Thursday, 31 December 2015


It is New Year's Eve and here I am just getting a Christmas blog post done!  We are taking in the bells tonight with all of our old neighbours at Sandy and Lesley's house ... so this is going to be a rush job....

Christmas, of course, is for kids but we had our share of fun, food, friends and frivolity.  Pictures speak a thousand words... so here they are ...
The front door with the collected green boughs from Willie's farm.

Delivering presents in my lovely Swedish cloth bag which came from Inger earlier this year.

Brussel sprouts for dinner thanks to Lidl's.  Amazing as it may seem I have never seen sprouts growing and these are a variety that were in the veg section on a great big stalk! I just whacked them off and put them in the pot.

Bill and Connie joined us for Christmas dinner.  Bill brought a bottle of wine from his cellar .... 1966!   Five of us enjoyed a sherry glassful each.  It was fine, i.e. not corked and had  'character'.  (I am so used to the big, jammy reds we get nowadays that these older wines seem 'thin'!)

 Ellie at the coffee table.

 Friends house for morning coffee December 21st.

Late post from Alastair.  An Amazon delivery after Christmas arrived with this door-stopper of a book for me ... a Jazz Fakebook ... what I asked for ... I had a great laugh when I saw the size of it!

*  * * * * JOHN'S PHOTOS * * * * *

Dinner table with Iain in the background and Harriet in a high chair, left, behind Alastair.

 Grandma and Ellie with leftover chocolate sticky pudding.

 And then there are the dishes to do ...

 Harriet getting kitted up for the job...

 Two flowers in the shower....

I want to keep this photo of Ellie (11 months) and Harriet ( 2 1/2) and show it to them when they are 18!

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


On Sunday we had a pleasant, rather old fashioned, visit to our friend Willie who lives in the country.  I wanted greenery for the house and also I was looking for some pine cones thinking that I might make a Christmas wreath.

After a cup of coffee in his kitchen we headed off to tour his 'policies' meaning  the land that he owns.  As I stopped the car in the middle of the dirt road I pointed out that it might not be a good idea as we would be blocking it.  Iain said "For heaven's sake ... he owns it!."

When we got home we piled the boughs of cedar, pine and holly in the garage.

I didn't make a wreath as the only cones I found were hemlock. However I got some pheasant feathers which made me decide simply to make bunches of foliage for the front steps and inside the house.

Here  is one bouquet on the little window above the keyboard ... where I spend a lot of time.

 A closer view.

 Spot the difference!

Sunday, 13 December 2015


A British chidren's author, Michael Murpogo, was talking on the BBC Radio 4 programme Saturday Live yesterday (December 12). For UK people who can access the podcast, the interview starts at 10 minutes in: (Podcast website)

He was talking about his new book for children An Eagle in the Snow.  

As I lay in bed listening to the podcast I found myself getting more and more intrigued by the voice of this author and his lovely way of telling a story (about where he got his inspiration for the story line). 

He said he had come across the story of  a decorated soldier from WWI.  The soldier was an ordinary 'Tommy' whose name was Henry Tandey. The extraordinary thing was that over and over again the man exhibited great courage in battle.  Murpurgo wanted to find out more. 

It is long story and is told on many places on the web - references below. (The soldier, a very quiet modest man, returned to civilian life in Coventry as a worker in a car factory.)

However there was one crucial incident that occurred in a battle against the Germans in a village in France in 1918. As the enemy troops surrendered or retreated a wounded German soldier emerged from the smoke of battle and into Tandey's line of fire. Murpogo tells how Tandey did not shoot; he told him to go. The young German soldier nodded and the two men parted.

There is a whole second dramatic story about this incident ... in fact, I was so startled at this part that I sat right up in bed gasping in astonishment! 

Listen to the podcast ... or if not read about it here for all the details!

And finally ... regarding verifying the subsequent stories of the dramatis personae:
I was intrigued to hear Murpogo observe in relation to the work of historians ... they like to join up the dots (meaning that the truth gets portrayed in ways that may not actually be correct!)

Thursday, 10 December 2015


Last week a friend told me the story of how her little boy decided to glue his Christmas tree ornament using his father’s SupeGlue from his toolkit.  He got SuperGlue everywhere -  his school uniform, his hands etc.  

She took him to the sink to try and clean it off.  The only item to hand was a bottle of Boots Biological Environmentally Friendly Organic Hand Wash (liquid soap).  To her amazement it dissolved the SuperGlue completely!

With that knowledge in mind, today I headed outside to wash the steps covered in green algae in the shady part of the garden. I reckoned if Boots Biological Hand Wash could dissolve SuperGlue surely Brand X Hand Wash could clean, or at least deter, the green mould on the slabs outside!


Tuesday, 8 December 2015


It has been raining ...which is kind of normal in this, the west coast of Scotland.  However it has been very bad as seen in the photos below.  This is the Allander flooding at Tesco's in Milngavie.

 The entrance to Tesco's from the car park adjacent to the train station.

The Fish Gate

It was very frightening standing on the bank watching and listening to the water roaring down the Fish Gate. The Violence of Nature!