Wednesday, 18 September 2013

September coffee plant update

As I'm off to London tomorrow and Thailand on Saturday I thought I'd better give you a coffee plant update before I go.

The biggest plant is now snug surrounded by its winter fleece. It had started dropping leaves, which was very scary as it's supposed to be the healthy one, but I'm hoping it was just a blip.

A snug coffee plant

The smaller ones, although looking a little rough around the edges, have all got new growth.  They are still on the windowsill and I'm not sure if that's where they'll stay, but I'm leaving them in Mountain Man's undoubtedly capable hands so he will have the ultimate say-so for the next just over 3 weeks.

While up on the windowsill there's growing to do

Well my suitcase is jam packed... full of cold preparations in the hope I can throw off the dreaded lurgy before Saturday and, what seems to be, far too much stuff... but it is a small case so maybe I'm fussing for nothing.

As always it's doubtful I'll be blogging while I'm away, but you will get a report when I'm back.  So au revoir and 'see' you in mid-October!

Monday, 16 September 2013

It may be drivel, but...

... this is my 601st post and I just wanted to mark it, that's all!

Sunday, 15 September 2013

A child's gift

I spent some time with No. 2 Son this week and came away with his cold... well no, not literally of course... it's my cold. But I could well do without this as I'm flying out of the country at the end of this week and heading for Thailand for 3 weeks.

Anyway, today when I woke up the weather was pretty awful so I stayed put and nursed my blocked nose, sore throat and dreadful tinnitus, saying nothing of the slight hangover after the 3 glasses of wine I imbibed last night. The worst of these is the tinnitus, which has manifested as sounding alternately like an ambulance siren or the doorbell.

I used this opportunity to catch up on my reading and managed to finish The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith... better known as J K Rowling. It was hugely better than The Casual Vacancy (which you might remember I hated). Far better written.

I'm off to see No. 2 Son again this week. I'm sincerely hoping there are no more gifts of the same calibre in the offing.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Car news

I have for some time become a bit pissed off with my car, because everytime it goes anywhere near a garage it comes out needing more and very expensive work. Today was no exception. I got my MOT for £30, but only to be told that it is in serious need of new shock absorbers. I suppose I should be grateful it passed the MOT.

I'm now seriously looking for another car for next year before this one costs me anymore... there's famous last words I know and at this rate it may well be before next year that I have to bite the bullet. It doesn't help when the very nice receptionist at the garage said, 'Well it has done quite a lot of miles and it is of that age.' I absolutely know from this statement that a new car will have to be sooner rather than later.

However, today wasn't a total disaster. I had been invited to Henderson's for a poetry reading this morning by someone who's in my summer poetry class. A friend of her's was one of the poets reading today. It turns out that this person and I have a lot in common in the way of work and during our very pleasant lunchtime chat she asked me if I'd be interested in going to China. Would I ever! She's doing a lecture tour there and is looking for people she can invite to talk too... how exciting is that? Of course I'm not sure this will ever come to fruition, but it was so nice to be asked. I shall have to wait and see how this pans out.

Then just before I went to pick up my car I popped into Space NK to have a bit of a browse and it turns out one of my ex-clients is working there. Sometimes this can a be an absolute nightmare in the making, but on this occasion it was great. She came bounding up to tell me how well she was getting on and how much she valued the work we did together. She also said how much she liked my little book. Such a lovely interlude and I left feeling really good, which was just as well given what I was faced with when I went to pick up my car.

So now my car is off back to the garage on Tuesday to have front shock absorbers fitted. I'm just hoping it doesn't decide it wants anything else done when it get's there!

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Lots to prepare for

This morning the Puppy Walking Supervisor for Guide Dogs For The Blind came round to talk about last minute concerns and bring us a dog cage for our puppy to sleep in and a training manual to look at.

Before she came I had a list of concerns, which she answered, but now I think I have an even longer list! Part of the problem, I think, is that we won't be getting the puppy until early November and the time since being accepted has been quite long, so it's given me almost too much time to think about it.

But now, my mind has to turn to other things. I have my holiday in Thailand to plan for - I'm actually away to London on 19th September for some work to be done on 20th and then fly out to Bangkok on 21st. And I'm not coming back until 14th October. I'm very under-prepared, which isn't like me at all, but I have my money, my tickets, my passport and my Lonely Planet Guide (as yet unread), so I should be alright... shouldn't I?

Then there's the Romance Novel Writing course I've taken on, where the first assignment has to be in the day I fly and the second whilst I'm away. I've actually done the first and sent it off, but the second needs a bit of work. The third one has to be in the week I arrive back, so I'm already trying to plan that so that I can have time to get over my jetlag without a deadline to panic about.

So that's me... writing, travelling and puppy... that should keep me busy!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Sad Saturday night

It's been a regular cleaning fest chez moi tonight. A bit of a sad way to spend a Saturday night I know.

Actually, I was looking forward to Strictly Come Dancing this evening, but after the first ten minutes I'm afraid I got out the vacuum instead and started on my bedroom.

How disappointing that they waste a whole programme on showing who's going to be with whom... already decided by the powers-that-be. For goodness sake, I only watch it for the dancing. Talk about a boring programme.

Of course this was good news for the bedroom as it desperately needed a clean and once I'd started I couldn't stop.

Surfaces have been wiped, bits of paper I've been holding on to 'just in case' have been chucked out. I found things I didn't remember I had, things I remembered I had but wish I'd forgotten about, a few books that I know I read, but can't remember any of the storyline and a few books that need desperately to be taken to the secondhand shop, because sadly I actually can remember the storyline.

So maybe not such a sad Saturday night after all.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

Caffeinated again!

I got back from working in Inverness, where I've been from Tuesday this week, and it's now well on it's way to midnight and I'm wide awake.

It wasn't an easy time, which started when I left home just after 9 am on Tuesday and arrived in Inverness well over 4 hours later feeling very stressed. My journey didn't start well with encountering a couple of combine harvesters on the A68 on a non-overtaking part and that was followed by a 2 mile tailback on the A9 after Perth during which a fire-engine needed to get somewhere to add to the confusion. Almost 4.5 hours later I arrived in Inverness for a belated birthday lunch with a friend and desperate for a pee. We went to Rocpool, an old haunt of ours (not that there's a huge choice in Inverness - I'm obviously becoming too used to what Edinburgh has to offer), and thank goodness it lived up to our expectations.

I had an hour or two to do some work before I went off to where I was staying. I was in Inverness to run the last 2 days of a 4 day course (the first 2 were a couple of weeks ago), but this time the venue wasn't where we usually run it in the Centre for Health Sciences at Raigmore Hospital, but at the offices of Scottish National Heritage Headquarters.

What was fascinating for me was that I actually used to work in what had been the old nurses home which was knocked down to create this building, so it was quite a poignant experience and brought back many memories, some good and some not so good. But also the person I and my then husband (yes, I've been and done it more than once) bought our house from, that I lived in for 23 years, and I remained friendly with (that's the person we bought the house off not the husband - though he and I still get on ok) but haven't seen since I moved south, works there. It was a lovely opportunity to reconnect.

The course went ok I think, but had it's difficulties and frankly I was pleased when it was over. I decided on a cup of coffee before I left to help me on my journey home, which was a lot easier than my journey up and I made it home in 3 hours 20 mins. And so now I sit writing this as it almost becomes September 6th wide awake and wondering if I'll get to sleep tonight.

And what am I doing with this 'spare' time I have? I'm too caffeine wired to write (though I have 2 writing assignments for a course I've signed up for that need doing), too wired to read (though have a pile sitting waiting), so what I've opted for are the cookery programmes that Mountain Man has taped for me. All I can say is hooray for Great British Bake Off and Celebrity Masterchef.

Mountain Man is away doing mountain things for 4 days. I think he's probably very glad he's not here!

Sunday, 1 September 2013

My weekend

Our lovely friends, Sarah and John, came to dinner and to stay last night, but not before I'd been to a poetry event put on by CABN (the Borders Creative Art Network). It was very good, if not a bit 'above' my level of poetry and an opportunity to listen to my betters talk about how to get an Artist in Residency slot. It was also an opportunity to connect with some poetry friends I met a couple of years back, and almost became an opportunity for complete embarrassment when I filled my bottle of water and didn't put the top back on properly and found myself with a wet patch in an unfortunate place. Thank goodness for my silky trousers, which had dried by the time the talks stopped and it was time to schmooze. Phew... that really was a close one!

I rushed home to get dinner ready. Sarah had already sent me a long list of things John - better known as JT, as Mountain Man is also John and it all gets a bit too confusing - doesn't like to eat, amongst which was shellfish. I'd already decided on a fish stew for main, but was stumped for a starter as JT isn't a veggie fan, so I decided on gambas al pil pil (prawns in garlic and chilli) for starter for 3 of us and eventually plumped on some chicken things on skewers from Sainsburys for JT.

And so it turned out as we tucked into our delicious prawn starter that JT doesn't like shellfish apart from prawns, and he likes prawns much better than he likes chicken on skewers from Sainsburys. But he's a trooper and ate his starter with no complaint. He did, however, steal one of Sarah's prawns just to make his point.

The rest of the meal went without incident, apart from drinking far more wine than I should have and there were some hilarious conversations about Sarah and my possible Commonwealth Games volunteering, Jedi NLPers and active feminists. This last due entirely to JT's work situation where he was faced with someone who actually called herself one on her application form. So we wondered (for quite a long, alcohol-fuelled time) what it would take to be an inactive feminist. I think it was one of those conversations you had to be there for!

It was a late night and a late rise this morning followed by more hilarity as JT had a go on my under-desk treadmill (not a favourite) and my e-bike (definitely a favourite). When they left I'm sorry to say MM and I collapsed back on the bed and decided the rest of this Autumnal Sunday would be spent in R&R and all the things that need to be done would get left for another day.

In other words, it's been a great weekend.