Wednesday, 31 December 2014


What time is it today?

Time to close down
(Like Churchill) time to re-group

Folk have been fed and watered


Cards are written and posted … well half of them ...


Time to leave things that cannot be finished and make time for that which can.

* * * 

Time to starting counting up as well as counting down
There have been gains; there have been loses.
But today it is
Time for steak pie dinner at Anne’s
Time for a dram ..
(Equality in our house: I drink, Iain drives home)
In time for
Neighbours coming at nine o’clock

Time for a dram …
Time for the Bell’s … oops… the bells!

Hold on …
What day is this?!!!
Did I forget?
It’s Ishies 8th birthday!

But hold on some more ….
What are we all waiting for?
It’s (nearly) time for the new baby!

Oh my goodness?
Where has the year gone?

Time to get up out of my chair!
Time to muster the energy!


Skiers' photograph was taken by John Hemisegger, Marianne's father and is her card this year.

The black and white picture in Keep Calm photo is Jim Messer, Iain and I with Eric Henry hidden behind the perspex weight.  It was taken in 1969 in the Mealey Mountains (Labrador) when we flew in there (in 'JAT'  Beaver) to do some exploration and naming of a peak.

Monday, 29 December 2014


Christmas dinner here had to be cancelled, well actually postponed, as both Iain and I were laid low with a tummy bug.  Now recovered we had various folk for a mid-day meal yesterday, Sunday. It worked out quite well being in the middle of the day as everyone is fresher (and people don't have to drive home in the dark).

Fruit salad, always on hand at any big meal we have, is greatly lifted with the addition of Christmasy-red pomegranate seeds.

My jazzed up breakfast this morning ... porridge and pomegranate with the last of the Bailey's Irish Cream from the Christmas (chocolate) pudding.

Burnt-out angles beneath the Christmas tree. Auntie Mary's decoration from many years ago are made of cloth so are relegated to the lower branches of the tree which are a better child-friendly position.

The garden this morning with my garden dolly (4 wheeled trolly which holds a heavy garden pot)  left out on the grass from yesterday (Sunday) when the 3 children were able to play outside for about half an hour in the early afternoon sun.  Too cold to head to the park, but it gave them a chance to stretch their legs and the adults could catch up on all their news.

A post-Christmas lift came in the form of this DVD in an Amazon cardboard envelope which was pushed through the letterbox mid-morning.   (Must have been a delivery van as Sunday is not a Royal Mail delivery day.)  

After everyone left, we put our feet up while I indulged in some pure nostalgia. Marilyn Monroe looks terrific - a real glamorous gal! It's a real frontier feel-good 1950s film made, I suppose, when the country was needing that sort of thing after the war.

Filmed in 1954 I recall we were on holiday with June Turner and family when we visited the location in the Jasper area where this film was being made.  Old photos show us standing in the doorway of a teepee... a bit odd as there does not seem to be a teepee in the film. 

And that's Christmas over for another year ..................................................

Saturday, 27 December 2014


I was  in the city centre today to buy Iain a radio. He is recovering from having cracked his ribs so is spending a lot of time resting.

The sun shone all day making long shadows along Buchanan Street absolutely packed with shoppers!

Geein' it laldy (laldie?) were these lads all kitted out in their 'Highland' gear.  They joined a few other street musicians playing their guitars, drums or whatever along the precinct.

This character usually stands on a plinth as a stationary statue and shocks the likes of me by a sudden movement when you pass by... to a gathering crowd's great delight!   (I was caught out by him once so I always feel he sees me coming!  I was glad to skirt around him this time!) He looked like he was getting ready to be the Duke of Wellington statue, complete with traffic cone on his head.  I guess that is his horse he about to mount.

Just around the corner from Buchanan Street is the site of the terrible traffic accident last week.  There were fresh flowers piling up.  Earlier bouquets get removed and carried to a location a block away namely the Museum of Modern Art where the runaway vehicle first started to go out of control killing 6 people.

This bouquet is from "All the girls in the Flower Shop Helensburgh".

Friday, 26 December 2014


Having been laid low over Christmas with a tummy bug we are now getting back to  normal.  Iain who has been recovering from cracking 3 ribs several weeks ago is OK but trying not to be discouraged at how long it takes to bounce back to anything like "normal".

Sending and receiving Christmas cards are something we regard with pleasure.  In our advancing years it keeps us up to date on our contemporaries and their families.  This card above is one I kept from a previous year - it makes me laugh.

When I visited Anne B before Christmas she gave me some sprigs of holly from her garden. She has the lovely variegated variety and this year it had lots of berries.  

One of the things about living in a maritime climate is that we have greenery all year round.  I am probably one of the few people in this rather mild, wet country who really appreciates this! Growing up in a high continental climate (Canada) reminds me that any snow we do get is eventually melted by the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream and not lying until spring breakup in April.

This little sprig brought all the colour I needed on this rather dull, foggy day today!

Tuesday, 23 December 2014


Yesterday a bin lorry [garbage collection truck] careened along a busy street through a crowd of pedestrians in the centre of Glasgow killing 6 people and injuring others. It appeared the driver was slumped over the wheel when it happened.

As stated by Scotland's First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon:

"Glasgow, this morning, is a broken-hearted city. 2014 has been such an incredible year for this wonderful city. The Commonwealth Games were such an outstanding success. But it's a year that's been book-ended by two unimaginable tragedies, The Clutha at the end of last year and now this awful tragedy."

It has been a bit of a shock for those of us who live in the city: there, but for the grace of God go any one of us. 

When Mairi was over today we noted the sobering fact that either of us could have been in the city centre doing some Christmas shopping at the time of the accident. As luck would have it we were not.  As Mairi said "I couldn't go because I had to collect Harriet." On the other side of the coin, I couldn't go because I had Harriet with me.

Be that as it may, here is our Wee "Angel", with a clean face (rare!) and minus her halo!

There are many reports of ordinary people on the spot who rallied to help. Is there something special about Glaswegians who, it has been observed, rally in adversity?  No ... I reckon most people in other cities  would do the same.


Later days: 

Sunday, 14 December 2014


As they say in the song ... "Baby, it's cold outside!"

Iain and I are spending a lot of time in the house just now as he is recuperating from hurting his back.  He fell when he was with Alastair and Dawn in Oregon and, now home and in his own surroundings, he is ... well ... hengin' together.  No he did not injure his spine; he cracked 3 ribs (back, left side).

It's Christmas card time and here is the artwork for our 2014 card.  Peter arrived yesterday with his drawing of Seol-na-Mara in Stornoway.  No longer do I go to the printers for production of our annaul card .... going on 20 years or so.... but use the high-street photocopy agency.  (I am aware that is people like me who caused printers to go out of business.)

When stuck in the house I engage in my mother's strategy: get the baking tins out.  Faced with the situation of an abundance of limes from Maggie (who is away galavanting with Brian) I am faced with either drinking a large amount of gin or using them in a thai curry.  While I get my act together nothing is easier than (turning the radio on) and cutting out cookies.

Cookies for kiddies, cookies for the neighbours, cookies for me with a cup of tea in front of the fire.

Thursday, 4 December 2014


Anne B came for coffee this morning.  She is keeping well and looks forward to having her living room redecorated.  She still lives in the same house since she was married in the late 50s. The carpet of that period is of such good quality that it does not need replacing!

I made some shortbread cookies using my mother's recipe which is seen her in Auntie Mary's handwriting as I appear not to have ever made a note of how my mum made them. The cutters are Mairi's. 

What I clearly recall is that my mother's shortbread was always a dark tan colour which, I realize now, is because she used brown sugar.  They were always cut into star shapes and had a halved  glacĂ©  cherry in the middle.  My lot would never eat the cherry so I give that part a miss!

The pointsettias are from Mairi as well.  They fairly give a Christmas feel to the kitchen!

The children like opening an Advent Calendar so I bought this one to sit on the side-board.