Wednesday, 26 October 2016


I did it. I actually 'culled' my coffee plants. I now have two plants. Yes, you read that right... two.

My new light arrived today (at great expense too!) as the other contraption I tried just wasn't going to work so got returned. I eventually found a place (in Germany) that did the proper replacement bulbs for my previous expensive contraption and now all is installed and working.

The only problem was that when I investigated I realised that the smallest one was being swamped by the two medium (very healthy ones) and only had about 5 leaves, so I'm afraid it, and the largest one that kept having very brown leaves and looking poorly, were removed.

After so many years of growing them I felt disloyal getting rid, and yes, I do realise that they are plants and thinning etc is generally good for plants, but still... it's been a long haul.

Let's just hope the last two stay healthy or I shall be the proud owner of one expensive lighting system and that's it!

Two very healthy looking coffee plants

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Back to Guide Dog puppy stuff

I just love having a Guide Dog puppy to stay!

Mercer arrived on Wednesday morning and he's like a smaller more gentle version of Vespa. Though if you look at the pics you'd think they were spitting images, but really, they're not. Vespa wasn't called The Tank for nothing.

Mercer is rather an anxious pup. An absolute sweetie who can't bear to be away from me for more than a second. He doesn't like new things and couldn't deal with the squeaky toys (Vespa's favourites), which I had to remove from the toy box as he was freaked out by them.

But then he absolutely loves a cuddle and wants to sit on me and go to sleep whenever he can, which is ok as I have a leather beanbag (which has been okay'd by the Puppy Supervisor as something pups are allowed to sit on) and we sit together every afternoon when we can and have cuddles. So cute!

The first day he was here we went off to see my Guide Dog friends Susan and Gordon, who adopted their recently withdrawn puppy Folly. Folly has been to stay with me several times, both with Odi and Vespa and Mercer has been to stay with them. In fact they are the reason I've got Mercer as they were supposed to have him this week, but they have a brand new puppy and felt they couldn't look after 3 of them at once. I was very pleased to step in.

Anyway, Mercer and I went over to see them all and meet the new pup, Molly, who's a pure retriever and not quite 8 weeks old. She was so gorgeous! However, she did pee everywhere and I was pleased I was wearing my wellies!

The funniest thing was though that Mercer wasn't the only anxious pup on the block. Molly is super anxious and she kept squeaking every time Mercer went near her. But then he was anxious about her. It was actually quite hysterical as they tried to play but were too anxious to do so and Mercer would come rushing to me and Molly would rush under anyone's legs. Folly just looked on in amazement. However, Susan did take a delightful pic of Mercer and Molly having made friends for all of 2 seconds before the anxiety set in again.

Mercer is with me for the next 2 days and then he'll go back to Edinburgh. I then have Molly coming just for the day on Thursday. I can't wait!

Mercer and Molly make friends for a second!

Mercer looking remarkably like Vespa
Afternoon cuddles

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Better late than never

I'm just back from a couple of days in London.

I was down there for a day long course in Commercial Property Management as part of my role in the family business. It sounds horrendous, but was actually very interesting and the guy who taught it was brilliant. Also, No. 1 Son was at the course too, so it was fun (in a way) to be in the same group as him and we had a few laughs between the 2 of us.

There were 11 of us on the course from all kinds of backgrounds and whose rationale for being on the course differed hugely from people who were going to inherit a portfolio of property and wanted to know what to look for in a management company, to those who were already working in management companies and wanted to know more about what they should be doing and all stages in between. I was the only Commercial Property Company Director there and it was fascinating seeing things from the day to day management perspective.

Suffice it to say I learned a lot and now have an understanding of leases and legal aspects and rent reviews and all kinds of stuff like that. The only embarrassing thing is that I probably should have known a bit more than did, but at least I know it now and No. 1 Son had his eyes opened as to his future potential dealings with the family company.

The saddest bit was it was THE most beautiful day and to spend it inside was a bit of a trial. However, the view was spectacular. We were right by Westminster Abbey. Here's what I was looking at when I wasn't looking at the PowerPoint presentation:

What a view!

The rest of my time was taken up with my mother who'd managed to hurt her thigh somehow. She ended up in A&E while I was on the course, but was released after x-rays showed nothing up and was told to take some co-codamol. Luckily that meant she had an early night which left me time to go out to enjoy a bit of nightlife.

So that's me... home again. Full of leases and rent reviews and the like. Tomorrow I get Mercer the Guide Dog puppy who's coming for a week's visit with me and I'm looking forward to it immensely. At least that's how I feel about it now. Let's see what the reality brings!

Sunday, 16 October 2016

Something in the air?

I've just been away for a weekend teaching Qiqong in Beith, in North Ayrshire, which is not too far from Glasgow.

On my down I left at 3.45, thinking that it would take me 1.5 hours (according to AA route planner) and missing all the weekend traffic on the Edinburgh by-pass and the M8. How wrong could I be? Extremely wrong it seems.

I got to the by-pass to be met by a wall of traffic. There'd been an accident, but on the other carriageway. Why was my side held up? Who knows, but it was.

Then the radio informed that there had been accidents on the A9, the M8, the Edinburgh by-pass, a road just off the Edinburgh by-pass, the M73, a road into Beith and a road in Ayr. What the heck was going on?

Anyway, my satnav decided that I needed to get off the M8 and go on the M73. I decided to go 'her' route. It took me precisely 35 minutes to get from the beginning of the slip road from the M8 onto the M73. Big error... or was it? I haven't a clue. But I have to say I felt very blessed when the traffic report reported approximately 5 minutes after I'd managed to get onto the M73 that there was a car fire happening on the slip road from the M8 to the M73. Somehow a 35 minute delay didn't seem so bad.

I got to my destination 1.5 hours later than planned, but all in one piece. Phew!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Coffee plant update!

I've had a problem. The lighting system that I installed 8 years ago has finally given up the ghost. The bulbs went and I'm in the throes of getting a new one. This is not such a simple thing as I'm having trouble locating the same bulb and consequently I'm thinking of changing the lighting system. And that's also proving not quite so easy.

I went ahead and ordered a bulb off Amazon, together with the fittings, but the bulb came and I'm now waiting for the fittings. I don't even know if it'll work, so need it all to come so I can work it out. I'll keep you updated on that score in due course.

The coffee plants themselves are doing ok. The smaller ones are now extremely healthy and have grown a lot since moving to their new location last year. They, like me, obviously are benefiting from my erstwhile husband locating elsewhere!

However, the larger one continues to limp on slightly in distress. The leaves keep turning brown and I'm almost coming to the conclusion that maybe a cull is in order. I think I might have to let the larger one go to make room for it's healthier sibs. It's a weighty decision and I don't like killing things, but for the good of the majority etc etc it may just have to be done.

So here's a couple of pics for you:

The larger one with it's not so healthy looking leaves and spindly branches

On the left and centre you can see the smaller plants with their lovely, healthy, new growth leaves. On the extreme right are some of the leaves from the larger one looking a bit less green and a brown on the edges.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Hold up

I've been unwell since I got home from Edinburgh yesterday, so there'll be no coffee plant update until I can be bothered to go and take a pic or two. Sorry!

Monday, 10 October 2016

It's all go

Well that was a busy week!

Wednesday was out at badminton then lunch with some Guide Dog friends and I'm going to help out by having another boarder to stay. He's coming next week and is a year old. Really looking forward to that. Pics will be posted of course!

Thursday was National Poetry Day and I went to a writing workshop in Duns Library, which was quite instructive and then out to dinner in Edinburgh with my colleague that I do workshops with as we had a brand new one called 'Mindfulness in the Consultation' we were running on the Friday for NHS Education For Scotland, so we needed to get together and have a last minute check we were on course.We went to David Bann and had a great meal as well as getting ourselves prepared for the next day.

The workshop went well, but it was quite an exhausting Friday. We'll get the reviews in due course and can only hope it was well received.

Saturday I went to my philosophy course. I'm mixing and matching between Tuesdays and Fridays as I don't seem to have 10 weeks where I'm free on the same day. It went ok, but I think I'm going to be the pain in the arse in the class, as I keep asking questions that nobody seems to be able to give me an answer to. Oh well... maybe my philosophy days are numbered!

In the afternoon I had dance class. However, this week wasn't much fun as I just couldn't coordinate my feet and my brain!

After that I had my embarrassing moment. I had a Daith piercing done in April (you might remember - but if not, well it's to help with headaches and is in a rather difficult place to get to in my ear). I had a bar put in rather than a sleeper. Recently I decided that I'd rather like a sleeper... maybe one with a diamond. I mean if you're going to have something showing then make it very showy. That's my motto anyway. I got to the Tattoo parlour and the lovely Sarah was there. She got out all kinds of rings for me to look at and I decided on a rather blingy one. She put it in my ear, swung me round so I could see it in the mirror and I hated it on sight! She was great. She took it out and put my bar back in and didn't even charge me, which shocked the heck out of me. Still, lesson learnt I think. Leave well alone!!

 I took Sunday as a relax day and today came into Edinburgh for a dance class this evening and I'm staying over for my philosophy class tomorrow. It's all go that's for sure!

Tomorrow I'll update you on what's happening with the coffee plants as there's been a slight disaster, but I'm hoping it might get sorted when I get home and get an Amazon delivery. All will be revealed.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Back at puppy class

Today was the first Guide Dog puppy class I've attended since April due to all my comings and goings. Part of boarding for GD's means that I'm supposed to go to puppy class and catch up with all that's happening in Guide Dog world. It was amazing to see how those tiny pups have grown and was great fun to watch.

Quite a few of the boys were very badly behaved and it was like watching Vespa when he was there. So naughty - but then I think everyone has been most encouraged by the fact that Vespa actually made it as a Guide Dog, so there's hope for them all yet.

One of the other lovely things is that I've boarded 3 of the pups that were there today and they were all as thrilled to see me as I was to see them. So nice not to be forgotten!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Home... phew!

It's been a stressful few days, not helped by today's events, but before I tell you about that, a little bit about what else I've been up to.

Monday night saw me at dance class at Dance Base. I'd really like to do an over 60's ballet class, but it's fully subscribed and next term I'm not sure I'll be around enough to be able to justify my booking it. I'll have to wait and see. But at least the class I did was a good one from an exercise perspective. And then on Tuesday I started a philosophy class in Edinburgh. It was actually very interesting. It's a 10 week course on basics of philosophy and I'm sure I'll learn a lot. Then Wednesday was time to go to London.

I met up with the current man in my life, but I'm sorry to say I've decided it's going nowhere, so I've decided the occasional dinner will be fine, but no more. Not sure he agrees.

Thursday my mother arrived back from Sicily. I managed to get her insurance company to pay for the tests for her memory (but sadly she couldn't remember going to the GP to ask for this to take place... oh dear... enough said!). Friday was fairly relaxed with an evening out at a wine bar and then Saturday morning saw the psychiatrist coming to my mother's house for an initial assessment.

It was a fascinating interview, which involved a lot of my mother forgetting things like she'd lost her way recently on a bus and told the psych in no uncertain terms, 'I NEVER take the bus', which turned out to be blatantly untrue according to my brother and our company secretary. But this just goes to add to the ever deteriorating picture of my mother's mental capacity.

Then, after the psych left, my mother asked me, 'who was that woman and what was she doing here?'. I have to say, even I've been impressed by my patience, however, it was a touch tried when my mother offered me a ticket to the English National Opera's dress rehearsal of Tosca. I went to the theatre to find my mother hadn't actually bought a ticket, but as luck would have it they'd just had a free one returned, so I got in free anyway. It was a hugely enjoyable experience too, but tinged with a touch of irritation that nothing my mother says can now be taken as true.

Yesterday I spent a wonderful evening with some of my lovely London friends, who sadly are going through the same experience with their parents and I didn't get to bed until the wee small hours.

Today I managed to get to Kings Cross in good time to get my train and as we were all sitting on it waiting for it to depart there was a message over the tannoy. The train was going nowhere. Nor was any other train on the East Coast line. A train further north had run into some cows on the line.

I had to make my way to Euston, get on a train to Manchester, then get on another to Leeds and then get on another to Berwick. And that is the short version of what proved to be a very long day. I was relieved to get home only 5 hours later than planned and all I could think was about those poor cows. I also met some very lovely people and my journey was made all the lighter because of them. Some clouds do have a silver lining.

It sure is good to be home though.