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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Birds in the snow

B2015 SnowmarchgateWoke up this morning to discover that the snow was lying. Usually by March we are starting to have better days, but this year just goes on colder and colder. You can see the loss of the Honeysuckle Trellis and how bare it looks. Any ideas?

The birds were enjoying an early breakfast at the feeders so I sat and enjoyed coffee and a happy half-hour watching their chattering and squabbling. I never fail to remember a certain elderly parishioner – someone lovely and gracious, who made the best of life – whenever I visited in daylight we sat together at the window looking at the birds enjoying the nuts. I usually thought to myself that I hoped I had a bird feeder I could watch in retirement. The time passed all too quickly, and in a few short weeks I shall have been retired for 10 years. Yet another anniversary.

So today’s Birthday Month treat has to be watching the birds in the snow. What’s your daily happy moment?

B2015 Snowbirds

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Web HoneysuckleEvery winter we lose some plants – mainly because the frosts and winds are so severe in this part of the world. So I am sad to report that the honeysuckle trellis from over the back gate fell foul of a gale force storm not so long ago. HBTW hacked back the winter-resting branches and I am hoping that they will rejuvenate miraculously. We haven’t yet sourced a replacement arch – that will be tomorrow’s job. The birds are kind of used to the bare look, but I’m not sure.

Change is far more disturbing in the Elder Years I find. I shall miss the sight, sound and smell of the densely packed branches. Yes – I did mean sound . . . . . . . . . it was a favourite place for the birds to sit, half-hidden prior to launching themselves onto the feeders.


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Birthday Month

B2011 SnowdropcrocusYes – it is that time already, and this year it has taken me by surprise somewhat. This winter seems to have been very long, very dark, very cold and very wet. Usually by March I feel relieved and as if the year has turned towards the spring – not so just now.

The snowdrops are only just starting to fill out and the crocuses look rather startled, as if the cruel cold world in Dalamory is too much for them. I confess to having felt like that myself at times this year. We have been incredibly busy with various projects, including helping Son #3 with his removal. As a result the bones, joints and ligaments have been complaining, even though they may be more supple.

Having a Birthday Month has become a fixture in my blogging year and I know that other people have taken on the idea. It is about actively choosing to engineer or find little treats in the form of outings or rewards each day. They don’t have to be expensive, though I confess that last year’s 70th was an exception. It is an extension of the concept of looking for the good things in each day. One of the things I like to do last thing at night is to think of three special moments in the day. For me, it is about sensing either joy or knowing God present in the world. That is a whole lot better than focussing on all the bad things that are thrown up by the media.

What has your “Polyanna Moment” been today?

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