Sunday, 24 July 2016

Dan the Guide Dog comes to stay

I've had the pleasure, the last 4 days, of having the wonderful, very handsome Dan The Guide Dog to stay with me. He's here on his holidays and is a dream dog to have around.

The utterly gorgeous, very smiley Dan

He's so well behaved and a great companion. We had a day in Edinburgh on Friday, when I had to go to a meeting at The Scotsman with the person who took my last job. It was a fascinating meeting from all kinds of perspectives - mostly though the relief I feel at not having to do the job myself - and Dan did just what he was supposed to do, which was sleep and he did that for just over 2 hours. Then we went back to No. 2 Son's house and got ready for dinner.

Dan, getting ready to sleep at The Scotsman

Both my boys came out to have No. 2 Son's belated birthday dinner at Wedgewood in the Royal Mile. They were really good about the dog and had arranged for our table to have lots of room so Dan could lie down, which he did as soon as we got there and went to sleep until it was time to go. Just brilliant. The food was great too and a lovely evening was had by all.

Then, when we got back to the house, Dan went out for a quick pee and then came in and went straight to bed not to stir until I got up the next morning at 8.

Today we went to the music festival at Paxton House to listen to Granny Green, an amazing trio who play their own brand of folk music using a trumpet, accordion and tuba. I was very impressed and they certainly had my feet tapping. They really are quite unique and I urge you to see them if they're on near you. Dan, of course, just went to sleep bless him.

Dan, getting ready to sleep by blending in with the floor at Paxton House!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Baking for my baby

I'm now not just in a post holiday depression, but a post Wimbledon blue as well and I still have my cough. However, I've had to turn my mind to other things.

Today is No. 2 Son's birthday. He's 30! I can hardly believe he's that age... it's not that age bothers me at all, just that it only seems a moment ago he was a baby. And, as my mother keeps telling me, the youngest is always your baby. Poor guy!

Anyway, yesterday, to get myself out of my PHD and PWB I made the decision to bake a birthday cake. You have to bear in mind I haven't baked a cake pretty much since No. 2 Son left home to to to Drama College in Fife when he was 17. But I've kept all my baking stuff hidden in a cupboard for all those years.

I'm pleased to report that, with a touch of angst and flour all over the kitchen, I managed to bake this:

My first cake effort for 12 years!

Yes, it's a bit lopsided, but it's a cake and that's the main thing. And given that I really don't like chocolate, let alone cake, I think I did a great job to put up with the smell. Not only was it in my kitchen, but also in my car when I drove it up to Edinburgh today, along with a balloon to give him a surprise when he got home from work today.

I also dropped into his work... well really, what do you expect? Of course it's a mother's job to embarrass her children and I think I do that part of the job pretty well, if I say so myself!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

The dilemma of a world traveller

After a lovely couple of last days in Thailand, where everyone was very sweet to me and it was almost tears all round when I left, I had a pleasant, uneventful flight back to the UK on my EVA Air flight.

I think I've said before how much I love the pyjamas they give us, which are great. They're made from lovely soft cotton and this year's version are blue and green (last year it was a kind of sandy brown colour) and cosy comfy, especially when it's cold. I was very pleased that, in spite of the fact that I flew out at 3.20 pm - after a 2 hour delay as there'd been some technical hitch before the plane left Taipei (which is always destined to make anxious passengers even more so when they make that announcement), however the EVA Air lounge at Bangkok is just wonderful, with fab food and drink and very comfortable to hang out in - they still gave us pj's. This is a whole lot better than Qantas, who, if you fly during the day, don't give you such niceties, as they reserve their pj's (a nice light cotton grey pair) for night time flying only. You have been warned.

I arrived at my mother's house in London at 11 pm feeling very sprightly as, of course, I was still 6 hours ahead and it was morning as far as I was concerned. I did manage an hour's sleep, but that was it. I also discovered I'd come back with a cold... a great parting gift from the dining room manager in Hua Hin, who'd come down with it 3 days before I left.

London was OK. Not too cold. My tan was greatly admired by all and sundry and I spent my time staying out of my mother's way, even though she was actually in a reasonably good mood. She was out quite a bit herself, so it worked out pretty well. I even went, on her recommendation, to get my nails done in M&S in Oxford Street, which I can highly recommend, and was a laugh a minute with the other ladies who have nothing better to do on a Saturday afternoon and only cost a tenner.

Then I had to tear myself away from Murray playing pretty well at Wimbledon and went out for dinner last night. Luckily I'd borrowed a brolly from my mother's house as about 5 minutes after I left there it chucked it down. My feet were pretty wet, but they soon dried off over my salmon and salad with white wine meal at Harry's Bar where I was taken. However, I cried off early as jet lag really started to set in and I was in my bed by 9.30 pm.

At least, because of the awful weather that's been around this week and because I purchased a 1st Class ticket while they were going pretty cheaply a few months ago, I sat back on my journey back to Scotland enjoying the delights of the extra day at Wimbledon for the few hours it took me to get home.

I'm already missing the Thai heat and we're due more rain tomorrow, so I might just have my first day back home resting up and watching tennis while I make up my mind if I'm in the mood to wear my EVA Air pj's or my Qantas ones. 1st world dilemma or what?!