and so i came to troon to live astride a railway line or so it felt when rushing trains made haste to or from another place further up or down the line the sea birds still hovered overhead and mournful cried of weather less than perfect with streets frost white the naked trees flaunt gnarled skeletons against the winter skyline in the evening dark a distant fog horn calls across the misted waters of the far harbour
whooh-lah, what a day, what a wind! The kind of howling gale which grabs the breath from your very lungs, the kind of force which tries to knock you off your feet, whips the glasses from your face and somehow manages to sweep the mp 3 ear pieces from your ears. What a day!
So … what was the reef doing out and about at 7.30 on a decidedly nippy morn. This morning just happened to be the morning I woke up and said … “enough! Enough with the lolling around watching tv, enough with the feeding myself every little (or not so little) darn thing my heart desires and my mind can conjure up. Enough with turning my back on the words I should be writing.”
today is the first day of the rest of my life and I refuse to die fat, frumpy and frustrated! I will not allow the disappointments of life to emotionally de-bone me. I will love my body and my mind enough to cherish them, feed them, exercise them.
does your magnificent energy now explore the spirals of history and future, are your questions answered and new mysteries found? i miss the calm of your balance, the tenderness of your caring, the stimulation of your mind. i miss you! until we meet again ...
remembered tonight, cold night scarf wound, collar turned up shoulders hunched against the chill the night country clear
stars bright against the black sky head tipped back,eyes drawn to heaven's artwork and i remembered you
i remembered summer nights creeping, suffocating heat i felt again the warmth of bricks where we would sit to catch the cool
i remembered an african sky your arm lifted,embracing the firmament showing, teaching, sharing your amazement at the wonder of the stars
seven long years of separation and i have learned to live without you the ache of missing, less probing perhaps until the act of memory brings you to my side
in my mind i lie star gazing my head at rest in your lap my heart at peace in your company in the seeping summer heat
the night chill bites memory fades into reality's background my eyes alone follow these stars i inhabit a world without you
i wear glasses. without them the world is a blur. warning for the innocent ... there is a wee drug called tamoxifen! 'they' use it for estrogen affected breast cancers, it has some really nasty side effects. my oncologist at the time, a man of great arrogance, did not bother to inform me of any of the possible consequences before i took the meds. when i complained that my formerly great eyesight was deteriorating at a rate of knots... he said... "hmmmm, well, that does sometimes happen, usually only in older people.! needless to say at the time i was mad as a snake. fortunately life goes on, we adapt or die.
damn, every time i say adapt or die, i remember p w botha (prime minister (1978–84) and first state president (1984–89) of South Africa) haranguing us vote carrying white south africans. his 'crossing the rubicon' speech i think the press called it. i don't remember the actual speech, just p w glowering,stabbing his finger at the camera and instructing us to 'adapt or die'. yeah, yeah, i know, but, south african politicians tended to be extremely paternalistic in the bad old days ...
yes people! you may well mutter ... "that reef is starting to write like a history lesson!) it happens, if you live long enough ... one day you wake up and realise ... "omg! i was alive in the olden days."
what was the point of this story anyway? ah yes...
yesterday, i went for an early morning walk - it does happen! the day was ... damp, scotch mist seeping through the village, dampening sound. now scotch mist, whilst not exactly being rain, is still quite wet. it wraps you in a mini cloak of cloud. my glasses don't have windscreen wipers, so ... i took them off. without my glasses my world is a monet like blur. still beautiful, definitely lacking definition. i send up a small prayer that i will not snob friendly fellow villagers due to my inability to focus!
at the south end of the village, between the shaley shore and the "king's arms farm" is a large pond. said pond is home to three beautiful swans and one lonely (?) heron. i have not seen the heron for many weeks, i though he/she might have left for warmer climes. yesterday, even without my glasses ...
it was one of those grey scottish days when the wind slices like a knife. an ... omg, it's too cold to breath kind of day, a day when sensible people stay home and dream of spain and sunshine. leaving the daft few to fight their way along the sea front, buffeted from every direction by angry, ice cold air.
i had grabbed my old jacket from the cupboard at the bottom of the stairs. as i rounded the corner from the main street into shore road, i thrust my cold hands deep into my pockets in search of protection from the wandering tendrils of the icy blast.
and there it was.
right at the bottom of a deep pocket, in with the fluff and beach sand and a forgotten piece of gum. rattling around with a couple of loose pennies and a once, beautiful when wet, pebble. what can i say ... i was surprised. after all, it would not have been the first place i expected to find such a treasure.
thursday evening ... i heard it on the grapevine or in more modern day speak ... facebook! "you left a light on!" ... old news, i am a south african, i always leave a light on."
"you have a leak, the water is dripping through the ceiling downstairs." ok, that one got my attention. phoned my landlady... in her usual efficient manner she had the situation under control, burst pipe in bathroom, no damage to my place, slight damage to ceiling downstairs. water mains turned off, plumber on order.
i was due to return home on saturday but due to an overactive imagination, i decided to push that forward by a day. it is kind of difficult to relax whilst imagining unknown plumbers trundling through my home.
i arrived home to find my front door open, signs of work ... strange pieces of pipe lying around in the bathroom. a distinct lack of water in the cistern, but, no plumber.
everybody relax! this is ayrshire not africa! open front doors are okay, strange plumbers alone in your home are okay. i phoned my efficient landlady to report in. no problems, repair work in progress, plumber just off to stranraer for spare parts.
friday evening, plumbing problem resolved, the weekend ahead, a glass of ice with other additions ... cheers!
funny thing, the older i grow the more i love to hold a new born baby. so new, there is still a touch of heaven about them. eyes not quite ready to see the physical world, ears that will hear a whisper. tiny, tiny hands already more than capable of finding the rose bud mouth.
since monday i have been staying with the kids and baby daniel. would you argue if i told you he was the most beautiful child in the world. that at four days old his genius is already obvious!
thursday - 24th today was heel prick day ... please note - heel prick, not friggin' heel pricks! our poor baby, the indignity of it, ouch, ouch, ouch. it was also weigh daniel day and m has done a stirling job with the breast feeding, our young prince has gained weight, an increase from 2.64kg to 2.67kg after only five days since birth... yay, for super mom!
i must add that i am totally impressed with the nhs scotland. wow, a midwife visits every other day to help and encourage the new mom and check that baby is doing well. and... all without charge,such a civilised country
tomorrow i am off to saltcoats for the day, joshua, my eldest grandchild turns thirteen. i can't believe how time flies, it feels like only yesterday i would lift and grasp him under my arm and carry him off whilst he kicked and screamed in a raging tantrum. now he is in high school, looking sharp in his blazer and tie and learning to play the sax! josh is autistic, these days he is classified as a high functioning autistic, back in the day, well.... that is another whole blog!
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
woke up this morning determined to take an early morning walk as we have sunshine. the dark will be upon us soon enough and as we know the dark is mostly accompanied by the wet. i come from good south african stock, we don't do wet very well!
having dragged my arse out of bed i decided that i may as well have a cup of coffee before my walk. the house filled with the good morning aroma of my favourite tipple, i decided to check my email whilst i waited. naughty, naughty! emails, facebook, blogs ... what can i say. times passes. so then i decided ... best shower and have my brekkie before my walk.
ten o'clock, saturday morning, i'm washed, well fed and on my second cuppa. why am i writing when i should be walking?
i guess i am not ...
Using or marked by the use of few words; terse or concise. See synonyms at silent.
[Latin Lacōnicus, Spartan, from Greek Lakōnikos, from Lakōn, a Spartan (from the reputation of the Spartans for brevity of speech).] laconically la·con'i·cal·ly adv.
WORD HISTORY The study of the classics allows one to understand the history of the term laconic, which comes to us via Latin from Greek Lakōnikos. The English word is first recorded in 1583 with the sense “of or relating to Laconia or its inhabitants.” Lakōnikos is derived from Lakōn, “a Laconian, a person from Lacedaemon,” the name for the region of Greece of which Sparta was the capital. The Spartans, noted for being warlike and disciplined, were also known for the brevity of their speech, and it is this quality that English writers still denote by the use of the adjective laconic, which is first found in this sense in 1589.
most mornings i wake up, make myself a cup of coffee, check my emails and then... i gaze out of my lounge window at the fields and hill beyond the a77 and the row of houses which line it's route.
this morning the farmer was out, amazing how those who work the land are up and at 'em whilst the rest of us are still knuckling the sleep from our eyes.
this particular farmer has two working dogs and it is always a pleasure to watch them at work. rounding up the flock from the surrounding fields and flushing the odd layabout from the bushy hillside.
today they missed one!
i was standing at the window, watching the clouds scudding by, the rain drifting across the fields... fully absorbed in a soft bed of now.
and there she/he was, bumbling around in the bushes ... all alone!
life ... it does make one wonder. how did the dogs miss her (may as well address the left behind sheep as 'her', the fields around these parts are filled with sheep - feminine gender and there are but a few sheep - masculine gender.! where have the rest of the flock gone? they flowed across the green fields like a fast moving white river, they disappeared - without hesitation ... over the hill and out of sight. now, would they be receiving injections against various sheep type diseases? or perhaps ... deworming or even dipping? i try my best not to consider the fact that... they may have flowed over the hill and into a big old cattle truck. the start of a journey into a future as minted lamb chops and sunday roasts.
will the left behind sheep survive? alone out there in a world of dark, lonely nights and feeding foxes. there are even tales of a puma stalking the gentle ayrshire countryside.
nope ... i'm not kidding, there have been sightings and a horse was attacked near coylton! of course, one is inclined to wonder quite how a wild puma might have come to be living and hunting along the west coast of scotland.
so ... is the tale of the left behind sheep a tale of terrible tragedy, or ... a serendipitous success story?
so far, ms lonely sheep has yet to notice she is the sole (domestic) inhabitant of the bushy, hill field. she continues to graze contentedly, munching away... a stirling example of the "why worry, be happy" life philosophy.
my beloved muninn goes home to her breeders on sunday. they will rehome her. i am heartbroken but it is my decision. i made a mistake, i underestimated the difference the passing years had made to my physical strength. i also underestimated the size muninn would reach and the sheer energy and muscle power of a young bullie of her size.
we have been together three months now and over that time i have gradually come to the understanding that i was not the best person for muninn to live with and that i... would possibly expire before my alloted time ... from pure exhaustion.
so, i have been dealing with misery and guilt and the need to make a decision.
i was forced to make a decision when ms muni slipped her leash, escaped the back garden through an open door into the offices. accompanied by the panic stricken trills of the office workers, she was about to dash out of the front door and into the outside world, with absolutely nothing between one over excited young bullie and the notorious a77. luckily my friend j grabbed hold of her. she has her own bullie and understands that they are not as scary as they look! i felt such fear, i thought my heart would seize!
it was decision time, no more impossible plans to find a house with a garden in my price range ... ha, bloody ha ... as if that was ever more than a dream! so i contacted her breeders, who of course have first refusal. they understood my dilemma and will meet me on sunday, halfway between london and ballantrae. saves me a REALLY long drive and i am most grateful. i trust them completely and i know they will take their time and find a wonderful new home for my girl. in the meantime she will be home with her doggy family and the human children she so adores.
so, at the moment, i have a huge lump in my throat at the thought of her leaving. a small dose of guilt as i feel i should have woken up and smelled the coffee ... before i brought her home. at the same time, i feel almost a sense of relief, as week by week it was becoming harder for me to cope!
and the heat rose, and the green, green grass grew tall and luscious, and the wind blew no more.
and the people of the village brought forth their folding chairs, their barbecues and their tanning lotion.
and mother nature watched and she was well pleased. and on the tenth day she brought forth the scottish midges!
aye, village people, though you may have relaxed all summer long, enjoying beer in the long evening light, sipping chilled white wine from long stemmed glasses, chatting with friends and neighbours as the smoke of a multitude of barbecues rises and fades. things are about to change
yay verily, though you may plough and plant, shear and milk and bake the most delicious strawberry and cream tarts.
yay verily, though you may stride my lands and tend my assets and believe you hold dominion over all my creatures.
yay verily, though you may burn your citronella candles to the gods of itch.
i have brought forth scottish midges to remind you, people of the village.to remind you that these insignificant winged creatures, so small, so silent, so many ... will cause you to flee the great outdoors ... slapping and squealing, itching and scratching.
so i say unto you, return to your steaming hot homes, reconnect with your televisions. venture ye not forth, until mother nature feels such pity for these poor mortals. and she causes the winds to rise and the scottish midges to flee to where ever it may be that scottish midges flee. the following information is for educational purposes only. the author of this blog denies any responsibility for any ennui experienced by the reader.
The Scottish or Highland Midge, in it’s own right, probably explains why a country as beautiful as Scotland only has a population of some 5 million people. The Highland midge has a notorious reputation for spoiling folks enjoyment of the great outdoors during the summer months.
There are actually a large number of different types of midges in Scotland but Culicoides Impunctatus the Highland or Scottish midge, which is a tiny insect, enjoys a reputation as being the fiercest biting midge.
It reeks havoc across vast tracts of Scotland from May to September. Their nuisance value to the camper, walker, angler etc. is so great that many holiday makers and tourists have been known to pack up and leave within an hour of being attacked. The Scottish Midge is especially prevalent on the West Coast where in the right weather conditions and at certain times, in the early morning or late evening, it becomes impossible to stay outdoors for more than a few seconds.
Some Midge Facts
* The Scottish midge has a wingspan of 1.4 mm. * A swarm of midges can deliver approximately 3000 bites an hour. * A female will feed on the skin for up to 4 minutes taking 0.1 microlitres of blood. * A female midge can probably detect you from a range of up to 100 metres. * It is estimated that in the Highlands midge populations can reach densities of 10,000,000 midges per acre in ideal conditions. * Midges have probably only been in Scotland for about 8000 years.
the heat has gone, the mist has rolled down from the hilltops and cradles the village in an embrace of almost invisibility.
my (oh so green... not!)ground source heating system is feeling bitchy. i will call her 'she' as only the female could be as difficult and cantankerous as 'she'! 'she' has decided that heating the water above 28 degrees (centigrade)is unnecessary. needless to say, i disagree! i even went so far as to read the very thick instruction book, desperation can make me do crazy things ... i delved deep into the psyche of 'she', i studied her bodily parts, i touched, i caressed ... 'she' was totally unimpressed by my attentions!
ja, no, well fine as we would say back in the good old RSA! that was yesterday, the mist rolled back, the sun came out and today is definitely beer drinking weather. however, 'she' is still not playing nicely.
with some extra attention i managed to persuade 'her' to heat up to 32 degrees. the difference between 28 and 32 degrees... when it comes to standing in a shower at either of these temperatures ... there is no friggin' appreciable difference! the water is too damn cold!!
i was unable to put in a complaint yesterday as i was up in saltcoats. liam had an appointment in glasgow with his neurologist and i was seconded to take care of child collection and after school tending for the other four ;-)
today having taken a very quick shower i was off to inform my landlady of the dire straights afoot. hmmm ... she says she will arrange for an appropriate technician to call but reminded me that the firm that services 'her' is in some far flung scottish town, hah! i remarked sweetly, with perhaps just the tiniest hint of sarcasm in my voice ...
"no rush belinda, i am more than happy to take cold showers in an attempt to toughen up my body for my cruise of the fjords." what's the bet i am still showering cold tomorrow!
my blog friend mike s from maine sent me this some days ago. just too good not to share. thanks mike!
Lawns & God
GOD: St. Francis, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world is going on down there in the USA? What happened to the dandelions, violets, thistle and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect, no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long lasting blossoms attracts butterflies, honeybees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see a vast garden of colours by now. But all I see are these green rectangles.
ST. FRANCIS: It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started calling your flowers weeds and went to great lengths to kill them and replace them with grass.
GOD: Grass? But it's so boring. It's not colourful. It doesn't attract butterflies, birds and bees, only grubs and sod worms. It's temperamental with temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing there?
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it green. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other plant that crops up in the lawn.
GOD: The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast. That must make the Suburbanites happy.
ST. FRANCIS: Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it, sometimes twice a week.
GOD: They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?
ST. FRANCIS: Not exactly Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.
GOD: They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?
ST. FRANCIS: No, sir -- just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.
GOD: Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?
ST. FRANCIS: Yes, sir.
GOD: These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot of work.
ST. FRANCIS: You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it so they can continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.
GOD: What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer stoke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn they fall to the ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect the trees and bushes. Plus, as they rot, the leaves form compost to enhance the soil. It's a natural circle of life.
ST. FRANCIS: You'd better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have them hauled away.
GOD: No. What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter and to keep the soil moist and loose?
ST. FRANCIS: After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.
GOD: And where do they get this mulch?
ST. FRANCIS: They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.
GOD: Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?
ST. CATHERINE: Dumb and Dumber, Lord. It's a real stupid movie about ...
GOD: Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis.
today i revisited my orthopaedic consultant. the mri shows no problems other than the still broken second metatarsal on the left foot.
i have a choice ... do nothing.
my foot has been broken for the past year and for the last four months or so ... well, i have learned to live with it, the swelling has almost completely gone and as long as i tread warily, i am experiencing very little pain.
so, do nothing, or ...
have an op, which would involve taking bone from the pelvic area and making a bone dowel to join the two ends together ... a dowel joint! heh!
having endured more than my fair share of hospitalization, my first reaction was ... say what! do nothing please, thank you!
but then again... with my foot as it is, my life style is kind of limited. i can't run or exercise vigorously. driving the car makes my foot ache.when i get cramp or stretch my foot in my sleep ..well... pain tends to wake one, even from the deepest sleep!
i sat in the doc's office, my mind doing wheel spins. do nothing or an op and six weeks in plaster. hmmmm!
eventually my sixty year old brain made the grown up decision. i signed the consent form and the mighty nhs's pre op exercise swung into action. every part of me was prodded, poked and checked. it was fast and efficient - i am finally impressed. i was also a little nervous, this was too fast. when were they thinking of operating? when in doubt ask!
me, in slightly strained and panic stricken voice ... "ummm, about when will this op take place?"
pre-op nurse ... "well ... the list is quite long, probably not before the beginning of september ... eight to twelve weeks, unless ... the consultant has a gap."
i exhale and feel my tensed muscles relax, okay dokay, i can handle september.the efficiency with which my pre op was handled had me worried.not a problem though, merely another case of nhs hurry up and wait!
as a child, bed time was an entrance into the world of the mind. waiting in the dark for sleep to claim me, my mind would wander, i might became one of the "famous five", travelling in a caravan, high adventure. i admired george, the tom boyish, girl creation of the author enid blyton. strangely enough "the secret seven" never held the same fascination for me! george might well have been my first crush ...
nope, incorrect recollection! my first girl crush was my very first teacher when i started school,at age four(before i could read).
bedtime was this dark, safe place where i learned to travel with my mind.
for many years, i gave attention to god and the size of the universe. to the begining of creation. all things begin, all things end... god created the earth. who or what created the creator? we have our world, our universe. what was there before ... nothingness? what is nothingness? what lies beyond? if all things end, what lies beyond the end? hmmm ...
as i approached puberty, i decided that some questions might have answers way beyond our mortal understanding. it occured to my young mind that if i continued to dwell on these questions ... i might go insane! some mysteries are beyond solving. some questions beyond answers. and anyway, my hormones were fluctuating, there were more pressing matters on my mind.
so where was i going with all this... well, i am on my second reading of eckhart tolle's "a new earth". now there is a man who has given a thought or two to a thing or two! he always challenges me! reading eckhart requires concentration and consideration. i will probably read and reread his work until my eyes no longer see.
i think i have always pretty much understood that "i" was neither my body, my beautiful mind nor my somewhat chaotic thought process. i understood the indestructible essence of energy, the possibility of an immortal soul, the undeniable existence of racial memory and the unfortunate proclivity of man to pass our pain from generation to generation. mr tolle just says it all so beautifully! he reminds me that i am more ...
god manfred, why? i miss you still i phone the birthday boy turned thirty four can you believe it? grown now into a man but still the sweet son there, inside, untouched vulnerable and protective we talk, of greek verbs and a celebratory full scottish breakfast i put the phone back in the cradle by the window my throat constricts hot tears burn behind my eyelids god manfred, why? because he has no father for me to pass the phone to no dad to listen with knowledge to the questions that men must surely need to share at times or do the welling tears betray my own aloneness
i've pins and needles in my tongue the dentist's needle made me numb my mouth was such a sorry sight it gave the dentist quite a fright a great big filling fell right out and left a gaping hole no doubt she chipped and chiselled drilled and sprayed while i sat in the chair and prayed i really hate the gurgling sound of spraying water whooshing round i always know that pretty soon i'll start to choke and then i'll swoon my nerves are shot my muscles tense i can't wait till she says "now rinse" at last she's finished time to leave what a heartfelt sigh i heave i beg the tooth gods hear my plea "please keep my poor teeth safe for me"
once upon a time, a long, long time ago, i broke the metatarsal bone, left foot, second toe. of course, at the time i was not sent for an xray, so the medical world and i were, might i say, ignorant of the fact that a bone was broken. i was assured it might just as easily be arthritis and even if it was a fracture of a small bone of the foot... well, there was nothing to be done.
Hell's teeth! I only had my appointment with the orthopaedic consultant last friday and today an appointment letter arrives. I have an appointment for an mri on the 29th … what??? the nhs showing signs of, dare I say, efficiency. Mayhap the bastards are just overcome with remorse because they left me to hobble around on a broken foot for … ten friggin' months!
Yep, that darn bone is still broken. I was sure it had healed, the pain was definitely in retreat. I nearly cancelled the appointment, luckily I decided to turn up , if only for an opportunity to whinge about the nhs's cavalier attitude towards my crumbling bone structure.
The bone guy is a little concerned... he does not understand how that particular bone came to break. Well, no use asking me! I woke up one morning, swung out of bed, my foot touched the ground and aarrgghhh whooo! Who knows what the devil I get up to at night? I always believed I slept but … who breaks their foot whilst asleep in bed?
Anyway, concern always leads to needles and drilling for blood. They took enough of my own to make a healthy take away for dracula. Then the bone guy consulted with the xray guy and the two of them decided that they needed an mri of my left foot. They sent me on my way with promises of appointments. I was not fooled, I am an old hand at this medical game. I reckoned I would be safely ensconced in a home for the elderly by the time my turn for an mri came around.
Imagine my surprise!
my question is … what happened to the pain? If you have pain for long enough does the brain switch off the pain notification system? Hmmmm ...
spring, summer ... the fund raising committees spring into action. one of my favourite events is "a tea/coffee morning in the village hall". what a great way to have a pound or two siphoned out of my pocket!
ten o'clock this morning (a clear and sunny morning i might add), my pal jean drove through from girvan and we took a stroll up to the hall to partake of the delicious goodies on offer. really good coffee, scones, cream cakes and crumpets galore ... yum!
there were also a few stalls, selling cakes, plants and tombola tickets. i bought a chocolate cake and a couple of tombola tickets and ... i won! a bottle of sherry AND a family ticket to vikingar ...
"Visit Vikingar! located in the beautiful coastal resort of Largs in Ayrshire, and be enthralled by the saga of the Vikings in Scotland. In the capable hands of our costumed story tellers, experience the Viking adventure first hand as you are guided through 500 years of history, shown a Viking Longhouse and taken to meet the Viking Gods and Valkyries in Valhalla, as Viking history is brought to life in the 'Viking Experience'. Then take your seat for an amazing 5-screen film presentation following one Viking family through generations of turmoil, battle and adventure until the Battle of Largs in 1263. Finally, enter the Viking Hall of Knowledge where multi-media technology and other learning aids continue the 'Saga of the Vikings in Scotland'. If you're looking for excitement, realism, atmosphere, action and a great day out - the Viking Experience has it covered! "
sounds good, i'm sure my grandchildren will be delighted :-)
todays fund raiser was in aid of the starfish appeal.
"The Starfish Appeal aims to raise money to refurbish the Mountbatten Ward, the Paediatric Liver Unit in Kings College Hospital. "
about a year ago, a local youngster with liver failure was flown up to the hospital, had a liver transplant and in due course, returned in good health to his family and friends. the family and the village now put on a yearly event to raise funds for the appeal. wonderful community spirit!
1st may, a good date, has a historical ring to it ... may day 2009.
today is the first day of the rest of my life. new beginnings!
life is for living and live it i have. i am of an age where i feel no need to procrastinate or waste time, the clock is ticking.
i firmly believed hahn@home's idea of a six month dating hiatus following the breakdown of a relationship was a excellent idea.
in reality, at my age ... six months is a long time ... just sayin'!
so, today i came to a decision. i stood outside (in the intermittent rain) looked up at the sky, took a deep breath and decided i was grateful to be me. no more guilt, no more sorrow ... life goes on and life is good. an adventure waiting to happen, a feast, piled high for the hungry, to spend another minute looking back would be wasteful.
i will never again 'hunt' love! i will enjoy my world exactly as it is. i will open myself to life and new experiences. if love should land on me, gentle as a butterfly ... i will be very still and give thanks.
she finally tracked me down! the smoking nurse. or should it be the stop smoking nurse? some months ago the doc and i reached a decision... i would give up smoking ... heh! my body really objected to the statins used to lower my ever increasing cholesterol count. no way i could continue taking the damn things. doc was agitated, my risk was too high, she was not happy. only way left to reduce the risk - stop smoking. well... yes, maybe, in a couple of months ... but first ... i was off to new york, then it was christmas and new year, then i flew out to south africa and then of course i had all those cheap, duty free ciggies i did not want to waste. and then herself was coming for a visit and i was avoiding the stop smoking nurse like the plague.
until yesterday. the phone rang, i answered it ... as you do. it was she,
i have a week in which to smoke, while changing my habits. don't smoke in the house, well i don't anyway. don't smoke while driving, heh, quite a good idea except that today i had to drive to maybole for a dentist appointment. so i was nervous, so i smoked in the car! get over it, rome wasn't built in a day! drink six glasses of water a day, man, that is a lot of water to consume as well as the umpteen cups of coffee i drink.
"about the coffee" ...
"what about the friggin' coffee?? i'm giving up smoking, not life."
"it's the first cup in the morning"
"ah you mean the one i can't live without"
"you need to replace it with a cup of hot water and a slice of lemon."
herself has put "it" out there, blogged about, admitted - that we two, sugar and the wolf are no longer together. i am free to write and share. except for one small fact, my ever wandering mind is strangely silent. five years is a good long while. i need to mourn. i grew accustomed to being part of more than one. i am most aware that herself was cast from an original, one off mold. a wonderful companion, intelligent, humerous and feisty!
for the present i am content to mull over the past. i expect a time will come when i will once more contemplate the future.
"come to tea" ... back home in the good old republic of sa, would mean... pop in, around three in the afternoon. i'll organize a cake/cream scones or summat, i'll put out the good tea set on the good tray, i'll make tea in an actual teapot! then we can spend an hour or so chatting before you go home!
not so in the (not so) united kingdom.
here, for the most part, "come and have your tea with us" is an invitation to enjoy the evening meal with friends.
my good friend shona is most generous with her invitations to break bread with her clan. she is also a magnificent cook! myself, having spent the past six plus years feeding (for the most part) only myself... well let's just say, when it comes to entertaining, i have grown somewhat idle! result, i am most likely to invite my pal round for lunch and offer her a truly delicious (and easily prepared) ham, cheese and salad roll.
week before last, i was overcome with remorse and decided that it was high time shona and andy enjoyed a proper meal, prepared by yours truly. i decided on a lamb casserole and for pud ... my specialty ... bread and butter pudding. prepared for all eventualities, such as, myself suddenly losing interest in pudding making ... i also purchased one of those delicious frozen chocolate gateau from the asda in girvan. unfortunately the small ones had sold out... ah well, the huge, rich, creamy one, would just have to do. safe! every eventuality covered, i popped said choccy cake in the freezer. as it happened, i happily baked the bread and butter pudding (note to self ... british bread is not ideal for bread and butter pudding) and the gateau stayed in the freezer.
a terrible temptation, every time i opened the freezer to extract on of my "weighless", under 300 calorie meals... there it was ... "the cake", frozen but none the less tempting.
last night adam and michelle invited me around for supper, i defrosted "the cake" and took it north with me to the farm ... sharing being the only way i know of not eating the whole damn thing myself! i put it on a plate and parked it on the passenger seat next to me where i could 'keep an eye on it'. hah! forgot about how extra bumpy that farm road is just after a rain and in the dark ... enough said, "the cake" arrived in more or less one piece but my passenger seat is now a kind of chocolate gateau disaster area.
ahhh fudge, i feel about one hundred and ten years old! either it is all this exercising a great big, bouncy bull terrier pup ... or ... i am having a major arthritis flair ... or ... both ... heh!
this dog walking lark is way up there on the "how to make friends and influence people" list. suddenly folks are chatting to me whether i have munnin along or not.
our village has a number of grand characters whom, thus far, i have only known by reputation. bandanna man, an aging hippy with a flowing beard of biblical proportion and a pack of very ferocious looking dogs. yesterday afternoon he and his boys approached to introduce themselves to little missy. munnin was, of course, delighted to make their acquaintance.
then whilst walking the grounds we bumped into big ben, a giant of a man with a plethora of scary piercings. turns out he loves bullies and allowed munnin to leap all over his very large self. of course she managed to weave between his legs causing her leash to come dangerously near to toppling him! i had a gleeful picture of myself stepping neatly aside and yelling .... "timber".
this morning i awoke to a beautiful spring day, the daffodils are on their way out and bluebells and tulips are taking their place. munnin and i set off on our walk, she adorned in her new pink camo harness and leash. very chic, i suppose i could have gone with the old fashioned army camo but ... that would have made her look even more like the killer dog most folks think she is! so pink it is, to soften the edges and confuse matters a little.
walking at seven in the morning is most pleasant, quiet, not too many folks around to distract the princess. she is a friendly soul and coming across others, out about their business, well, she tends to cast aside any pretense as to who is in charge. the new short leash does help, the majority of people we meet feel no need to be leaped upon by an over friendly pup. they tend to pale and draw back, for the princess this is an open invitation to show how much she cares!
so, in the quiet of the new day, we managed to stride it out. my reward ... the pup is now fast asleep. ssshhhh ...
my uncle lance said "bloody" an awful lot! he even inserted "bloody" into other words, for instance ... im-bloody-possible. my dad did not swear. well, that was my belief, until i was seventeen. i was working at the standard bank in pietermaritzburg and i was to take a lift home with dad, i was waiting in his office, kind of around a corner when my old man came in with one of his clerks. he was swearing masterfully! he was mortified when he saw me, sitting there with my mouth hanging open. turned out my dad did swear, just not in front of ladies.
when i was four my folks decided to move us all, lock, stock and barrel to england. dad was english born and his mum still lived in sussex. my gran's health was a bit iffy at the time, my mom was as nomadic as i am and was always up for a bit of adventure ... so, goodbye south africa and hello england.
uncle lance, who had left south africa after the war and decided to farm in the uk, asked dad to join him in the farming venture. i think uncle lance and auntie alice may have been wealthy, he was an accountant back home and had owned the firm.he was farming in kent, near a small village called kennington. uncle lance organized a house in the village for us, as i remember it was big and very cold in the winter.
we set sail on one of the old union castle mail ships. my sister ann stayed behind as she was already teaching and had met the love of her life! so, it was dad and mom, maureen, patricia, lola, me and my little brother roderick aka joe. of course i don't remember much, except for the fact that when the adults had tea the waiters brought out cartons of ice cream in paper cups. when tea time was over they used to throw the cartons with any left over ice creams overboard. what a waste, even at four years old i understood that and i never forgot!
life with munnin is, well ... different. i wake up earlier, i sit much less as i am continually checking up on my new house mate! it is hard to believe how one young bullie can cause such havoc - she has two middle names - silence and speed ... yoiks! munnin appears to have one golden rule - if i can grab it, i can chew it. trouble is i am kind of fond of my stuff, i enjoy with my eyes, she enjoys with her teeth! at the moment i keep all interleading doors closed, confining the wee devil to wherever i happen to be. i realize that this is not a long term solution, perhaps i will purchase some of those safety gates they make for homes with small children.
i walk a lot more and of necessity pay less attention to the weather i walk in. trying to exhaust munnin past her chew point is the name of the game. munnin has made several new friends and so have i. so far we have met a small brown dog called donald, a scottish deer hound, an irish wolf hound ... man oh man, what ginormous dogs! several labradors, quite a few alsations and a pair of really grumpy rottweilers. there appears to be an unofficial club, of which the village dog walkers are members. unofficial club rule - learn the names of all walking dogs (no need to know the name of their human).
for those of you who might be interested in my girl's rather unusual name ... i did not choose it, she was named by her family of origin. they are breeders and their kennel is called ragnarok- a good norse name meaning - doom of the gods - huh? so anyway, they tend to name their bullies after norse mythological characters - thus ... Munnin!
quote from wikipedia - "In Norse mythology, Huginn and Muninn travel the world bearing news and information they have collected to Odin. Huginn is "thought" and Muninn is "memory". They are sent out at dawn to gather information and return in the evening. They perch on the god's shoulders and whisper the news into his ears."
well ... i went and done and did it! i got me a puppy ... awwww cute ... aaarghhh crap! is more like it ... heh!
munnin is five months old and was born in bexley heath, which is the kent side of the outskirts of london. yep indeed, quite a way from my ayrshire headquarters.
but a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.
thanks to my new best friend 'navman', i negotiated the entire trip with unprecedented style and ease. i left home on wednesday and drove as far as bolton (nr. manchester), where my friend rose very kindly offered me a bed for the night. i intended to leave early thursday morning but was somewhat delayed by rose offering to make me one of her most excellent english breakfasts. yummm ... what can i say, no one does better breakfast than the brits! i finally got going about elevenish. all was well until i hit the infamous m25. talk about stop start driving, what a queue, it took hours to travel twenty miles. i was afeared my bladder would burst! later, rather than sooner i arrived at the queen elizabeth toll bridge. wow, by the time you hit your sixtieth birthday, one is inclined to become a tad blase (afraid i have no notion as to how to get the little dingus above the e, but i'm sure you all know exactly what i mean). 'nuff said, that bridge, what a beaut! it was so friggin' high i felt airsick when i looked out of the car window.
thursday evening i went to meet munnin and her family. i was pretty nervous by now, on the trip down i had been giving the whole dog companion business some serious thought.for more than five years i have lived alone, responsible only for myself. i am spoiled ... i do what i want when i want. bringing a pup into my home would probably (yeah...right!!) change the dynamics of my life
of course, she was beautiful and obnoxious in that utterly bullie way. she leaped, she pushed, she tried to trip me, she tried to taste me. i was relieved to move inside and talk business.
friday morning, bright and early, i picked up my newest family member. her breeders cried, their children cried, i cried. munnin and i set off, up the great north road, a ten hour journey ahead of us.
by nature ... i am nomadic. which might lead one to believe that this girl knows her way around a route map. unfortunately, not true! i possess an uncanny knack for arriving at unintended destinations.
getting lost ... the story of my life. and then ... enter the navman!
wow! how clever are those little devices? a soft, intimate voice, whispering instructions, so patient, no ... "eryll you numpty, we are lost ... again. would it be beneath your dignity to ASK someone for directions!" instead, i have dulcet tones, patiently directing and redirecting me "as soon as is possible, make a u turn, make a u turn!" i feel as if i have my own personal travel angel, somewhere up there in the sky, making sure i arrive at the correct destination and on time.
2nd april... if only humans were immortal ... today would have been my mom's 100th birthday.
mary catherine mcdonald hart ... you were special!
i miss you. i miss the comfort of my mother and my friend. i miss the ever present song on your lips,the gentle aroma of "oil of olay" face cream, the roughness of your hands as you reached out to comfort - you worked so hard ... i miss hanging out in the kitchen with you. i miss our chats as we pegged out washing in the harsh sunlight. i miss the buns you used to bake especially for me - no fruit, because i loved buns but hated currents! i miss discussing creation and eternity and humanity.
how warm is hot? how cool is cold? heh! different for herself than it is for myself ... that's for sure.
keeping herself warm is a full time job. problem is ... the weather has been pretty mild since the princess arrived. question is ... how would she cope in real wintry weather?
new yorkers are used to their creature comforts. effective heating systems in winter and efficient cooling systems in summer. back home in the good old rsa ... we are made of tougher stuff. we somehow manage to sweat through our summers and shiver through our winters with very little assistance from cooling and heating systems. the gentle wop, wop of the ceiling fans stir the still evening air and keep those little blood sucking bastards (alias mosquitoes) more or less at bay. when the winter evenings draw in the mosquitoes leave and we make do with a small electric heater whilst we watch tv, come bed time and we run for our bed covers.
hmmmm ... i remember ... we once lived in a house in durban north and the main bedroom had an air conditioner ... uber posh! come february ... a particularly hot and humid time of the year on the east coast ... i would switch that loud, rackety thing on when the kids came home from school and we would spend an hour in the artificial coolth. used an awful lot of electricity though, not the cheapest way to cool off! quick dip in the pool worked just as well plus washing off the days sweat.
of course, here in scotland, summers are pleasant. oft times pretty wet, all sunshine gratefully appreciated and the chance to sweat.... well! winters are rather dark, dreary and wet ... wet is good, it is the reason our hills glow with green health and our cattle are sleek and happy! yeah well ... that's the story and we need to stick with it. we do indeed need and use heating. but ... heating is expensive in our part of the world. i find i can afford to make do with the minimum. being of hardy south african stock this works for me! but the princess ... oy vay! how will she survive a wild and windy winter?
"Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?" Mary Oliver
“People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is a light from within.” ~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
"There are too many people, and too few human beings." Robert Zend
"Strength is the ability to break a chocolate bar into four pieces with your bare hands, and then eat just one of those pieces."