Thursday, 28 April 2016

To Holy Isle and back

I had a wonderful time at my retreat. It went incredibly well and the feedback was brilliant. And although we were expecting arctic weather, it just didn't happen on Holy Isle. It was bright blue sky and sunshine all the way.

As you will know from previous years, the island is full with Soay sheep, Eriskay ponies and wild goats. All just roam wherever they want - apart from the centre's gardens - and it's quite wonderful, especially at this time of year, when the newborns start to appear.

Eriskay ponies - last year's foal and this year's teeny tiny one

Soay sheep and lamb

On the first day I got up to see a Navy warship anchored in Lamlash Bay. I thought the framing of the garden gate was quite suitable!

The navy through the gate

Strangely then on the last day a completely different kind of vessel was moored in the bay. A little more appropriate for a retreat I think!

A schooner moored in Lamlash Bay

Because the weather was so lovely, I spent quite a bit of time walking around the island. It's hard to describe just how beautiful it is.

However, on the drive home on Tuesday I realised that we had been very lucky. It was snow, sleet and rain pretty much all the way home!

Yesterday I had to take my car in for a service, an MOT and new tires. I tried hard not to gulp too hard when I got the bill. The garage lent me a car so I could get to badminton and, in spite of the fact that it was a geared Volkswagen Golf, I managed extremely well with none of the problems I had a month or so ago when I got in my first geared car for over 2 years. I think the garage heaved a sigh of relief at that one!

Then today I had to scoot off to East Kilbride to have a session with my Qiqong teacher, which went very well indeed. I was so pleased that I'd invested in new tires, as the roads were full of snow and it was freezing out there and my car just zipped along with no problems at all. However, I realised I'd left my purse at home. Not great when I was running out of diesel and was in urgent need of a refill.

But it just so happened that I'd arranged to stop in at my dear friends, Shirley and Andy's place on my way home. They gave me a lovely lunch, £20 to put some juice in my car and lessons in how to get money from my bank app should I ever be stupid enough to leave my purse at home again.

Then it was back home to sort out the remainders of the retreat stuff and also try and get the printed version of my book in order. I'm hopeful that will be ready by next week.

So that's me. Home again. But not for long... just 2 weeks before I head to London before jetting out of the country to get to work in Thailand. Can't wait to hit the sunshine!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Bestseller status still reigns!

Today has seen me getting everything ready for the off tomorrow to my retreat 5 days on Holy Isle off Arran. With my book launch and all I have had to do for that, I'm really looking forward to some time away from my computer.

However, here's some great news to relate: my book has been the No. 1 bestseller in the Kindle Store Health and Fitness Reference section on since it launched on Tuesday! I'm really thrilled!

And the feedback has been absolutely fantastic. I've only had 6 reviews on the UK site, but 17 on the US site, so that's great. It's still free to download today, but tomorrow the price goes up to 99p so if you want a copy free do go get it today.

I had to zip into Edinburgh this morning to pick up my new pair of spare glasses. My usual glasses broke last month and it took 10 days to fix them. I wear contact lenses, but I sometimes I rest my eyes and wear my glasses and every night and morning I use my glasses, so when my usual ones broke I had to use my spares and I'd forgotten how uncomfortable and heavy they are and how much I hate them. It doesn't help that they weren't updated to my new prescription last year, so I also can't see so well with them either. So I decided as I'm off to foreign parts soon it was time to invest in a new pair to take away with me.

It just so happened that the opticians I use had this rather amazing pink pair and they were going cheap - yes, ok, I can hear you saying... really?... but I liked them even if they do have a touch of the Edna Everidge's about them - I think they're fab!

My new fab glasses

But here's the funny thing. When I tried them on I said to Nigel, the optician, 'But I can't see well with them. Everything's fuzzy!' He was really puzzled. He checked and double checked the prescription and all seemed in order. And it was only then that I realised I had my contacts in! It was really hysterical! Nigel was very relieved and it gave us both a good laugh.

I then spent a very lovely couple of hours with my boys in the garden at the house in Edinburgh. We had a lovely chat in the sunshine and it was such a fantastically warm day I even took my cardi off!

Sunny days!

And then it was home again and finalising everything for an early start tomorrow.

So that's me folks. As there's no internet access on retreat, there'll be no updates until I'm home next week.

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Back to some exciting news

I had a great time at the conference I attended in London. So lovely just to be a participant and soak it all up. It was held at Regent's College, which is in Regent's Park and just the most beautiful setting. On the Sunday, when the weather was glorious, I had a walk in the park, which brought back some memories. I used to play tennis for my school on the courts there, all of 50 years ago!

When I arrived in London I went to the Apple store to pick up my new iPhone only to discover that my old one had a very old email attached to it and that caused all kinds of drama. 2.5 hours of trying to get stuff downloaded and then walk away with 2 phones that weren't quite in sync. But at least they were both working.

At my mother's the internet was down, so all my good intentions re my book and getting things sorted had to wait. A lovely dinner out and a reasonably early night.

On Friday I scooted off to the office, where the internet was working, but sadly, because I'd forgotten my keys (!) I could only stay an hour as the office manager had a meeting to attend, but at least I got most of what I needed to done. From there on in I called it quits and went shopping.

I managed to pick up a couple of my favourite work tee shirts for Thailand and also an extremely lightweight down coat that folds up into a little bag so that when I go from the summer in Thailand to the winter in Australia I'll be all ready for the weather change. I was so pleased.

That night my niece and her husband came up from Brighton and I introduced them to the delights of Japanese food and saki. Rob was extremely delighted with the saki education!

Then it was 2 days of conferencing followed by more dinners out and finally home again yesterday. On the train I met my co-facilitator for my upcoming retreat at the end of this week and we had a meeting on the train and cancelled the one we'd had in the diary for later in the week. We both felt sorted on that front now. It was a great way to spend a train journey.

And now... today... is BOOK LAUNCH day! If you want a free copy do go to either or and download it. It will only be free until Thursday.

For please go to this link
For please go to this link

I can hardly believe it, but it's already at No. 1 in the Health and Fitness Reference section! So excited!

Wednesday, 13 April 2016

Time to move on

My pal Jim decided he wanted to stay one more night in Edinburgh before heading back to Australia via Munich, where he has a bit of work to do today before finally heading home. And so Monday night was another late one. A bottle of champagne, that Jim had kept specially for our goodbye, got drunk, followed by a lovely meal at The Doric, which is, apparently Edinburgh's oldest gastro-pub and lots of chat before we finally parted company for the last time. It's certainly been a memorable number of weeks (8 to the day) and lots of fun.

Time now to turn my attention to more serious things. My book launch is a less than a week away and I've at last managed to get it uploaded, in the correct format (thanks to Russell Turner aka Bassman) to Amazon. And also it will be available in hard copy, though that was another nightmare of formatting etc, but it's all done now. I'll give you the links next week when it finally comes out.

I'm off to London tomorrow for a Mindfulness conference this weekend, which I'm so looking forward to. This will be the first one for a few years that I can just go to as a participant without having to do a workshop or organise and it's such a relief! I can just sit back an enjoy!

I'm staying a couple of days extra to do a few things in London and will, of course, report back when I'm home again. But my turnaround is going to be swift, because at the end of next week I have the first of my 2 retreats to facilitate this year (the second is in August), so I'll be doing my prep for that as well as, no doubt, panicking about my book launch!

Monday, 11 April 2016

As one goes another one appears!

Today, at 10.30 am, Sue went off back home to her puppy walker. It's been quite a journey for her being here. She came into season, has been to the vet twice (but luckily with Freda and not me) once for eating a bird and needing worming and the next for a urinary tract infection. I really felt sorry for Freda with that last as she was up all night with Sue needing to pee. When she came back to me the meds were all working well.

As well as all that, I've cut her food down quite a bit - she was a bit on the porky side when she came and what with not being able to go on proper walks due to her season, she needed it, though I think she'd say different!

I've also done some very strict training with her and she's now pretty obedient. Her recall is a treat and she knows her commands well. She's also stopped sniffing the pavement every few seconds, which is an absolute Guide Dog no-no. So I feel like I've done a good job.

Sweet Sue

Last night as I let Sue out for her final pee before bed, she went rushing out, hackles up and I went to look and see what the problem was. My resident hedgehog has awoken from his (well ok, I don't know if it is a he or a she, but I've always thought of him as a him) slumbers and was trundling round the garden in search of food.

Sue was scared of him! She wouldn't go near! Though she was sorely tempted, as she too likes the birdseed that drops from the bird feeder. I think she was a bit miffed that someone else was getting there before her!

It's so lovely that my hedgehog is back. One animal goes from my life and another appears. All is good in my world!

Sunday, 10 April 2016

5 days seems a long time

Can't believe 5 days have passed since I last posted. What a 5 days it's been!

On Tuesday the clock on my house was taken apart. The council (who look after the clock) had sent the younger Mr Weir, who's equally as chatty as his father, to take the hands off and get it ready to put back together again so it tells the right time on all 4 clock faces. This meant getting a cherry picker. But it also meant lots of chat.

By the time Young Mr Weir had taken the hands off (and chatted to me for quite a while) I was late for puppy class, but as I couldn't take Sue anyway, because she was in season, it wasn't so awful. It was so lovely to catch up with everyone and see how their puppies had grown in just one month. One of the best things was that Freda, one of the people that boards for me, suggested that she take Sue on Thursday night as I had a busy day on Friday, so I wouldn't be in a rush. Grateful? I should say so!

On Wednesday I felt I couldn't leave Sue behind while I went to play badminton, so I forewent that pleasure and took her along to meet everyone. Both Sue and my badminton chums were pleased with that.

And then on Thursday Sue and I went to the chiropractor, but I had an embarrassing moment when Sue wouldn't lie down, so I pushed her bum and she squeaked. I'm not sure that I hurt her, but most probably caught her unawares, but nevertheless the Chiropractor looked at me like I was Cruella Deville! Sue seemed none the wiser and seemed to have no after effects, but to behave well!

So on Thursday night Sue went off to Freda's while I got on with the problems with my new book. I've had difficulties, there's no hiding from wanting things a certain way to realising just how incompetent I am with my computer. But hey... that's life I suppose.

I also manage to order a new iPhone, which I'm going to pick up in London. My present one, which is a few years old now and the battery life (in spite of me getting a new battery last year) isn't working terribly well. But with a friend's instruction I've managed to get my old one unlocked so I can use it abroad (and no longer at the vagaries of a Thai phone that absolutely no-one can understand how it works) and my new one will be, well... new! I'm picking it up when I go to London next week as that seemed the easiest solution for me right now.

And that brings me to Friday, when I had some work in the morning followed by a trip to Forfar to visit Vespa and see how he's doing. And he's doing brilliantly! I watched him in harness working and then had a couple of hours to spend having a cuddle and then a cuppa with his trainer. I had a wonderful time. Really I did. I was like a proud mumma watching her child graduate from University! He's going to be off for Advanced Training at the end of the month for a few weeks and then will be matched with a blind person. It feels just great!

A chance to catch up
My gorgeous boy all grown up!

It was a long day as I left home at 11 and didn't get back til 6.30.

Today saw more book angst, but I'm not even going there! And then it was a scoot into Edinburgh as I had tickets to see The Cat Empire at the Queen's Hall. Their start-up band was The Pierce Brothers, who were just fab. I had a truly wonderful night. I danced from 7.30 until after 11 and the people I was with wanted to go to and stand right up front, so there I was right in front of the stage. It's years since I've done that. And I loved it!

Right, now it's time for me to go to bed as I have work at Stobo tomorrow and I need to put my dancing head to bed and get myself in order for a bit of sensible Qiqong!

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Glass half full

Over Easter my washing machine broke down. It kept cutting out. I phoned Bosch and it took ages to get hold of someone - well it was Easter I suppose. 4 phone calls and still no date for an engineer.

I was tearing my hair out and handwashing was beginning to get me down.

On 29th March I was Edinburgh and called in to John Lewis and decided I couldn't stand it any longer so would suss out a new machine. There was the one I liked and it cost £395. Stuff it, I thought, I can't do without a washing machine for a day longer. That was when the very helpful salesman told me that the first delivery date was 19th April. I'm sure you can guess what I said to that?!

I immediately went back to where I was staying and phoned Bosch again. And this time I had some joy. They would be out to fix my machine on Monday 4th and it would cost me £95 + any parts needed. Well that, at least, was better than 19th and cost a whole lot less.

Yesterday the Bosch repair man duly came. He took the back off my machine, put his digital thingy into the right places and announced that the machine was fine, it was the plug socket that was at fault and he plugged the machine into another socket and there it was... working fine. He then took my credit card and there I was £95 down.

I phoned Steve from round the corner and asked him if he could sort the socket and, 10 minutes later, he was taking the socket apart. He pronounced it dead and zoomed off to Earlston to buy a new one, zoomed back, sorted it and it cost me £15 and a severe slap on the wrist for not calling him first.

I could have spitted feathers at the loss of the £95, but I decided to look at it slightly differently. Actually it saved me £300 (from buying a new one) or, to put it another way, the machine is 4 years old and, with Steve's £15 in too, that makes the cost actually £27.50 per year. Not so bad really.

Glass half full? Yup that's me!

Friday, 1 April 2016

The good news!

Yesterday I had a phone call from Vespa's trainer to tell me he's doing wonderfully well and has passed all his tests with flying colours. He's now going on to the advanced training and I've been invited up to go and see him work and then have a cuddle with him.

This will be happening on the afternoon of 8th April and I can hardly wait! One week and I get to see my boy again!

Of course, this will be tinged with sadness as it's most likely to be the very last time I will ever see him again.

I'm now just hoping he remembers me!