Thursday, December 06, 2007

As requested

Bread Sauce

1 large onion, quartered
3 bay leaves
12 cloves
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
10 black peppercorns
900/11/2 pints milk
175g/6oz fresh white breadcrumbs
175/6oz butter, cubed
6 tbsp double cream
freshly ground black pepper

1. Place the onion, bay leaves, spices, peppercorns and milk in a pan. Bring slowly to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes.

2. Put the breadcrumbs into another pan, bring the milk back to the boil, then strain on to the breadcrumbs. Add butter and cream; heat gently for 5 minutes, stirring until the sauce thickens.

4. Cover the bread sauce with buttered greaseproof paper until required. Reheat and serve sprinkled with black pepper.

I usually halve the quantities which is quite easy. Sometimes I make it Christmas Eve to make life easy, sometimes I make it a little while in advance as it freezes well. Then, I just have to remember to get it out of the freezer! If I choose that option, I make the full quantity and freeze in smaller portions, so I can just take out what I need and if Roast Chicken needs cheering up, I have bread sauce to hand!

You will never know the relief I felt when I found the recipe. I had, of course, put it in a safe place. Just a different one from the one I've kept it in for the past twelve years. That was silly!

Christmas is coming, watch out for that bloater goose!

Thursday, November 29, 2007


All be it a small one.

I've lost my recipe for Bread Sauce.

And I don't have long to find it.

Monday, November 26, 2007


Mum asked dad,
"What date is your appointment?"
"Eight o'clock."

Ciara asked me,
"When are you taking Conall to the crystallizing?"
"The Christingle is on Monday." After I'd finished giggling, that is.

New project required

Well, I started my Mobius Wrap in Patons Inca at lunchtime on Wednesday, 14th November and finished in the afternoon on Thursday, 15th November. I've barely stopped wearing it since and yes, I will post a photograph. Eventually.

So, anyway, as I finished, hubby said to me,
"So, what are you going to do now?"
"Oooo, find another project, I suppose."
"You don't fancy doing any cleaning then?"

What an odd question I thought and ignored it completely. I flicked the duster in the general direction of the television, (have to do that occasionally or can't see the picture...) and I do rather like my new vacuum cleaner, so I have thrown that around once or twice. I may have given the bathroom a once over too, but nothing serious. I didn't want him getting any ideas!

Today, I'd had enough. I've been having awful trouble with the kitchen floor. Even after washing, it still looked filthy and was really beginning to get to me. The oven was in desperate need too. I got really carried away though. I put the oven shelves in the bath in a biological solution to soak, painted the inside of the oven with potent stuff and scrubbed the floor on my hands an knees with viscous, scrubby pad thing. Then I put a kind of polish on, hoovered the downstairs while it dried and then put the shelves into the dishwasher. After collecting Conall this afternoon, I rubbed all the dried on but now flakey stuff off the shelves and wiped off the gunk from inside the oven. I'm down to the bottom layer of burnt on stuff now! (I think it was once leaking blackberry juices. Really sticky stuff.)

Now, you can see shiny shelves through the glass door. You can see through the glass door! The light is really blindingly bright aswell, now the lense has been cleaned. It was all going swimmingly until I closed the kitchen door, whilst still in the kitchen.

Pants. I missed a bit. A long, thin bit. Shaped a bit like the end of the door...

Still, my study material for 'Studying Mammals' has arrived. My new project!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Naughty secret stuff!

Not as exciting as it might sound, shhh, but don't tell the hubby...

I've ordered some yarn (and needles, I need just about the only size I didn't already have in my bag of tricks, humph!) from Angel Yarns. I already have a free pattern for a chunky shrug/wrap thingy. Now I'm excited! I hope my parcel comes quickly, so I can get on with the knitting!

The only downside being, me knitting will encourage the children to get back to theirs. A good thing, but I will then have loads of interruptions and be stopped from getting on with mine!

(The hubby will be hacked off because this will mean time spent knitting when it should be time spent studying, but as I still haven't applied for the course, this isn't really a problem, is it? Yet...)

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It pays to pay attention...

...especially when you are boiling Christmas Puddings.

Or you might boil dry and melt the bottom of the pudding bowl to the bottom of your Circulon pan.


(Melted plastic does scrape off when dry heat is further applied I found out, half an hour later. Lucky.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Get a grip!

For the first time in years, I'm making my own Christmas cake and puds, (having found out that my husband's disliking for dark fruit cake was actually the candied peel, "Well, I can leave that out!")

However, my brain is a little older and more tired.

I only ever make half the mix, it's plenty. I managed to halve all the dry ingredients, overcame the lack of white breadcrumbs, (who'll know they're wholemeal if I don't tell them?) and got the wet ingredients ready.

That's when I lost my concentration slightly. I had twice the amount of milk with the right amount of eggs and twice the amount of brandy with the right amount of lemon juice.


I feel brandy sours and omlette coming on!

A giggle

Conall wrote invitations to his friends yesterday to invite them to his birthday party. (His birthday isn't until April and he's not having a party, but that's not important.)

Dear Graeme
Wied you lake to come to my panty.

It made me smile.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Eco warriors

David and the boys had hours of fun, digging to Australia to install our new green cone. As you can see, Conall put it into action before the job was completely finished, but at least he waited for the cone to be in the ground before he popped in the kitchen waste!

(Aedan appears to be shovelling with thin air, but if you look at the 'bigger picture', you can see he had gloves on, which disguise the spade beautifully!)

We now recycle as much as possible, bearing in mind we have no car, so we have to use the kerbside facilities provided by our local council. These, we find more than adequate. In fact, while taking part in an online survey for the local paper last year, (the question being, "Is fortnightly bin collection enough?") I inadvertantly had my comments published in the local rag. Whoops!

I basically said that, as a family of six, we had no problems with the bin collection or recycling. The people complaining appeared to be couples, with no children.

One ordinary bin is big enough for us, it is never full, let alone overflowing even with a fortnightly collection. The glass and cardboard/paper collection is weekly and is plenty, although, had we a car, we would probably supplement this with visits to the recycling centre at various times of the year, Christmas and birthdays, for example. We occasionally get around to gardening, so again, the fortnightly garden waste collection is plenty.

I said that I felt people who had problems with the system maybe didn't take too much care over the kind of products they bought, whether they were cooking from fresh or using processed foods, so the types of packaging they had could be a problem. We crush any plastic bottles, like large milk cartons or the like, before putting them in the bin, they then take up less space. Of course, other, non-food or grocery items, can also have a lot of packaging.

Either that, or they were just lazy and wanted someone else to take the responsibility for their way of life.

Anyway, nobody replied, which was lucky. I hadn't meant to go public, it's only my opinion after all, not fact!

Since purchasing and now installing our composter and green cone, we've found they have a variety of uses. Entertaining the children being just one.

Resting large G & Ts on being another!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

So cute!

We've reached a stage where the children are old and capable enough to help each other get breakfast, or even lunch, if I'm in the mood to let them. (Obviously, I'm always on hand, just shutting my eyes and blocking my ears in another room!)

This was just too cute though, this morning.

I went through to the kitchen to cut bread for toast for them, but only the girls were in the dining room. As I walked into the kitchen, I asked, "Where are the boys, I thought you were all getting breakfast?", only to find Aedan standing by the kitchen worktop. I was followed into the kitchen by Rhiannon, carrying a piece of paper, which she tucked into the cupboard, saying, "I'm the waitress taking the order and Aedan's the chef making the food."

Ah, sweet!

(And Conall's part? He was under the table. I didn't ask why...)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Book week

An Angler - Sea Fishing Properly Explained by Ian Ball
Veruca Salt - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

A Vampire Bat - Bizarre Beasts by Anita Ganeri

Yes folks, it's that time of year again, Book Week, when the children have to go in fancy dress as their favourite character. Not as straight forward as it sounds.

Aedan prefers reference books to fiction and as long as he reads, I really don't mind! Combined with one of his favourite pastimes, we came up with an angler.

Ciara is doing an author study at school, Roald Dahl, and claims she has to go as a character from one of his books, hence Veruca. Couldn't quite stretch to the mink jacket, so a cardy with a fluffy collar will have to suffice.

Conall was really taken with his library book this week, which happened to be a reference book this time. I'm kind of relieved he went for the bat and not the duck-billed platypus.

What fun was had by all. (Like I had the time, in between cooking, baking, cleaning, washing, ironing and having my haircut in time for my parents to visit this weekend!)

Monday, October 08, 2007

Just a trifle

It is a family trifle recipe, my mother's to be precise, (although I dare say she pinched it from somewhere), and it is so incredibly easy and involves no real cooking. A bit of slicing, boiling water, boiling milk, whipping cream and mixing a few bits, but the tradition is at the point of serving.

This trifle is not a success unless it slurps.

Yes, you read that right. The trifle must slurp as the first spoonful is served.

Imagine the children's delight and ensuing hilarity as I produced six individual trifles yesterday, just for a bit of fun. We had to listen to each one intently as the first spoonful was taken, one or two even slurped more than once!

Oh yes, a great success indeed, the slurping trifles.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wedding trip

Well, we had a lovely time, very peaceful without the children and lovely to catch up with an old friend at his wedding.

Shame that David managed to come home with food poisoning, but hey, if he will insist on eating seafood at a finger buffet, (which I never do!) what does one expect?! Still, it didn't spoil the wedding, just the journey home. Bless him, it wasn't until three o'clock on Monday morning when I realised he didn't have the (well deserved) hangover from hell, but food poisoning.

Conall was sick Monday morning too, but as he hadn't been with us, it wasn't connected. He'd been with his aunt's dog all weekend and with his pet allergy, he seems to collect the gunk on his chest and then deposit it, at least he makes it to the toilet these days. He has, however been suffering a sore throat and headache, (like me, but I've to soldier on, as one parent is already out of action!) so he's been off school. I hate keeping my children off school, it's unheard of, but best I think as he didn't wake up until ten o'clock this morning. Maybe he can go back in after lunch. Hey ho!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Er, confession time...

Bird of prey display

Golden Eagle

Aedan and Conall's certificate of sponsorship

Rhiannon's first day at Academy baby photos.

You see, it was raining when we arrived at sil's and when we got inside, I realised I'd left the camera in the car. By raining, I mean stair-rods, so neither of us felt compelled to run back up the hill, (the only remaining parking space) to retrieve it. Still, what can I say? It was a baby. They're all pretty much of a muchness, aren't they? Sil, (not the mother of the baby, older sil) was horrified when I didn't want a 'shot' of the baby, how to make myself (even more) unpopular in one fell swoop.

I always hated my babies being taken away from me and being handed down, I found it very distressing, so I just don't do it. Plus the fact, I hate babies being passed around like a parcel, it's a baby, poor thing! There were at least two dozen people there and they all had a shot, except me. Oh, and the father, which was more strange than me not doing! However, we're getting the opportunity for a private viewing at the end of September, because we've been invited to a wedding and youngest sil is going to have the children for the weekend. I'll get a 'shot' then maybe, in peace with no audience, so nobody will see me make this baby scream. It's just a knack I have!

Anyway, I do have a couple of photos from the Safari park, one of the certificate for the boys' sponsorship, but none of their sponsored owl, because it was rehomed two weeks before we went. Pants.

And Rhiannon, on her first day at Academy. I was so relieved when they reintroduced school uniform there a couple of years ago. It looks so much better, gives the children a sense of identity, pride and respect. Makes it a lot easier for clothes too! It's classic black bottoms and jumper and a white top, but that's nice and easy.

More of the wedding later. I'm excited, I don't get out much and haven't been to a wedding for about three years!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

More of the same

Off camping again, but just for a quick overnighter. David's youngest sister had her first baby in May, so we thought it was about time we popped down to see them! Although, to be fair, this is our first reasonable chance. The boys were given an Eagle Owl sponsorship for their Christmas presents at a safari park nearby and they have a free ticket each, so we thought we could go there at the same time, kill two birds with one stone, as it were...

At least, it was supposed to be that simple. We're using a campsite we've been to before, near Stirling. It's closer to the park than the baby, but we planned to see the baby the day we arrive and have a quick get away from the campsite to do the park on the way home. Unfortunately, as I was afraid, the eldest sister got wind of this, she lives closer to the campsite, so now we're going there and seeing all the family instead. We're still being allowed to camp though, that's a relief!

Anyway, I'll take the camera.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Just a thought

Am I a walking advert for camping holidays in Scotland? Better stop that, or there'll be no room left!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Family camping!

Lovely, new, palatial tent. (Whoops, managed to chop the ends off in the photograph!)

We went on the marine wildlife cruise, again. In fact, the boys and I went twice, the others decided they didn't want to, although they did enjoy it.

We went to Inverewe Gardens at Poolewe, which we all enjoyed.

The children went pony trekking in the rain, which was a bit of a damp for them, but they soon recovered after a hot shower and a hot dinner at the pub.

We only did one walk with the children this year, I think David and I both felt we'd done enough for a while! We had fabulous cliff views before the haar came in, but I still managed to spot a common seal pup on the rocks just before we got back to the cars.

We'd taken the boys fishing rods this year, so they did a bit of fishing off the rocks and they'd both got crabbing lines aswell, so they did a bit of that too. I think the crabbing was more successful, as they actually caught some of those, but put them all back of course.

We popped along the coast to see the lighthouse, which we didn't reach last year and we also went to the Gairloch museum, which the children loved! They got to mill some flour using two different and ancient methods and were allowed to keep the product of their efforts, which delighted them. I got to have a go at spinning on a wheel, which I thoroughly enjoyed but was totally bamboozled by. I have the yarn that I made, but I couldn't do it again without a nice little old lady to hand to keep me straight.

The weather was great, warm and bright. It rained a couple of times, but mainly at night, (apart from the pony trekking day) and it didn't get in the way of us doing anything. We saw half a dozen eagles, four of which may have been White Tailed Eagles, but whilst I could tell they were eagles, they were too distant for an amateur to distinguish with confidence. They were definitely eagles! We only had midge problems the last evening, when some bright spark suggested a walk along the beach to say goodbye after our fish and chip supper. We got a little nibbled on the way through the dunes, but the breeze from the sea was just enough to get rid of them when we got there and spotting another common seal just off the beach made it worth while.

Oh yes, the Evans family holiday to Gairloch was, yet again, a total success. The children are already making plans for our return next year. Guess what? So am I!!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

40 miles home from the Cairngorms

We stayed here, at Rothiemurchus campsite, overnight and our walk started after a bus trip a few miles down the road to Glenmore. Here, we had to walk half a mile uphill to the official start, with me moaning all the way, "I'm never going to do this, my pack's making my back sore, if I can't do today, I'll never do tomorrow!" Poor David. Luckily, he ignored me and after re-packing my pack, things settled down. Within half an hour of starting, we'd seen a Golden Eagle!

Please note, flip-flops are not my footwear of choice, neither are they a fashion statement, (they are zebra print, courtesy of David on a lone shopping spree...) but I find them to be invaluble when camping. Shared showers barefoot? I don't think so! At the time of taking this photograph, I had a humdinger of a mid-cycle hormonal headache. I managed to survive till 9pm, but then just had to go to bed. Luckily, it had gone in the morning.

Through the Ryvoan Pass, along Strathnethy to Rynettin, into Abernethy Forest Reserve, to Dell Lodge and onto Nethy Bridge for lunch.

Hill wise, this was the hilliest part of the walk, mostly uphill at that. I was expecting this to be the roughest track as well, but we discovered later, it was relatively easy going.

At Nethy Bridge, we picked up part of the Speyside Way, a popular walk mainly using disused railway. A gentle walk onto Grantown-on-Spey, a typical (Scottish) Victorian spa town.

David was a little blistered and sore at this stage, I felt remarkbly fine considering we'd just walked about 15 miles, but we'd done it at a really steady pace. The fish and chips were incredibly welcome that night!

The next day saw us set off on the Dava Way, a lesser known footpath, again using disused railway. The path started well, but as we got further along it, there were large stretches of huge stone chippings which were really uncomfortable to walk on and there were no ways round it, but we continued on. There were softer patches between which gave respite.

The photograph of me just before we crossed this viaduct was the last we took on this trip. It's at a place called Dunphail, which is in the last 8 mile section of the walk. Just before this was taken, we had been walking up a leafy track through forestry and come across a car parked on the track. I so wish it had been streamed up, it should have been. It was tea time, not even dark!

Anyway, a little further on, the blister on the sole of my foot at the top near my toes, that hadn't given me any grief, suddenly 'burst', (or at least, it felt like it!) It was exruciating and I was devastated to think I'd got so close and failed. Luckily, I am married to 'a man who can', in most situations and he dared to go close enough to my naked foot to strap it up. We could continue!

We made it into the town, just three miles from home, at around 8pm and I was so pleased. Not ecstactic at this point, just sooooo pleased to be close to my hot bath, champagne, curry and bed. It wasn't quite as straight forward as I'd wanted to go the last three miles home, I had proved myself and had no intention of walking any further, but my friend who'd promised a lift was in a restaurant, (!!) and the next bus was just too long a wait, so David treated me to a taxi. Bless!

So, next day, onto Gairloch...

Home again, home again

Jiggerty jig!

This will be a post of two parts, or maybe three posts, as we went away all together, then David and I came back, then we went away, then we came back all together!

So, here goes.


Okay, so this is taking a little longer than expected, I continue to have problems uploading photographs, apparently. I will persevere.

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Another sad day.

When we moved into our first married home, we had a wonderful neighbour called Jonnie. He was such a wonderful person, friendly, genou=rous, kind, thoughtful. He rescued me from spiders and looked after Rhiannon as a three year old toddler and Megan, (the German Shephard) when I had to take Aedan, just less than two, into hospital, (with Ciara as a four-month-old breast feeding baby). David was on his way home from America and got stuck in fog at Lynham. He was such a star, always there for a chat, a local born and bred, but well travelled and full of wildlife knowledge, I loved him dearly.

Since we moved, I visited him whenever we were in the area, although this was obviously impossible in the last year. I think we last saw him at the end of last May.

We had a telephone call earlier with the sad news that he died today and I am distraught. It's a private service, which I obviously respect, but I'm determined to find out where he's laid to rest so that I can pay my respects. The sad thing is, I had already made plans for our next visit after our holiday.

I have had a dram and lit a virtual candle in his remembrance.

It's a small reminder to me that those closest to me will soon be gone.


Wednesday, June 20, 2007


It was a terrible shame, the boys tried their very best and did enjoy themselves, but they didn't win a place to London. I can't say I'm terribly surprised, although I was very hopeful, but I feel the school have let them down badly. (If a bad workman blames his tools, does a bad mother blame the school?)

They have lots of goodies each and a K'Nex set for the school, but as Daniel pointed out, the school didn't do anything, so the boys should share it between them! Obviously, I can't condone that, but I do agree in private.

The school entered them into this competition, but haven't even sent a representative with them to Glasgow The University had to hire David a car so that he could take them, otherwise they wouldn't have gone. On top of that, they have not been allowed to do any preparation together at the school, they haven't been shown how to do the planning that was required, nothing. We've tried to get the boys together, but it hasn't been much help, I'm neither a teacher, nor an engineer.

At the moment, I'm swinging between disappointed, angry and upset.

Lambs to the slaughter, I think it was a terrible shame.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It's nearly time for a big adventure

(Apart from the fact it's only two weeks and five days till we drop the children at Gairloch with my sister and brother-in-law, not that I'm counting...) it's tomorrow that the boys go to Glasgow to take part in the next round of the K'Nex Challenge. I know Aedan's excited, not because he's said so, but because we_haven't_been_able_to_get_him_to_sleep at a decent time of night for at least three days. That wouldn't be so bad, (he'll wear himself out eventually!) but he and Conall (Conall and he, him and Conall? Whatever!) share a room, so Conall's unbearable too!

Anyway, I'll update you tomorrow when they return.

Good luck Aedan and Daniel!

Sunday, June 17, 2007


I am proving to be decidedly ruggish at this. I don't have a brilliant excuse, but I am trying to rest my arm whenever possible to aid recovery, so perhaps I can blame it on that. It's getting much better much more quickly than I was expecting, so I'm really pleased! I'd forgotten what it was like to live with (virtually) no pain, but that was my own silly fault for not going to the quack sooner. Hey ho!

Anyway, it's Father's Day and whilst I think it's an American idea brought over here for commercial reasons, the children like to give Daddy a day off like Mummy has one earlier in the year and Daddy thinks it's only fair. (Mine was cheaper, a pair of slippers and a mug. His is a bottle of amber nectar! Don't need to tell him it was reduced, shhh...)

Must be time for breakfast.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm here!

Waving, not drowning.

I'm still here, just having a quiet time I guess. I hadn't actually realised it was quite so long, but I suppose nearly two weeks is a while. I can't even blame it on half term, we don't have those up here, just the Thursday and Friday before my birthday, but that suits me fine. In fact, it's not long until we break up for the summer, four weeks today, to be precise.

So, have been up to anything? Errrr, no.

Not much.

Didn't run last week, which made me a little anxious, (becoming obsessed, me?!) but we had a trial walk with a loaded rucksac, 12 miles and 20 lbs, to be accurate. It went fine, we did it in four hours, which I was quite happy with. It means that, on the actual walk, I can manage the rucksac at a reasonable speed with scope to slow down for a more enjoyable stroll!

I couldn't run on the Wednesday because the rain was doing a good impression of stair rods, so I did some weights and another six mile walk on the Thursday instead.

Monday was written off because I can't say no to a bottle of wine.

I don't mean I was ill, (more worryingly, I wasn't...) just that I don't like to do hard excercise after consuming alcohol as I'm not sure the stress is good for the organs.

Tuesday, now, that proved to be interesting. I had intended to run that day instead, but I had a fabulous telephone call on the Monday lunch time, offering me a cancellation physiotherapy appointment on Tuesday for my shoulder. I took it! What a lovely lady she was to.

I don't have tendonitis, which is good. I have weak Rotator Cuff Muscles, which cause my shoulder joint to be unstable. She rubbed it a bit, ("This will be sore to start, but it'll go numb eventually." Never a truer word said!) then a few minutes of ultrasound, (no pretty pictures of babies to look at, that was strange...) and a couple of exercises with an elastic band everyday. I go back weekly for a while, then maybe monthly for a while after that. It's going to be a long haul apparently, because it has become chronic.

Should have gone to the quack last summer...

Did go to the gym yesterday, now David has renewed my membership. Ran for 25 minutes on the treadmill, which was about two and a quarter miles, but running on the treadmill is so much easier than on the road. It's cushioned and does part of the work for you, but better than nothing.

Apart from that? Nothing much.

I'll be back again soon.

I promise!

Sunday, May 27, 2007


...was my 39th birthday!

We had a lovely day, nice pressies and a trip to the cinema to see Pirates III and loved it.

I'm counting down the days till my next birthday, not saying I'm a tad excited. I love birthdays.

Happy birthday me!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My boy!

My boy's going to be an engineer.

He's just won a commended place in the Regional Final at Aberdeen with his partner, Daniel, in the school K'Nex Challenge, Junior Engineer competition. They were in the top 10 teams out of 160 in North East Scotland.

As my mother would say, "Proud? I should coco!"

Never understood that one myself, but fits the bill. Chuffed to bits!

They've to go to Glasgow for the Final on the 20th June.

I'm not sure who's more excited...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


Oh, I've managed to restrain myself for over 24 hours, but I've got to tell you. I ran 3.66 miles yesterday, without walking. In 40 minutes and 52 seconds. I am just a tad chuffed with myself. Doesn't make my legs sore, but my word, makes my arm hurt! I have found some natural anti-inflammatories, so I'm hoping that will help, along with paracetamol if necessary.

3.66 miles! In 40 minutes and 52 seconds!!

Have to see if I can do it again sometime...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Mixed moments

So, yesterday I was thinking, "Yey, I have no car to breakdown and if the dishwasher or washing machine breakdown, I can live without them for a couple of days 'til David gets home, no worries!"

Then, I woke up this morning. To my total and utter horror, there was an enormous spider, on the ceiling, above my bed.

And it kept moving.

Took me ages to get dressed, put my make-up on and do my hair, I kept having to check over my shoulder to see what it as up to. It couldn't have picked a worse place to jangle my nerves!

All day, I kept popping upstairs to check up on him and by the time the children came home from school, I couldn't stand it any longer. Aedan took the vacuum cleaner upstairs, stood on a chair and sucked it up the extension tube. He even placated me in the same bored tone as David does, "Yes, it's gone. Yes, it's dead."

So, that's dealt with.

This morning, I finally got around to starting my light weight training, (for my backpacking trip). I did about half an hour with 1.5 kg weights and just two sets of 12 repetitions. Oddly enough, this evening I have found that when I put my dressing gown on, when I normally have pain in my upper arm, (the tendonitis) I have none! Neat! Maybe, if I keep up with it, by the time my appointment with the physiotherapist comes through, I won't need it. Now, that would be great.

We'll see.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Another birthday

Our eldest boy was 10 years old yesterday, I can't believe that. Always seems to have more impact when our second child hits a milestone, rather than the eldest, quite daft really! Anyway, I digress. He received mainly fishing 'stuff', so Daddy duely took him off to the beach to fish. Well, try to fish. Aedan remembers everything he's been taught by a friend who's taken him a few times, but the weather let him down. It was a lovely day, but a tad breezy for casting.

No fish for supper! (That didn't come out of the freezer, along with the chips...)

I made him a Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting for his birthday cake, at his request. It was lush and saddly, two of the children didn't like it. All the more for the rest of us, I say!

David has just gone for a little trip to the Med today. Hope it rains.

My Aunty Nora wrote me a lovely letter after she recieved my sympathy card. She has passed my contact details onto to two of my four cousins and I'm looking forward to finding out more about them. It's so sad that we've had to wait for this opportunity to get to know one another, but I'm quite curious.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Oh, whoops

Er, I seem to have missed my own birthday.

No, not my birthday, the birthday of my blog. Whoops. Oh well, happy belated birthday, blog!

Other news, I went out for a run this morning. Two minutes past six, to be precise. Before David went to work. Bit keen you might think, but I don't like running in the heat and, whilst today is looking a bit misty and damp, you never can tell, so I bit the bullet and went out when I woke up.

I'm so glad I did! I ran, yes, ran all the way, two and a half miles. In twenty seven minutes! I'm sooooo chuffed and incredibly smug.

I have been gradually building up the distance, so I'm quite pleased. Hopefully, by the time we do our thirty five mile backpacking in two days challenge in nine weeks and five days, I'll be reasonably fit and maybe half a stone lighter. Wey hey!

Oh, and Rhiannon is on her school trip at the moment, five days in Glasgow. I'm not thinking about it. At all. Nope.

Ironing beckons, I'm on a roll for 'getting stuff done', so "I'll be back" (in a thick, Austrian accent,) later.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

I always keep a promise

Here are the photographs of my flourishing flowers.

(Sorry, it sounded so good in my head!)

My Peace Lily, then Aedan's bean, then my Orchid that refuses to flower.

I'll feed it into submission!

There are also my Blackberries in the background behind the bean, given to me by some treasured family friends when David and I got married because I'd always loved their blackberries as a child. My plants still grow fantastically well and produce a really good harvest come Autumn.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Nothing much to report from the children's first week back at school. Unless you count finding Aedan kneeling on top of Rhiannon, punching her. Ah, well. Siblings. Suitably reprimanded, I hasten to add, but there is a limited amount you can do when they deliberately wind each other up sooooo much! They'll get better. In time. I hope!

I forgot to take Conall to Beavers for his first session on Wednesday, blonde or grey day, I'm not quite sure.

I had to go to the doctor yesterday, I've had a sore arm for months and finally decided I'd had enough. (I hate going to the doctor, I always feel such a fraud, it's never something I'm ill with, just a niggle.) So, anyway, the arm. They don't have to amputate, which is good. Tendonitis was the conclusion, for which you have two treatments, except of course, Awkward Annie here can't. Because I'm asthmatic, I can't use anti-inflammatories, so I've to continue suffering the pain while I wait for an appointment with the physio. Apparently, it's a really long waiting list. Deep joy.

David went back onto shift this week, his course having finished. So, the first night shift for six months. Peace and quiet for me, that's what I say!

Oh, did I mention our run on Monday?

It was apparently a year since JogScotland started in Forres this week, so to celebrate they had two 'races', (no competition they said, but we were all timed!) a 5K and a mile. I did the mile, not wanting to overface myself and Lyn, my new jogging buddy and I brought up the rear beautifully. Eleven minutes and twenty two seconds and I ran all the way! So chuffed.

Like I said, it's been a quiet week.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Funny day

It was Conall's sixth birthday on Saturday and we had a party at the local Farmshop Coffee shop. Might sound a bit odd, but being carless, the fact that it is close by had a lot to do with my choice and it is run by friends, which was good too. Aswell as running riot in an enclosed space with a trampoline and climbing frames, they got to feed cows and chickens too. Yee ha! He loved it.

Mummy forgot the camera. Ooops.

Today is my mum's birthday, I rang so that the children could sing Happy Birthday, (out of tune and flat, but hey, they hadn't practiced. Apart from Saturday...) but it turned into an odd conversation.

Mum and dad had received a phonecall very early in the morning. Dad's (a bit) deaf and was obviously struggling to understand the conversation, although he knew he was talking to a 'Nora', (struggles to recognise me!) so mum took over. She was also a little puzzled, but dealt with the call without letting on she didn't know what was going on. Afterwards she checked the number, but didn't recognise it and couldn't reconcile it with any in her phonebook, so she did a little investigation with the code and the telephone directory. It turned out they weren't talking to Nora they know in Suffolk, which was why being told about 'David' having died didn't make any sense. We don't have one in Suffolk. It was Nora dad's sister-in-law. His brother David died last night.

Dad isn't bothered. He disowned him during a family argument over thirty years ago. He won't go to the funeral.

I'm sad. I've never met my Uncle David, Aunty Nora or my four cousins. (They have names, I'm just not sure I'll get them right.) I'm sad that I never will now and that I had no choice. I don't want the same for my children, except they have an Uncle and Aunt they don't know, that's not my fault, but I'm going to have to find a way to do something about it before it's too late.

It's turning into an odd day.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Mad dogs...

Noel Coward, wasn't it? Hmm, well, in Scotland we have an entirely different breed of them. Yes, we are (actually, they are, I am not...) sitting outside in the midday 'sun'. Except, it's not that hot, so not much danger of heatstroke. We're having the first barbeque of the year, today, the 9th April. Bit earlier than usual. The children were in the paddling pool. For less time than it took to fill it, but would they be told? Sometimes they have to find out for themselves.

It is a nice day, no doubt about it, a fabulous drying day, but ofcourse, I can't actually put any washing on the line, because of said barbeque.

David thinks it's funny, bless him, that I love the great outdoors and yet, I am sitting inside on such a beautiful day. I despise sitting in the garden. I do not enjoy the barbeque bit. Foods okay, nice for a change I guess, but what a faff. Shouldn't bother me really, because he cooks it all, which I suppose is the fun bit maybe. I think the 'breeze' is a tad chilly for sitting and in a few months time, it's going to be too hot! Ah well, soon I'll be climbing big hills in paradise. Roll on July!

(Don't mean to be a kill joy, I'm laughing with them, they're having fun, I just think I'm more comfy in here!)

Photographs of the flourishing flowers to follow.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Green fingers

I mentioned my Camellia, I believe? Which is bursting into bloom all over now. Well, my Peace Lily is at it aswell! This came as part of one of those little pots you buy, along with a tiny Yukka looking thing and a pink spotted thingy too. (As you can see, I am hopeless with plants!)

The Peace Lily was tiny, but flowering at the time. After the flowers went, it continued to grow. And grow and grow, but never flowered again, until now. I have a flower! It's a little small in comparison to the rest of the plant, but I am chuffed.

Aedan planted two Broad Beans in a yoghurt pot at school a few weeks ago. He brought home a dinky pair of seedlings to 'grow on'. Hmm, me thought, not good at this. I have been known to snap a sunflower seedling before even getting out of the playground! The beans' chances were obviously improved by the fact I don't collect Aedan...

So, potted on and sat sitting on the window sill in the kitchen, I thought I'd have a little time to plan, choose the correct position in the garden, you know the sort of thing, but the seedlings had other ideas and got carried away. All of a sudden, they needed a bigger pot, NOW! (Because of the cat situation, they have to go in a pot, so they a less likely to be wee'd on and we can then eat the odd bean we may get.) A large pot was found and filled with compost. My next problem was the fact that David had potted them into a ceramic pot, not a plastic pot. Not easy to remove, but I managed and now they are romping on somewhat in an enormous pot with some bamboo supports.

I seem to be killing far fewer things these days, in the plant world. Just need to get my orchid to flower now. A bit ambitious, do you think?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Can you see what it is yet?

Give three children a dust cover, Twister mat, child's broom, a stick, a piece of string and a safety pin, what do you get?


Imagination, creativity and teamwork produce a tent on a glorious Palm Sunday in Scotland. Fantastic! (And from the three least likely to work together without fighting...)

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wiggle dance!

My camellia is flowering! I hoped it would after all these years and it is, a very pretty red. ...and yes, I was so excited it's out of focus. Hey ho!
...and just for good measure, my boys in a loving moment.
We do get them, but Rhiannon is never there, unless I am!

Happy now, btw. Explained, very calmly, why I was so upset, received an apology and forgave. Haven't heard from her since though. Hmm...

Thursday, March 22, 2007


I've had a day I can't talk about, because it would betray a confidence which I can't do. The upshot of it is I'm angry. I'm annoyed with myself for being angry and annoyed with my friend for making me feel like this and annoyed with her for abusing/betraying my friendship.

We'll sort it out, I'll explain calmly and rationally why it's upset me, it would be silly to ruin a good friendship over it.

But right now, I'm angry.

I'll come back when I'm happy.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Subtle (not)

Conall pulled up daddy's t-shirt and murmered a disappointed "Oh." and moved away again, then picked up a cushion to look behind it. "Has anyone seen Zacky Doo? I thought daddy was hiding him."

Zacky Doo is Conall's favourite cuddly toy...

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Dear Conall

Apparently, tonight we have been watching 'Dr Moose' in 'Kavanagh QC'...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I was going to tell you something funny, but for the moment I've forgotten what. I've been rather distracted and reminded of something completely different.

After I'd been out for my walk to the farmshop, I went to hang my coat up in the cupboard, only to spot an EMORMOUS black, hairy spider, on the wall, above the coat pegs.

I screamed and shut the door.

I had to sit down because I'd had a nasty fright.

I have since realised, my husband may not be home for lunch, by which time, said intruder will have disappeared.

Not a happy bunny.

It reminded me of a visit to the hairdressers, years ago, in Inverness.

Having been 'done', I was offered my jacket, which I put on, flicked the collar to make it comfortable, then left the salon and walked about half a mile back into the town (it wasn't a city then...) to Boots. As I was stood standing, trying to choose a photograph frame, I became aware of movement on my shoulder.

I wiped 'it' off and watched with horror as 'it' landed on the floor and scuttled under the shelves.

I restrained myself from ripping my clothes of there and then, but departed quick smart to the car park, where I ripped off my jacket and sat in the car with palpatations.

It was an horrific experience.

The hb will now have to take all my coats, scarves, hats etc out of the cupboard, give them a good shake, stamp on them and ensure there are no intruders hiding in them. My heart isn't as young as it used to be, I don't think I could stand the fright again.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Nice time

I didn't mention it because I was keeping it a secret, but my sister and brother-in-law have come for a visit, which is lovely. It's only a flying visit, just so they can take part in the Inverness 10k, (or whatever it is...) but it's been lovely seeing them and they leave tomorrow.

I always enjoy their company, but I don't know why I always have to overindulge. I feel quite rough today, which is not much good as I have to jog tomorrow, supposedly for ten minutes, but I can't see that happening!

We've been making plans for the summer holidays, (I feel a list coming on!) so I'm going to get excited now.

Anyway, we've had a nice time.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Nothing of note

I went jogging again last night and jogged the first section, which was five whole minutes! The five minute walk section was easy too... but then the last jog was another five minutes and I put a little walk in the middle. Still incredibly impressed with myself and surprisingly not sore this morning, which is a bit odd. I went for a two mile, gentle walk to try to keep it that way.

Next week is supposed to be a ten minute jog. I will probably walk a little...

Told you it was nothing of note. I need to get out more!

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Did you see it?

We had a lovely view of the lunar eclipse last night from our back doorstep and when it got too chilly, (was a tad nippy last night!) we craned our necks to see round the corner from the dining room patio doors. For something that sounds quite ordinary, it was actually quite extraordinary. The shadowing and the slight orange hue gave the moon a really 3-D effect, which obviously sounds a bit odd, but the moon does tend to look like a white circle hanging in the sky rather than a solid object. Last night it looked beautiful and a little surreal.

Couldn't take photograph, David said our camera wouldn't and I believed him rather than trying. He has a nasty habit of being right on technical issues, but then, that's his job.

Next Friday is Conall's first school assembly and he has quite an appropriate line. "In spring birds build nests and lay their eggs in them." I don't think daddy will be able to make it, I can probably count on one hand the amount of times he has, (but there always seems to be plenty other 'men in blue' at these things...) so I shall report back about my budding star.

And that is as exciting as it gets round here.

I shall go and get breakfast.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Another little stamp

This is perhaps going to be a bit of a controversial post, but I had a little rant at David at lunch time and realised he wasn't listening, so thought I'd try elsewhere.

You see, there are prisoners up here, (well, Glasgow actually) complaining about not having theirown pants, having to wear any old pants given to them, (presumably clean) now, I was under the misapprehension that people in prisons are being punished. They are paying their debt to society for whatever crime they have committed, whether it be murder, theft, rape, fraud, a crime whatever it may be. I personally think that prison should be a punishment and yet I think many of these convicts actually get a better life in prison. They may have to share a bedroom, but they are warm and dry, have three square meals a day, gym facilities, satellite television, pool tables, computor access, libraries, education, a daily thirty minute telephone call. (As far as I'm aware, our soldiers, serving in places like Iraq and Afghanistan, get a twenty minute telephone card. Weekly...)

Where is the punishment, the deterrent? Is it really beyond the imagination of these people to reoffend, simply to be reincarcerated and to continue living in the manner to which they have become accustomed? Yes, I'm sure there are dreadful things that go on in prisons too, drugs being a small part of the problem, but I do believe these people should be being punished and shouldn't have so many 'rights', otherwise, what is the point?

I maybe shouldn't mention that I would be all for the return of capital punishment in serious cases that are proven without doubt, or that I would love to bring back National Service, because I believe this would instill respect and discipline. Not to mention corporal punishment in schools. No, I'm not outraged that my children might be beaten, because they wouldn't be. When I was a child, our headmaster had 'the slipper' in his office, but I was not once aware of anyone ever actually receiving the punishment, the threat of it's presence was enough. Now, there is nothing to be scared of or respect, the teachers no longer have the upper hand, the pupils and parents do.

And another thing, bring back the 'beat bobby'. I remember being berated by our local bobby when I was about six years old for riding my (sister's) bike on the pavement. I was terrified and have never committed a crime since. It worked for me!

This post is a bit of a mess, trying to squeeze alot of moans into one, but it all boils down to discipline and respect, or rather, the lack of.

I'll stop stamping now.

(And the pants thing was merely to illustrate a point. They should be grateful to have pants at all!)

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

I'm a good girl I am

I just faced one of my pet hates. Telephone calls. I really, really hate making certain types of telephone calls, like ringing the bank or a mail order company, you know the sort of thing. I hate it. I come out in a cold sweat. My mouth stops working and I talk jibberish, (what's new there then?) so I'm quite chuffed with myself.

It was a certain high street retail company that had charged me for something I had never received. Now, it's out of stock. Pants. At least I made the call.

Yes, I jogged, yes I enjoyed (!!??) it and yes, I shall go again.

I'm quite impressed actually. I'm not the slightest bit sore. Must be fitter than I thought!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Ho hum

I have been coereced by my dear friend Bev to go to a Jogging Uk club tonight. I'm all dressed ready.

Don't know about jogging tonight, won't be able to walk tomorrow.

Is it really worth all the pain just to get fit? I'll let you know.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

A little excited

Nearly seven years ago, I planted a young Camellia in my garden. It's in a nice spot, but I must confess to never having fed it. I leave it to it's own thing really.

I've just noticed that the buds that had appeared, that I had assumed were the usual new leaf buds, look like they could actually be flower buds!

I'm a little excited about this. I am not reknowned for my green fingers.

I shall post pictures if I was right.

If I'm wrong, I shall keep very quiet...

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The escapee

I made soup for lunch today, like I often do. Today was another new one, Irish Potato Soup. So, while my finely chopped onions sweated in a little butter, I peeled and diced some potatoes. Now, because I buy my local potatoes from the local farm shop, they come with local mud on, so I usually give them a good wash and peel them in the sink, often popping them onto the drainer till they're all done. I popped the diced potatoes into the pan to sweat with the onions and then decided to do a little washing up (occasionally I'm a tidy cook, not always) and to that, I had to empty the drainer first of the previous washing up, (tidy up until a point...). There it was. Behind the clean grill pan. An escapee. A peeled potato!

It was diced and sweating quicker than two shakes of a lamb's tail.

There is no escape in my kitchen...

And that is how exciting my life is. The Great Vegetable Escape.

Should have been yesterday really. Made Pea Soup yesterday...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Should have taken piccies really, however, it is Shrove Tuesday and I made pancakes for the children. Horrors, they had jam on them, not lemon and sugar.

The shame of it is I didn't make enough for me. Pants.

I don't ask the children to give anything up in particular, because they will chose things like tidying, bathing, homework, so it kind of defeats the object, but we do talk about it and how it all came about, Lent, Easter and all that. I am not going to give up anything this year either, but I am going to cut back on chocolate and wine, question myself each time why I want some, whether I need it and could I do without it. Thinking about it rather than eating or drinking without question is a step forward for me.

I have given something up in the past and usually successfully and without cheating, but the desire just grows to huge proportions, so come Easter, I'm likely to gorge. Not a pretty sight. This way, I'm hoping for more control and calm.

We'll see.


I've just been reading some of my older posts and came across (another) pinch, forty questions about me, basically. One question was "Do you have a secret nobody knows?" the answer to which was, "Yes, that's why it's a secret." Good answer.

Now, tell me, what was my secret?

It's like those things you put in a safe place, but then forget where the safe place is. Speaks volumes about my memory...

Causing a bit of a stir

I'm a bit of a saddo at times and just out of complete curiosity, I've installed a Stats Counter. It's interesting stuff, but I'm not entirely sure what I can get out of it, so I'll probably drop it sometime when I get bored. However, I've noticed alot of interest in one particular post recently, "I've been getting messages" and I suspect for all the wrong reasons.

Especially as this activity seems to come from the Houses of Parliament.

(There you go, I'll have done it again now, saying all the wrong things.)

Just for the record, I have never had, nor do I ever want to have an MP of any kind in my bath. Unless David has a change of career, but I can't see that happening somehow.

Nor do I want a cup of tea in my bath. It's got to be wine!

Makes you wonder though...

Oh, ok

You scored as Albus Dumbledore. You are very wise, observant,

and analyctical. You have a very "well-organized" mind, which

makes you function in a calm and fair manner. Though you get

angered easily, its rare of you to ever act our of temper. You are

constantly seeing the good in people and are naturally forgiving

because of it. You're easy to please and a great person to learn from.

Albus Dumbledore


Neville Longbottom


Bellatrix Lestrange


Remus Lupin


Ron Weasley


Luna Lovegood


Oliver Wood


Sirius Black


Hermione Granger


Harry Potter


Severus Snape


Draco Malfoy


Percy Weasley


Lord Voldemort


Harry Potter Character Combatibility Test
created with
Admittedly, another pinch...

Monday, February 19, 2007

I've been getting messages

Not in my dreams or anything like that.

BT kindly sent me some fridge magnets, quite a while ago now. They were just a collection of random words in a sheet that could be taken apart and therefore sentences made.

Whilst our eldest daughter is restrained and reserved like her father, her saving grace is obviously her sense of humour. It's like mine.

"To mum love you from the family and socks the cat"

We don't have a cat...

"Out with 2 friends and chatting to home using a mobile"


"1 cup of tea in the bath with Angus Robertson MP"

This one I think was the most disturbing, AR is our local MP, he visited the school a while ago and signed autographs (I should imagine he spoke to the children and answered questions too...) and it was this autograph that had been tagged onto the end of 'the message'. Disturbing because? He doesn't even preach the right politics let alone frequent my bath.

(Tea? More likely a glass of perfectly chilled Chardonnay!)


Could someone please post a comment, (anonymously will do, but not you Ruth, that won't help...!) and tell me why so many 'strangers' are interested in this post? It's about sentences made up out of random words. Random, get it? I'm just curious.

Friday, February 16, 2007



Growing up

My youngest daughter, Ciara, is a Brownie. My eldest daughter, Rhiannon, used to be a Brownie, but left at nine and a half and didn't want to be a Guide, so she isn't. Ciara, on the other hand, is an extremely sociable child and loves the interaction, so she won't leave before she's ten and will probably want to be a Guide.

I was a Brownie, (they didn't have Rainbows when I was a child, but these to were both Rainbows) and I was a Guide until I was about fifteen I suppose, but I can also boast Girls Brigade, Sea Cadets and the local Youth Orchestra (the windband and the recorder orchestra sections). In my day, Brownies was about being a little girl and learning useful things, like polishing shoes, making fairy cakes, plaiting newspapers to make a packaway seat, all sorts of stuff.

We had a Brownie parent meeting the other evening, to decide on the future of the pack, how to support the current leaders and collect ideas for activities. One mother suggested a pamper evening. For the Brownies. You know, make-up, nail varnish that sort of thing. There sat the other mothers nodding approval and "Ooo"s and "Ahhh"s from all corners.

Me, I'm silently screaming "NOOOOOO!".

Call me old fashioned or a prude, but I don't want to encourage my daughter to wear make-up, short skirts and cropped tops, to make herself appear older than her tender eight years and available. To make her vulnerable.

At first I thought I will just make Ciara 'busy' that night, so that I don't have to confess my austerity in public. Then I decided I will have a private word with Brown Owl and explain why I am unhappy for my daughter to take part in this activity. If other parents don't have a problem it's entirely up to them obviously, I don't want to make an issue of it, but it's just not for me and my daughter.

Although Ciara probably won't agree. She would probably love it.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Post champers

I've been reading the links from Anne's Blog about Valentine's Day and I enjoyed them all. The first in particular made me smile, because I agree wholeheartedly and I appreciate how lucky I am, (we are!) to have the relationship that we do. It is honest, supportive, reliable, loyal, fun, everything I am (and he is) as a person is our relationship. I feel lucky that we don't have to work at our relationship, it works itself because it is us.

That is not perhaps the most eloquent piece of writing, I'm sure someone somewhere could have made it far more beautiful to read, but it does just what it says on the tin, and so does my marriage!

So anyway, last night we cooked ourselves a beautiful meal, because we can produce something fabulous for a fraction of the cost of a babysitter, two taxis and the disappointing meal at a restaurant.

Goats Cheese Souffle

Baked Halibut (well, they didn't have any, so it was Talapia, or something, from Jamaica...) with Cabbage and Bacon, a Tarragon Cream Sauce and Potato Rosti

Baked Chocolate Torte with Raspberry Sauce

Lush. Not to mention the perfectly chilled Tattinger (I may have mentioned that before?) and some Chardonnay Columbard.

The children aren't at school today. Or tomorrow. Or Monday.

Happy days!