Socialising, Reading and Watching Films…

Kilmahew Castle - will be making more visits to it this year.

Kilmahew Castle


Well it’s 2017 at last. I thought 2016 would never end. It seemed to drag on forever…not that I think things will suddenly be amazing because we are in a new year, but I am hoping life will get a little bit better, a little bit easier.

Anyway, how’s things with you all? Hope you had a lovely Christmas and New Year! We had a quieter week this week – thank goodness! – with my parents and Ian’s brother coming over for New Year’s Day dinner. We had a lovely time and my parents stayed over. I gave them my bed – well they are in their early 70s, couldn’t have them lying on a blow up bed – and I slept downstairs. I was up early the next morning to let the dogs out, but unfortunately wasn’t quick enough when they came back in again. Casper (our Yorkie) was past me like a whippet and up the stairs before I could protest. I heard his little feet dart along the corridor and into my bedroom. There was a cry of surprise and then I heard my dad say: “All right Casper I’ve had enough kisses.” The wee monkey had leapt onto the bed, waking my poor mum and lavishing my dad with licks. Luckily they have their own dog, Winston (who was also woken by the little scamp) and were laughing at Casper’s antics. We had a leisurely breakfast (a fry up) before all wrapping up and walking up to Kilmahew Castle which is a ruined castle near to where I live.  We were out about two hours and the sun shone the entire time. Kilmahew is situated on top of the hill and the views up there are stunning. It may have been a beautiful day, but it was really muddy underfoot and the three dogs were caked in mud by the time they got home. Thank God for our outside tap which took the worst of it off before we allowed the shivering trio into the house! All three dogs and my kids were exhausted after the walk, but all of us enjoyed it. It certainly blew the cobwebs away!

What else have we been up to? Well, we met my stepkids for lunch on Wednesday in Glasgow and it was lovely to see them. J has been in Australia for the last year (coming back shortly before his dad died and then returning about a week after Ian’s funeral). He came home for Christmas, surprising his mum and sister, so it was great he came for lunch with us so we could see him too.

I hosted a small brunch get together with some friends on Friday. I see these ladies most Fridays anyway, but I wanted to do something to mark the end of the holidays. Plus one of them had put on an excellent spread for me the week before and I wanted to repay the compliment. I opted for a continental brekkie with bread, ham, cheese and pates. Of course there were cream cakes for afters…well it wouldn’t be a normal Friday morning if there wasn’t!!

This weekend we’re having a quiet time because I still feel the need to chill out before returning to work. In saying that, I never really chill out properly, there’s always so much to do around the house. Today I did a couple of washings, sorted out the ironing which I’ll do tomorrow, did a shop, took the dogs out for a walk, tidied up and filled the small skip I’ve hired to take away the large pile of rubbish that was heaping up around the back of the house. Our council, in their wisdom, decided to go to three week uplifts for our general waste which would have been good if it had started at another time of year and NOT just before Christmas AND if they had given us more notice and not the week we got. If I had had more notice, I could have worked harder to reduce our waste. Instead, because I now have only one bin (instead of two) that is emptied every three weeks, the waste has been building up in binbags in our garden. Sigh. I could have taken it all down to the dump – indeed I started to do that – but it stunk my car out, so I opted for the skip. I am hoping that if I start with a clean slate, I’ll be able to not overfill our general waste bin from now on…that’s the plan anyway, whether that works that way or not remains to be seen. I do try my best. I do recycle. I fill two large recycling bins with recycled waste. I understand why the council are doing this: it’s to meet government targets and, let’s face it, save money. However, just asking householders to reduce their waste isn’t enough…they need to work with supermarkets and other industries to get them to stop using as much packaging in the first place. I mean why do my bananas have to be packaged in a poly bag??

Anyway, enough of my ranting. I will see how it goes.

On a happier note, it’s time to talk about the books I’ve been reading lately. Am about to finish John Mullan’s What Matters in Jane Austen? which is a look at her novels in more detail and why things happen as they do. As an Austen fan, I’m really enjoying it.

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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - images from the film.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – images from the film.


Also recently read The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aitken which is a lovely kids book and one I’ve been meaning to read since I saw the film some years ago. Am hoping my kids may read it…will certainly be pushing it forward to them. I finished it the other day (sigh, I hate finishing books I’m enjoying reading) and started Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons simply because I never read it as a child and felt it was a book I should read. It’s a lovely book and I’m really enjoying it.

Regarding films, I’ve been watching all the Harry Potter movies over the last couple of weeks (and I love them still!). I’ve basically been recording films and watching them a little while later and one of those was a surprising hit with me called Albert Nobbs. It’s set in Victorian Dublin and stars Glenn Close as a woman who dresses as a man to work as a waiter in a posh hotle in the city. She meets a painter and it’s this meeting that opens up a whole new world of possibilities for her. I’ll not say anything more as I don’t want to spoil this film for you, but it is a wonderful film. It’s got a great cast and a great script and I loved it.

Glen Close as Albert Nobbs.

Glen Close as Albert Nobbs.

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Right on that note, I will have to end it here. The lightbulb has gone on one of the upper hall lights and the boy is pestering me to get it changed because he can’t sleep if it’s not on. Til next time!

Dawn xxx

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