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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Well that was (almost) 2012!

And I made one blog post in the whole year!   

I did start off full of good intentions - perhaps to post something once a week, or even once a month, but, do you know what? I lost my blog. Something to do with getting a new laptop, and no bookmarks...

So the last anyone heard from me on here, I was just back from Singapore.   Would still like to go back, but while that's unlikely to happen, I did have a lovely week and a bit in Portugal with Jennifer.  Well it was supposed to just be Jennifer but coincidentally, Iain's ship was in Portugal just as we arrived, so he was able to come and join us for the majority of our holiday.  The weather was a tad on the warm side, so not a lot of exploring was done - mostly just pootling along the beach in the morning, siesta in the afternoon, and out for dinner in the evening.   We had a nice little apartment facing on to the square in Costa da Caparica.  That's the view from our apartment right there. 

The next trip away is to Holland in early March.

Well that was back in late August/early September.   A little earlier in the year Jennifer and I went off in an adventurous fashion to the great city of Sunderland, home of the Stadium of Light, and which just happened to be playing host, one rainy June evening, to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. Did the rain bother us? Not a lot....a great night, and to be repeated this coming June at Hampden Park in the even greater city of Glasgow.  The Big Man (Clarence Clemons) was suitably remembered, and in his nephew, Jake, the band has a worthy replacement.

2012 was a pretty exciting year for the UK as a whole.  Between the Queen's 60th Jubilee celebrations, the Olympics, and the Paralympics, I had a smashing summer.   The highlight for me had to be Andy Murray winning Gold at the Olympics!  A bit sad that Roger Federer lost, as I am a big fan, but when the day of the final came, I supported Andy all the way.  I've been up and visited his gold post box in Dunblane, where I posted a birthday card to my sister.  She was well pleased.  Sorry I don't look my best in the pic, some people offered to take the pic unexpectedly.   

Much enjoyed watching the Jubilee celebrations from the comfort of an armchair, and feel a little sorry for those getting soaked on the Thames.  Still, it was a day never to be forgotten, and the rain didn't appear to dampen any spirits.

Just had a lovely family time over Christmas.  For the first time ever we went out to a restaurant, along with Eileen and family, for Christmas dinner.  Back to normal yesterday (Boxing Day) and had all the family (18 in total!) to us, where much eating, drinking and making merry was carried out.  As always, when it was over, I said - never again - but, you know what?  I probably will do it all again next year.

Hope everyone had a great Christmas, and that 2013 brings you peace and happiness.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

It's been a while...and I'm a bit jetlagged.

Came across this the other day -

Author Unknown

The American investment banker was at the pier of a
small coastal Mexican village when a small boat with
just one fisherman docked.

Inside the small boat were several large yellow fin tuna.
The American complimented the Mexican on the quality
of his fish and asked how long it took to catch them.

The Mexican replied, "Only a little while."

The American then asked, "Why didn't you stay out longer
and catch more fish?"

The Mexican said, "With this I have more than enough to support my family's needs."

The American then asked, "But what do you do with the rest of your time?"

The Mexican fisherman said, "I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take siesta with my wife, Maria, stroll into the village each evening where I sip wine and play guitar with my amigos, I have a full and busy life."

The American scoffed, "I am a Harvard MBA and could help you. You should spend more time fishing; and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat: With the proceeds from the bigger boat you could buy several boats. Eventually you would have a fleet of fishing boats. Instead of selling your catch to a middleman you would sell directly to the
processor; eventually opening your own cannery. You would control the product, processing and distribution. You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village and move to Mexico City, then Los Angeles and eventually New York where you will run your ever-expanding enterprise."

The Mexican fisherman asked, "But, how long will this all take?"

To which the American replied, "15 to 20 years."

"But what then?" asked the Mexican.

The American laughed and said that's the best part. "When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich, you would make millions."

"Millions?...Then what?"

The American said, "Then you would retire. Move to a small coastal fishing village where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take siesta with your wife, stroll to the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your amigos."

Just thought it was worth passing on.   It'd be nice to have money but that Mexican guy's life sounds pretty damn good.   Anyway I've just had my own version of that kind of life for three weeks.  

I had the pleasure of flying to Singapore (business class dontcha know!) to meet up with my husband who is working over there for a little while.   So the days kind of went like this....
  • See husband off to work
  • Make coffee
  • Take coffee to balcony, enjoy the early morning as the sun rises
  • Have leisurely bath or shower and get dressed
  • Wash up coffee things
  • Get things needed into bag (including shades)
  • Stroll out in the sun
  • Wander round shops, or go off somewhere nice (Botanic Gardens were fab!)
  • Have the occasional massage
  • Stroll back (or if a bit tired and hot, get a taxi) mid afternoon
  • Have a look at what's been bought and place on shelf (shelf got fuller and fuller and ended up needing a suitcase all to itself!)
  • Have leisurely afternoon shower and dress in clothes for evening
  • Welcome husband home
  • Have chat about where to go for dinner over tea/coffee/beer/wine/vodka (depending how his day went, he would decide what he wanted)
  • Watch tv while he gets himself showered and organised
  • Stroll out for dinner
  • Stroll back
  • Have nightcap
  • Go to bed and sleep the sleep of the just
  • And............repeat!
So do you think I had a good time?  You bet I did!   And would do it all again if I ever got the chance.   Didn't have too many days with my husband there, but I'm pretty used to going off and doing things on my own so didn't worry too much about that.

I mentioned the Botanic Gardens - what a beautiful place.  So very very peaceful, beautifully laid out and with surprises round every corner.   I think my favourite part was the walk through the rainforest.  Always fancied a trip up the Amazon and this was how I imagined it would be.  Well maybe without the concrete path....  

Swan Lake is another very beautiful spot....

Real swans - they came from Amsterdam Not real swans

I also visited the Chinese Gardens, had a trip in a Duckboat, went to Bugis Street (a long time ambition), explored Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Little India, and had a few dinners out with work colleagues of my husband.

and here - Clarke Quay where we also celebrated our wedding anniversary

A wonderful evening at Clarke Quay was also spent with my cousin Sandra, her husband Stephen, her son Nick and his partner Wendy.  We haven't seen each other for the best part of forty years, so it was a night of much catching up, and hopefully we'll be doing it again soon, albeit perhaps not in such salubrious surroundings.


Back down to earth now, and now the jetlag is over, I've been out and about and got some shopping in, so things are going back to normal.  Iain isn't home till the weekend, Jennifer has kept things going at home, looking after Charlie, etc, and I think she's quite pleased to see me back.  

I think I may just start saving for my next trip.

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

More and more often these days - words fail me.

And I don't say that lightly.  As anybody who knows me will tell you, I'm a bit outspoken. I speak my mind, and I have opinions on anything and everything.   However, the events of the past week have indeed left me almost speechless.   I am beginning to wonder if some members of the human race can actually stoop any lower than they have. 

Take the 'Hacking' scandal going on at the moment.   The latest report tells us that the Sun decided that it was imperative that the Great British public were informed that Gordon and Sarah Brown's son had Cystic Fibrosis.   Now, no doubt this information would have come out eventually, but when it comes to something like this, it should be when the parents decide to do so.  I can't imagine how the Browns must have felt - in the midst of trying to come to terms with such awful news, they were then dealt a further blow when this was broadcast to the nation.   Words aren't really failing me, but I am a tad gobsmacked at the immorality of some people.

The other thing that is upsetting me a bit lately is the amount of violence being dished out to children these days.   Tonight alone on the BBC website front page is a story of a woman who killed two of her children, and another story about a couple who are blaming each other for the 14 broken ribs, along with other injuries, that their 4 month old baby had.   People like these should be sterilised and never be allowed to breed again.   This may well be taking away their human rights, but every child also has human rights, and when they hurt their children, then, in my opinion, they are no longer entitled to any human rights.   

We've had a fair but of sunshine lately, and I've made the most of it, catching up with washing that was falling a bit behind, and sitting about for a bit each day, and having a bit of a read in the sun.  Just enjoying it while it's here.  

Hubbie came home on Saturday night, and so he had a day off on Monday, as he was a bit jetlagged.  Actually he appears to still be a bit jetlagged as he's sound asleep and snoring his head off in the seat next to me.  In spite of all my efforts to persuade him to get off to bed, he appears not to be listening.  Anyway on Monday we popped off to The Boathouse at Auchinstarry Marina, and had a rather lovely lunch along with a nice wee glass of wine.   We should do this more often.  I must admit, we ended up with a notion to have another boat.

And with that, I'll love you and leave you - the sleeping beauty has risen from his slumbers, and I am every hopeful that he's headed into the kitchen and popped the kettle on.  I do like a good cup of coffee.  g'night all.


Monday, 4 July 2011


Well  here we are into July, and it's been a while since I did anything here.  To all my many (4?  Is that all???) followers, my apologies. I am pretty sure you've all been waiting with baited breath for the latest words of wisdom to spill from my lips.  

Summer arrived at last!  It came on Saturday, and, believe it or not, it's still here! However, I believe non-summer is just over the horizon, and it'll be back to rain and grey skies in no time again.  However, I have made the most of it.  Spent Sunday in the garden, well the patio really, getting it tidied and swept etc, while Jennifer cut the grass.   Then we had a mini barbecue, just the two of us, which was rather lovely, relaxed as the sun went down and then back indoors for the evening. 

We've been following the Men's Singles at Wimbledon quite closely.  Being a big fan of Roger Federer, I was a little upset when he was knocked out.  However, being a bit of a shallow person, I changed my allegiance to Rafael Nadal.   So we spent Sunday afternoon indoors (wishing we could be outside of course) watching him play in the final against Novak Djokovic.   Sadly, Rafa lost, but to a very worthy opponent.   Next year, it's back to supporting Roger!! 

Having had a teensy little bit of a setback when my much anticipated Market debut was cancelled, I had put my sewing endeavours to one side for a little while.   However, I am now back with a vengeance, and have a new little design which I have produced.   Having now got a new charger for my camera, I will be able to get lots of piccies up of what I've produced lately.   They will, of course, be slightly better quality than the one above, as that one was taken with my phone, which isn't the greatest camera in the world.

This past Friday was one of the nicest days I've had for a while, as I was out in Glasgow, not once, but twice!    My social life knows no bounds.  Late morning, Eileen, Jennifer and I headed into town for lunch with my other daughter, Sarah!   

That's Sarah on the left, Eileen in the middle and Jennifer to the right.  Sadly Sarah and Jennifer had to go to work in the afternoon, but Eileen and I set off, with a few quid in our pockets, and did a wee bit of shopping.  I have a couple of nice new tops for the summer, while Eileen has a lovely new pair of shoes and some tops too.   Then it was home and, for me, back out again to meet up with some friends to go to a concert at The Ferry on the Clyde.   This was the first time I'd been there for a gig, and it is very nice indeed.  If there was someone playing there again that I wanted to see, I'd happily go along. 

Saturday was a busy-ish day too.  In fact, Saturday was party day!  Ethan, my youngest grandson, was a big boy of five!  Well actually he's not five till tomorrow, but his Mummy and Daddy thought a Saturday was the best day for his party, as nobody was working then, so all (apart from Granda) could come along.  Granda is in South Korea working just now, so couldn't quite make it.   Another birthday this week is Jennifer's. I won't mention how old she is, because if I did, she would have to kill me.  I think.   She already has two, yes TWO, birthday cards, so I suppose I will have to go out and buy one for her now too.  

Well, if you've got this far, you deserve a banana.   Well done!  And I'll try very hard not to take so long between blog posts as I have this time.

Enjoy the summer!  (It won't last).    


Monday, 13 June 2011

Let's get this party started.....

Well not really a party, but I am about to start a bit of housework.   Those that know me well will know that housework isn't really my thing.  In fact, it's about the last thing on my mind usually.  I've spent many many years wishing I had one of those houses that look like something out of Ideal Home, but have never quite attained such a thing.    What with four children around the place and a husband who worked away a great deal of the time I always had an excuse for  having what might be termed 'a lived-in home'.  And boy was it lived in!!   Now that they have mostly flown the nest and hubbie is office-based, you'd think I would have the Ideal Home environment that I've longed for.  Nope.....    Having said that, the place IS a lot tidier than it was around 20 years ago when I had a teenager, two girls around 9 and 10 and a wee one toddling around the place.   At that time, if I'd had unexpected visitors, I'd have been red-faced and apologetic, mumbling things like...excuse the mess, haven't had a chance today, etc etc....more like I hadn't had a chance for about a month!   Nowadays, I don't much care - if people don't like what they see, then that's their tough luck.

Anyway today we are starting on the bedroom.   Halfway through I will probably get sidetracked and tidy the kitchen a bit.  Halfway through that, I'll probably get sidetracked a bit more, decide I need milk or some such thing, wander out in the car, and when I come home will reward myself with a coffee and a wee sit down.   And that'll be that!

Having had a bit of a thing for photography, although not much of an expert, I've been a little bit annoyed lately because I'd mislaid the charger for my camera.   Eventually I decided it wasn't going to be found so went online to see if I could get a replacement.  It's a rather nice, reasonably expensive, Sony camera, so I first went to Sony's website, thinking it would probably be best to get 'the real thing'.  Changed my mind about that pretty quickly when I discovered that it would cost £56 to get the same one as I have mislaid.  So off I went elsewhere, and managed to pick up a generic charger for £11, which not only charges the battery, but it comes with a convertor thingie to use it in both Europe and America!   I will definitely have to go to America now.   Also an in car charger as well, so I will never be without.   One of the things I'd particularly wanted to get a piccie of is a little foal that I see in a field on the way to Tescos.  Jennifer doesn't like to drive that road, and I'd told her about it, so I wanted a photo to show her this sweet wee thing.  And there it is up there.   I don't know whether it's a boy or a girl, but I think it looks more like a boy.  What do you think?

My Creative Writing course has come to an end, and we had a wee night at the pub last week, with lots of farewells, etc.   I've really enjoyed the course very much, and am happy that I accomplished all that I'd hoped to, and it looks like I have passed the assessments required.   There is a Creative Writers Group that a few of the old hands go to, and I'm hoping to get along to that on a Thursday evening over the summertime.  After that, it's a case of thinking what to do next year.   Hopefully there will be another Creative Writing course on at the college, which will take me one level further on with that, and I'll go along to that.   It is funded by the ILA, so I can use that for it, but I will probably have enough left in my account to do something else as well.   Must get my thinking cap on and decide what I fancy.   Any and all ideas are welcome!

For now, though, I am in housewife mode.   I'm going in....wish me luck!


Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Where does the time go?

Well the Race for Life is well and truly over and an enormous success it was too.  A rather wet day it was, but we didn't let it get our spirits down.   While us ladies (and a wee dog or two) set off on our travails, the menfolk got tucked into buffalo burgers and soft drinks.   Had a buffalo burger  myself at the end.   I managed to do it in 1 hour and 6 minutes, and was really very pleased with myself.   Next year, I hope to smash the one hour barrier!!  

This is Lucy, our four-legged friend, who did the walk with Isobel,  and the other photo is me with my three daughters and my daughter-in-law.  Thanks to Superhero Sarah for keeping me company while the others raced on ahead!

This coming Saturday Jennifer and I will be off to Sloans Market with lots of bags to sell.  I have to admit to being a bit nervous about this.  What if nobody likes my bags?  What if I sell.....gulp.....NONE!   Yikes.  Wish me luck.   I am working hard this week to get enough stock.   Have nice little gold and black carriers as well, and am just waiting for business cards to come through.  A bit worried they won't arrive in time, but I can mock something up if not. 

My Creative Writing course has more or less come to an end though we are having a catch up night next week, probably in the pub.   I got everything in that I needed to, and so far it looks like a pass, according to my course tutor,  The work has to go to his boss now, but he reckons it should be fine.   I have to admit I'm pretty pleased with what I produced, though writer's block did strike once or twice.   

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Places to go, people to see

You know those days when you get up and you have planned what you're going to do with your day, how productive you're going to be, etc etc, and then things get in the way, and you get nothing done?  Well today was one of these days.  I was going to be in Falkirk by 9.30, home by 11 or so,  do a bit of sewing, clean half the house, and produce a delicious home-made meal for my daughter coming home from work, before drifting off to my evening class at the local college.   I have a beautifully hoovered rug in front of the fire, and that's it!      Instead I spent the day wrangling with t shirt printing.  We are making our own t shirts for the Race for Life on Sunday, and I am printing them, while my youngest daughter, Sarah, designed them.   Sarah, of course, did her part of the deal with great care and attention, emailed the files to me, and I proceeded to print them off - Backwards!   Took me hours, and many emails between me, Sarah and Jennifer, to get it right.   However, we cracked it, and we now have some very professional (if I do say so myself) looking t shirts - thanks to Jennifer who did the ironing on of course.   The Race for Life is in aid of Cancer Research UK, and we have been fundraising like mad and have raised a grand total of over £600!

I have always enjoyed writing.   In my head I have had many best-selling novels, tried putting them down on paper, but they've always been lacking something.   Anyway, I decided it was time I found something to help me, and since January I've been attending a Creative Writing class at Cumbernauld College.  I do believe there is a fair chance I am the oldest person in a 20 mile radius who has a Student Card.   Well, I'd rather have that than a bus pass, which I'm supposed to have, what with me being an aged old crone, but which I have been resisting.   One day I'll get one!   Perhaps when I'm 90.   Anyway, at the end of this course, assuming I pass all the assessments, I get some kind of qualification, which will make me an official Creative Writer.   As well as that, I will get around 15 pages in a little book that will be published when the course is over.   Just have to think what I want to submit for that.

Hmm...I've rambled on a bit.  Time I was sleeping.