Monday, 27 February 2017

And it goes on

Here's what happened:

I was parking my car outside my house, when I noticed a 4x4 parked opposite and a guy talking to my neighbour across the street. I got out and the guy said goodbye to my neighbour and looked at me and crossed over.

'Did you used to live outside of Inverness?' he asked.

'Yes,' I replied.

'Did you have a 4 x 4 that you sold me? It was a white Discovery.'

OMG! Yes, was my answer. I sold that car in 1991! I knew the guy lived near Greenlaw and, in fact, when I moved here I'd wondered a touch if the guy still lived there.

This guy, lives about 2 miles from me, where he farms. He recognised my number plate (ok, yes, I am pretentious enough to have a personalised number plate) and he'd stopped to ask my neighbour if I was around.

How strange is that?

Is the Universe trying to tell me something? And if so... what? And I wonder how many more strange situations where my past is now my present are going to come to light?

I'm now off to London and you never know... maybe more instances might unveil themselves, but in the meantime I have my mother's 94th birthday lunch to contend with, which seems to me to be far more anxiety making than anything the Universe might have in store. Or maybe that's famous last words!

Saturday, 25 February 2017

When worlds collide

Last night I was invited to a Salon Venn event run by Chris, who I'd met at The Golden Hour Goes White event I attended last year.

Chris seems to know everyone there is to know in Edinburgh - musicians, poets, artists, you name them and he most likely knows them.

He started the Salon Venn a couple of years ago as a place where artistes could come and perform and an audience could come and enjoy. No-one gets paid or pays, people just perform or listen because they want to. And he called it Salon, after the French salons that artists used to attend and Venn, after a Venn diagram.

So anyway, there I was, convinced I'd know no-one but Chris, but within seconds of my getting there Chris introduced me to Shona. And Shona, so it happens, turned out to be the woman who changed the course of my life.

Back in the late 90's I was on the Clinical Doctorate course at Edinburgh Uni and having a lot of problems one way and another and the head of the course at the time was a bit of a bastard (and that's putting it nicely!) and Shona just happened to be in the role of a mentor. I was all ready to quit as, from what I'd seen of the Clinical Psychologists on that course and their egos and all the other destructive qualities they had, I didn't want to be one. Shona told me that the only way to change the system was from the inside and I remember spending an hour with her talking about how I could do things differently. And from her words of wisdom I decided to stay on and become a Clinical Psychologist and the rest, as they say, is history.

Shona remembered me - I knew I knew her, but couldn't think where from but she was straight on the case -  she was really pleased that her words had had such an impact. What is slightly odd is that she's only in her early 50's and here I am retired. She told me I was a role model for her... what a turnaround!

Next. Another woman, who I'd actually met with Chris at The Golden Hour event, was Juliet. It turned out that her best friend is someone I'd worked with in The Highlands when I was in Child Psychology services in 1996.

And next, one of the performers, Roy (part of the duo Mount Juliet) was a guy who managed one of the services of the charity I used to be on the Board of Directors of until force of circumstances led me to quit a couple of years ago.

Then there was Ryan, who was my poetry tutor on one of my Poetry School courses. It was as though wherever I looked there were people coming out of the woodwork joining my past, my present and my future!

A rather weird and wonderful evening that ended for me at about 1 a.m., feeling that I'd was slightly drunk on a mixture of wine and life!

P.S. Oh yes, and the musicians were excellent (headlined by Mersault) as were the poets. One of the poems performed was by Jewel Mathieson called We Have Come To Be Danced, which was just brilliant. You can find it here if you're interested, though to be honest the actress who performed it last night I think performed it better than it's author.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Clothing twins

Today was my philosophy class and, after all that intensive brain work, I went off to have lunch with my friend Shirley at Jamie Oliver's in Rose Street, Edinburgh.

When Shirley turned up she had bought a lovely, very comfortable pair of boots from John Lewis, that had been £130, but had been reduced to £65 and there were 2 more pairs left in our size. So after our delicious lunch we wandered off to John Lewis so I could try a pair on.

By the time we got there, there was just one pair left. I bought them, but as I had some John Lewis vouchers to the amount of £30, my boots cost me just £35. I was very pleased.

The only problem is that Shirley is a great shopping resource. I love the things she buys and quite often have been known to go and purchase the same item. We now have to be very careful and text each other before we meet to say what we're wearing for fear of turning out like a pair of clothing twins (especially in the earring department), as that would never do!

My '£35' boots

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Great to be home

Well that was a fun week!

My course was great and very enlightening and I had lots of social things to do in the evening.

On Sunday night I went out with my dear friend, Suky. We've known each other when our firstborns were first born, so that's 32 years and we always have a great time.

Monday night was dinner out at a Chinese restaurant with friends and Tuesday was the most disastrous date ever, but also very funny. It was a blind date and lasted all of 35 minutes. We were not enchanted with each other to put it mildly!

Then on Wednesday I went to meet Charlotte, who used to be a war correspondent and now heads up a women's refugee charity making films to help them. I met her on a train back last year and we've stayed in touch. She's fascinating. However, after Tuesday's disaster it was rather nice, while I was waiting for Charlotte to appear, to be chatted up by Ramon Vega, who uses to play for Spurs back in the 80's. He was hilarious and given that I'm 20 years older than him, was also great for my self-esteem. And then Charlotte turned up so I had to leave him and his pals to it while she and I went off to chat about more serious stuff.

Thursday I went to see The English National Opera perform The Pirates of Penzance. It wasn't the best production I've seen, though I loved the set design. I don't think it was helped by sitting in the gods, in the most uncomfortable seat ever and having an inebriated elderly gent behind me, who was drinking wine all the way through and laughing in very odd places. At one stage I was worried in case he spilled his wine down my back, but at least I was spared that.

And last night I came home. I arrived back in my house at 11.20 pm and it was great to be in my own space. I think my journey back was helped by my having a free back massage whilst waiting in the First Class Lounge at Kings Cross. Virgin East Coast hire Massage Angels to come and give weary passengers a massage and I had the lovely Harriet who was great. I was very grateful.

Today I'm feeling fab. Don't ask me why as it's a windy, grey day out there, but there's something about being in my own home that just can't be beat.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Off to London

After a really lovely night last night, with sparkling Shiraz shared with friends and lot of laughs and chat, it was a great way to end my birthday.

And, so it turned out, there was a lot to celebrate on the nose front as it's really looking not bad at all. I've still got a bump on my nose where there shouldn't be one and a touch of redness, but all in all I'm pretty pleased. I'm not ready to share photos yet, but watch this space and I'll post one soon.

Today I'm off to London for a 5 day course I'm on. It's partly to do with my Qiqong work and partly just for interest. It also means that I'll be staying at my mother's house. And that means I'm going out a lot!

The only night I'm not doing something is tomorrow, but I might be able to manufacture something. In fact, I know I will, as spending more than an hour with my mother at a time is more than I can deal with.

I'll report back when I'm home again on Friday.

Friday, 10 February 2017

The end of the birthday is nigh

I had my stitches out today, though it was a touch traumatic... not for me, but for the nurse as the scab and the stitches had become one and she was a bit nervous about it all. However, as far as all concerned goes, the wound seems to be healing well and the scar has been proclaimed 'nice' by the doc.

Of course for me, all I see is a bloody great bit of red and bruising all the way down my nose, but I suppose that will go in time. Either that or I'll get used to it!

Tomorrow is the end of my birthday month. I traditionally celebrate for a month just because January is such a bad time to have a birthday and people get fed up partying after Xmas and New Year, so I extend it to enable some partying to go on. And tomorrow I have a couple of friends coming over for drinks and a catch up, one of whom had her birthday on the day after mine, so in a way it's a chance for us both to celebrate each other's birthdays.

It's also a damn good way to celebrate my stitches coming out and I shall definitely make the most out of that!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

The Council act

My clock tower is now bereft of all clocks.

The Borders council reps came down last Friday, along with the clock man, and took pics and hummed and hawed. The outcome of it all was that new faces were needed and they should be made of perspex, so there'll be no cracking or expanding or contracting. And more importantly the fixings won't rust.

I did ask if it would be possible to keep a clock face as a memento for the house. They agreed.

Then on Monday I got a phone call from the guy in charge at the Council to say that he wanted me to move my car immediately, just in case. And he wasn't happy at all with the fixings on the rest of the clock faces and they would have to be removed forthwith. Phone calls were exchanged and the clock man arranged to come down today and do the deed.

So now my poor clock tower is without a clock and looks a bit sorry for itself.

However, yesterday, while chatting with my neighbour and his son, they pointed out that the clock surrounds were made of brass and were quite valuable, so I should ask if I could keep all of them and see what I could get for them... in the end it might actually pay for the excess on my car if the Council don't cough up. My neighbour said I should play the 'girlie card' and express innocence in all things metal and just talk about memories.

I duly played my part and I'm now the proud owner of 3 clock faces and 3 brass surrounds. One of the faces is metal and didn't need a surround, hence there were only 3 surrounds and one of them was the guilty party in falling into my car.

I very nicely asked the guys if they'd be kind enough to put the faces and surrounds in the shed for me, as they were so heavy. As they did so the clock man said, 'but these surrounds are made from brass. They're worth something!' So I said, 'well they're mine now as they're in my shed!' and he laughed and that was that.

The clock face holes are all boarded up and the building looks slightly derelict, but hopefully it won't be too long before the new faces are made and fitted.

And at least the guy from the Council is in a happy place now that all bits and pieces that belong to them have been removed. I think he was genuinely scared that another astronomical insurance claim for mending my car might have been on its way!

The East facing clock face is on the ground and the guys are in the process of taking down the South facing face

South and East clock faces ready for their journey to my shed!

Wednesday, 1 February 2017


Today was my cancer procedure.

I stayed overnight last night with my lovely friends, Shirley and Andy, who live half way between me and the hospital in Glasgow. We had a really great evening, which included wine, food and a very fancy telescope, but not necessarily in that order.

This morning it was an early start and I left just after 7 a.m. for a supposed 50 minute drive ready to arrive early (such is my habit), leaving lots of time, at 8.15 (I was supposed to be there at 8.30). I actually arrived at 9. It wasn't the best start to the day, but nevertheless, with Shirley phoning on my behalf to tell the hospital I was going to be late and then my just relaxing with the traffic jam, it all seemed to flow ok in the end.

The procedure itself took about 3.5 hours all in all and I've ended up cancer-free with 5 stitches and a lot of bruising. But at least I didn't lose half of my nose as proposed by the NHS guy. I have the stitches out in 9 days time, which will happen at my GP's and then have to go back and see the surgeon in 6 weeks.

And that, as they say, is that.