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Archive for March, 2009

Home From Scotland

Sunday 29 March 2009

I flew up to Scotland last Monday morning and was met at the airport by my friend Lorraine and her partner Andrew.  The flight was described by the Captain as ‘a trifle lumpy’, so I’m glad I took anti-sickness tablets.  We flew very high above the clouds because the wind was so strong.  From the airport Andrew drove us straight to Edinburgh and the hotel Lorraine had booked for us.  We dumped our luggage and wandered around the city for the evening, despite the freezing wind and occasional shower of ice-cold rain.  In the morning I woke at my normal 6.00 am and looked out of the bedroom window.  The view couldn’t have been better.

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Edinburgh Castle with the sun coming up!  Having grabbed my camera and taken a few photos I decided that I didn’t actually need to be up that early and went back to bed until 7.30 am.  What a luxury.  We were meeting for breakfast at 9.00 am so I had a leisurely shower and pottered around getting ready.

After a lovely breakfast we walked to the Castle and spent a large part of the day there looking at the various rooms, The Honours (Crown Jewels) and the military museums.

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At around five o’clock we got back to the hotel and started the drive back to Glasgow, stopping once for tea and again a little later for a loo break at a service station.  On the way home Terri rang to tell me mum had been rushed into hospital with a perforated bowel.  As you can imagine, this caused me to fly into a bit of a panic and I was seriously thinking of asking Andrew to drive me straight to the airport so I could find a flight home, but Terri told me mum had told her not to tell me in case I decided to do that!  With the promise that she would phone me if anything got more serious we decided it would be OK to stay.  Tough choice though, knowing mum was in such a serious condition.  Terri phoned again later to let me know the doctors had operated and mum was doing well.

On Wednesday Lorraine and I went into town to meet her sister and niece for dress fittings.  We were in trouble when the fitter discovered we’d come without our wedding shoes and as a result the major fitting was postponed until May.  Satisfyingly though she used rather a lot of pins on the sides of my dress!

After the fitting we went for a very leisurely lunch then back to Dawn’s in time for their hairdresser to visit.  Later that evening we managed an Indian takeaway!

On Thursday Andrew drove us to the shores of Loch Lomond which we’d visited the last time I was there in September.  Unfortunately on that occasion it was dark and everything was closed.  This time the shopping centre there was open and although the mist was very low I was able to see the Loch and the Maid of the Loch (moored for the winter)!

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The following day we went back again after finding out that the perfume Lorraine had bought was in fact just water in a posh bottle.  It turned out she’d been given the display version and after many apologies she came away with the geniune article.  It was lucky really because the cloud had lifted and the sun was out, so I was able to see Ben Lomond.  It had been there all along and I hadn’t realised because the cloud was so low.

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My flight home left at around 9.00 pm and I was back in Bristol by just after ten.  It was a lovely break, but I was glad to be home.

The following morning I was up for milking!  No rest for the wicked.  Afterwards Steph and I went to the hospital to see mum, not quite knowing what to expect, but she was (painfully) pulling herself up in bed and very pleased to see us.  We were thinking of taking her flowers, but there was a sign beside the bed telling us that since space was restricted they’d rather we didn’t!  Gone are the days when beds were surrounded by flowers then.

Today Alex arrived home for Easter so we’re all back home, even if it is only for a couple of weeks.

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Sunday 22 March 2009

The last few days have been glorious; warm and still.  The flowers are blooming and I have a large patch of violets in the garden that seem to have suddenly appeared.  There were one or two last year but this year they’ve invaded the lawn and large areas of untended soil.  It’s positively spring like!

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The heather that has flowered through much of the winter still looks fresh.

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And the fish are starting to look for food.  Some of them have become quite big.

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We visited Gordon’s mum this morning after breakfast then went to my parents, initially for a coffee.  We ended up staying for lunch, courtesy of Terri who came prepared with salad, warm bread and cooked chicken.  It was lovely.  The only person missing was Alex but she’s working hard on assignments at university.  She’s coming home next weekend for Easter and I’m really looking forward to that.  She was upset not to be here today, but I’m so proud of her sticking it out to achieve her goals.  We took mum a chrysanthemum, which I photographed beforehand of course since it was a very delicate colour (and quite photogenic) and a card.

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Tomorrow I’m off to Glasgow for the week to visit my friend.  She and her partner are taking me to Edinburgh to see the castle until Tuesday, then we’re going for dress fittings on Wednesday, a party on Thursday and home again on Friday evening.  If I get the chance I’ll post some photos while I’m there, but if not I’ll see you when I get back.

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Improvements?

Monday 16 March 2009

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As part of the ongoing improvements to the front of the house Gordon has decided to dig up the lawn in order to put in a new septic tank.  The grass won’t be missed.  The ground is sour and the sun rarely reaches it as it’s in the shadow of the house.  It also seems to have crept up the side of the house until it’s several feet higher than it should be, which means the drains have become blocked and the walls damp.  In true farmer style very little is done by hand and with his trusty mini-digger he’s making short work of it.  The window in the photo is my office window so you can see the work’s being carried out on the other side of the wall from where I’m sitting.  The vibrations coming through the wall are making me feel travel-sick!  Once the septic tank is planted we plan to cover the area with cement which will eventually be ‘grooved’ to look like cobbles.  I think it’ll look far nicer with some pots of greenery around the edges.

Today is the first anniversary of my blog, proudly started on 16 March 2008 and regrettably allowed to slip slightly since the beginning of this year.  Why is it the New Year seems to be such a dividing influence?  Even at Slimming World people are still saying, three months after the fact, that they haven’t got back into their routine since Christmas!  When do they anticipate the return of routine, for goodness sake?  June?  I’m still doing quite well but in the past few weeks have gone up and down on the scales so while I’m not actually stopped I’m not getting very far with my weight loss program.  Next week I’m visiting my friend in Glasgow and I’m determined to eat haggis at least once!  Is it very fattening?

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Got the Tickets

Wednesday 11 March 2009

Following a frantic phone call from my eldest daughter today to find out my credit card details I was informed she’d bought tickets for the Michael Jackson concert in London for herself, a friend and Steph.  They’re excited.  I’m hoping they’re not going to stay overly excited until the end of August, which is when the tickets will be used but that they’ll get used to the idea of going and calm down slightly.  Steph is already saying “oh, I hope he sings that one or this one!”  In my rather cynical way I informed her that some of them were hits when I wasn’t much older than she is now.  She wasn’t impressed.  I suppose I don’t mind too much as they’ve promised to pay me back at some time and after all, how often will the opportunity arise?  Never again, if the  announcement on the TV was anything to go by, but you never know.

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Birthdays

Sunday 8 March 2009

Yesterday was Stephanie’s 17th birthday and coincidentally, Dad’s 73rd.  This was less than perfect timing on my part as seventeen years ago Dad was of the opinion that his birthday present consisted of a grand-daughter!  It’s a hard one to top, even with a good DVD, and I’ve been struggling ever since.  We finally decided on a party instead and although Steph was willing to make a cake for him we thought it would be better if her’s came from somewhere else – Asda, as it happens!  She likes chocolate cake and his favourite is coffee and walnut, so we had a good selection.

Mum and Dad were invited for lunch and Terri and Steve were able to come too.  Alex came home from university specially so it was a proper family gathering.  I cooked a piece of home-grown beef and some locally produced pork which we had with salad, cheese and various nibbles.  Later in the day other friends and family arrived to wish the pair of them happy birthday, more food and alcohol was produced, and everyone went home by about 10.30 pm.

We’ve had a great weekend as today’s food has been party left-overs – my favourite!

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Tuesday 3 March 2009

A while ago we were given an old computer by a friend who knows Gordon likes to dismantle them and play, or at least that he used to.  Nowadays he rarely has the luxury of spare time or the enthusiasm for such things and so it has been stored in our hall.  Today I decided to list it on Freecycle.  Now, my experiences in the past with Freecycle have not always been happy ones: days waiting for people to arrive (they never turn up), arguments with people I’ve had to reject, simple rudeness in e-mails and the overall impression from some that they’re doing me a favour by deigning to accept whatever I’m offering.  So the advert went out with the following added paragraph:

“Due to past experiences, impolite responses will not be considered so don’t tell me you’ll ‘take it off my hands’ or that ‘you’ll have it’ as if you’re doing me a huge favour.  This doesn’t mean you have to beg, and please don’t because I don’t like that much either, but the occasional ‘please’ would be appreciated.  Also, I’m not prepared to ring you on your mobile but am quite happy to correspond initially by e-mail.  Once I’ve offered it and we’ve arranged a time for you to collect, please honour that arrangement or notify me if you can’t.  If you don’t turn up but don’t tell me you’re not turning up, it’ll be offered to the next person on the list, possibly within hours.”  The first e-mail I received in response to my advert (and I’m cutting and pasting here) said : “i will pick it up if u give me address”.

Didn’t he read my e-mail?  Where’s the ‘please’?  Where’s the ‘thank-you’? Seriously, I don’t want people to think I’m expecting a grovelling e-mail, but a bit of courtesy would be nice.  I’m not trying to feel like Lady Bountiful handing out wonderful gifts, but come on folks, this is worth being a bit nice for.  At the very least, it’s polite.

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March Already

Sunday 1 March 2009

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I can’t believe that we’ve just started the third month of the year.  When I was younger and people said time speeded up as you got older, I thought they were talking rubbish, but it’s so true.  I guess that means I’m definitely on the path to getting older even if I’m not actually there yet.

I’ve felt it too, this week.  I’ve managed to catch another cold and although it’s been fairly gentle with me, I’ve got through a box of tissues and a bottle of cough medicine!  I’ve been avoiding my parents since I don’t know how strong mum’s immune system will be following radiotherapy.  The last thing I want is for her to come down with a cold now when it will be far worse for her than it is for me.

I’ve had visitors this week, welcome ones at that.  My friend Julia came to see me for the day on Wednesday, bringing me a gift of orange roses – irresistable from a photographic point of view!  We used to work together a staggeringly long time ago and have stayed in touch, but for the past ten or so years this has been mainly through bi-annual letters inside Christmas and birthdays cards despite living fairly close to each other!  We’ve recently progressed to the internet – or I should say she’s recently progressed to the internet as I’ve been there for a while – and we’ve exchanged e-mails for the past couple of weeks.  It was great to catch up in the flesh and I was amazed at how much we still have in common, laughing at the same things and falling into conversation as if we’d seen each other days before.

Today my friend Lyn and her small son came for the afternoon.  Lyn and I went to College together so go even further back.  Her little boy is adorable and definitely proves that the children of older mothers are calmer, able to make sensible conversation and just generally sweeter (in my opinion).  I’m not really fond of small boys as I usually find them far too loud and boisterous, but Sean is great and can come again any time!

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