Animal doings

B2015 HedgehogfoodTake a guess what this is?  The straightforward among you might say that it is water or maybe vodka or maybe gin, and possibly marzipan sweets or boiled egg. But – the glass is overly large for spirits so it is probably water and if it is a snack then chopped up egg is the most likely. You might also fear for my sanity or wonder if there is a miracle of birth at 71 coming along. On second thoughts, nobody would think that – except perhaps somebody who has had a clutch of children and is getting well into their dotage.  Ahem . . . . . . . .

Does the next photo help?

B2015 HedgehogsetupDead of night – the shadow gives it away. HBTW (Him Behind the Wheel) is pouring water into a shallow tray. Aha! whatever it is cannot drink out of a glass. So if it is not escaped monkeys, dexterous pine martens or squirrels then the chances are that it is food fit for a hedgehog. Indeed that is the case; we have in fact been seeing a happy little hedgehog shuffling about the garden during the dark evenings. This is the time of year when these delightful little animals need to stock up their fat reserves in readiness for hibernation next month. I have it on reliable information that they like hard-boiled egg. And appropriately sized helpings have been disappearing. A whole egg is too much – it seems that about a third of an egg is about right.

So much for our friends the slug-eaters.
Misty has been in a photo-shoot as well.

New tartan collar – not always easy to photograph. And brand new raincoat. (Excuse the background, when taking pictures of Misty it is a case of grab your camera and grab your chance when you can. Moments don’t last long.)

B2015 MistycollarB2015 Mistycoat

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Diva dog

Version 2

Misty has had an afternoon of pretending to be a Diva Dog. She has effectively outworn her fourth collar – there have been two puppy-sized and two adult-sized red ones in her lifetime, but then she will be 10 years old next month. She will now be sporting a tartan collar in predominantly red. I haven’t yet photographed her in it as she has indicated that it needs to be worn in a tad.

We have a box of doggy odds and ends in the cupboards underneath the food store and I am a bit ashamed to confess that on investigation I discovered that there are a total of 8 new collars of various sizes and designs therein. It looks like we have gone through the Oh-dear-this-collar-is-just-about-falling-to-bits scenario followed by a not very successful trip to the pet shop for a replacement.

I am now in the process of looking for a new raincoat that she will like and will do the job. Our autumn weather is usually rather wet. Let’s face it our spring weather is wet, our summer weather is certainly wet and and our winter weather is either wet or snowy and windy. The difficulty with cairn terriers is that though they are tough little dogs, they are very low to the ground so are susceptible to the aches and pains caused by the cold and wet. We perhaps should whisper the next bit – Misty is getting a little bit less agile and needs plenty of TLC.

Don’t we all!

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

End of sabbatical

Version 3

My six-month sabbatical has come to an end and I am getting myself into more of a routine for autumn and the computer activities that come with impending winter. Lest you think I have been off travelling somewhere exotic or holed up on a tropical island let me put paid to that. This, being our 50th Wedding Anniversary year, we chose to do a grand tour of friends and family – often in the motorhome, always with Misty and inevitably with a bottle of bubbly or two. So there have been barbecues, hot-tubbing, concerts, meeting new people and generally having fun. So – no time for the poorly blog which has languished here unattended and largely unviewed.

B2015 F&RCuttingcake

Excuse the poor quality of the scanned photo but here are The Happy Couple cutting the cake made by a friend. It was a very small gathering of a dozen guests. When we got to the hotel it turned out that they had forgotten we were coming. Just as well then that we were so few and that they could rustle up a good meal in what seemed like no time at all.

Memories of the day are like snapshots in my mind: a face that was sore from grinning; a bouquet trembling in my hands as my uncle walked me down the aisle in the church;  the Minister’s kindness; the drive to Loch Lomond in the pouring rain; a feeling of having come home. And thereafter a few days honeymoon in Argyll, the county where we are now enjoying the retirement we thought about all that time ago. There is a photo I would love to share of the two of us side by side – we really do look like children. Unfortunately the scanner has taken against it, so that’s something else to sort out.

A confession now. Setting up this blog post has taken me over 2 hours. Apple have updated their operating system to Yosemite which has taken some getting used to, and of course I have been hopping and skipping through life instead of sitting in front of my trusty imac. I find myself somewhat deskilled, simply by a combination of factors. What I am sure of is that it is worth keeping going with the technical side of life. Over this summer we have seen the advance of computer-speak, as it were; bank cards have become touchy feely, indeed all you need to do is wave them near the appropriate terminal and money up to £20 a time is whizzed from your bank account. (Memo to self, keep my wallet away from counter tops.) Apple TV is another innovation – it does lots more than is on the box. New phones are getting more and more tempting and digital cameras are a whizz.

Hopefully, this is me back in the world of blogging. I want to catch up with blogging friends from all over the world and make the most of my faculties while I have them. It really is true to say that if you don’t use it you lose it. One question for anyone who does find their way here – is there anything you would like me to blog about? My tastes are quite eclectic, but I freely admit I get terribly anxious about many of the wrongs in the world. I’m not really sure whether worries are better ignored or shared. But I don’t want to spread sleepless nights or alarm abroad, as it were.

It’s fun to mither1 on herein, therapeutic in fact, so thanks for reading and please do share your thoughts and ideas. Blessings to all from the wilds of Argyll.

1, “mither” an old Scots word used by my Granny to mean fussing on about something, rather like a dog with a bone.
Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Easter Treat

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

The dancers are all away dancing!

B2015 Teadance

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

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


Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

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

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

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.

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

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

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments