting'.

It started so promisingly as well, but rapidly deteriorated ending up with one of the tutors telling me in a rather condescending way that I was like Pollyanna. I think she didn't like my relentless cheeriness or something like that. The final straw for me was when she asked me my age and then said, 'Well m'dear, I'm ten years older than you and I'd like to give you some advice.' At that point I think I felt like hitting her - cheerfully of course - and then I got the Pollyanna comment. I obviously didn't want to let my audience down so behaved in a very Pollyanna-ish way, but I still felt like smacking her!

Win some, lose some I suppose, but I don't think I could possibly recommend the experience as more than an expensive way to be quietly yet forcefully condescended to!

Luckily the situation was retrieved by one of our number who's a film maker and had much the same treatment as me. She and I joined forces and soothed each others fevered brow, but it was a relief to get home.

Because it's Easter weekend I made the incredibly sensible decision to get up at 5 am and hike off down the A9 before the rest of the world woke up. It wasn't until I was just outside Perth that I was slowed down by the first caravan enthusiast of the day, which reinforced how sensible I'd been, and I managed to get home in record time. I do admit to speeding a bit but the joy of getting home to my Beloved and in time for breakfast was worth it.

Monday, 18 April 2011

Strange connections

Today I'm travelling North to Moniack Mhor for a week of poetry. It's funny how months ago when I booked this I was really looking forward to going, but now the day has arrived and I'd prefer to be staying put. I'm sure once I'm there it'll all be great.... at least I hope so!

I'm not sure I'll be able to post from there, so if not you'll get the full 'whack' when I get home on the weekend.

The programme is pretty full on so won't have much time to go off campus and see friends, which will be a bit odd. Going all the way up to Inverness-shire and not seeing anyone I know seems a bit of a waste, but there you go. Interestingly there is someone I know at Moniack Mhor. She's one of the organisers. I know her through my Beloved, my ex husband and Shirley and Andy. A real case of strange connections. It's rather a convoluted story, so will leave it til another time, but it reminds me of when I did a Reiki course many years ago and my Beloved's ex sister-in-law was on the same course. The fact that we were paired up to practice made it a bit awkward to start with, but when you have to concentrate on what you're doing awkwardness doesn't last long.

I've already spoken to and exchanged pleasantries with the organiser, so hopefully no awkwardness, no embarrassing moments... a good start at least, now there's just the poetry!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

What to wear?

My Beloved is away again this weekend. What's he up to? He's on a rigging course, which I gather is something to do with bits of rope and metal. Next month he's away on a taping and strapping course. I'm beginning to get a bit worried but maybe I shouldn't be, perhaps I should be looking forward to the results?

Meanwhile I'm getting ready to go on a poetry course. All sounds a bit tame in comparison. While he's out and about getting wound up with rope and tape, I'll be sitting on my backside trying to stretch my cerebral muscle and hoping I don't get wound up.

I'm not going until Monday, but trying to second guess the weather is driving me a bit nuts. I'm away all week and I have a feeling I shall have to take a large bag with a spectrum of clothing to take me from winter thru summer, as my memory of this time of year in the Highlands can mean anything goes. There's a Scottish saying, 'Ne'er cast a cloot til May is oot', but let's face it folks, if we waited for after May our bodies might never see the light of day given the past few summers!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

It arrived!

Yes here I am writing away on my new iPad, with it's lovely girly pink cover and very very lovely and girly it is too!

The iPad itself is great and I've only got to grips with the basics, but those basics seem pretty good to me.

I just wanted to let you all know.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Being a friend

I had a lovely evening yesterday when I was invited to Shirley and Andy's daughter, Hannah's end of course exam. She is a singer with quite a range and has been doing a music course at Napier Uni for the past wee while. The final exam took the form of a live band concert in the Voodoo Rooms and Hannah had to sing with her band, organising the soundcheck and generally making sure all was ok. I was told it would start at 4.30pm and Hannah was to be the first on. I duly arrived just after 4.

Luckily Shirley and Andy had a table and together with their other daughter, Robyn, we sat and we sat and we sat through endless soundchecks by everyone else who was to perform that afternoon. Hannah, apparently, was to do her's last and then be on straight away. Meanwhile their son, Jon and his partner Claire turned up, with Jon's cute daughter Lily, who's 2. She was quite enjoying herself and was dancing along to the soundchecks like a pro, when one of those in charge of the Voodoo Rooms came and told us that Lily'd have to go as she wasn't 18. You'd have thought they might have noticed before!

So, at 6.30, two full hours after we'd expected Hannah to be on, she started. She sang a couple of her own songs and a few covers by such as Sinead O'Connor, and I thought she did very well under the exam conditions. She looked very calm and composed and she seemed to be enjoying it. I know for a fact that the proud parents did, as did I.

It was a bit of a shame that it all started late as there was no time to stay and watch anyone else as I had a date with N to help her sort shoes for a wedding she has to attend in the summer. I rushed back to the house and picked up my bag of shoes I'd bought for her to try on (she doesn't have very many herself as she's not a 'shoe person' unlike moi) and we then spent a couple of hours looking at clothes and shoes to see what would work. Also N is on a mission to spring clean her old clothes and was wondering what to keep and what to give away, and I duly obliged by watching her change and change and change until she was satisfied with her piles of 'throw' and 'keep'. I think we did a good job and she's going to borrow a pair of my shoes to go with her very tasteful wedding outfit.

A good night's work I think.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011


Yesterday I received a communication that the Apple iPad 2, that I ordered what seems like forever ago, is on its way. It's a bit sad really that I have to do these things, but I'd promised myself one once the new one had come out, and I always keep my promises! Of course now I have to hope that it reaches me before the end of the week as I'm off to my old stamping ground for a week away from home on a poetry workshop. This was another gift I'd promised myself, and signed up for in December and which hopefully will be as much fun as the iPad, maybe more who knows?

I love gadgets I really do, they must fulfil some long lost testosterone part of me that goes along with liking to drive fast and things like that... of course the thought of the inside of an engine and my feminine side rears it's ugly head, so just to fulfil that feminine side, the iPad is coming with a very girly pink smart cover!

In my list of excuses for this purchase (and I don't know why I have to justify large purchases, but it seems I do) are the following:
1) building up to my 60th Birthday next January (a lot more mileage in this one methinks)
2) my 1st anniversary (we got married on 29th Feb 2008 after some 17 years together, so 3 years with no anniversary celebrations and that's another one with quite a lot more mileage)
3) getting the restaurant reviewer job
4) a reward for doing well at the indoor bowls. Yesterday was the last day of the season for me and my partner and I won 14-2. I actually got 12 of those points, which I was very pleased with, and the team leader of the team I've been asked to join for next season was mightily impressed.

Enough excuses for an iPad? Well I think so!

Monday, 11 April 2011

The no phone drama

Earlier today we had a phone call from Andy, Shirley's wonderful husband, who knows all things computer, mobile phone etc and is generally always the first port of call in any IT disaster. He was the one who, when my last Mac laptop when awol, advised me that it was unrecoverable... and when he said that, I had to listen. I'd never had a Mac do that before, and I'm hoping I never do again, but the good thing is that I've learnt the wonders of external hard disks, and thank anyone who'll listen that the Mac backs up automatically. Anyway, Andy had read yesterday's post and was calling to check if he could offer his guidance as to how my Beloved could seek the whereabouts of his iPhone, so I thought I'd clarify for you all before we get any more phone calls.

The disaster was averted. My Beloved's mobile phone wasn't in whoever's car it was thought to be in, but on his desk, under a pile of papers no doubt, waiting at home for him all along. He was mightily pleased and relieved. Though I'm now hearing mumblings of wanting an iPhone 4... not sure if that's because it's so much more expensive and so will have to be taken greater care of, or that it's got a system that if you can't find it, it'll locate it for you by GPS or somesuch. Sounds like a good excuse to me!

Sunday, 10 April 2011

And again

Today was another glorious day. This one showed up another peacock butterfly and a red admiral and both of those in the garden, along with a couple of the most enormous bumble bees. May be there are some advantages of mobile phones not working in the village?

The dog and I had our second lovely day together, but it was too hot for her to walk very far. We did go for a quick walk down to the Community woods, but only on the short route. Having such a thick coat is a bit of a disadvantage at this time of the year. Of course this now means we will have several months of her shedding enough hair to fill a mattress, which means more of my least favourite activity which is house cleaning... the joys of dog ownership.

We are now awaiting the arrival of my Beloved who's on his way home from Casualty Care training. He's had a lovely time, only marred by losing his mobile phone. He's hoping he's dropped it in one of his lift's cars. I think that's the one before the one he eventually got into to go to where he was supposed to be going... well it made sense to me... I think!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

What a day!

Today was absolutely beautiful... sunny, warm and the best of all was when I took the dog up to the Community Woods I saw my first butterfly of the year. It was a peacock butterfly too which made it even better. Somehow butterflies equals spring and summer and so I felt like all was right with the world.

This called for action and I decided on some gardening, which is not one of my favouritist pastimes, but as my Beloved is away for the weekend on Borders Search and Rescue training down in the Peak District, what's a girl to do?

So a bit of hacking here, a bit of weeding there, and then off to the garden centre to buy a couple of herbs to put in my herb pots. And on top of that even the dog wanted to come out to play and we spent a pleasant time playing with her football until I'd had enough.

Then it was a sit down in the sunshine reading my book, while the dog flopped in a shady spot. I'd been lucky enough to have been given an uncorrected proof copy of My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young, by a friend who was involved in the production of it, and very good it is too. I can highly recommend it and it has had some great reviews.

And now it's time for that white wine I won yesterday. My changing from red to white wine is definitely a sign that winter is, for now, well and truly over!

Friday, 8 April 2011

An up sandwiched between two downs

After wanting an early night last night, I went to sleep around 11.30 p.m. and consequently woke up just as tired this morning as yesterday. This wasn't a brilliant start as I had the final bowls competition of the indoor season and consequently I didn't play my best. Not badly, just not my best, which was disappointing.

However, at the raffle I won a very, very nice bottle of Chilean white wine, which is now in the fridge awaiting consumption.

And then I got home to find that bloody Facebook had let on to the world at large that I had been playing Bubble Island this morning. I had suitably tongue-in-cheek postings from those who should know better!

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

An almost complete day off

Today I had a whole day off... well almost!

I started out with a reflexology session at Mulberry House with the delightful Annette. About 3 weeks ago my secretary, Dawn, put a card in my pigeon hole at work to tell me that they were doing 15 minute taster sessions there. At lunchtime, Dawn told me to go and have a session as it was just across the road from work and so I did. I mean who argues with their secretary? And jolly good it was too. They gave me a card for a Spring Fling, which is a 75 minute foot and leg massage and reflexology session all for £40 and because I was in Edinburgh today I thought I'd treat myself.

The reason I was in Edinburgh was because last night was our Sangha Christmas dinner. Yes, ok it was definitely a few months late, but that's because my friend N was away at Christmas and we were waiting for her to get home at the end of January and then we'd go for our dinner. None of us were aware that so many weeks had gone by and so thought we'd get on and do it last night. We went to Chez Jules, and we had a lovely time, but it wasn't nearly as good as Sweet Melinda's where we went for N's birthday back in early December.

Anyway, back to today. After my session with Annette, I definitely had a spring in my step and headed off for lunch with Shirley. We tend to meet up in the restaurant at Harvey Nicks where we can be pretty much guaranteed something simple and nice for lunch that's not going to fill us up too much. We had a lovely time together. The lovely lunch was followed by a quick John Lewis shop and then Shirley took me back home where I had to do the only bit of work for today which was a meeting with my workshop co-facilitator. The meeting was relatively quick and painless and then I headed off for my final treat which was a facial.

I know you're all going to think I was mad having two lots of treatments in one day, but it was a one off occasion at Zen, a beauty spa in Edinburgh that I frequent occasionally and they'd sent me this deal for a cheap facial. It cost £25 and I could get my money back (?!) if I bought products. I have to say it was great and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Finally, No. 1 son came over for a game of cards and I'm sad to say he won, which was the only downer of the day. And now I'm feeling fully primped and plumped and ready for the rest of the week.

Monday, 4 April 2011

Not quite as intended

After all the good thoughts about fit body, fit mind, tidy house, that was as far as they got... thoughts that is. I did none of the intended and spent the day doing more writing, which turned out not to be such a good thing as the feedback wasn't the best. Then, once my Beloved returned from running - in which he did brilliantly - we decided to go shopping at Costco. You know the place... the one where things are sold cheaply, but you spend so much that it's not really a saving. So we spent a lot. Then time to go home and that was pretty much it!

Did I spend today tidying the house and working my body? No. But there's always tomorrow!

Sunday, 3 April 2011

Mother's Day

Mother's Day started yesterday with No.1 son phoning to say that he'd forgotten to send me his card, but I'll get it on Tuesday when I go to Edinburgh. I'm due a phone call from him apparently, that is of course if he remembers!

I got a lovely card from No.2 son, which is great. I know he's not a fan of what he sees as Americanised, flagrantly commercialised 'days', so he sent me a very tasteful card with a pic of the Clifton Suspension Bridge with an air balloon race. I was really pleased to get it.

Then I phoned my mother at just after 8 am, and woke her up. The days when she used to get angry with me for phoning when it wasn't convenient seem to have gone by thank goodness. The funny thing is she very often phones me before 8! She's going out for lunch with my brother, my sister-in-law and her son, so I'm sure she'll enjoy that.

Meanwhile my Beloved is off doing a Sunday Breakfast Run with the Lauder Limpers, after having found out that someone has hacked into his Facebook account and has been sending weird cards to all his friends, so I'm sure he'll be using the run to get rid of his aggressive feelings for whoever did such a thing.

And me? Well after all the exhaustion of the last few weeks, yesterday was a bit of a non day. I spent most of it writing, but doing not much else, so today is back to doing things. I have a house to tidy and a body to get fit and today's the day.

I suppose apart from the card and a couple of phone calls Mother's Day doesn't have quite the same resonance when your kids aren't around. No burnt breakfast, no messy kitchen to contend with, no loud boys stomping and shouting.... oh well, will just have to amuse myself instead!