Saturday, December 29, 2012

Eleven Plus

This was the state of things eleven years ago.

A total of 10.4 lbs of baby, four weeks early (thank you pre-eclampsia for sticking me in hospital during the busiest of times!)  Actually, if we're going to be particularly specific this photo was taken the day after so I should be writing this tomorrow but as the boys' birthday is today...oh shush you idiot!

At this point they were fresh out of SCBU hence the odd skin tone and funny lip colour.  They were the biggest babies in there and that is saying something.  I wasn't happy until I had them in the goldfish bowl cot beside me and here they were.

Hindsight is a great thing.  Had I known then I'd probably have decided to become a single parent rather than continue with a marriage to someone who was still at that point pulling the wool over my bleary eyes.  These two tiny babies showed up and my life felt worth something.

Now they are all limbs and big feet, awkward in their growing bodies and expanding minds.  There is so much to learn I can only hope I have done a good enough job.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holy Crap!

Like a re-enactment from Lord of The Rings this eagle mistook a Montreal baby for a Hobbit - which all things considering is not a difficult mistake to make.

Lucky for baby he was either too heavy or the eagle didn't much fancy unwrapping his next meal.

I think I have truly seen everything now!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

This Is 41

...and it doesn't feel that bad at all.

(Note:  Next year I get the Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything.  Yippee!)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hugs Make It Better

Snuggled up on couch, cuddles from the pooch who decides to also hug my feet.  See, the cats *never* do this!

This Is The Sucky Thing About T'internet

Many moons ago (in real terms about 10/11 years) I came up with what I thought was a witty take on an internet nickname.  It incorporated both my nationality in the form of ripping off and changing the name of a famous film that had come out a few years earlier.  I had made a joke at the time that if the protagonist had been female they could have called the film this.

No, I'm not saying it out loud because if anyone does read this and then Google it - well I don't want to involve myself in an online spat...look let me explain further.

So I signed up for Twitter several years ago (2009) and did nothing with it but I had used this nickname and not the moniker I had adopted in the intervening years.  TwoIfBySea; taken from my time living north of Boston and the fact that I now had twins.  Quite clever I thought in a smug yet woolly brained way (like I said, I'd had twins, recently, well you try and think straight!)

You may, or probably may not, have noticed the change in my Twitter name recently.

Turns out someone else thought of this witty take too and they look much more professional and polished that scruffy old me.  I feel strangely and ridiculously sad that I have to kind of give up on the old nickname, the new "old nickname" person doesn't look the type to take kindly to who used it first.

Ach there is more to life to worry about but it does feel sucky.

And yes, today, 1212121212121212 ya ya.

Yeah, so this happened

While enjoying the Geminid meteor showers this big bugger nearly made the Mayans think they'd got their dates wrong.

And was it discovered only on Sunday?  Truthfully that is a wee bit close!

Saturday, December 08, 2012

This Town Was A Little Bit Famous This Week

Except they keep saying the Chanel Metiers d'Art show took place in Edinburgh.

Hmmn, not quite.  After a couple of weeks of driving locals crazy with curiosity this Tuesday evening saw the show take place within Palace walls.  Indeed the Palace has been verboten for the past few weeks as preparations were made.

"There is going to be a huge glass dome built to fend off the weather."

"Brangelina and George Clooney and the Beckhams are coming!"

"They can't stop us taking dogs for a walk on the Peel!"

Just a few things to be heard around town many times.

The boys were convinced this "Chanel" person was missing out by not getting them to give a personal tour of the Palace.  They being Palace Guides and all, dressing up in 16th century garb and learning three pages of script has to pay off at some time.  As I picked them up from chess club, in the freezing air, clumps of well-wrapped, excited girls were heading towards the Palace desperate to catch a glimpse of someone famous *in their own town*.

In the end there seemed to be a lot of tents pop up in the Peel (park) area and no dome, instead a rather lovely walkway that seemed completely in keeping of the era and atmosphere of the place.  I don't know if any of the supposed A-list guests bothered to make their way to this part of the world.

Yes, our town isn't as glamorous as Paris or London but we have a certain something that cannot be denied!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

This Hamster is Smarter Than Most People I Know

He disappears causing much anguish to eldest boy for about five minutes.  Then he remembers to sit Dragonborn's home on the floor with the door open.

Smart animals (four legged and two) always come home if you provide a home that is safe and comfortable and happy.  And filled with sawdust, peanuts and toilet roll tunnels.  Apart from the last part I think there is a message in there for all of us.

There is room in my pouch for just one more, ok maybe five.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


Dear God but there is only so much cute a human can handle.  No wait...
Just got cuter!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Want To Rescue A Dog and Gain A Best Friend?

Felipe a rescue dog who can live with children
Filipe, just the sweetest heart

Am in love with this boy, spotted after a link on a forum.  Really shouldn't have looked as the inevitable happened.

Now, I love my dog.  He is a big dopey family member and our life would be missing something if he weren't here.  But as much as he loves us and it is reciprocated, I sometimes think he needs a canine buddy.

When we're out and about on our walks, especially when he is off lead, he wants to be friendly.  Some people act as though their dog must remain untouched by the big clumsy oaf, little dogs argue with him, occasionally he finds a soulmate and they run around happily.  I have been considering for some time that maybe the answer would be another dog.

I realise I'm going to end up as one of those people with a house full of animals.  Our current roster is; one dog, three cats and a hamster.  Youngest wants to add a gecko to that and that is fine, he has researched and knows what is up.  

To be honest I'd rather be around animals than humans most times sometimes.

Unfortunately for us this little guy is at a rescue in Southern Spain and although they rehome in the UK it is mainly in Southern England.  It has introduced us to a new breed though - Podenco.

I realise no one really looks at this blog.  But if there is anyone out there and they want a best friend in time for Christmas...

Thursday, November 08, 2012

The List

Hallowe'en  - done
Bonfire Night - done
First illness of winter (tummy bug) - done x2

Next up - the big one - Christmas!  And for the first time in ages I'm actually looking forward to it.  I've bought the boys' big presents already, most of their little presents (which makes it sound like a lot is coming their way but little presents mean books and other inexpensive things.)

I've also agreed to sell some things at a craft sale at the Scout hall.  Now I just have to make the damn things I'm going to sell - Christmas ornaments I think.

Trivia keeps me too busy sometimes.

I add this for no other reason than I want to remind myself what we need to do more of.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

We're the Witches of Hallowe'en, The Scariest You've Ever Seen

That's what we used to sing as we went round the neighbour's doors in the dark, distant past (according to Hobbits, *very* distant!)

So the glut of sweeties is done, the jars are filled and I won't need to buy another sugary snack until Christmas.  All well and good.

There are a lot of sour pusses around here though, lots of people who ignore the advice to turn your hall light off if you don't want disturbed. ("Hey, it's my house, I do what I want" - then don't grump when you get a score of kids knocking!)  Never the less I am always impressed at the begging standard of my two.

And the pumpkin.  I remember (adopts old voice) my mother carving a turnip.  Have you ever tried to carve a turnip?  Yes, well, not advised unless you like impossibly frustrating tasks.

This year I wanted to do something different.  I wanted to do a cat, shadow in front of the carved out moon.  Instead I did this.

Which is meant to be one of these.

Yes I know it looks like mine has wonky eyebrows, I meant it - honest!  I'm sure in the game, when you lose, the piggies wiggle their eyebrows and laugh.  They do don't they?

Anyway, now that is over, roll on bonfire night.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Just A Quick Thought

The people who go down to the shore to see the tidal surges coming in - surely this could be seen as God's way of eliminating the stupid?

Hurricane Sandy, this will not be the last time I mention you.

Hurrah for you!

Long Ago and Far Away

It felt as though we were there for months and now it feels like we weren't there at all.  *sigh*

I do love crisp autumn days, I quite like the cold as long as it isn't damp, manky cold that seeps into the bones.  Crunching through the leaves with dog at my side.  

Oh for the means to go on holidays several times a year.  Really they should have them on the NHS, save an absolute fortune on anti-depressants.  A week in the sun.  Bliss.

Forget that you have to come back to the grinding reality.

Monday, October 22, 2012

I Know It Has Been A While

But just look at where we've been.  

There was real, live sun and warmth and everything - vitamin D get in my bones.  We climbed into volcanoes like some weird tribute to Torville and Dean.

Hmmn, ok just take my word for it - it was a proper volcano, Google "Montana Roja" if you are a doubting Thomas, ner ner see!

The Hobbits (as was) grew fins.

We found (semi) precious stones - not emerald but very sweet Olivina - like little mining gnomes and we didn't have to go into a mine, they're on the beach!

We lived in a yellow submarine (if only for an hour) 100'/31m underneath the Atlantic.

All in all for one entire week the world was all right again.

And then to home.


Truthfully the government could do everyone a favour and give them one whole week away somewhere sunny and hot (it was 80 degrees and after a while our weedy Scottish bodies got used to the oven feeling).  It really did pick up and get rid of the grind of life in a grey climate.  I mean, I managed to climb a flippin' volcano - all 400+m of it.  I have CFS, I shouldn't be able to do that.  Ok so I spent the rest of the day (and every afternoon) slumped by the pool but I was up in the morning and not zombie at all.  We were able to do such fun things and although I'm still recovering it was worth it.  Please but if I can scrabble enough money together to go away again next year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

It's Getting Like Old MacDonald Around Here

Only with pets rather than farmyard friends.  Right enough I did like the idea of chickens but with cats and our friendly neighbourhood Mr Fox that is not such a good idea.

The cats pretty much rule themselves, that's just how cats roll really.  I sometimes feel I am tolerated in my own house simply for the talent of being able to open a tin.  I would never go this far though.

As much as Anakin cat loves his boxes (see evidence below), I'd go to the effort only to be thwarted by cat apathy at the end.
What?  I'm busy, call back later.
Of course I've mentioned happy dog many times and he is just...happy.  

The Hobbits had asked for their own pets, something small they could look after.  We are in the age of small furries.  Hamster Dragonborn (aka The Escape Artist) is another blondie with a lovely temperament.  

I had tried to push the idea of guinea pigs.  My own Gwynnie pig was a sweetheart.  I would come home from school, she'd be waiting at the gate to her cage.  I'd tuck her into my cardi and she would burrow in, talking to me the entire time.  My mother hated her but she was truly the best.  

Youngest is set on getting a gecko.  Well, it'll be different that is for sure.

So, if all goes to plan, at the end of the year, the humans will be outnumbered by three cats, one dog, a hamster and a gecko.  Sometimes I worry that it sounds like we're going down the hoarder route but then I think, stuff it, they're part of the family!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I Love Dogs

There was a viral clip a few years ago, a kid being asked a question who replied with the completely unrelated quote "I like turtles."  ** Rummages in internet handbag, oh here it is **

Anyway, as I've been communicatively silent for a month - wish I could say it has been because I have found my inner zen and have been peacefully tranquil, nope, not a chance - I decided to kick myself up the pants with the utterly trivial fact stated in the post title.

There, I'm like the kid, someone asks me something and I'm thinking "oh, yeah, um, so, ooh look out the window, pretty doggy!"  I'm not being glib, I should probably be embarrassed that it is true of someone racing headlong towards year 41 on this Earth.

One of our neighbours has two Newfies and a St Bernard (or the bears as we like to call them) lovely dogs but oh my god the drool. It's like slimy shoelaces sticking out their mouths. Bleurgh! 

Lovely Newfie
Our boy, big dopey Labrador Retriever, enjoys playing with said dogs who are that big they don't bounce around much, rather they watch him and the other dogs run around and that is as much exercise as they want.  Every time he goes up to them I think "please don't get any of that gunk on you because I know who is cleaning it off."

(Note: neighbours live in the same size house as I do which isn't huge, I believe the dogs have their own bedroom, and I bet it's the biggest one!)

The Hobbits are enjoying a camping sleepover with the Scouts.  I am enjoying doing what I usually do, which isn't much, while thinking of all the things I should be doing, which is a lot.  I am accepting of what the doctor has now decided is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (I'm apparently moderate which is better than severe but not as good as mild), that doesn't mean I like it but it does mean I'm not fighting against it now.  That was completely counter-productive.  There will be a way around it, I just have to find it.  I need to move on and get started with working from home, with my writing,  and get to a place where I can work and also manage this.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Don't Know What To Make Of This

So, watched this, nearly turned it off after the first few minutes but kept on and saw the whole movie.


I have no idea what to say about it.


For a film I hated turns out I think of it often, certain scenes.  Confused.  I may have to watch it again just to try and unravel it.

Monday, August 06, 2012

We Can Be Heroes

I should really let my once omnipresent optimistic side out more often.  She has been much diluted but is still there so this is what I once would have sounded like.

We have watched as gold medals roll in and confused at the apologies from those for winning mere silver medals (you won a freaking silver, silver in a highly competitive field of finely tuned athletes is nothing to be ashamed of.)  

The only grumble was when the widely excellent BBC coverage cut away from the track athletics where Team GB were winning an embarrassing amount, to show a penalty shoot-out between Team GB and whoever.  Naturally Team GB lost but the change in mindset was interesting.

Perhaps the lack of sporting interest has much to do with the prevalence of football over everything.  Seeing the prima donna footballers, earning stupid amounts for not doing much (considering there are 11 of them, sometimes not even playing during the 90 minute game, and one ball - which is lucky to see the back of the net more than once or twice) their very messy private lives all over the gossip pages. 

Then there are the other group idolised by the general public - the reality shows.  The hard work, perseverance and determined dedication shown by the Olympians makes a refreshing change from the faux tension of someone not singing in tune but their granny just died so that's ok.

Wait, I'm not putting it, let Bradley do it.

There is much talk about how if Yorkshire were competing as a separate country they'd be 8th on the medal table.  No mention of how far up Scotland would be but, as we only have 5 million of a population I think we'd be proud!

(Note:  Scotland will never become independent of Britain.  Britain is the island, no escape from there unless we start digging a jolly big trench, we will (hopefully) become independent of the United Kingdom government.  This is not due to hating England but a wish to see what would happen on our own again.  It was a parcel of rogues who bankrupted Scotland, leading to the need for a union.  Anyway, that's a whole other subject.)

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Ok so this is really something wonderful...

I admit, the thought of the London Olympics had me cold - we're 423.8 miles/682 km (yes, I Googled that!) and a whole other country away.  It would have little impact and mean absolutely nothing to anyone north of the M25 let alone we dubious, problematic Scots.  This was costing a fortune, was yet another London-centric thing we'd heard about forever more.

And then the Opening Ceremony happened.  No one had any thoughts other than remembering the utter, toe-curling, bum-clenching awfulness that occurred at the end of the Beijing games, when a big red bus full of UK shame horrified more than this nation.

Whoever it was that decided to give Danny Boyle the reigns must be now sipping champagne on a sun-drenched island of gratitude because they made an entire nation sit up and take note.

Apart from the ending (how to clear a stadium, Macca) it is an event that is hard to describe properly - you had to be there and yes, tv counts.  The hill in a sports stadium; the Industrial age towers; the dancing Isambard Kingdom Brunels; the music (actually ear-pleasing!); the cyclists with wings; Mary Poppins killing Voldemort; the beautifully amazing flower-fire-cauldron with copper petals; the everything!

Written down it sounds like someone was tapping the alcoholic beverages when coming up with ideas, or putting down stuff as a bet (oh they'll never go for this..shall we...oh go on...teehee.)  Boyle managed, in the however many hours it took, to make people who scoffed in horror at the ticketing disasters, the transport disasters, the umpteen other disasters leading up to these games actually change their minds.

The Hobbits fell asleep at 11 pm but up until then had been transfixed, even if a little confused at the slightly eccentric goings on.  We've gone from not wanting to watch a minute to oohing and aahing at the tense archery finals, cheering at the cycling, trying to figure out who is who in the swimming.  And all this from complete apathy.

Amazing what a fantastic event can do to lift the spirits.

I imagine the organisers of the Rio games watched in open-mouthed horror.  "Ah hell, let's just do the carnival again."

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Oh Bugger The Hamster Has Gone!

Eldest had gone up earlier to put his jammies on.  Ten minutes and lots of loud thumping later Youngest goes up to see what is happening.

I hear crying.

Oh hell, this can mean only one thing.  His hamster, of two weeks, has escaped.  Eldest swears he closed off all exit routes when he put him back in earlier.  The hamster, who goes by the name of Dragonborn (it's a Skyrim thing), is a cute little fella.  Blonde and curious.  Definitely curious.

So after much comforting we have set out several traps, his cage is on the floor and if he does go back in tonight then he'll head straight for his wheel, Eldest had taken to blocking it off at night due to much noise from the energetic wee devil.  

Oh, and the cats will remain outdoors for the next few nights - luckily the weather is a lot nicer for them.

If he is back tomorrow I'll be looking like this...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

But it IS always raining!

The name of the blog would only be a curse if read by anyone.  So...I shall continue without apology as this is how *I* roll.  As the saying goes.

At the moment (16:55 GMT) the sun is making a rare appearance in this little part of Scotland.  This has to be one of the worst summers ever, according to the boffins it is because the jet stream moved - it can jolly well move back.  Was watching an excellent BBC prog this week called Volcano Live.  Volcanoes being a dangerous interest for both me and Hobbits alike - they mentioned a Byron poem 'Darkness' which was written in 1816, the year without summer.  

Caused by a volcano spewing forth in the Dutch East Indies the previous year it got me thinking (for I have nothing better to do with my time).  What if this is caused by last years eruption of Eyjafjallaj√∂kull up in Iceland?  Wouldn't that make sense?

I also think if you can pronounce Eyjafjallaj√∂kull you should get a free holiday to Iceland with a visit to all the volcanoes for free - I have been practising.

John Martin - The Destruction of Herculaneum and Pompeii

Things To Do When Insomnia Strikes

Part One:  If I can't sleep then why should you?

From the 2 minutes in mark suspend all disbelief.  The things some girls have to do to make their money.  Happy nightmares!

Part Two:  Remembering in frustration when Saturday nights were fun.

The black masks might make the brain boiled nation think of that ridiculous best-selling (say through gritted teeth) book but wouldn't things be a lot more interesting if this happened...ever.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Made With Love

It was noted by Eldest Hobbit that their grandfather did not have a gravestone or a marker to show where he was buried.  We have the bay to visit every year but he had a point.

So we made this, perhaps it will be there next year, perhaps the sea will have reclaimed the stones from their place.  I hope no one disturbs them although there is nowt as strange or selfish as folk.

Anyway, this was made with love for a much missed grandfather and dad.  

Of My Own Undoing

There is a film, which I'm not bothering to name, where the lead female character spends a few terrifying screen moments balancing on her tippy toes knowing if she slips the noose around her neck will end her life.  I've spent the last year in a fug of illness and confusion and now I'm on my tippy toes, the noose is tightening and I don't know how long I can keep up.

It's a bloody good metaphor and horrendously true.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Am Feeling This Right Now...

A gorgeously warm blanket of a song, a heart breaking video (or at least I think it is, plaintive things always get me).

Tomorrow is the last day of school term, the Hobbits will no longer be in P6.  When summer (which doesn't depict anything but constant rain at the moment) ends they'll be in their last year of primary school and that makes me sad.

I said goodbye to the P1 class I helped out in today.  Lots of little people hugs and some tears but, said I, we'll see each other in the corridor next year and we'll say hello!  But it won't be the same, they said.

Oh bless.  The teacher wants me back next year, oh but to make that a permanent position.  I would be so very happy.

Thursday, June 21, 2012


Do you like my skilful hiding of my government name?  Oh how arty am I.

So, Resolution.  Another title cannibalised from the P52 thing.  I'm on that again, oh yes I am.

This took me four years to achieve.  Now the snobbish amongst anyone who comes across this may look at my meagre upper second class honours and sneer.

However this is also what else happened in those four years:

  • Very messy, humiliating marriage breakdown.
  • Divorce.
  • Illness and loss of a beloved parent.
  • Dependency and then care of the other.
  • Clearing out, decorating and then selling my family home.
  • Buying another.
  • Moving mother from her home to ours.
  • Then moving all of us to new home.
  • Working (boo) and volunteering (yeay!)
  • Raising the Hobbits.

Meanwhile, I studied my level 1 introduction course.  Tutor nearly put me off the whole thing.  Two level 2 courses (including the brilliant creative writing course that I would gladly do every single year if just to keep me in).  Three level 3 courses (two of which were history as I do like my punishment to be severe).

When I finished, and I was well and truly finished, I was very pleased to have gotten my little degree - and with the mark it settled on.  Chuffed to bits and a big two fingers up to everyone who had talked me down in the past.

Resolution - see the date?  December 2010.  Time to use it and no more excuses (okay the illness wasn't an excuse as such but it may slow me down, it shouldn't stop me.)

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Matter Of Timely Tasting

For some reason this little gem was dredged from the furthest, darkest recesses of my warped memory as I walked the dog today and, in the way these things sometimes do, it got me thinking.

My parents had taken my younger cousin and I to visit my dad's sister in Helensburgh (what used to be a fairly nice town, birthplace of John Logie Baird and retirement heaven on the river Clyde coastline*).  Now we (me and female cousin) had a particularly awkward relationship - being on my mother's side of the family, the side that encouraged competition and favouritism.  She was younger, prettier and blonde and I could be catty enough to say she is none of those now.  She was everything that side of the family wanted, including remarkable unambitious.  Me, too much of a daydreamer for them, a common comment was "what do you want to do *art* for?"  Said in the tone used if someone announced a desire to become a tax collector.

Anyway this has nothing to do with what I was starting to say.

We went to this "Italian" restaurant where both of us picked spaghetti bolognese and yes I know it won't have been genuine, this is Scotland in the mid-80s not Masterchef.  It arrived, yummy yummy and we were asked did we want parmesan cheese?  Thinking of home cooked spag bol with a bit of cheddar grated on top we said yes please.  (Here we'll end that rumour of Scottish people eating deep fried everything.)  The cheese that ended up sprinkled on top of our pasta not only smelled of sick, it didn't look that appetising either.

We quietly scraped it to the side and ate the rest.

Now, fast forward 25 years.  I adore what the Hobbits call "sprinkle cheese" and yes, we do put it on our  pasta.  Proper Italian version, not the kind called "hard cheese" either.  Yummy yum.  So what happened?

I'm walking along the path beside the burn (small stream, I'll teach you Scots one word at a time).  I'm thinking of this for no reason whatsoever and wonder - was it poor quality substitute we got or just how things were back then?  I know tastes change but surely not that much that I would now love something I once associated with sick?

Plus my Hobbits, much as I love them, can be occasionally and frustratingly picky on certain things, cheese is one.  They love it and I would have been told if there was anything untoward about it.

Now I've unburdened this erratic mind fudge I'll leave you with a panda.

*It was too near Faslane for my anti-nuclear war view liking, at times the submarines would surface as they returned and the noise they made was so horribly metallic that it served the idea of them as machines of apocalyptic war very well.  It is very hard to describe the noise perfectly but even thinking about it sends fingers of ice down my spine.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Where'd you go?

It has been a busy time of late and then, for an entire week, there was sun...sun...SUN!!!  Lovely, warm, summery sun.  

Being Scottish this is a rare enough event to bring out immediate wearing of light and bright clothing, a raising of spirits, a general feeling of camaraderie.  The sun, not venturing on these shores for too long, disappeared yesterday.  

The weather equivalent of taking a lollipop from a baby.

We have the memories of course, and the hope that one day very soon the sun shall return.  Our shorts and flip flops demand it.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

The Things You Can Find

...when not really looking.

Today started auspiciously with a visit to the optician.  Eldest had managed to snap the spring in his specs leg.  He had been given into trouble at the school the previous day for forgetting his P.E. kit and it really wasn't shaping up to be a grand week.  I had just dropped him back off at school and off I went to the doctors for the monthly "I'm sorry there is nothing to do but wait for this to pass" appointment.

In the time I had beforehand I popped in to the local charity shop which is my wont to do.  And for once I found a gem...A whole set of little books filled with colourful, painted cards.  The type once collected from - well in this case from tea bag boxes and (hush now) cigarette cartons. (Daddy, you've might have cancer from all those ciggies but thanks for the mini cards!)

I adore things like this, old books, old illustrations.  There is almost an essence captured within that makes them my own personal catnip!  So here we have...


Being the fussy kind I did leave behind the ones featuring cars - but the wildlife and fauna were mine all mine!  Someone spent a lot of time collecting these, carefully (in most cases) pasting in the little cards and it is a little sad that they ended up here.  Yet I now have them and they will be cherished.  The Hobbits have had a good look through and gave a thumbs up wondering why they didn't have anything like that - now it is cartoon characters and expensive card sets to "catch 'em all".


My favourite has to be the oldest, or at least I presume it is as this is the only one with a date, written on the top right corner of the front - 1937.  


I also managed to bag a book published in 1932 on exploring the Highlands of the British Isles (they're not all up here in Scotland apparently) and a book on Frankfurt am Main (1973) with beautiful photographs showing the city, including some of the treasures that were lost in the bombing raids of WW2.

I just lap this up like a happy cat and am content.  Let the world wash over me, ignore the phone, the day was much more interesting after that.  If only I could have afforded the bird paintings featured in the window - the day would have been complete.  At £5 each I may just decide to have a little splurge.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


This boy is having a hard time of it just now.  I don't quite know how to help him and I'm putting this down to growing pains as he stretches once again in body and mind:  finding out who he is and wearing trainers that I can now borrow.

As Youngest Hobbit he has always been the comedian, the one I needn't worry about, the one who was a certainty in everything.  While his brother sailed emotional waves this boy kept calm with the occasional burst of fire.

Over the past week he has been tetchy, crying and taking offence at the slightest thing, distant one minute and super-huggy the next.  His brother meanwhile is the same old Eldest Hobbit, he has pretty much discovered his personality and we do have a rocky time with him sometimes - he just doesn't make life easy for himself when he goes in one of his strops but that is who he is and we love him for it.  For the majority of the time he is artistic, imaginative and articulate.  

So Eldest Hobbit and I will wait and see where Youngest goes next.  They have Cub camp this weekend, a whole weekend to myself!  Not that I'll do anything, this PVF has made me very boring.  That could be my new personality; boring, stick-at-home woman.  Let's hope, like the growing pains, it doesn't last.

P.S.  Through another blog I read I came across this P52 project far too late in the day to jump in and be involved.  But as I am always looking for challenges (see the 30 years Days fiasco and I was much better in the days of 26 Things) then I thought I'd take the titles and see where it went.  Who knows I might just catch up with them.  So I'll add the P52 tag as they are meant to inspire photos and we'll see where we get to, hopefully the originator doesn't mind me messing up her whole system.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Waggy Tail Days

Take one dog, add a little countryside and a dash of water.

Make that a big dash of water.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Such a Perfect Day

I'm glad I spent it with you...

During Easter we spent a beautiful day on the Isle of Cumbrae, visiting the town and, of course, the bay where my dad rests.  It has been three years now.

We discussed memorials, why people have them.  It was pointed out that my Dad, beloved Grandpa did not have one.  This was soon rectified.  I wonder if it will be there next year.

And then nature provided it's own heart shaped sign for us (spotted by Eldest after we'd spent some time sourcing perfect stones for the other one.)

I didn't feel or sense my Dad at the bay that strongly, this worried me.  Until I went to the town and there, near the Garrison, I could picture him walking - see it so clearly.  The time he forgot his glasses case and we had to search around, it was where he had left it on the Garrison wall.  

I know he can be at peace there, that his best memories involved the island.  No matter when we go I hope he remains where he was happiest.  At this point what others may believe or think is irrelevant -  I know he is there, I know he looks out for the boys and, importantly, they know too.

I would say until next year but if I could I'd love to go stay there for a week or so.  Like old times, take a bike out, ride around the island.  For the first time in a long while I relaxed, the stress and illness seemed to disappear for a day at least.

Sometimes I gladly suffer a few bad days if only to capture such moments as this.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sunshine and Stress


Obviously sunshine and no stress for him.

The sun may be gracing us with it's presence these past few days (cue lots of people panic wearing shorts and sleeveless t-shirts, this may be the only chance this year.)  It may warm enough to encourage relaxation in the garden and nothing else but once again I have clouds on the horizon.

From the same two sources that have plagued me these recent months and which exacerbate the illness they are both quibbling about.  First off we have work.  Now I'm not a shirker, I've paid my dues, I sort of enjoyed my job right up until the end when it became unable to ignore the bickering and back-stabbing.  I had thought my exhaustion had to do with the atmosphere, tried and failed for four weeks to get holidays just for a little break and then I crashed.

Turned out to be something a lot worse than simple burn out but since then I've felt guilty at being ill, been made to feel a malingerer, a nuisance to be got rid of.  Understanding would be welcomed and I am aware that they run a business not a charity but I cost them nothing, I'm not an important part of the machinery just one of many.  As a company they have a reputation for making employees mentally ill and that is no joke.  I repeat what I am going through ad infinitum and next time I have to repeat it again.  Yes I have been off a while but I'm not exactly having a picnic.  The doctor says I'm not well enough to return, I can feel it myself when even hanging out washing tires me out.  It's frustrating, upsetting and not being listened to makes it worse.

Second we have the social worker who has, to our misfortune, been allocated to my mother.  She has some kind of agenda that, despite my mother having specific needs, she does not waver from.  The latest is that she has a permanent place for my mother in a home nearby.  Hurrah thinks I, no wait, it's sheltered accommodation.  Totally unsuitable, if my mother could cope in sheltered accommodation there would be no issue to sending her home with us.  Her needs are such that the temporary home she is in just now, with an en suite room to herself and a day room she can go to socialise in suits her well, has made her happy and content.

Does the social worker see this?  No, instead she insists that with a "package of care" mother should come home.  This sheltered accommodation is her latest gig in trying to make me give up and relent.  Never mind that it would mean my mother sitting home alone often, not able to go to her room when she wants (because it is upstairs so she needs help), not able to make even a cup of tea because she can't use a kettle any more.  According to her I "influenced" my mother into this decision.

Despite expecting me to be a full-time carer if my mother came home I have, at no point, been included in any of the decisions made since she was still in hospital.  The social worker took a bullying attitude right up until I got a carer's advocate involved and then, for good measure, after she accused me of influencing my mother I got her an advocate too.

She's still at it though.

And so while the sun shines and I defiantly sit outside and think of all the things I'd love to do to the garden if able to I have these two factors hovering over me.  Easter break starts Friday.  I have a meeting with my manager on Thursday during which I expect to come under pressure to return or be sacked (never mind whether I can cope or not), I have a meeting next Tuesday with the social worker and two advocates to once again discuss options for my mum despite the fact she is doing so well in her current environment.  I have to make a list of "concerns".  Oh I can make a list all right my dear.

I will not let this ruin Easter the way it ruined Christmas for me.  My priorities are just right and I know what is important to me will win out in the end.  I'd just like some time to relax and recuperate so I can rid myself of this illness and come out fighting.  I find it hard to concentrate and deal with things right now but that won't always be the case.