The past week didn’t turn out quite how I wanted…

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…you see I was on annual leave and I thought it was going to be nice and quiet. It wasn’t. It was the busiest week I’ve had in ages. Sigh. Maybe this coming week will be quieter. I just want to be able to put my feet up for a little while…and read a book…and maybe drink some tea…and eat a bit of cake.

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Anyway, although the week was busy, it wasn’t particularly interesting. In fact, there is not a huge amount to tell you. Again, there were the usual medical appointments and keeping the house going. I was really pleased I managed to get our downstairs toilet painted. I know…dead boring! But very very necessary. It hadn’t been done for a couple of years and was looking tired and grubby. Armed with my CD player and some paint brushes, I got into it on Thursday or Friday night (I can’t remember which as the days are merging into each other these days!). It took me a couple of hours, but the time flew as I listened to the Music & Lyrics soundtrack (love that film) several times and painted away. Apart from the boy looking in every five minutes until I lost my temper with him, and the dog peeping in a couple of times, it was good to get some peace to complete a task.  The toilet is now looking as clean as a new pin. Unfortunately, it won’t stay that way, but at least it’ll be less embarrassing for guests to use for a good while.

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Am now eyeing the upstairs bathroom with a view to doing it. Maybe I’ll do that later today.

What else happened this week? The kids went round to the local library to take part in some activities there. Our library is tiny, but the librarian is fantastic and with the help of a local youth worker spent two mornings making things and doing literary type things with local kids. My two loved it. I loved it to cos I got peace for a couple of mornings. The dog loved it cos she got walked there and back and there were lots of good sniffs along the way.

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I started reading two books this week: Agatha Christie’s autobiography and Gerald Durrell’s The Corfu Trilogy (in one book) which includes My Family and Other Animals; Birds, Beasts and Relatives; and The Garden of the Gods. I am preferring the latter as it’s amusing and the descriptions of the scenery and what happens are magical. I’m afraid I find Agatha a bit too upper crust for me. So far her book has been all about her childhood with her nanny – am sure it’ll hot up at some point. I will go back to it though because I enjoy her books and am keen to find out more about her life…once I’ve finished Gerald, whose writing is fantastic. I think if you were to ask me to write a list of fantasy dinner guests, Gerald would be in there. Through his writing, he comes across as being an highly educated, interesting man with a fantastic sense of humour. I just know we would have gotten on!! The Durrell book purchase was inspired by ITV’s The Durrells, which is based on his memoirs of his time on Corfu and, although I’ve only seen the one episode, is fantastic and I love it. It’s just lovely. I can live in its dreamy funny world for the time it’s on the telly (particularly nice if it’s freezing cold and raining outside). Sigh. Can’t wait as episode two is on tonight!

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Here’s the tv programme (above and below).

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Here’s some pics of the real Gerald Durrell as a boy on Corfu and as an adult.

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The other pics in this post were taken on Corfu in celebration of Gerald and his work in conservation and animal welfare. I’ve never been to the island, but it’s beautiful and maybe one day I’ll go.

Right, I am going to stop here as the dog is in desperate need of a good walk. You wouldn’t think it to look at her as she is fast asleep underneath the table on which I’m typing this blog. Her front right paw is twitching – no doubt she is dreaming of chasing the squirrel she was eyeing up through the patio doors earlier. It basically was doing a raid on the bird table and was a bit alarmed to see a bright eyed little dog staring at it. Maybe she’s thinking of the football she loves to chase around the garden, whining for someone to play with her and badgering me to kick it for her in between me pegging up clothes on the washing line (she’s a bloody nuisance when I’m trying to put out the washing! Just as well she’s cute!). No matter what it is, she’ll soon wake up when she realises it’s walkie time! She loves a good walk, although she gets absolutely filthy (being white it really shows up on her) as she’s so low to the ground the mud just clings to her belly and legs.

Anyway, that’s me for just now. Am away to get my old boots (for the mud) on! Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

Where the fat balls go

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Hello there! How’s things? Hope you are all well. Jings it’s been a right blustery week this week. High winds and rain abound. Thankfully we’re not getting it as bad as the Americans did last week…their blizzards looked a bit mental!! Am just back in from picking up the kids and, despite having on my warmest coat, I was frozen to the core waiting for them at the gates. Brrrrrrrr. Have cranked the heating up full bung just to get the warmth into my bones.

I solved a mystery this week. I had been wondering why the fat balls I throw out to the birds – I usually throw out three at a time –  had been gobbled up so quickly…especially as I haven’t seen any small birds in the garden lately (I think the wind is too strong for the poor wee mites). Anyway the mystery was solved this morning when one of the squirrels – possibly the one we call Popeye due to its missing eye – was seen scarpering up the garden with a fat ball in its gob. Then it tried to bury it, found it too large and took it off into the trees, no doubt back to its drey. I did not think squirrels would like fat balls. They weren’t bought for them but for the birds. I think I’ll need to strap the balls to the trees so they are not nicked!! If squirrels weren’t so cute they would not be getting away with this. They are the furry mafia of the garden!

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There’s not much to report this week. The weather has been that bad that we haven’t really been going out except – in my case – to go to work and – in the kids’ case – to go to school. Poor hubby has been finding it too cold, he’s still not back to full fitness and won’t be for some time.

Ah the joys of Netflix! As I write, the boy is watching Dr Who again. Not that I mind. It’s the David Tennant series – I love David Tennant, defo the best Doctor!!

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I decided to end my dry January early so had some wine last night. I thought I would have enjoyed it more than I did. It was very disappointing. It wasn’t as if I’d bought a cheap bottle either. Sigh. So I’m doing a dry February too. I’ve decided I don’t enjoy it that much – or as much as I used to – so what’s the point of doing it. When I was into my dry January, I felt so much better – I had more energy and ate fewer rubbishy things. Last night, I had some wine and then I ate an entire packet of chocolate counters. How to damage my diet in one fail swoop! Sigh. Back on the ole diet again today. Have lost a total of seven pounds so far – half a stone – so am not going to continue to jeopardize my efforts again by drinking alcohol. Or coca cola…was nearly back on that again last night too. Damn you wine!!

Anyway, on that final note, I am away. Am thinking I might just have a wee peek at Pinterest…I love Pinterest. So full of lovely things.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

Escaping to Perthshire and enjoying the peace

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We escaped from the madhouse this weekend by taking a two night stayover at Crieff Hydro in Perthshire. We’ve been before – I’ve spoken about it before in this blog – but we’ve always taken the kids. This time round, however, hubby and I decided to leave the kids with their grandparents and go ourselves. It was great. We had a lovely relaxing time. We didn’t make use of the spa or the sporting opportunities the hotel offers, which are many and very good, but we just went with the flow about what we wanted to do.

We arrived late afternoon on Friday and after we’d settled in we had dinner, a few glasses of wine and went to see The Other Woman in the hotel’s small cinema. The film starred Cameron Diaz, Leslie Mann and Kate Upton. It’s a film where Cameron’s character Carly, a successful lawyer, discovers her boyfriend (played by the oh so handsome Nikokaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones) is actually married. Anyway, the wife (Kate King, played by Leslie Mann) finds out and in her despair befriends Carly. They then find out he’s also seeing a much younger and bustier Amber (played by Kate Upton). They tell her and together the three decide to get their own back. It’s quite an enjoyable film, but predictable. Good for a Friday night film watching stint (minus the kids). Don Johnston plays Carly’s dad and Nicki Minaj is Lydia Carly’s secretary. I’d give it a seven out of ten. Anyway, it was good going to the flicks.

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The next day, we decided to get out our cameras and go photo hunting up the Knock which is the hill behind the Hydro. We really knocked it off with the weather. It was one of those sunny, frosty, gorgeous winter mornings that you read about in novels. Added to that is the loveliness of the scenery and it literally was breathtaking.

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We had a lovely morning exploring and snapping and having a good  old laugh. We must have been out a good two hours traipsing about the hillside and returned just before lunchtime. We spent a little time in our room before venturing out. Hubby wanted to take shots of the Deil’s Cauldron, a waterfall at nearby Comrie. I didn’t go with him, but waited in the car (I was knackered from the walk earlier!!). We had a late lunch at a nice little café in Comrie before returning to the hotel.

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Chilling out time!! We spent the rest of the afternoon chilling out and taking it easy. We had a few glasses of wine before dinner and then went to see Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (can you tell we love going to the movies?). It was okay. It’s not my favourite type of film anyway (although I have seen the original film and tv series!). Good cast and excellent special effects. It too was predictable. It’s also quite violent. Six out of ten.

 

Anyone for golf? Don't fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyone for golf? Don’t fancy trying to hit a hole in one from here.

Anyway, it’s top marks to Crieff Hydro for an excellent time. The room was lovely (and really big), the food was great, there was lots to do and the staff couldn’t be more helpful.

Minus 100 to the medical students who were holding their Midway Ball at the hotel and kept us up and awake a good bit of the night on Friday and Saturday night with their shouting and crying and carrying on somewhere below our third floor room (yes we were up that high and could hear them) . I don’t know where they were doing it from but we could hear every word, every expletive and every sob from them, the drunken bums. It honestly sounded like they were in the room next door to us, but they were outside. I am assuming it was them – it sounded like the group that invaded the piano bar the first night we were there. Anyway, whoever it was…I don’t appreciate being kept up til 2.30am listening to your childishness.

Phew that felt good!

Anyway, we still managed to enjoy ourselves. We feel all rested.  The kids also had a good time as my parents took them to the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum in Ayr. They loved it and want to go back. We’ll take them in the summer I think. I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. Oh, and if you ever go there yourself, mind and pick up this book on Burns’ life…it was beautifully illustrated by my friend Mandy Sinclair.

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We picked the kids up at lunchtime today. I really missed them, but I think they had such a good time with their granny and grampa that they didn’t give us a thought!! We got lots of kisses and hugs from them though, which was lovely.

Can’t believe that’s us been and come back already. Sigh. Anyway, I must get on. Got a whole pile of washing to do (except the kids’ clothes – thanks Mum for doing that). Til next time!

Dawn xxx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fox, the hare, the robin and the pop up shop in Glasgow’s Finnieston area

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Hello. How are you? How’s it going? I’ll bet you’ve all had a really busy week getting ready for Christmas. Over the last week-and-a-half I’ve attended the boy’s nativity (which was a hoot), got an excited girl ready for her very first ceilidh, took her to her ballet exam and went to the school’s Christmas church service which was held in the school hall this year as the church is full of the Christmas tree exhibition (trees decorated by local groups and very good by all accounts). I also met friends for lunch at Jam Jar, one of our local cafes, and had the best cheese on toast I’ve ever had: sour bread toasted and topped with crispy bacon, ham, cheese and cranberry sauce all served with a lovely salad and crisps. Oh it was to die for!

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Today, I met up with an old friend I haven’t seen for years and it was great. We went to Finnieston in Glasgow, had lunch and wandered about. We also dropped into a pop up shop called Veneer which is a shop run by Bespoke Atelier and filled with some lovely items all designed by Scottish based artists. My friend picked up a beautiful silk scarf. I now have scarf envy. The pics in this blog are all from the shop and are really lovely. My favourites, however, are these…

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They are by a company called. Joy Collection and are tree ornaments. I love all three animals – I have a bit of thing for all of them, particularly hares. Unfortunately, Veneer is only open until tomorrow, but if you go on the Bespoke Atelier website, you’ll get the names of all the companies involved.

Anyway I had a good afternoon. We ended the afternoon with tea and canoli for the first time (the pistachio one is amazing) in Panevino. I returned home to find my front garden filled with twinkling tree lights courtesy of hubby who put them up in my absence. Looks great.

Right, am going to leave you now. I will try and do another post next week, but in case I don’t get round to it, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year.

Dawn xxxx

There’s a pheasant in my garden

pheaasant 2Walked out to fill the bird table earlier today and nearly had a heart attack when something relatively big and fast ran into the bushes. I was just in time to see the streak of brown and the long tail. It was a female pheasant. I don’t know what she was doing in our garden, but I threw down some seeds for her. She was really shy and flew off when I tried to take a pic so I’ve had to borrow a pic of what she looked like from the web.

We get quite a lot of different types of birds in our garden. Apart from the usual crows, rooks, the odd gull, blackbirds, tits, finches and robins, we also see the odd bird of prey, ducks (in the stream running down the back of the garden) and herons. More recently, what we think was a peregrine falcon used our back fence as a resting place.

falconIt’s really nice. We’ve also had hedgehogs, neighbours’ cats, our guinea pigs and the odd feral child in the garden too!!

Anyway, how’s your week been? Busy getting ready for the festive season no doubt!! I’ve been the same. I’ve been finishing a lot of projects up for work and also completing various home-made gifts. I haven’t taken pics of them yet (apart from the bears and the hat), but I’ll do that before I give them. So there’s been a fair bit of knitting and sewing going on. I’ve also been getting food etc in for Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I hate Christmas shopping…it’s always too busy, too hot and too full of very rude people. I do most of my shopping online and in October!

This week has been interesting weather wise. We were hit by what the press are calling the ‘weather bomb’ earlier on in the week. That meant we had everything the weather could throw at us: heavy rain, very strong winds, hail, sleet, thunder and lightening (a new one for me – I’ve never known it to do that in winter), low temperatures, ice and sun. Thankfully it’s died down and it’s just very cold and icy here. Makes me glad we’ve got a cosy warm house to go into. We’re lucky.

I’ve had one of those weeks where I’ve been forgetting a lot of things. I think it’s because we all have a cold and it’s making my head a bit woolly.

Went to the boy’s nativity during the week. He was one of the singers being one of the older children. The actual nativity play was called Baubles and was a take on the Christmas story. It was enacted by the Primary 1 pupils who were all incredibly cute and very good. All of us parents, grandparents and carers really enjoyed it. Well done P1-3. You all did very well.

Next week the girl is doing a carol concert, so I’m looking forward to that. I like attending these, it really starts off Christmas for me.

Anyway, I’m off to have a little read of my book – Elizabeth Hunter’s  A Fall of Water – before I start dinner.

Til next time!

Dawn xxx

A riverside walk and that tricky ceilidh dress

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We took a walk along the riverside last Sunday and it was lovely. The sun was shining, it was quite mild and there were signs of winter everywhere. I love all the seasons for different reasons…for autumn (this feels more like autumn to me, not yet winter), it’s the changing colours, the low sun, the feeling of everything going to sleep for the winter. It’s also getting home to a warm house and snuggling up on the sofa with a good book.

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The things I don’t like about this time of year: how dark it gets at 3.30pm and the fact the kids can’t get out playing after school (they love getting out).

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For winter, I love the snow and the dark, stormy skies and hurrying to get out of the ice cold rain and into a warm house.

Anyway, enough of my ramblings. How are you all? Hope you’re well. What have you been up to? I’ve been working hard getting my Christmas knitting finished…I am nearly there. I just have three gifts to complete and that’s me.

Talking of Christmas and the kids are already getting a bit hyper about the big day. The wee man keeps counting down, asking me if I know how many days left they are and then telling me. It’s getting to the annoying stage, but at least this helps him with his maths.

I’ve been doing a fair bit of running around, taking dresses back for the girl. Sigh. I bought her a dress online, it was too small, I took it back. I bought her a dress from Frasers, it was lovely, but she didn’t like it. I took it back. I have now ordered her a third (and final) dress from Next so she’d better like it cos it’s not going back!! I should know to let her pick her dress herself from the word go. She has her first ceilidh coming up (pronounced kay-lee for our none Scottish readers – it means a gathering, but nowadays it’s more about a dance with a ceilidh band and everyone doing Scottish country dancing. It’s great fun and often a bit wild!) so needed the perfect dress. Hopefully this one that’s coming is it! I don’t think I could take any more. She’s not even ten yet, God help us when she’s a teenager and really into fashion!!

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Am currently reading Elizabeth Hunter’s third of her Elemental Mystery series The Force of Wind. Am totally hooked on this series. If you like fantasy and supernatural with a bit of romance thrown in, these are the books for you. I am racing through them. Still got the fourth to go…A Fall of Water…having read books one and two: A Hidden Fire and This Same Earth. After I’ve finished these I’m on to the Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I love the films, so am thinking the books are bound to be even better!

Right, am aff! Got things to do this morning. Got piano practise, housework and yet more ironing (the bane of my life, I hate ironing with a passion). Until next time!

Dawn xxx

Squirrels, Dr Who and Despicable Me

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This little fella was one of three grey squirrels who decided to raid my bird table yesterday. The other two ran off, but this bold one stayed to stare at me. The lure of the seeds and nuts was too strong, I think.

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The first pic was taken with the patio door open, this one is through the glass hence the slight ‘film’ on the lefthandside.

Anyway, how are you all? Hope you are hail and hearty! What’s been happening in your lives? I successfully managed to make two hats for my kids from a pattern from Fleece Fun which is a blog by a lady called Angel Hickman Peterson and has lots of great patterns for fleece. Am going to make the matching mitts for them this weekend. Will do pics next time.

So what’s been happening at Nelson Towers? Hmmm…just the usual. My parents visited last Saturday and of course the kids were there for about five minutes before disappearing off to play. I feel sorry for my parents. It’s nearly an hour’s drive to our house from theirs and they only see the kids for all of five minutes at the beginning and then the end of their visit. Still that’s kids for you. I feel it’s better to let them go and play because they get bored and fidgety and whiny anyway. Plus the biscuit plate would be decimated!

Been trawling the website looking for ideas for Christmas makes for my kids. My boy is a huge Dr Who fan (the girl finds it too scary at times) so I’ve been looking for various things to make (for both of them…no Punch without Judy as they say). I’m going to do this Tardis kindle cosy from American Witch cos they want a tablet each for Christmas. I also want to make them an Adipose each from a pattern by Erika Kent. There’s also a good tutorial from Amanda Tepie here. And I’m going to give these a wee try…felt Dr Who plushies by Michelle Coffee (great name) of Deadly Sweet Plushes…I really love her Star Trek plushies so may make them for myself (I know I am a saddo, but they are fab). Plus on a non Dr Who vibe, I am also planning to make them a Minion each from a pattern by Hannah at We Lived Happily Ever After.  The next thing I need to see is if anyone’s making anything Monster High or Ever After High (the things my girl is into). I am going to be very busy over the coming weeks!!

Am currently working on a small gift for a couple of friends I’m seeing soon. I won’t say what cos they read this blog. Will put up a pic after I’ve given it to them.

Anyway, I must get on. Got tonnes of stuff to do. Til next time!

Dawn x