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Welcome to my blog. Thanks for dropping by. Hope you'll stay and enjoy reading about where I've been and what I've been doing!

I don't mean this to be a replacement for personal emails, but it gives me the chance to put up photos and my scrapbook layouts, so I don't block up your in-boxes, or have to send the same photos and stories to everyone separately!
Thanks, and welcome, to the followers of my blog. I'm very honoured that you enjoy it. Drop me some comments from time to time! It's good to hear what you think about the posts. Come back again soon.

Thanks also to Mary of Mary's Mixes for doing all the work on the blog's heading. You are great, Mary!


Friday, 29 February 2008

Quick few lines

Just a quick few lines here to say that it has been a horrendous week, which is why I have not blogged since Sunday.

On Monday morning I got a phone call to say that Leslie, widow of cousin Jim, in Dunfermline, had died peacefully in her sleep. As her nearest kin I have all the arrangements to make regarding the funeral. I spent all day Tuesday in Dunf, going between the doctor's surgery, registrar, lawyer and funeral director, and to tell the truth it was quite a difficult day with nothing going the way it should. I think if I had been a far closer relative of Leslie's and was absolutely devastated by her loss, I would have been pretty upset by the way things went. The worst bit was feeling that to the funeral director Leslie was just another number - another body - another job to be done! He couldn't even get her name right and I had to remind him on several occasions. Even when he spoke to me on the phone the next day he was still calling her by the wrong name, and I have to say I was not impressed by his - how can I describe it.... his attitude? his demeanour? I can't think of the right word.

Well, the funeral has been arranged now for Tuesday afternoon, but that was only sorted after a series of incidents that could really have upset a closer family member far more. As it was, I still did get a little upset.

Well, as if that wasn't bad enough I came home on Tuesday night from Dunfermline and opened my emails. "Sad news" said one and I read that a good friend from my few years in Yorkshire, just over twenty years ago, had died. He was only a couple of years older than me, but he led a poor lifestyle and I'd say was a heart attack just waiting to happen. I had been very fond of John, as I think everyone was who knew him, and was so glad I had seen him last year for the first time in a good number of years, when I went down to Yorkshire for a visit. His funeral is on Tuesday too, so obviously I can't go, but I have spoken to a friend down there who may be able to go instead.

Oh and I'm not finished with the bad news just yet. My great friend Vina, is losing her battle with the lung cancer. We had all hoped that the last news we had about the tumour having shrunk, was a good sign, but it seems that the cancer is still active, and she now has blood clots in her lungs. The consultant has said there is really little he can do as she is so weak, and that he doesn't expect her to last more than a few more days. I saw her today before I went to work, and felt that the Vina I knew had gone already. It was a strange woman lying there, looking so frail and out of it. She did respond a little to me talking to her but I think her brain is shutting out stuff, and she wasn't really understanding everything. She looked puzzled most of the time, staring out of eyes that look too big for her face.... Crumbs I am getting morbid now, but believe me this is helping me to come to terms with the fact that we are going to be saying goodbye to her very soon. I'm crying now. Perhaps that's a good thing.

Sorry no pictures today. I will do some new layouts soon. Bear with me, and forgive me if I don't blog for a bit.
Take care
Talk again soon.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

An Invitation

I got an invitation yesterday, to the wedding of my cousin Clare to her fiance Nathan. They get married on 12 April - in Australia, that being where they both come from. Clare is actually something like my third cousin twice removed, but some of the Aussie rellies and my family have kept in touch throughout our lives, and have visited each other in our respective countries. When I first met Clare she was a baby, and her younger sister and little brother not even the proverbial twinkles in their parents' eyes!!
My photos of that time are all prints and I haven't got round to scanning them yet, but I'll show you a layout of Clare's and Nathan's visit to Scotland last year. In this photo we had just had lunch at South Queensferry looking out at the Forth Bridges, before they headed off on the next stage of their journey to visit rellies on Clare's mum's side. It was great to see them.
However, back to the invitation.... much as I would love to go over to Oz and be at their wedding - and incidentally, also at her sister's wedding the following month - I just cannot afford the time off work, at least part of which would have to be unpaid, as I have already got some of my holiday entitlement earmarked for the summer lacemaking week in Knoydart and a trip to Ireland a little later.
Here's another layout... of Sally and her fiance this time.
They came to Edinburgh for a few days in the summer where Sally had talks with some medical people about the possibility of doing some work here. Watch this space!
They are both lovely girls, Claire and Sally, with gorgeous guys as future husbands. It would be so lovely to share their special days with them, but I will have to be content with seeing photos, and perhaps I can do them a scrapbook page each as a present.
Meant to say about that Spanish group I was off to the other day.... There were only three of us, Helen, Tony and myself. The other two have been studying together for a while, self taught I would think, as from my memories of school their pronunciation leaves a lot to be desired. Tony wants us to speak Spanish ALL the time which is ok when you have the vocabulary, but at this stage, I haven't, so I will do my best and use English where I have to, to ask questions that need a bit of explanation, for example. Despite his obviously frequent visits to Spain, I don't think he 'hears' the correct pronunciation or inflection, so that his conversation is very hard to follow. At least Helen speaks slowly and clearly and is easier to follow. She has been kind enough to lend me some books and papers that will help me to revise! After all it is 40 years since I left school, and I have hardly used any Spanish since then. Despite all the problems, I felt I acquitted myself pretty well, and am looking forward to the next meeting.
Tomorrow morning is the Genealogy group! I missed the first meeting so mustn't forget this one! It's English genealogy we are doing, as the people who have organised the group are English, but that's fine as my mother's mother and her family came from the north east of England. Maybe I should set up a group to do Scottish genealogy though, as there are big differences in the way that data was collected and how and where it is to be found.
I laughingly say I could bore for Scotland on the subject of my family tree, but surprisingly people seem to quite interested in the stories I can tell about the ancestors! I am really lucky in that I have manuscripts from two branches of the family giving lots of historical and social details about themselves and their families. However I have also researched a lot about my other families - mother's, grandparents', great grandparents, etc....... so not only do I have a family tree, but a small forest of them!
This is a direct line tree, made up of individual layouts I have put together. I had it printed 20x20inches, a copy for my sister and one for myself, earlier this year. We have both had them framed now and they now hang in our respective houses.
Well, I had better be off to put all my notes together for tomorrow!
Talk again soon.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

Kate!

I got word yesterday from Kate, one of my cousins in Australia, that she has finished up the job she's been doing for the last few years in Oz, and is set on a spot of travel. She didn't say where she was heading first, but I do have a strong feeling it was to be New Zealand, so Kate, this is for you! If it is NZ you are off to, it's appropriate. If not..... well it still indicates travelling out of your own country! Wishing you all the very best for this next stage in your life! Enjoy it!

Enjoy it, I say! There's no doubt she will! Just look at the sort of thing she gets up to!


I fully expect to hear she's gone bungee jumping at Queenstown, or been dropped by helicopter on the Fox Glacier to go walking. My experiences in NZ were far tamer, but still, to me, exciting - taking a trip into an underground cave to see the glow worms; spending a night on a boat in Milford Sound, surrounded by mountain peaks a mile high or more, where we could look at the stars in a completely un-light polluted sky! Oh boy, the memories! I loved New Zealand! Maybe I'll go back one day!
Posting early again today as I am off to a lacemaking course this weekend. Our group has a visiting tutor coming, and I hope to get her help in finishing off a lace motif I began quite a while ago while on a previous weekend with her! Then of course, I'll scrapbook it! I have one or two photos of its progression!
So all for now. Have a good weekend.
Talk again soon.

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Spring is coming!

Well, hello again,
Haven't blogged for a few days! It's finding time to make new scrapbook pages and write a blog, and go to work! I'm raking out old layouts as well as trying to make new ones. Today I have an old one for you. Despite the fact that we have had some beautiful weather for about 10 days in a row, it is still cold, though hopefully it won't get so cold that we get the type of weather in the photo below!
This photo was taken a couple of years ago at least, in Fife, near to a farm where an ancestor had been tenant in the 1700s! The frost had been really hard and these seed heads looked fantastic - just yelling out to be photographed. I entered the layout in a Challenge on one of the websites I use for scrapbooking, and got quite a number of favourable comments!!! I was pretty chuffed! I think the quote was by Geoffrey Chaucer - he of the Canterbury Tales. It's in old English anyway!

So, the weather we have had has brought the bulbs into flower. I have my snowdrops, though they are fairly scant and scattered; crocuses, still waiting for the purply ones to flower though; and a few grape hyacinths (or muscari) in a pot, to be planted in the garden when the flowers go back. Actually the primroses are already trying to bloom too, and they shouldn't be out till April and May! Everything's going topsy turvy.
Today I made a layout about Spring coming - using the photos of the bulbs in my garden. I was fascinated to see just how the crocus shoots had forced their way through some of the old dead leaves - not between them, but actually through them!
So here's the Promise of Spring, out of the darkness of winter, into the light of spring! Well that's what I was trying to convey here, though it wasn't my plan to do that! It just evolved! That's what all my scrapbook pages do! They aren't planned! They evolve and then ideas hit me! It seems that all scrapbookers have their own way of working! Some plan the layout first and add in the photos and other elements. I start with the photos, arranging them on my page, then perhaps I'll add a title or some other text. Then comes the background and finally the embellishments! Each page can take a while to compose! Sometimes I rearrange all the pieces at the last minute, and sometimes I change the backgrounds or the shape of the photos then too! Often though all the pieces end up back where they started! This one had a few alterations made before I was satisfied!
Well, I guess I had better get going again - a Spanish class this afternoon, picking up after school Spanish from 40-plus years ago! We'll see how I get on!
Talk again soon then!
Take care.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

snowdrops and an artist

I went out for a little run in the car the other day to look at the snowdrops! They're everywhere - in gardens, on roadside verges, in woodlands - hanging their little white heads like the drops of snow they are named for. Of course most of the woodland ones have been planted there by humans originally and over countless years have doubled up and doubled up to form beautiful large carpets of white. We have, not too far from town, a beautiful woodland garden that opens to the public, where the snowdrops are a feature at this time of year. The owner of the garden has spent vast amounts of time planting new bulbs and probably thinning out clumps that are too crowded, to make a visit to the garden a real treat. The snowdrops in my own garden haven't multiplied too much yet, so I took some photos of some I saw on a roadside and have made this layout for my scrapbook.Aren't they so pretty?

And now - the artist! I made a discovery yesterday! We have a customer who comes regularly into our shop. Nice guy, early 50s. Up till yesterday I was under the impression his name was James - that's how he registered for the DVD hire - but on visiting a newish art gallery in the town yesterday I discovered that "James" is actually "Joseph", and an artist whose watercolour paintings I have always liked. Somehow I'd always imagined the artist to be an elderly man, but not at all! I also discovered that he teaches art classes, something I've often thought about doing, and they're on Tuesdays, which just happen to be my day off. Much as I like watercolours, well painted, I didn't think that would be my forte. A friend paints with acrylics and I have an acrylics painting by another local artist so thought that would be my preference rather than oils. However Joe also paints with gouaches, and I think that would definitely suit me, so I've expressed an interest in a class! Of course I may not be any good - but.... watch this space!

Meanwhile have a look at Joe's paintings...

Well, once again, time for me to clear off!
Talk again soon.



Thursday, 14 February 2008

I missed the deadline for blogging yesterday, so am starting this page pretty early - in fact I haven't been to bed yet, so it still feels like Wednesday night! Today, Wednesday, I spent some time at my friend David's, helping him with some computer stuff. He has quite a few properties in the area which he rents out to people and so most of the stuff we did was in connection with the business. We got files and folders sorted out and tidied up, and stored in the right place... and then David cooked lunch which was a pasta dish with mushrooms. He's a good cook!

Because I realised I didn't have too many layouts of the surrounding countryside I took a few photos today - David living a couple of miles out of the town with some stunning scenery round about. I got some good shots which I will make into a scrapbook page later. Have to go and upload the pics from the camera, but I'll be back soon!
LATER. Much later!
Haven't had time to make any scrapbook pages with the photos I took yesterday - it's proper Thursday now - so I am going to show you a few photos on their own today. No doubt I'll get them made into pages soon, but for now, here's David at his front door. He lives in a central terraced house and his is the only painted one - so everyone knows it, and refers to it as the White House! He's done a lot of work to the house since he bought it last year, and it is beautiful!
This is the dining room with the French doors out into the garden!
And now some pictures of the views from his house!
Looking west


Looking east! I love the winter colours. Must take this view again in spring when everything begins to green up! Oh, and one for all you feline-friendly folk, here is Bonnie, David's cat, sitting on the kitchen window sill hoping someone will let her back into the house!.
Bonnie belonged to his mum, but came to stay with David after his mum died. She's a lovely cat, who is relishing the freedom to roam in the countryside after a life in the town. Saying that, she also likes to sleep a lot!
Well time is marching on again. Time to go for today.
Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

A beautiful day

Another glorious day! The sun shone, the sky was the most wonderful shade of blue, not a cloud to be seen! It wasn't even that cold! It would have been a great day for the garden, but this afternoon I was due to be at a meeting of our local U3A meeting! This is what it says on the website: "U3A stands for the University of the Third Age, which is a self-help organisation for people no longer in full time employment {ahem! we won't say anything about that! E.} providing educational, creative and leisure opportunities in a friendly environment." There's lots more too but this is the gist of it. Our local group offers all sorts of sub-groups in different subjects that are run by the members on a self-help basis. The members are all folk who live locally, but as in so many of these types of things, the majority of them are incomers, as I am myself of course, but most of them are English! (Proof that life is better in Scotland?)
I am signed up for several groups - intermediate Spanish, gardening and genealogy (English genealogy at that, because the person offering to host the group is English!! Actually it suits me quite well as I have mother's side of the family to investigate. They were all Geordies - in other words they came from round about Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I know a little but am hoping to find out more.) Jane, my great grandmother, was born in South Shields, but married a Scotsman. Her daughter, my grandmother, was also born in South Shields and she too married a Scot! Mother used to say about Jane that she never felt properly dressed until she had her earrings on!
This was meant to be a blog about the beautiful day today has been, but I have digressed!!! Back to the point! The U3A meeting today, the main group, had a local guy as speaker. He does DVDs of his movie film and photographs, and adds music and commentary to his presentations. They don't last long but are really interesting, especially when we recognise the locations! It just reminded me what a beautiful area I live in! So, today was to be for views around Peebles......and now I find I actually don't have many scrapbook layouts of the area. The ones I have, I have already shown you! I must do something about that and get some more layouts done! Enjoy the ducks along Tweed for now!
Oh well! Going back to the English ancestors. Jane, above, was the granddaughter of John Purvis and Winefred Snowball! Yes, SNOWBALL! Really, and as Winefred's father was called Anthony, I can truly say I have descended from A. Snowball (a snowball). It's the excuse I now churn out to explain why I don't feel the cold that much! In actual fact I inherit those genes from dad's side, not mother's!
The Snowballs go back a very long way. Winefred's family can be traced back to the beginning of the 16th century - not that I actually researched all of them! I got a lot of info from a Snowball relation who did! Now I want to find out about the Purvis family and the Bell family. Both families seem to have had a few seafarers amongst them. Census records reveal more than one Master mariner in the family!
No photos of the Bells or Purvises, but here's one of grandmother, Jane's daughter. I like this one, but so far haven't found out the story behind it.
Everyone said I was the spitting image of grandmother's aunt Ella, but I look a lot like grandmother too, especially as she looks here. Shame I never knew her! She actually died quite young, of disseminated sclerosis, which is now known as multiple sclerosis. I don't know a lot about her, but recently got a little more information from the only surviving cousin who knew her, who now lives in South Africa. Interesting!!
And on that note.....
Talk again soon!



Monday, 11 February 2008

Great news!

There was bad news and good news about Vina over the weekend! The bad news was that she was taken back into hospital again on Tuesday but the good news - great news really - was that while she was there, she had an x-ray and it showed her lung is reinflating and the tumour has shrunk quite considerably! She says she's not getting too euphoric yet as she's worried the cancer may have gone somewhere else, but we are all thinking positively in the hopes that this news is as good as it appears to be!
We are now into a 6th day of sunshine! Can't believe it! It's February, for heavens sake! The forecast is good too! Temperatures around 10 - 12C (50 - 54F) and sunshine - all week! It's pretty cold at night though!

Don't know what pictures to put in today! Well, here's one of the bridges over the river Forth - albeit taken on a warm sunny evening in the summer a couple of years ago! For those of you who don't know, the railway bridge was opened in 1890, and is famous because of its design - which is a cantilever (.... look it up. I can't explain it here!) People often talk of a never ending job as being like painting the Forth Bridge. Once you've got to the end, you have to start all over again. It's this one they mean. The road bridge, a suspension bridge, was built when I was a youngster and I remember being taken by my parents every few weeks to a view point on the road outside the town of Queensferry, to watch the progression. It opened in 1964, but is now beginning to suffer from the vastly increased amount of traffic that crosses it each day! They're even talking about a third bridge being built soon. Anyway, it's a bit of a historic day today, as after 44 years of paying a toll to cross the road bridge, from today we no longer have to!

The toll in 1964 was half a crown, 2/6, 2 shillings and sixpence in the old currency! That equates to 12 and a half pence in new money - an eighth of a pound! Latterly it cost a whole £1, but that was only if you were going north. Going south from Fife to Edinburgh cost nothing. So I suppose that was really the equivalent of a 50 pence crossing each way. That's half of £1, the same as 10/-, ten shillings in old money.

Have you read "Kidnapped" by Robert Louis Stevenson? He's the same guy as wrote "Treasure Island". Well, the Hawes Inn, the inn under the bridge, featured in the book Kidnapped, and the village of Queensferry was the home of the hero's wicked uncle Ebenezer. It has been said that it is strange that the inn was built under the railway bridge, but actually the inn was there for many a long year before even railways were invented! Kidnapped is set around 1745, and I daresay the inn was old even then!

Queensferry is an interesting little town with a wonderfully historic main street. It got its name from the ferry crossing made by the Queen of Scotland, Margaret, wife of Malcolm Canmore, (12th century)between the capital Dunfermline and her chapel at Edinburgh Castle - the oldest building at the castle today.
Well, I had problems again trying to upload the picture so it has taken quite a chunk out of the day! Haven't got time to write any more so I'll finish off here for now.
Talk again soon!

Friday, 8 February 2008

Illustrious ancestors!

Talking of illustrious ancestors, as I was yesterday, I do have one or two famous ones, one more famous than the other, depending on your interests! The first one is David Octavius Hill, an artist from Perth (Scotland) originally. His main work of art is his painting of the "Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843" His idea was to paint all the church ministers who broke away from the established church in 1843, but it would have been impossible for him to do sittings with every one of them in the time they were in Edinburgh.
Then he was introduced to pioneer photographer Robert Adamson, and the suggestion was made that 'photos' could be taken of them all and at a later stage Hill would paint them into his picture! The two men began working together, Adamson taking the pictures - or calotypes - while Hill did the arranging of the subjects to make the most of the available light. Later, they worked together on other subjects, and a series of pictures were taken in the village of Newhaven, a fishing village near Leith, outside the city of Edinburgh on the south bank of the Firth of Forth.
The fisherfolk wore distinctive costumes, especially the women who would carry the catches of fish in their creels - or wicker baskets - to sell to the people of Edinburgh. One of my very early memories is of a fishwife coming to our house with a creel that she carried on her back by means of a leather strap across her forehead! She displayed the fish in a shallow wicker dish-like tray on the top of her creel, for mother to choose from. I can only remember her dressed from head to toe in black, and not like the women in the Hill and Adamson calotypes. Let me show you great great grand-uncle David, youngest brother of my great great grandmother Mary.
Here he is standing at the gate to his home in Edinburgh.
Now to show you one of the calotypes he and Adamson took. It is one of the Newhaven series and the subject is "The Pastor's visit". In the picture, the pastor/minister is seated at a table talking to a group of fishwives. Behind him, standing, is the church elder for the parish, James Gall. As that picture was taken none of them knew that many years down the line, the elder's great grand-son would marry Hill's grand niece, who became my grandparents! They aren't really bored with what's going on - though you never know! It was just that the exposure took a long time and they all had to stay quite still, so that's what all the leaning on arms is all about.

The second illustrious ancestor is not actually James Gall, church elder, although he left his mark too, by introducing a form of raised letters to enable the blind to read. This was used with great success at the Blind Asylum in Edinburgh, of which he was the founder, but eventually after a few other peoples' attempts to find suitable ways of teaching the blind to read, Braille's version was adopted.
It was actually James Gall jnr, church minister, who was interested among other things, in astronomy, whose name became more well known. He wrote books on religion and astronomy and developed a way of putting down on paper a map of the constellations that didn't distort the positions of the stars! It became widely adopted. Now to be quite honest I have no idea what that is all about, but apparently he adapted this plan for maps of the world too - a method of laying out the world map on flat paper..... Don't ask me! I'm clueless! Look him up on the internet. Anyway this is JG jnr, the reverend! (His wife, great great grandmother, was my Northern Irish link!) And, just another picture before I finish off! You're getting spoiled today - with 4 of my layouts!!!!! I just thought I would throw this one in to show four generations of the Gall and Inglis family.I love this family photo! Old James Gall, the elder in the calotype, is sitting in the centre with his son Rev. James Gall, back left. (JG snr's wife died a good number of years before the picture was taken, and JG jnr's just a few years previously.) His daughter Eliza is sitting on the right of the picture, arm round James my grandfather, and her husband behind them. The lady seated beside old JG, is his elder daughter, the younger one is standing second right. The other lady standing, is sister of Eliza and the other two children are my grandfather's sister and brother!
Well, now that I have confused you, I'm off!
Talk again soon!

Thursday, 7 February 2008

Grandfather Inglis

Hello again

Yesterday I spoke about my dad and his dad, so today I will show you a couple of layouts about grandfather. As I said yesterday, he was a keen hill man, taking to the hills whenever possible. My first layout shows him at the age of 70, relaxing in the Welsh mountains - Capel Goch to be precise! (That has to mean something to do with a cuckoo! I am sure Goch is a cuckoo in Welsh!!!) I never met the old boy - he died well before I was born - but I love this photo of him. It would most likely have been taken by my dad, who was his companion on so many walks in the hills and mountains.

Grandfather was a very early member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club founded well over a century ago now. His peers were the pioneers of the day, exploring the previously little known routes up to the Scottish summits. One of the men he would have walked and talked with was Sir Hugh Munro, the man whose name was given to all the Scottish mountain tops over 3000 feet in height. Munro was the compiler of the original list of these tops, but though he listed them, he never climbed all of them, to become the first Munro-bagger! It was quite an achievement in the early days, to "bag" all 277 or so of them, but now it is quite commonplace, and I believe there are even people who have completed the list twice! Grandfather wasn't one of them and nor was my dad. Although they climbed a lot of mountains neither of them managed to check off the whole list even once - and as for me, well you could count on two hands the number of Munros I got to the top of! I was certainly not a "bagger" of mountains!


This next layout, which I am again having trouble uploading, is of a Scottish Mountaineering Club Easter meet in 1905, in Glencoe. The club members were staying at the Kingshouse Hotel from where they set out each day to walk or climb.

This has taken several attempts, but here we are! At last!

Unfortunately Sir Hugh doesn't appear to be on this trip, and although I have the names of most of the members in the photo I am not familiar with more than a couple. The most important person to me though, is the man standing to the right of the group - grandfather! The original glass slide of another photo of this same group, this time taken by grandfather, is in the SMC collection. Grandfather also contributed articles to the SMC journal, some of which were re-published in the book brought out for the centenary of the club. What illustrious ancestors I have!

Well, once again, that's it for now.

Talk again soon!





Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Dad


Today my dad would have been 98 years old! He always expected to live to a ripe old age as many of his ancestors had done, but instead he died at the far too young age of 65. He and my mother were on holiday on a cruise ship, returning from a visit to Norway's North Cape to see the midnight sun. He had apparently, according to mother later, been dancing "a very leisurely" eightsome reel when he felt unwell. He sat down for a moment - and was gone. It must have been a frightful experience for mother and a big decision to allow him to be buried at sea, though we all agreed it was how dad would have wanted it. I miss him still, despite his Victorian attitude to parenting: "What was good enough for MY dad is good enough for me!" he said on occasions. His dad was born in 1864.

They were both happiest when out on the hills, and had each stood on the summits of many of Britain's mountains. Scottish Mountaineering Club meets were frequently attended, and on holidays my sister and I were also taken to the hills, though I have to say dad always teased me about "peching like a grampus"! (In other words I puffed and panted my way to the tops!) However he was always proud of me when we reached the top of a hill.


I think this photo was taken on the top of Arthur Seat, the volcanic plug round which the city of Edinburgh grew! Well, it began to grow up round the Castle rock, a smaller volcanic plug, but in time spread out round the higher hill, taking in more and more small villages on its outskirts. We really grew up in the shadow of Arthur Seat, so it was an obvious choice for a first ascent! I was probably carried up there many times before I actually achieved it on my own two feet!

So whenever I am out in the countryside, I feel dad is there too, even at 98! He certainly would have been if he could have been!

Talk again soon.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Au revoir Angleterre; bonjour la France!

I spoke with my friend Ian in Hampshire on the phone today! His kitchen shop is sold; the new owner has taken over, and Ian is packing up, ready to move to France... on Friday. He has bought a house in a village in the Charente region and has been having work done on it for the last little while. So the time has come! The Irishman - Ulsterman - who became an Englishman, is now about to become a Frenchman! Bon courage, non ami! I'll be booking a week's holiday in the summer!

Here are a couple of shots of Ian's new home in a scrapbook layout. I love the old part of the house, just one room up and one down. The newer part is on a corner and has an odd shaped living room. It has a lot of character! I say all that as if I have seen the place myself, but I have only seen it in the photos that Ian sent me. Looking forward to seeing the real thing before too long.
So, all for now.
Talk again soon.


Saturday, 2 February 2008

scottish country dancing

Hi there
Starting this at teatime in the hopes that it will be finished before the day is out!
That dance I mentioned was last night! Willie brought Vina down in the car to the Burgh Hall where I met her. All her dancing friends were so pleased to see her, and if she wasn't exhausted by watching the dancers she probably was by the time everyone had spoken a few words with her. I can't believe the difference this last week has made to her. She's feeling stronger and more able to eat, though portions are still very small. I really hope this is the turning point and that the scan she'll have in April - yes, April, still so far away - will show the tumour has shrunk. Till then we still take every day as it comes.

The dance was good! Ian MacPhail and his band provided the music, and the dancers all joined in all the dances, though some had more idea of the dance moves than others! Some sets got into quite a fankle, but it was all taken in good spirit and everyone had fun.



One dance was called A trip to the Drakensbergs (Hope I got that spelling right), which is an area in South Africa that Vina has visited. Her brother and sister-in-law have lived out there for 30 years or so and are members of their local Scottish country dance group. When Vina first heard of this dance she emailed it to Ann and Robin who showed it to their dance teacher. The verdict was that it would take 10 years for them to learn it!!! The photo of the dancers in my layout is of the "trip to the Drakensbergs"!
By the way, the tartan I used as the background is the MacPhail tartan. You can see Ian was wearing trews of that tartan!


Unfortunately there are more women than men interested in country dancing so women dance together more often than not. I do have a photo with some of the men in it. Let me find it.....
Here we are then! I'm pretty sure this was another photo of the "trip to the Drakensbergs"!
and this is a photo in the Drakensbergs themselves!
Well, I do believe I have managed to get this finished on the same day it was started! I now wonder if I can get to bed the same day I got up! I don't usually, but tomorrow is my early shift and I'm up at 6.00 again! Oh well! It's only one day out of my five!
So, all for now. Talk again soon!

Friday, 1 February 2008

White rabbits, white rabbits, white rabbits!

Hi! Did you say White rabbits three times this morning? First day of the month - good luck and all that sort of thing! Wonder where that came from? I know I've been saying it since I was a child! Daft I know!
Haven't blogged for a day or two! On Tuesday night I suddenly realised my tax return had to be submitted by Thursday, so spent all day - off and on - on Wednesday trying to find the info I needed to fill it in! I got it done, but not in time to post, so yesterday morning I drove up to Edinburgh - in the snow and howling wind - and handed it in personally!!!! Talk about cutting it fine, skin of the teeth, and all those sort of expressions! Anyway, it's done! THANK GOODNESS!
On the way home I called in at Linda's school and had lunch with her and some of the other staff in the staffroom! I have met quite a few of the staff there over the years, so feel quite at home with them! The drive home wasn't too bad as there wasn't a lot of snow for most of the journey. It just seemed to be when I got near Peebles that it got worse! Anyway, it didn't last! Again it turned to rain and by last night when I finished work it had all but been washed away!
By the way, the dance wasn't on Tuesday night! It's actually tonight! I've managed to get someone to cover 3 hours out of my shift so I can accompany Vina, but I'll have to be like Cinderella and be back at work, but a darn sight earlier than midnight! I have to be back by 9.30 to do the last hour and a half - packing up the day's newspapers, facing up the shelves (bringing all the things on shelves to the front to make it look tidy with less gaps), etc.
Haven't put in a scrapbook page yet! What can I show you today? Well, there's my little hamster picture! Priscilla aka Moosie, has been running around in her three tiered cage behind me here, but at the moment, is chucking food from her dish in all directions for some reason! She's sitting IN her dish, burrowing into the seeds and grains and things, and shoving it out with her nose and feet! So here she is: well she would be if only I could get the page to load! I've not had this problem before! It has all gone very smoothly up till now. I just can't get the browser page to open!




Wow! Did it! Had to close the draft blog and reopen it - and I found out how to do that too! Hurray!
Anyway, here's Priscilla! I just call her Moosie! She's really cute, and so funny. You know how hamsters fill their cheek pouches and then empty them into their sleeping area? Well I hung a treat thing in Moosie's cage for her to nibble on and she demolished the whole thing in one go, put all the seeds and things in her pouches and then proceeded to empty them again - in her dish!!!!!
Well, I've taken so long to get this far that it's time for work!

No more time!
Talk again soon!