Sunday, 31 August 2014


Ishie (7), Alastair (6) and Harriet (14 months) were over.  Here is a recent photo.

At dinner later and we all had things to celebrate:

Mairi - is now at the half way mark in her pregnancy.  Due date is mid-January 2015.
John -  is finding that getting staff at surgery is turning out better than expected
Iain - has built a new handrail at the back door. It has been unanimously agreed by all ages to that he is "A Good Builder".
Barbara - is delighted to see how they are growning and have such rosy cheeks
Ishie - has earned her Cook's Badge in Grandma's kitchen because she made an excellent job of frying bacon for bacon rolls.  That means she stood and watched her work carefully (despite distractions) and was very tidy and organised in her work.  Watch this space!
Alastair -  has got himself a dandy second-hand BMX bike at the church jumble sale.  He spent a good 20 minutes carefully washing it with the hose and taking the scrubbing brush over every spoke and wheel tread.
Harriet - has now got her first molar tooth.

And while we are on the subject of things to celebrate: 

Indy - had his examination under anaesthetic to look to see if there is any sign of further cancer cells in his eye ... and nothing is evident.  [See previous post to this one.] We see him, and talk to him, every week on Skype.  He too has grown and has now started at a new Nursery.

Everyone - is celebrating!

Friday, 29 August 2014


I came across an "old friend" today ... in the form of a Singer sewing machine!  I worked out that it has been 60 years since I first used this machine!  I learned to sew using this machine and spent hours making  .... doll's clothes!  I guess I was about 10years old (1955).

I see from looking it up (on an American site) that it was called  Featherweight and dates from 1951.  I am sure it had another name ... was it Baby Singer?

These machines were made at the Singer factory  (Clydebank) not far from where we live. I think there are many homes that have or had one.  Certainly they are commonly seen in the Barras (flea market) and charity shops.  In fact one shop is Glasgow has their window display full of these piled in tiers as decoration.

But not this one!  I just loved this little machine and used to walk to my friend's house carrying it as I could not lug it on a bicycle!  In fact, I took it off to university with me but I suppose I left it back at home in the late 60's when I departed to "do Europe".

All through my teenage years I sewed on this funny little machine.  I recall making an outfit for a Sadie Hawkins Day Dance one February.  I took a dress pattern (basic 1920s 'shift')  and made the whole thing out of sacking.  We called it 'gunny sacks' ... never heard that word used in the UK!  I guess they would say hemp sacking.  I also remember how I loved Dan River cotton and when we went to the States on holiday that is what I used to buy with my baby-sitting money... that plus sheet music!

I am still doing both of those things: I love to pick up bits of beautiful fabric in a remnant box say in a Designer's Guild expensive fabric department.  And of course, I never go into a charity shop but I cast my eye around for sheet music!

Wednesday, 27 August 2014


Dawn and Indy and Alastair moved to Oregon in July.  However Indy had a check-up appointment due back in Vancouver so Dawn returned there with him this week.  Through the medium of email and Facebook we are kept very much up-to-date of progress and the outcome ... and the news is very good!  Indy's examination under anaesthetic shows that there appear to be no further cancer cells in his right eye.

So here he is with his Dog-Guitar in the Oncology Department ... a real Rock Start ... or as Alastair says ... a Dog Star!!

Friday, 15 August 2014


Iain and I spent a day at the 2014 World Piping Championships.  We were very kindly given VIP tickets which meant we could watch under cover in a rather nice tent.  We met and chatted with some pleasant folk all of whom have an input to the championships in one way or another.

 Flowers in the table of the hospitality tent.  Lovely food and excellent coffee enjoyed by all.

 Iain is admiring the craftsmanship of the makers of bag pipes, in this example, drone pipes. 

This display of chanters has one new, unusual one: in the centre the chanter has been made such that it is not straight up and down, i.e. it is angled.... a new innovation, it would appear.

 St Laurence O'Toole, Eire

  Bagad Cap Caval Pipe Band,  Pipe Major Hervé le Floc'h, France

 Drum sticks for larger drums.

 Roll out the barrel ....

Practice area

 Tuning up

 Tuning up - lots of technological kit involved

Monday, 11 August 2014


We had a lovely surprise this morning!  At precisely 9:50 am a Parcel Force delivery arrived with a large box from Amazon.  It contained books and videos from Alastair!

What was amazing is that Alastair and I only talked about these books etc on Saturday night at 6 pm our time - less than 48 hours ago! 

I suggested that Iain might like a recently published book Last Man Off by Matt Lewis about a Scottish fellow who was aboard a fishing vessel that sank in the South Georgia Sea.  It was on BBC Book of the Week last month.  (Poor Iain, who reads avidly, is very often given whisky as a present; he really doesn't drink the stuff any more!)

The BBC Radio 4 site describes it "In the spring of 1998, Matt Lewis was just 23 and not long out of college when he accepted a job as a scientific observer on the deep-sea fishing vessel Sudur Havid. It was his first time as an observer and, with the fishing season already started, he was rushed out to Cape Town to join the crew. The boat then sailed off to the Southern Ocean, off South Georgia, to fish in some of the most hostile conditions on the planet.

Last Man Off is Matt Lewis's story of that journey and the fateful consequences. It is a story that has waited over 15 years to be told."

And there were pressies for me in the box ... like Christmas!  Maggie and Brian had taken me to see the film The Grand Budapest Hotel. I mentioned to Alastair that I was captivated by the first piece of music in the film. Alastair included in the box a CD of the movie soundtrack!

The opening piece of music that I liked turns out to be: "the Appenzell yodel 's'Rothe-Zäuerli' by Ruedi and Werner Roth, is from the Swiss folk group's Öse Schuppel's album Appenzeller Zäuerli." [Wikipedia]

(The film is a British-German co-production financed by German financial companies and film funding organizations, and was filmed entirely on location in Germany.)

This short video is of that music (and only that piece):

Sunday, 10 August 2014


Alastair is about to start school this coming week. He is now 6.5 years and going into Primary 3 at Mosshead Primary.

John took this photo of him yesterday on their outing to see the Celtic crosses and Viking grave stones in Govan Parish Church. Is this budding engineer? 

Or .... do we see a budding architect?

 Mairi showed me this A4 sheet of paper where she drew the figure on the far right (Clydie from the Commonwealth Games) and Alastair drew his figure beside it.  Quite impressive we thought!

For the record, here is his elephant that he drew in his first year at school.  He was 4 1/2  - rising 5 years old! It was on the display board showing the children's work at the end of the year. Again ... impressive!

However the above picture on A4 turquoise paper is one I kept from a couple of years ago.  At the kitchen table he drew a pumpkin. I have written "aged 4 years and 8 months of age".  Disregard the black bits at the bottom. Look at the outline to make the shape of the pumpkin: a near-perfect circle!

 Some photos from last month's holiday in Arran:

Here he is in Kildonan, just off the beach where we had been beachcombing.

The beach at Kildonan.

 Finally, here are Ishbel and Alastair waiting for the Waverley at Brodick pier.

Saturday, 9 August 2014


The is the official People Make Glasgow 4 minute video. It manages to capture what the Games were all about.

Friday, 8 August 2014


I was driven in from the garden today because of the midges. These small flying insects (in Scotland called highland midges) are a real nuisance.  While they don't give big, nasty bites they result in small itchy ones. Clouds of them can descend when you are trying to set up a tent or have a BBQ.  The only thing to do is abandon your attempt and move.

Here is a funny song by Kenneth McKellar made some years ago.

Thursday, 7 August 2014


Harriet is now 14 months and has suddenly gone from a baby to a toddler.   Now that she is walking, she wants to be climbing and exploring.

The ingénue look.

 Exploring in the garden.

She is starting to make words and we reckon one of her first ones is going to be "Easy Jet", the name of an airline which passes overhead en route to Glasgow Airport.

We spent all afternoon together today. After time spent in the village of Milngavie (where she charmed all the little old lades with her blue eyes and winsome smile) we returned home for much needed sustenance!

Oops ... have to watch her all the time now as she is into everything!

Monday, 4 August 2014


It's Indy's birthday today.  He is 3 years old.  We spoke to him and to Alastair before he left for work.  

Here is Indy on Skype this morning.

The family  have moved to Portland, Oregon where Alastair has a new job.  Indy starts at Pre-school Nursery today.  He continues to have good health other than the occasional bug that he picks up, like every other child, at Nursery School.


It's back to auld clathes and porridge now that the Games are over.  Everyone agrees that is has been fun and a real shot in the arm for the city.

Maggie, who was a volunteer for the 10 days is now putting her feet up - happy but exhausted!

I went over to her house this morning to hear all her stories of meeting and greeting folk.  She gave me a wee present: a traffic cone from our local Lidl store.  Now this cone is similar to the one that sits on the head of the Duke of Wellington as he sits on his horse outside the Gallery of Modern Art in the city centre.

This is my photo of him taken about 5 years ago.

I don't have a small-sized statue of the Duke of Wellington to put it on so I did the next best thing: I be-hatted the IKEA monkey that always sits inside our front door.

This monkey called Hunka Munka.  He resides just inside out front door and is used when I need to place him outside the door to indicate to the children or Mairi that I am, like the Queen "in residence". 

So here he is today, back inside, slumped against the door, exhausted, after all the recent activities.

 * * * * * *

There is a wonderfully funny video of the Duke on his horse by Kevin John Green Lord at this site  here:

( I cannot figure out how to embed it....!)


Sunday, 3 August 2014


It's Sunday and the Commonwealth Games finish this evening with the Closing Ceremony.  Perhaps this is a good time to raise a glass to the organisers for a Job Well Done!  (Today's paper says it all - GLASGOW GETS A GOLD)

Like most folk who live here I got out and saw a lot of the city thee past 2 weeks. Some of it was familiar, some not.
Part of Central Station platform passageway mural
 George Square

The city centre as viewed from the top of the ferris wheel in Glasgow Green

The city and river were bedecked in flags - balconies, streets and boats on the Clyde and all the Games' events. Here are a few reminders before they are rolled away:

Apartment blocks built in recent years along the river where dockyards used to be.

Many areas of the city have street names and dock areas which reflect Glasgow's past 18th century trade in sugar, tobacco and cotton.

 The RYA Flotilla on the Clyde last week:

And last but not least, one of the 72 countries represented, as seen suspended from the Emirates Arena roofspace.