Easter Treat

A Tea Dance – a 10yr Anniversary of being retired treat. (10-ABR)

The dancers are all away dancing!

B2015 Teadance

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Special Day

Today is a special anniversary – one which helps me recover from the fact that the Birthday Month is well and truly over, (for another year.)  Today, I have been retired for 10 years. That I have lasted as long is a great delight and somewhat of a surprise.  The original Consultant Doctor who told me to “re-think” my life was obviously not expecting such a healthy recovery, and to be honest I cannot believe how quickly these last few years have whipped past. Providing I take life at a relatively gentle pace I am well enough to enjoy most activities. . . . . . . . .   not hang-gliding of course, but walks in the countryside and pottering about are fine. I like to think of these elder-years as being golden years, and I realise how fortunate I am.

So I have come up with a good idea.

How about a 10yr-Retirement Anniversary Month?

That means more treats, more adventures and absolutely no guilt. Come on Misty, where shall we go?

B2015 Mistybackseatdriver


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Many treats

B2015 AshbudsThe Birthday Month is nearly over again – in fact the birth date itself has long gone. Here are some of the Treats in the past nine days.

  • Picnic by the Crinan Canal looking at the buds nearly ready to open out
  • Afternoon tea in an organic restaurant: – Earl Grey from a pot
  • Watching The Proposal again on dvd – a real feel-good film.
  • Walking by the river in the sunshine
  • Reading a novel in a day and a half and not feeling guilty.
  • Pretty birthday presents in small boxes
  • Nearly managing to dance the Salsa
  • Helping to tidy HBTW’s computer space – Yes, really, this is a treat!

And this evening it is Dance Class again, only this week we will be concentrating on ballroom rather than Latin. There is a countdown involved in getting ready to go out, which is watched rather suspiciously by Misty. First of all, out come the silver dancing shoes to be packed, along with a bottle of water. Next comes choosing the “outfit” – black trousers, t -shirt and floaty top. . . . . .   all designed for comfort. I doubt I could manage a so-called ballroom dress. It is difficult enough with one and three quarter inch heels.

After the necessary ablutions and getting changed comes the real challenge – putting on some eye make-up. To think I used to wear this every day . . . . . the secret being for it to look as if one was not actually using any at all. The trouble now is that I need a 6 x magnifying mirror to have any chance of getting any approximation of subtlety. If my hands are still steady enough I find a pair of drop-earrings . . . . the final touch. Then, we leave a mournful little dog and set off the 300 yards or so to the Community Centre. There is something about the combination of exercise and music that lifts the mood. There is also the tendency to forget the steps, trip up, tread on one another’s feet and collapse in laughter. Any wonder I call it a Treat?

The whole of life can be about searching out the little happinesses. In fact it is a good way to live. A combination of enjoying life and recognising it. As a Minister I am only too well aware of how suddenly happiness can be swept away. Indeed the recent plane crash in the French Alps illustrates this all too starkly. And I tend to focus on the negatives in life far too much. Politics tends to depress me rather than invigorate me, in direct contrast to HBTW. Poverty, injustice, violence, war . . . . . . .  so many problems. But then there is the beauty of the daffodils coming into flower again as promised.

I hope you see the happy things in life today, and if that is too hard, know that the prayers of others will be there for you at times when there seems to be no hope.

B2014 Daffodilsvase

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Beach trip

Today’s Birthday Month Treat was a trip to the beach. You can see the happiness on the faces of both Misty and HBTW. The beach wasn’t exactly busy either.

B2015 Ganavan

B2015 MistyrobinbeachAnd the day was all the better for being in the motorhome and having lunch with a wonderful view of the Isle of Mull. When we got home, Misty directed operations as HBTW parked up in the driveway.

B2015 Mistybackseatdriver

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Happy dog!

Now you can see Misty’s face. Her groomer came this morning and parked outside in the mobile salon. I’ve included before and after photos so you can see the difference. This is a real Birthday Month Treat.

B2015 MistybeforeMar


B2015 MistyafterMar

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Signs of Hope

B2015 CrocusesYep – an hour of sunshine and these beauties opened up! Planted in hope last November and here they are showing that Spring really will come again.

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March treat

B2015 FreesiasandrosesThese are the treat of the week. It’s ages since I have had the pleasure of watching and smelling freesias open in a bouquet. Unlike my Mother I enjoy having cut flowers in the house. She used to say she couldn’t bear to watch them die. In my own case it is worse to watch house-plants wither and die – such is my track record.

Today being International Women’s Day I thought I should choose something worthy from online or newspapers to talk about. Sadly, much of the reportage is on the negatives rather than the positives. And to be honest it makes for some very uncomfortable reading. One thing is sure though, I am always reminded of how fortunate I am to be living in Scotland / United Kingdom / the West. Life at least purports to be fair and just and we do have recourse to a mostly uncorrupt judicial system in the event that something goes wrong.

When we do the best we can, we never know what miracle is wrought in our life,
or in the life of another.  Helen Keller

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Changes in Food

Going the rounds on the internet at the moment – some observations on food.


   Pasta had not been  invented.

Curry was a surname.

A takeaway was a mathematical  problem.

A pizza was something to do with  a leaning tower.

Bananas and oranges only appeared at Christmas time.

All crisps were plain; the only  choice we had was whether to put the salt on or not.

A Chinese chippy was a foreign carpenter.

Rice was a milk pudding, and never, ever part of our dinner.

A Big Mac was what we wore when it was raining.

Brown bread was something only poor people ate.

Oil was for lubricating, fat was for cooking 

Tea was made in a teapot using  tea leaves and never green.

Coffee was Camp, and came in a bottle. 

Cubed sugar was regarded as posh.

Only Heinz made beans. 

Fish didn’t have fingers in those days.

Eating raw fish was called poverty, not sushi. 

None of us had ever heard of yoghurt.

Healthy food consisted of anything edible. 

People who didn’t peel potatoes were regarded as lazy.

Indian restaurants were only found in India. 

Cooking outside was called camping.

Seaweed was not a recognised food. 

“Kebab” was not even a word never mind a food.

Sugar enjoyed a good press in  those days, and was regarded as being white gold.

Prunes were medicinal.

Surprisingly muesli was readily available, it was called cattle feed.

Pineapples came in chunks in a tin; we had only ever seen a picture of a real one.

Water came out of the tap, if someone had suggested bottling it and
charging more than petrol for it they would have become a laughing stock. 

The one thing that we never ever had on our table in the fifties …….. were our elbows!

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Same is as same was

B2015 DeskstudyDoing some routine paperclog this morning set me to musing on work-space and the joys of having a study. For me, that is a whole treat in itself and more than qualifies as a Birthday Month pleasure. Way back in the distant years of small children everywhere and a life proscribed by meals, housework, washing, playgroup, cubs and living on the edge of the world – I used to dream about having a work-space or desk and the time to get on with being Me and doing something worthwhile such as writing a great novel. The way time has flown past I have never got round to the novel, great or not, but I have done a lot of writing. . . . . . . .   sermons, reports, talks, blog posts, letters and journals. However, for more than thirty years I have been blessed with a desk to write at.

Of course nowadays much of my writing is at the adjoining computer table, probably like most people. I suppose my love of a desk is a throw back to my early years as an insurance clerk (clerkess in those days and at a lower salary than the males – Harrumph!) Unlike most people I get a kick out of completing a pile of paperwork and administration. I used to delight in seeing a filing box emptied and a whole pile of reminders and reviews accomplished in good order. Changing Addresses, tracing people who had forgotten to pass on their new details, working out life assurance quotes. . . . . . all good stuff. No wonder the years flew past.

This morning I sat at my desk – an old one that has travelled to many places – and started on some necessary phone calls and paperwork on behalf of Son #3. Oh the joy when it was all done. Two bulky files reduced to two slimmer files and a whole load of paper to recycling and rubbish. Most satisfying.

Now why is it so hard to weed out my own filing system?

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The pleasure of 2:5

B2015 MacaronicheeseOne of the pleasures of the 2:5 eating plan is that on five days of the week no foods (within reason) are off limits.  Since I started this new way of eating eleven months ago I have lost 15 kilos and 2 dress sizes. That has got to be good news.

Macaroni cheese is an occasional treat and the oven chips are sheer indulgence. I should add that the plate is smaller than the usual sized dining plate. The psychology behind that is that the eye tells the stomach it is having a big meal. And in actual fact it was a very satisfying dish. The book giving details calls itself The Fast Diet, but that is more because of the two days based on 500 calories for the day rather than it being a quick way to lose weight.


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