August 21 Poets’ Day

Welcome to Poets’ Day! I love poetry and I feel I don’t read enough of it. Poetry can make you laugh, it can make you cry, it can make you think. What is your favourite poem? I don’t know if I have one, but I am a fan of poetry by the likes of Rabbie Burns, Maya Angelou and Liz Lochhead.

If you want to know more about poetry, why not pop along to Famous Poets and Poems?


Happy Burns Night!!


Happy Burns Night! The night when Scots and those of Scots descent (and lovers of poetry) celebrate the birth of the great bard, Robert Burns.

Yes tonight we at Chez Nelson will be partaking in a wee plate of haggis, neeps and tatties to remember the poet. Yum. I may even enthrall  the kids with Tam O’Shanter!! It’s a great poem and one of my favourites…


Right am away to have ma haggis!

Dawn xxx

Escaping to Perthshire and enjoying the peace


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.


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.


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.


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.


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










Stripes and Burns

A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week...

A couple of wee snowy pics from earlier in the week…

Had a really busy week this week. Firstly, I attended our local school’s Burns event…the kids (including my two) sang Burns songs or those written in Old Scots (loved the rendition of The Welly Boot Song…reminded me of my early childhood, we used to sing it at school on rainy days when everyone wore wellies), poems (again Burns or other poets’ work, well done P7 for their Address to a Haggis) and Scottish country dancing. Was a lovely event and we even got haggis, neeps and tatties at the interval (washed down with Irn Bru of course)…delicious! I love haggis. I don’t care what it’s made of, it’s sublime! Our school started the Burns event last year and invites parents, grandparents and carers. It’s a good way of getting the community together and I find it’s a chance to not only see my weans perform, but to catch up on folk I haven’t seen for ages. More importantly (because when I was growing up we celebrated everyone else’s culture except our own – my first Burns supper was in sixth year at high school!) I like the fact that they are celebrating the Bard and being Scottish…it’s important.

...These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

…These were taken about 3.30pm in the afternoon. Look how dark it looks.

Also, apart from seeing friends, piano lessons and the kids’ stuff, I’ve been writing up the knitting patterns for our new project at Yarntastic (the knitting group we started at the school). I give to you little bags (for use for tablets or just to put your stuff in). Last time, we concentrated on casting on, casting off and garter (or knit) stitch. Now we are moving on to purl stitch and shaping. So the girls who returned again and are now fluent in garter stitch can move on. The newbies, including I was pleased to see, a young gentleman, can knit the same bags in garter stitch. Feels good to be passing on a skill such as knitting. I think it’s really important particularly when, having talked to the kids, I found out that if they could knit before it was their granny and not their mum that taught them. It seems that knitting missed out on a whole generation (mine). I was lucky, my mum knitted, my grannies knitted, it was normal in our family. It was my mum who taught me to knit and I took it from there. I don’t think I’ll ever be as lovely a knitter as my mum, but I try my best.



Just finished reading Molly Keane’s Time after Time. Loved it. She’s such a vivid, perceptive writer. It is a lovely, humorous book about an elderly brother and three sisters whose staid lives are completely thrown into chaos by the arrival of their mischievous and equally decrepit cousin Leda. Really enjoyed it. Now I can’t decide whether or not to read another of hers or something else…does Terry Prachett call? Hmmm…maybe. Or what about another Claire and Jamie story courtesy of Diana Gabaldon? Decisions, decisions. Still reading Nora’s book…it’s one of those books you can pick up and put down. Still enjoying it. I think Terry wins out just now. Now…which one???

Right, I need to be off. Til next time.

Dawn xx

Chewed earrings, bumps to the heads and high temperatures

Alan Clark Diaries and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf - I've just finished with Alan and am now on to Virginia.

Alan Clark Diaries and To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf – I’ve just finished with Alan and am now on to Virginia.

It’s been a week of drama and dashing around crazily. When I say ‘week’ I really mean around a week-and-a-half which began last Thursday night when I got a phonecall from Brown Owl to say the girl had had an accident. The Brownies meet in a local hall and had been playing a game called Fish, Chips & Peas (which apparently requires them to run around like mad). My girl was going at top speed, tripped over one of her friends and crashed head first into a metal pipe (probably one connected to one of the old fashioned metal radiators in the hall). Anyway, I grabbed the boy and together we rushed over to the hall to retrieve the casualty to find her sobbing her heart out with an ice pack placed on her forehead.

Once she calmed down she seemed fine and deep down I thought she was fine (although a little sore – it was quite a crack she gave herself), but a colleague of mine had suffered a fractured skull a few weeks before (falling from a ladder as she tried to put her parents’ Christmas tree away in the loft) and my girl complained of not being able to see properly, so I took her up to our local hospital. Linda, the nurse there, checked her out and was fantastic with her. My girl, now recovered from her ordeal, talked the ears off the poor woman. About half an hour and a few tests later, the girl was allowed home and me and hubby spent a bit of a sleepless night getting up to check on her every few hours. She is absolutely fine and only had a scratch to show for her ordeal. My colleague – after a couple of nights spent in hospital – is also recovered now.

Over the weekend, everything was fine until the boy developed a high temperature on Sunday and was sick (thankfully he was standing next to the toilet when it happened and was able to be sick there instead of – as usually happens – all over the carpet or on a hard to clean soft furnishing). We dosed him up with Calpol and Ibruprofen (marvellous stuff) and hoped he’d be fine the next day.

He wasn’t and managed to bring up a glass of water all over our bed. Sigh. He had to spend that day off school as he still had a temperature. By teatime, though, it was as if he’d never been sick – he was bouncing. It’s funny how illnesses that normally floor an adult for days only trouble kids for a couple. The boy is still a bit sniffy, but is fine despite falling and bumping his head off the doorframe on Tuesday morning. Sigh.

The other drama of the week happened last night as I was stretched out on the sofa happily watching a recording of Father Brown (which I am enjoying immensely). I had Darcy (my Guinea Pig) lying at my neck enjoying being stroked when the little ****** leapt up, grabbed my pearl earring, yanked it out of my ear and chomped on it. Five minutes and two bitten fingers later, I hadn’t retrieved my earring and the wee besom just sat there looking extremely pleased with himself. I was worried on two counts: firstly the earring was part of a pair hubby had given me for my 30th birthday, secondly I did not think the little creature would survive it going through his system. Luckily, after about ten minutes of chewing he spat out first the pearl and then the stem. The pearl survived intact, the stem is all chewed. I’ll see if I can restore it, but I think I may have to visit a jewellers soon!

What I’m reading right now – just finished Alan Clark Diaries and loved it. Alan Clark was such a character and probably the only person in the Govt of the 1980s who had any kind of personality. I’m not a Tory – never will be – but I liked him. Excellent book. Highly entertaining. Anyway, towards the end of the book he mentioned Virginia Woolf and I’ve been hearing her name or reading about her a lot recently so for my next book I decided to read my copy of To the Lighthouse. I’d tried reading this before and hadn’t liked it. This time is better, but it’s annoying me that the narrator’s point of view seems to be jumping all over the place…reading from an omniscient point of view can be quite challenging, I think. It’s also difficult for the writer to create a good book doing it that way. I shall reserve judgement for now except to say that it’s so far so good.

What I’ve been watching – I watched that programme about Rabbie Burns last week just to see what he would look like when they recreated his head and face from a casting of his skull. I am (and always will be) exceptionally curious. The programme was really good talking about Burns’ rise to fame and eventual death. Then came the unveiling of the bust – is it just me or did that reconstructed head look a bit odd? Also did you spot the guy standing beside it who could have been a descendent cos he looked so like the Bard?

Talking of Burns, I totally forgot that last Friday night was Burns Night, despite the fact I had bought a Haggis (MacSween’s – the best haggis EVER). We had pizza instead and are having the haggis tonight with neeps and tatties…yum.

On that note, I’m awa’ tae dae somethin’!! Am awa’ tae pit oan tha haggis!

Dawn xxx

PS Game of Thrones series 3 starts in March or April! Wooohoooo!

Just photos…

The River Clyde the other night…

A trip to Edinburgh Castle…


Stunning windows…

The clock tower where the crown jewels are housed…

Inside the Great Hall…

Again from the Great Hall…

I just loved these…

Another room in the castle…

The lion…

The horse…

I couldn’t show the crown jewels as you’re not allowed to take images of them, but they were impressive. My favourite pics are of the lion and the horse statues which I just think are really stunning.

The castle wasn’t the only thing I visited in Edinburgh when I was there earlier this week. Also managed to take in the Writers’ Museum which is dedicated to Sir Walter Scott, Rabbie Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson…all writers I admire. Plus finally got round to visiting the National Gallery. I’d never been before and I just loved wandering around its warm rooms gazing at pictures I’d only seen in books. It was a very enjoyable day.

Dawn xxx