Thanks also to Mary of Mary's Mixes for doing all the work on the blog's heading. You are great, Mary!
Friday, 28 November 2008
Tuesday, 25 November 2008
This tower belongs to the town house, the central building for the administration of the town. and in the background the ochre coloured building is what is known as the Palace, really just a grand house belonging to a wealthy family.
Uphill from there, on the way towards the abbey is the village square with its Mercat (market) cross. External stairs were a common architectural feature in the 15/16th centuries. Most Scottish towns were built in this fashion. Generally the living quarters were upstairs, above store rooms or maybe even shops at some stage.
Another grand house is known as the Study, with its prominent tower, half glazed windows and stepped gable. We call those steps corbie stanes or crow steps (can you imagine the crows hopping up from one to another?) You see a lot of corbie stanes in old Scottish buildings - and also in some modern architecture!
Another typical old Scottish feature is the pan tile roof, made up of terracotta S-shaped tiles that overlap each other to deflect rain water into the gullies they form between them, that in heavy downfalls they constantly run like small rivers dropping flowing waterfalls from the edges onto the pathways and lanes beneath.
Sunday, 23 November 2008
Well, the plumber has just called which is why I am up so early this morning! He was to have been here an hour ago but as he is a retained fireman too, he was out on a call earlier this morning and only just got back. Anyway, he climbed the ladder into the attic to inspect the boiler and would you believe it, turned a dial and whoosh, the pilot light lit and the thing fired into action! He didn't even need to open his tool box! I couldn't believe it! Weeks with no heating or hot water, he's in the house for two minutes - problem solved! I felt like a right idiot! However he said that these things happen for no reason sometimes so I felt a fraction better! Now I'll await the bill! The call out charge will be whopping!
Thursday, 20 November 2008
The shop refit has begun though so far there's not been a lot of evidence of things changing! All it seems to mean is that the staff room seems always to be full of workmen on breaks, drinking tea and eating cakes, fish and chips and chinese take aways! They use up all the mugs and take up all the chairs! I had to ask them yesterday how long they were going to be as I needed to take my break too! At least they all scarpered then! I stayed late last night to help move stock around after we closed for the night. Luckily we have a cellar that isn't getting anything done to it so we can put a lot of stuff we know won't be needed for a while in there! There is a mass of Christmas stuff that won't be displayed till after the refit now, so that all went down into the cellar, along with boxes of wine and spirits, more boxes of carrier bags and plastic rubbish sacks, etc.! It's unbelievable what stuff there is in the store room that hasn't seen the light of day in yonks! A lot of that is going out in the skip!
I'm now back from work and I can say that tonight has made a big difference in how the shop looks! After we closed - an hour early, at 10.00pm tonight - the guys got started on the removal of our old, horrible, designed-by-a-man counter! I mean what woman would design a counter with nooks and crannies for dust and dirt to get caught in! It was dreadful and apart from anything else it was totally impractical! Anyway tonight it is going - gone! A historic moment! I have hated that counter since I started working there several years ago!
Manager Keith came in tonight just to visit. He's on paternity leave just now, his partner having given birth to Jack just a couple of nights ago! Mother and baby doing well! Father is a bit gobsmacked, but feeling GRRRRREAT!
Then tonight was also the switching on of the Christmas lights, and late night shopping! Most of the High Street shops stayed open till 9.00pm and some had stalls on the street. I took half an hour of my break to go up and have a look around. The pipe band played and the silver band (not brass, but silver!) also entertained, while a group of fiddlers fiddled some great tunes in between times. There were several stalls with red and white striped awnings, some selling mulled wine and mincemeat pies or farmhouse cheeses; jams, jellies and chutneys; Christmas cards and wrapping paper; jewellery; light up starwars swords, flashing hairbands, bracelets and rings, etc...... but the biggest crowds were around the food stalls with their taste and test produce! The street was full of folk wandering and darting in and out of the shops. Back at work later one of the shop owners who had been handing out glasses of wine to customers came in twice to buy more wine! His shop was heaving with folk! We got quite busy too with people on their way home with young kiddies, after Santa Claus had put in an appearance, and later when the shops had closed and everyone was on their way home!
I had several pictures I was going to put in here tonight, but guess what! Can't open the page to upload pics! Now I don't know if it's my computer or the internet, but I am spitting tacks now - as they would say in Yorkshire - getting really cross! I will try again tomorrow, but after an hour of trying then closing the blogger page and reopening it to have another try, I am giving up for now. So, sorry!
Talk again soon.
Tuesday, 18 November 2008
Anyway I know someone who will like Tigger a lot, eh Rachel? Have fun playing with him!
Talk again soon!
Monday, 17 November 2008
So! there's a big sign at each end of the High Street saying the street will be closed for three hours on Thursday evening - for the switching on of the Christmas lights, and for the Christmas market, with stalls selling goodies and things for Christmas presents. So, the festive season has hit Peebles! I hate Christmas starting so early, and let's face it, our shops have been full of tinsel and sparkle for weeks already! By Christmas I've had enough of it! Had enough of the ho ho ho, here comes Santa Claus. I'm not a religious person, but what happened to the story of the baby in the manger? Isn't that what it was all about? It's just too big and too commercialised in the western world today and I hate it! Don't get me wrong... I like giving presents (and receiving them too) but there's no need to spend lots of money on them. So, friends and rellies, don't!!!!! Well, not on me, at any rate!
Today was Joe's art class again! How the weeks are flying by! We painted boats this week - rowing boats - bobbing on an early morning sea! I was quite pleased with the sketch I made but once again, painting ruined it! Joe spent a bit of time with me demonstrating the washes that made the sky in the distance and mid distance, and the sea. This is quite a different type of painting to what I did all those years ago at school! I mean, colours have funny names - like raw sienna, burnt sienna and burnt umber, which mean very little to me as it is such a long time since I was at school painting still life arrangements or flowers. We must have done some landscape stuff as I remember learning about things in the distance appearing smaller than in the foreground - which reminds me of a family story from the 1800s, written down by my great grand-uncle James about his brother Charles, another great grand-uncle. It appears that one day while visiting relations in Wigtown, a very young Charles was playing on the beach when he saw what he thought were fairy folk, also on the beach. To the amusement of his parents and older brothers the "fairy folk" turned out to be a group of fishermen away in the very far distance!
Anyway, here is Joe's painting of boats opposite the island of Lindisfarne. He mounted it in a frame for us to see this time, after he had demonstrated the various stages.
Do you remember last week's picture? Today I went around looking at other peoples' efforts and realised that the lady I was sitting next to is a wonderful artist! Here's her picture on the right beside Joe's! Two quite distinctive styles.
I really do find controlling the brush a big problem, which is why I think I would get on better with thick paint - acrylics or oils - where I can be a bit less finicky about the detail! Still, it's a good exercise - as an old friend in Yorkshire used to say!
Thinking about old friends made me think just now of Janet and Ray - old friends in the sense that I have known them for a lot of years! They just got back from a trip to Egypt, where they developed gyppy tummies, eventually feeling so rotten that they cut short their visit and flew home early. At least they had the best part, cruising down the Nile from Luxor, and sightseeing - all those tombs and temples! Wow! Welcome back, the two of you!
I must tell you about the present Janet gave me when I visited them a few weeks ago now. Janet printed out all my Antipodean blogs, complete with photos, and put them into a ring-binder file for me! I was so thrilled to bits to have it, so now I can just pick it up and leaf through it every now and again to remind me of the great time I had! It's odd how little details have already faded, but the book brings everything right back! What a gift! Thanks again, Janet! I'm still loving it!
Well, once again I am burning the midnight oil, so I think I should be heading for bed! A day off tomorrow! Still trying to decide what to do with it! There's lots to do at home here, but I can't be bothered tackling it! I'll see what the weather does first then I'll see if it's going to be a stay at home day or a go out one!
All for now then.
Talk again soon!
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Well, I collected lots of money for Cancer Research over the last two and a half days - all because of my pink hair! At 6.00 last night the can was full, so further donated money went into a bag - and by 11p.m. there was £62 in the bag alone!! That's £12+ an hour - nearly 3 times what I earn in that time - or 20p a minute! 20p a minute doesn't sound so impressive so let's stick with £12 an hour!! I reckon there will be about twice that in the collecting can itself, but as it has to be opened by a Cancer Research staff member I can't say exactly what that sum might be! Karen is the one who will do the opening and counting! Hopefully she will pick up the collecting tin today and will let us know very soon what we raised!
There have been all sorts of reactions to the fluorescent pink hair! Some said it was cool, great, very nice, nice, different, strange, weird, not nice, and some just took one look and laughed, grinned, snorted, guffawed, smiled, smirked..... but all in all they were very generous, and I want to thank every single one of them! Personally I hope the colour fades quite quickly! I'm not as brave as they all seem to think I am!
The colour has mellowed a little since I washed my hair yesterday! It's not so vivid now, thank goodness! However that's not what I was going to write about today. Yesterday I got my car back from the garage repair shop, so gears are all back in working order - and it didn't cost nearly as much as I feared! I parted with £37. I had thought it would be into three figures - garage bills usually are - so was quite happy, well, as happy as you can be when you've had a repair bill!
However I am still waiting for the plumber to come and fix my central heating boiler. It hasn't been working for about three weeks and I called on a local guy to come and fix it, but he didn't appear. Meanwhile Sally downstairs informed me of a leak coming down the wall in her bathroom below my kitchen, so I got another plumber to come along and investigate that as well as look at my boiler. He came along, looked at my boiler and told me he was really here to look at this leak! Sally was out so he couldn't see it, so he left, after saying he'd phone her the next day. Needless to say he hasn't! We've each tried to phone him with no luck! Honestly, do workmen never have these problems themselves, or do they all have friends in the various trades who come round immediately and sort the problems right away? Wouldn't they be hacked off if they were kept waiting with no idea if someone was going to do the job or not?
Well today I saw the first plumber, and reminded him that he still hadn't been to look at the boiler. I told him it was beginning to get a bit cold and I needed it fixed. The reply was a mumble I didn't quite pick up - nothing rude, I don't think! Anyway now I am sitting here typing with my fleecy jacket on, zipped up to my chin, one hand in my pocket and the other one typing - yes, I do type with only one hand, ever since that brain op in 1977, that resulted in me having to change from being left handed to right handed, due to nerve damage. I actually type pretty quickly now too, far quicker than handwriting, which I also had to learn and perfect back in the late 70s. Back to the boiler affair! I am cold! I do have the gas stove on, but it's not keeping me that warm as I sit at the computer! I think a cup of hot oxo might be on the cards!
So, I think that's about all I can tell you today!! Not terribly exciting - and I can't even show you a picture of the pink hair as I have the old problem back, in that I open a webpage (namely the page I am typing on) then I try to open the page where I can include the photo details. That page opens but doesn't load! So I try to close that page and everything freezes! I have to go to Control Alt Delete to close the page which means the other page closes too, and I have to start again! I can't think that there's not enough memory as I have 5Gb free, unlike last time when all I had were a few Mb.
OMG, am I not boring you to death now! I'm boring myself, and I think I will be chucking this PC in the river before long! I'm glad I have quite a placid nature, and haven't chucked it - yet!!!
Talk again soon.
Thursday, 13 November 2008
Proud grandma revealed the results the other day, as I said, and as I wanted to do a scrapbook layout for Rachel, using her CATS photo, I created this! Isn't she cute? I have given her a silver cat trophy instead of a silver cup!
Monday, 10 November 2008
I tried to rescue it and succeeded up to a point, but it looks like a big paint scribble to me. Joe told me though - very kindly, I thought - that I was a long way from being bottom of the class, and that with practice I would improve! Yes, Joe, lots of practice necessary! Hmmm!
I had to laugh to myself today though, as several other folk produced their cameras too ..... mainly just to photograph the finished piece! I must have started a trend!!!
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Yesterday I was up in Edinburgh for the afternoon, and when I came home it was pouring down with rain, so instead of parking my car where I normally park it - usually a bit away from home as there are restrictions in place during the week - I parked right outside where I live, intending to move it today sometime so I wouldn't run the risk of getting yet another parking ticket on Monday. Out I went at ten to seven this morning bound for the store, climbed into the car and went through the motions of getting started. The gear stick seemed loose and wobbly! I eventually got it into reverse gear and tried to reverse a little to allow me room in front to manoevre out of the space. The car wouldn't move! I tried to go into first gear, but this time the gear stick was stuck and I realised I wasn't going anywhere right then! Luckily work is only a few minutes walk away, so I left the car till the afternoon when my shift was finished, then called the Automobile Association! Someone would be with me within 45 minutes, I was told, but long before that a nice smily young AA man arrived, listened to my story and proceded to try out the gears. Then he was under the bonnet, reaching down into the depths behind the engine. Apparently a rod had come adrift from whatever it should be attached to, so he managed to put it back on and secured it with some strapping - and after checking that I could now change the gears he told me the rod(s) was/were worn and I should take the car to the garage "as soon as.." Some paperwork was completed and off he went! So then I drove the car off the High Street to my usual parking spot, so at least I won't get another parking ticket tomorrow! I still have one to pay from the last time I parked there - and forgot it! I don't use the car as much now I live in the centre of town! Next day off is Tuesday so I forsee a drive to the Peugeot garage at Galashiels that morning!
Anyway, it never rains but it pours, as they say, and it certainly has been doing a lot of pouring recently, which is probably why I got a call from my downstairs neighbour the other day to say she had water coming down the wall in a corner of her bathroom. It's possible that the rain has got in under some roof-slates or somewhere on the roof, and has trickled down the wall. The reason I haven't seen it is that there's a false wall in my kitchen - above her bathroom - so for all I know, the water is streaming down behind it! I have to get someone to take a look, but I do hope it won't mean part of my kitchen has to be pulled out and the false wall removed!
Well, I guess that's enough woe for one day!
Here's a nice photo to remind us of summer!
Talk again soon.
Wednesday, 5 November 2008
After that we all had a go at doing our own sketch and painting while Joe came round suggesting ideas and showing different techniques to those of us who hadn't done much painting before! I last painted at school and that wasn't yesterday! I MIGHT reveal my painting, eventually, but then again I might not! In fact I plan on doing it again actually, just to see if I can improve on it, now that I've a better idea of what I'm doing!! I think we learned quite a lot in our first lesson, and I'm looking forward to the next one!
Sunday, 2 November 2008
It was very enjoyable just wandering, browsing the shops, and nooks and crannies of the town. Just looking at the advertisement posters on notice boards throughout the town, you realise that a lot goes on there. It's a lively and busy community! I'd say it would be a nice place to live in. However, I'm now a Peeblean - if not actually a Gutterbluid (native), then a well established Stooriefit (incomer), - and in Peebles I plan to remain. I love Peebles, but Melrose comes a close second!
Saturday, 1 November 2008
**5 November is Guy Fawkes night, remembering Guy Fawkes and friends who plotted to blow up the Houses of Parliament in London, back on that date in 1605. They were discovered, captured, tried and executed, and now annually bonfires are lit with a model Guy burnt in the flames, and fireworks are set off, reminding of what might have happened if the Gunpowder Plot had succeeded - and Parliament went up in flames and explosions! Although the two countries of Scotland and England had been united under the Scottish king two years previously, the parliament at that time was still only an English one. The two parliaments only came together about 100 years later in 1707, so strictly speaking, it shouldn't be a Scottish celebration at all! Bonfires at this time of year have always throughout history marked the end of summer, and the pre-Christian feast of Samhain was celebrated. All Hallows, or All Saints Day probably sought to replace the pagan festival, but old habits died hard and are still remembered in this modern age. Maybe we should have kept the old Samhain festival!!
So, here we are in November! Where has the year gone? It seems no time since I was jetting off in the spring to Oz and NZ.
Anyway, all for now.
Talk again soon.