Monday, 25 January 2010

Burns and Tulip Dress

Well, I did my first 'Answer for the Lassies' speech on Saturday evening, and it went okay, surprisingly!  I was so nervous, which is a bit daft as I knew most of the people there, and had made friends with the visiting family to the hotel where it was held.  I had to change just one of the phrases I would have like to use, as it was very strong, and really not appropriate for the mixed company there, but hey ho. 

We did enjoy the evening, and met several people who are on, or have used, the weightwatchers diet plan.  So, we're fixed to definitely go on Thursday.  The raised their eyebrows a bit when I commented that, as I'd bought the magazine, and joined the GMTV diet thingy, I should have lost weight already.  But, apparently, it doesn't work like that, there is a little more to it!

I am still wading through the students' reports, and am so looking forward to getting right down to the sewing and knitting I have piling up around the place.  I am looking at the moment, for a Husqvana embroidery sewing machine on the old fleaBay, and will keep checking each day to see what comes up, locally.  This seems to be the one that gives me everything I'm looking for - sturdy and tough, plenty of room for rolling up quilts to sew, the embroidery stitches I would love to use for embellishing, and probably more stuff that I know what to do with, yet!

I am desperate to get into more of the sewing of clothes (Wow, this looks really interesting, Nikki's Tulip Dress Pattern, here and, she's hosting a giveaway, too!)  as well as the embroidery.  I also got a lino cutting tool for a Christmas pressie, so will deffo be looking at printing.... but, that's a whole other area!  I have been going to an oil painting workshop, a short, five week, course, and am so surprised at the lovely paintings I've produced so far - except the 'Pheasant' one!  It's head is too large, and it has an oyster catcher's beak, but the tail feathers are wonderful!  When I bring it home, I may post a piccie of just the feathers, the rest is crap!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

No title

The funeral was yesterday morning and, as ever when it is a young person, was overwhelming in the amount of people attending - at least 700.  We were in the hall that had a live link up, and there was standing room only, with people standing at least three deep.  The service was in three parts - telling of the person's life, with funny stories, the now - where the family are deeply mourning, and the lots of support they have; and then what the future will hold for them, how they will find a new routine, a different way of being from now on. 

I haven't been to a burial for many a year.  I wondered what word I could use to describe it, but, for me, I found it shocking.  These days we are used to the streamline-ness of the crematorium, the smooth path of going into the room, having a service.  Then the curtains close and everyone troops outside to look at the flowers, cry, hug and have a fag.  This was stark.  Especially, with all the crunchy, snow and cold air that creaped into your bones.  His body was carried in the coffin, piled high with flowery tributes, by family and friends, lowered into the ground and personal things put into there with him, as they didn't want, and he was too young, for flowers to be thrown down.  He had a shotgun salute and a hunting horn played in the misty air, then sobbing parents, family and young friends were silently drawn away.

I don't know how his parents woke up that morning, knowing they had to bury their son.  I know this happens all the time and all around the world.  That this is life.  Awe, it's shite sometimes.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Yip, more snow!

Mount Blair, Glenshee

Can you believe it?  Yip, more blimmin' snow today, and a very dreary day it's been, too.  I've got the house ready for the rellies of the young man who was killed last week.  His distraught parents are as you would expect, and no-one is looking forward to the funeral on Saturday.

I am still battling away with the final reports and marking for my students, and it is far and away more work than I had expected.  Also, there is so much that has to be backed up with evidence - a lot of which I hadn't realised, so haven't got it.  This is what is keeping me awake at night, and I've decided to just write what I know, and provide all the evidence I have.  I just hope it doesn't scupper their results, as they have been such lovely people, who thankfully, will make very good, solid social workers.

Mr T can't get out to do anything, does not want to do anything indoors, apart from sleep, watch telly and mess about on his laptop, playing games etc.  This is a 54 year old, fit (apart from a gippy back at times) man.  It is ridiculous that he has nothing better to do!  grr!  I tried to get him to do some baking this afternoon, after all he is quite a good cook and his pastry is to die for, but no, he confirmed he is no baker, closed his eyes and stacked the Zzzzz's! 

So, I made a batch of scones myself, entered some lotto and euro-millions draws on t'internet, and now I shall get on with my work.

Friday, 15 January 2010


..... er, actually, no.  A black lab who munched her way through half my cake!

I have cut off the half that could be salvaged for us to eat*, thank goodness it wasn't meant for anyone else.  I could have killed the little bugger, but we did have to laugh as she's never done anything like this before.

This recipe, is a Whole Orange Spice Cake from Mary Berry's New Aga Cookbook  and, first of all involves boiling up an orange for an hour or so until it is soft, letting it cool, then whizzing it up and adding the rest of the ingredients, baking it etc.  So, prolonged, you might say.  So, when a blimmin' dog goes behind your back and gets busy with it ... Luckily, the bit we've tasted is delicious, and a black lab, called Cally, thinks so, too grr!

We shouldn't actually be eating cake as we're so fat at the moment, so she might be doing us a bit of a favour, anyway.  We were meant to be joining Weight Watchers last week, but had arranged for friends to come for dinner.  And, this week due to our neighbour's son's tragic death, I have been asked to step in at the last minute to cook for a shooting party up for the weekend.  Hence, the baking.  And, next week is 'Rural' night on Thursday (we're doing a pudding club evening, of all things!)  So, we'll have a re-think.  I don't want to do it from home as I've tried these before and gotten nowhere.  Well, these things are sometimes meant to be and the best thing to do is just to go with the flow sometimes, isn't it?

* I know not very hygienic, but it's our home, our dog and OUR CAKE!  She is not usually allowed anywhere near any cooking I do so please don't report me.  Oh dear, it does sound awful, doesn't it?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Wow, L@@k!

Tee, hee that is sometimes the heading I use when flogging stuff on fleaBay.  But, today it is absolutely appropriate as, ta daaaa, my hottie, withe cover arrived from FiELDy which I won as a giveaway from her blog!                                                                                                                                

This will definitely be travelling with me in March, when we will be taking our caravan down South, to
visit our new grandson, who should be arriving around the 7th.

We are then going to Wales for the 14th, for my uncle's surprise 60th birthday party, so, it will be well travelled and will never, ever be offered up for sale on fleaBay!

The weather outside is still as frightful, with even more snow falling yesterday and then today.  It is falling upon ice, upon snow, upon ice etc and is treacherous.  I am too nervous to drive out in it, even with Mr T's four wheel drive (no, that isn't our tractor in the picture, the view just now from my kitchen window) so, I won't be going to three very important business meetings tomorrow.  I've had to cancel, yet again due to the weather. 

But, earlier in the week I had to cancel a meeting due to difficulties with my daughter's ex-husband.  They have been parted for over ten years, and she has since re-married.  But, the ex has an alcohol problem, which renders him abusive and violent.  My daughter has tried to keep things open for her the sake of her daughter (nanny's best girl) to keep in touch with her father, but this week took the biscuit.  There were abusive and threatening messages on facebook and by text that, in the end, had to involve the police and solicitor's strong-arm for an injunction - even though he lives in  England, with it's own, different  laws than here in Scotland.  This is all while her husband has been away with work, too.  Grr, I do hate what alcohol can do to a person, and his family.

Other sad news is that a neighbour's son was killed yesterday in a car smash.  He was only seventeen, and other neighbours say he was a good and careful driver.  It will all come out in the enquiries as there was another car involved, but it is dreadfully sad for the family and the little community in which we live.

On an unrelated note - I shall have to give up coffee, methinks.  As I had a fairly long report to write yesterday, I shored myself up all day with several cups of coffee and low-cal instant hot chocolate drinks, on top of the usual many cups of tea.  Hmm, so, at about 5.30 am this morning, after not having any sleep at all, I was hunting down the night-time corvonia cough mixture to drug myself into slumber!  Hence, when postie brought my lovely parcel from FiELDy, I was still attired in my dressing-gown.  Shades of 'Woman in a dressing-gown'  but without the marriage difficulties eh?  Though saying that, cabin fever is a tad rampant in Mr T at the moment - another reason for the blimmin' horrid weather to bugger off now, no fun anymore!

* I have been a very lucky girl of late, as I also won a bag kit from Sew Chic just before Christmas, woo, hoo, and in Red!  I did take piccies of the kit and will post them up, together with said made bag, at sometime in the very near future.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

WW - still!

The view from the hill behind us, a couple of days ago, with a stunning sky view

Yep, it's still a Winter Wonderland up here in Scotland, as most other places, too.  But, I think, unlike others I am in love with the snow!  We went sledging today, me and the girlies, and has such fun for half and hour or so.  We dragged the little one up and down the hill - she's only 2 1/2 years old, so in no way old enough to sledge by herself, though she wanted to.  And, the other one, age 12 years, loved going up and down same hill - by herself, though!

Then, we had the hot chocolate I'd brought in flasks and warmed up our rosy red cheeks in the car.  As I was driving back home the sun was shining on the hills and I wondered where better to live.  It was beautiful, but I hadn't got the camera with me at that point, so didn't grab a piccie, grr.

In other news, you'll see by the logo on the right up there, that I've joined the Knit Love Club (KLC) (which I did in September, before I made any attempt at New Year's Resolutions.)  I also joined the Ravelry KLC group today, and realised how much I have missed out on with the group already - a miniture sock and Valentine swap so far, but now I'm joined I'll be all geared up for the next 'whatever.'  Joining the KLC means that I will receive some gorgeous sock yarn every couple of months - yippee!  Which is especially good for me as I am still aiming to clear my stash of yarn as well as fabric. 

I have been swimming, once, and had a couple of walks, but could not join Weight Watchers last week as we had friends coming for their dinner and, as we had to cancel them previously due to illness, I was not about to repeat such rudeness!  We had a lovely time, anyway, and I was nervous as the lady wife is a chef herself, but everything seemed to go to plan, and tasted delicious as well - so the good cooking fairy must have been looking after me.  I have not been doing so well with the getting to bed bit - up until nearly 2 am this morning.  But, that is to be addressed tonight when I shall be abed by 10.30 pm latest.  If you see me lurking after this, shoo me away!

Sunday, 3 January 2010

The List

Yesterday's view from the chicken hut,up the hill. You can just see the chimneys of our house on the left there.
The snow is still here, and another inch or so has fallen today.

Yep, the New Year Resolutions List.  Gotta be done, I'm afraid.

Though, actually, the only reason it's gotta be done is that I'm getting older, and more blimmin' forgetful.  I find now that if I don't write it down, it don't get done.  At the moment I've lost my last year's diary.  Now, that shouldn't be a problem in itself, except that it's one of those that goes on until next June or somesuch.  But, I've decided to go back to my ever faithful filofax - the one I've had since about 1988, when they were all the rage and my brother gave it to me for my birthday.  I drag it out every so often and it does me quite well.  However, my current problem is that I haven't transferred my appointments into the filofax from the old diary.  Oh well, as I generally find, it will turn up at some point.  So long as it's not after my precious next hair (colour and cut) appointment, nothing else is that important.  (My hairdresser is so good, so local, and so booked up that if you miss your appointment, you're hard pushed to be allowed to make another - ask me, I know.)

Anyway.  The List.

  1. make a birthday present each month, even if no birthdays in that month.  My sister-in-law (the moo) sent us a calendar at Christmas, with all their birthday dates marked in it.  Mr T isn't offended, but then it's not him who sends the cards and presents, or gets the blame if they don't arrive.
  2. make a Christmas present each month, the rush this year was just plain silly.  We know it happens each year, we know the date in advance.  No excuses for being late or rushing
  3. we are joining weightwatchers on Thursday, the weight has to come off now.  I am currently prescribed pills for blood pressure and cholesterol, which I hate.  But, following my mum's recent heart attack, it is likely that I shall follow suit.  And, the GP has promised that if I can reduce either/both of these, I can come off the pills.  A no brainer.
  4. get rid of all the rubbish, even if it means USING the fabric and yarn in my stash in order to do so.  It must go.  There are other fabrics and yarns I wish to own.  So, some existing stuff has to go to make room.
  5. the rubbish thing also means the clothes I have hoarded - to get slim and fit into them again ...  We've all done it, I have done it big time.  The boot of my car is currently housing about five sacks of stuff that is ready to go to the charity shop.  Go it must.  It is not allowed back into the house, even if I decide I want it back, before the snow melts and I can get my car out of the drive.  No admittance.
  6. and another rubbish thing - people and situations.  The situations I have more or less got sorted, except the Rural, where I am secretary until May.  And, then I shall NEVER, EVER be on another committee again.  And the people who are not really friends after all, or those who do me down, or I just don't like - are now banished from my life.  I have some wonderful friends, and some wonderful family - I do not need anyone else, and the 'rubbish' are no longer part of my life.
  7. health - now, I love riding, it is good for my back, my fitness, my posture.  I shall do more of it.  At least once a fortnight I will ride.  And, then I will Swim - ooh, that stretching is just luvverly!  Sleep.  Another area I fall down a lot on.  From tomorrow (it is now after midnight and I'm up, typing this) I will be in my bed by 10 o'clock.  If I read, watch telly, have sex, or sleep, I will be in my bed.  I just bought a flannelette sheet for our bed and it is the most luxurious comfy item I have bought in a long time.  Except, of course, the velvet coat I treated myself to just before Christmas, which is a joy to wear.
  8. clothes - which I have always loved and taken pride in.  However, as I've been just a housekeeper for the past five years, I haven't bothered with, too much.  But, now that I am doing other, professional, work as well, I have revelled in having to have 'proper' clothes to wear.  This will continue, as of now.
  9. making stuff - such a pleasure to lose myself in making something for somebody, or even myself.  If I practice more, I shall improve, thus get more pleasure from this.  Yesterday, I was almost speechless with joy as my daughter wanted to sew with me!  I decided that, as lolly-dolly-pop was here and a captive audience, I could whip up a pair of trousers for her, and my daughter had a go at sewing a couple of the seams - er, an un-heard of presidence!  More of that, please.
  10. keeping in touch - with the people I love.  Now, I am absolutely rubbish at keeping in touch with people.  I am happy to speak, email or write when I am contacted but crap at picking up the 'phone etc to open up the dialogue (I love that word dialogue for some reason.)  Trouble is, people do get upset when I don't get in touch with them, and I think they think it must be just them.  But, it's not - it's me!  So, this year, prompted by my best friend, Flick, who suggested she wanted to write proper letters in the future, I shall do the same.  I have bought nice paper and envelopes, and will stock up on stamps.  I will collect up my Christmas cards from this year and, as usual, sort out the pile of people I simply must write to, and WRITE to them.
  11. money - sort out my money and my spending habits.  I have to find an accountant to organise my income, pensions, tax and stuff - pronto.  And, as an exercise in being more thrifty and not wasting dosh, I want to find out how much Mr T and I would have to live on each week if we had to survive on the state pension - and see how far we could live on that.
  12. be happy - I think that if I do some or all of the above, I will feel more in control of myself and my life.
This is probably a bit 'navel watching' but, ..... well, so what?

HAPPY NEW YEAR, (and new decade) EVERYBODY