Sharing a gift

This is a photo I received by email this morning.  A wonderful way to share in the enjoyment of friends.  Many thanks to you know who you are.

B2014 Woodpecker

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Home again

B2014 CamperfindhornAs you may have guessed we have been away doing a tour again – visiting Son #2 and having a trip round the Moray Coast. It is not called the Sunshine Coast for nothing.  Had a brilliant time apart from a leaky radiator which brought us home a bit early, however it is being repaired on Thursday.

Highlights (there were no lowlights. . . . . .)

  • Sitting in a hot tub with a glass of champagne – plastic glass of course.
  • Catching up with friends and family – face to face is so much better than over the phone or even skype.
  • Playing with great grandson – Sorry, I was too busy enjoying, I forgot to get the camera out.
  • A walk on windy Findhorn beach – crashing waves.
  • A little dog, tired out with walks, resting heavily on my knee.
  • Gin rummy.
  • Supermarket search for different foods.
  • Coming home.


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The Kelpies completed

Watched a TV documentary on Andy Scott’s Kelpies.  A magnificent project involving many hundreds of people. Definitely on the list to visit the Helix complex now it is completed. There is something special about a work of art that becomes a work of co-operation and a work of science and technology and engineering.

B2013 Kelpies


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Where memories go

B2014 BookwherememoriesgoWhere memories go is part autobiography, part memoir, part biography and part social comment. Sally Magnusson is clear in attributing her siblings, children and relatives with the positive way the whole family managed the illness of Mamie Magnusson, her mother. Mamie was a journalist, mother, grandmother and feisty individual whom we came to know more rather than less as the disease took hold.

Alzheimer’s Disease is cruel, relentless and unrelenting in its progress, but this book manages to give hope in the darkness, whilst at the same time commenting on the effects of dementia of all kinds worldwide. There is a way to triumph in the sense of someone having the best death possible. Yes, Mamie had the benefits of a comfortably off and articulate family unit around her. But her daughter does not shirk the responsibility of looking at the dark side of elderly care in the UK as well as elsewhere.

This week there have been further reports of abuse of patients and residents of care homes and there have been employees sacked for misconduct.. But what the story tells me, is that our society can be measured by the way we deal with such situations and the way that we struggle to ensure safety and security for elderly and fragile people approaching the end of their lives in the darkness of dementia.

I almost don’t like to rate this book, so perhaps I should just say that it could not be any better, always remembering the context in which it is written. The best thing I can say is that I am already re-reading it, for the sheer pleasure of sharing in a life lived to the full.


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No more rants

I am going to do the opposite of a rant. . . . . . . .

  • I won’t complain about a certain bank
  • I refuse to be drawn into an argument over justice and injustice
  • I’m not going to allow those 3 phone calls to spoil my day
  • I refuse to worry about what might or might not happen
  • I win
  • “They” lose.
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Dog watching

I woke up with a decided plan in my head – to go to the beach in the campervan, then visit Son #3 for a while. In other words a day off with no thoughts of housework or washing. Guess what? It started to rain come half past eleven. However, you know the famous adage of Magnus Magnusson, of Mastermind, I’ve started so I’ll finish . . . . . . . .  That is where a motorhome scores in spades, picnics in the dry no matter the weather.

We parked up at Ganavan and put the kettle on – the rain came steadily down, but then one brave dog-walker appeared complete with wellie boots, big umbrella and waterproof plus two energetic dogs. True to form, they disappeared over the hill. The next dog owner to appear looked less energetic. He stood on the boat slip and waved at his dog. She was a smooth-coated cross between a greyhound and something else – maybe even a staffie –  Oh my goodness could she run. For at least twenty minutes, she ranged back and forth across the sandy beach, in and out of the sea, chasing seagulls and barking all the time. I am convinced the gulls were playing the game as well. It was like watching a dog-ballet. At the end the owner waved her in and got back in his car.

And yes, our little Misty got her own walk after than. A bit less frenetic, but plenty of attitude of course.

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Entry Island

B2014 BookentryislandEntry Island is one of those books that pulls you into a story which is a story behind a story. The author handles the shift of time and place in an imaginative way and before long the book has you in its grip.

Entry Island, as its name suggests is at the entry point of immigrants to Canada in the 18th Century onwards. The people come mainly from Ireland, Scotland and France, though Peter May chooses to centre on the historical Highland Clearances from the Hebrides. I found myself gripped with the injustices and harsh treatment of crofting villagers. Being brought up in England, I was not up to date with the history of the famines and land disputes, though I am told by Scottish educated friends that the story was not always told in a balanced and fair way even in the Scottish educational system; thus Entry Island puts forward an emotive and strong view of landowners versus crofters.

There is an ongoing murder investigation with the lead investigator being a deeply troubled man in his personal life. All the makings, then, of mystery, intrigue and political history. The writing is vivid both in terms of narrative and description. May’s weather is so real as to enable the reader to get wet in the storms and blown off their feet in the gales. You can taste the electrical current in the lightening and gasp for breath as you read on and on – captivated.

I am a recent convert to Peter May, having read his Lewis Trilogy. To anyone who knows his writing, this latest offering is a classic of its kind. One to keep and return to at a more leisurely pace another day.

Characterisation is believable but maybe a bit over the top and for that reason I have marked it down to an 8 out of 10.

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Hannah update

Hannah at around 8 weeks. During a visit from Son #1.  It is truly wonderful to be able to keep in touch with her progress via facebook. Grandparents and parents will know what I mean when I say that she has “wise eyes.”  A real wee treasure.

B2014 Hannah7weeks

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Low Sunday

Our Locum Minister looked round church and said how pleasantly surprised he was to see so many people there on what is traditionally referred to as Low Sunday. The Sunday after Easter Day is thus called, he said, because of the low following on from the high of Easter.  When I was working in the parish I tended to think it was called this, because the Ministers were all exhausted and feeling “low” after all the adrenalin and rushing around of Easter and Holy Week.

One of the things that is so pleasant about being retired is that the lows and highs tend to be evened out. At least they do, if we let them. Life can become more gentle and more thoughtful when there are no huge demands like helping to provide big worship at the festivals of the Christian year. I like to think that the insights that come with ageing can be shared in a sensitive and caring way with colleagues, family and friends. At least that is my hope and my prayer. The central theme of love overcoming all things is the gift that retiral can put into sharp focus to enable us to share with one another.  Just like our Preacher urged us to do today.

Blessings to you and yours from Dalamory.

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In the green

I received delivery of a box of happiness yesterday – 100 snowdrops in the green. Armed with help and spades, I went outside to dig up little trenches to be the new homes for ten or so bulbs at a time. It is not as fiddly as it seems, since you just grasp the stems and bury the bulbs halfway up the leaf system.

As I was doing it I kept thinking of the joy they would bring next spring. It also seemed that there were nearer to 200 bulbs than the 100 on the description. Double joy.

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