Tuesday, 21 June 2016


Canada Goose in the garden... with the 'shadow' of a plane heading to Vancouver.

Time to smell the flowers....

The roses are just coming out now.  It is going to be an exceptional year because we had a lot of sunshine and no rain to damage them.

Every week I enjoy cut flowers from the garden.  These are on the hall table.

And these are in the kitchen next to the sink.  The green flower in foreground is angelica; I have a big, showy display which is a real eye-catcher!


Monday, 20 June 2016


(June 20, 2015 full moon)

Sunday, 19 June 2016


I love colour and nothing is more colourful than this sweat top I purchased some years ago.  It is by Ken Done, an Australian man who is "best known for his design work" * e.g. clothing, homewares, paintings and illustrations.

He celebrates the light, and below is a quote of his describing, exactly!... the quality of the light in Australia.

 [ Photo: Wikipedia]

"Wherever you are in the world, there's always something about the Australian light. There's something about the sharpness of it, something about the clarity of it, something about the colours of Australia. And, hopefully, something optimistic about Australian painting too."*



Saturday, 18 June 2016


The closest thing I will ever get to the Annual Fall Fair must be this sort of thing ... a gathering of displays and events in the local village centre.  All great stuff!

It was a lovely day today with folk all enjoying the classic cars assembled in the precinct.  I actually started the day off by watching Tim Peake return from the space station when he and his mates landed in the steppes of Russia this morning at 10:15 am.  My neighbour and I watched it on my iPad as we perched on the fence with our coffee cups in the sunshine.

I met a friend for coffee and then had a great time wandering around these cars, chatting to folk ... the bigger the boys, the bigger the toys.  That usually is applied to yachts but it is no different when it comes to cherished cars.

They all have stories ... both the cars and the owners. Check out this spiffy genuine MG.

 Then there is this Ford Falcon.

And this lovely Morgan. This is my absolute favourite car. On my 40th birthday I organzied a 'hurl' in one.  It was during my lunch hour when I worked at the Greater Glasgow Health Board on Bath Street... 1984. 

In the 60s and 70s several friends had these Morris Traveller cars both of which were green.  They were loaded with climbing gear and spent many a weekend roaring up the Loch Lomond raod... and our friends always felt cheated if they could not pass 6 cars on every windy bend.

This wind quartet formed a wonderful focus which I enjoyed whilst talking to a few folk I have not seen for ages.

And last but not least John and Mairi had walked from the house with all four children  (9, 8, 3 and 1 years old).

Friday, 17 June 2016


Clever!  Who thinks up this stuff?!    

Music is Diana Ross's Upside Down.

Sunday, 12 June 2016


All across the UK there are street parties and picnics in the park to mark the Queen's 90th birthday.

The big street leading up to Buckingham Palace has been the setting for a picnic for the Queen's charities' invited guests.  It was ticketed but sponsorship and generous anonymous donations offset some of the costs. Picnic hampers were given out to the guests - food from all corners of the UK, smoked salmon, pork pie, sandwiches, macaroons, raspberry 'n cream dessert.

Mairi had all 4 children today so it was time to call in the Granny Playgroup Backup.  Nothing for it but we made a crown and set the table for a tea party. Harriet loves to use scissors and paste and is very dextrous for a 3 year old.
Wee Ellie, made as much mess as only a 1.5 year old can make!

 We had a birthday cake with candles with everyone blowing them out together.

There is nothing so English as roses.  These are mine, picked this morning and placed in a teapot given to me by Ottillia last year.

And a final wave from a little lady who rather stole the show yesterday after the Trooping of the Colour.

Friday, 10 June 2016


Ishbel's class had a Titanic exhibition and stage production today at school.  

It was absolutely terrific.  They had their class work on show which illustrated all the various topics that can be incorporated into classroom learning: geography (UK - America travel), temperature (ice in water), social class (different types of passengers), ship-building, and they even looked at possible reasons for why the disaster happened.  Ishbel, some months ago, gave us a thorough description of hull rivets and the nature of the impact of the ice ... And she is only 9 years old!

Watching their stage presentation I learned that radio operators on the Titanic sent out the signal to ships who might be in the area the Morse Code signal  CQD.  'CQD'? I had never heard of this.


The commonly known word used for "I'm in trouble", in my experience, was SOS.

(At sea Mayday is used for "Help" [“mayday” came into use in the 1940s because it sounded like the French word m'aider, which means “help me.”]. and "Pan Pan for "I have a problem but I am not sinking." ... but leave that aside for the now.)

From Wikipedia I learned:

CQD, transmitted in Morse code as  – · – ·    – – · –    – · ·  is one of the first distress signals adopted for radio use. It was announced on 7 January 1904, by "Circular 57" of the Marconi International Marine Communication Company, and became effective, beginning 1 February 1904 for Marconi installations.

Land telegraphs had traditionally used "CQ" ("sécu", from the French word sécurité[1]) to identify alert or precautionary messages of interest to all stations along a telegraph line, and CQ had also been adopted as a "general call" for maritime radio use. However, in landline usage there was no general emergency signal, so the Marconi company added a "D" ("distress") to CQ in order to create its distress call. Thus, "CQD" is understood by wireless operators to mean, "All stations: distress." Contrary to popular belief, CQD does not stand for "Come Quick, Danger", "Come Quickly: Distress", "Come Quick—Drowning!", or "C Q Danger" (Seek You, Danger)....

Although used worldwide by Marconi operators, CQD was never adopted as an international standard, since it could be mistaken for a general call "CQ" if the reception were poor.[citation needed] At the second International Radiotelegraphic Convention, held in Berlin in 1906, Germany's Notzeichen distress signal of three-dots/three-dashes/three-dots (· · · – – – · · · ) was adopted as the international Morse code distress signal. (This distress signal soon became known as "SOS". Germany had first adopted this distress signal in regulations effective 1 April 1905.)[citation needed]

In April 1912, RMS Titanic radio operator Jack Phillips initially sent "CQD", which was still commonly used by British ships. Harold Bride, the junior radio operator, jokingly suggested using the new code, "SOS". Thinking it might be the only time he would get to use it, Phillips began to alternate between the two.

Wednesday, 8 June 2016


John and Mairi and their 4 children - update:

Mum and Dad

  Ellie, nearly one and a half years old
Harriet, 3 years old exactly

John with Alastair (8) and Ishie (9) at the AC/DC concert in London last week.
 Iain at the Maritime Museum in Irvine for Sandy Stephens' book event.

Velazquez Visits ... No one can take away your fantasies!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016


The book that Iain and I have been working on for the last 3 years is now out. It is a book for yachtsmen and is part of a series put out by Clyde Cruising Club.

 The publisher, Imrays, sent us a copy today ... hot off the press!

 Outside Front Cover

Iain at the kitchen table.   It looks great; we are very pleased with it!

It is available from the Clyde Cruising Club website which describes it thus:

ORKNEY and SHETLAND ISLANDS - Including North and Northeast Scotland

This is a completely new book in which the previously separate volumes covering the Orkney and Shetland Islands have been combined into one. This also includes the principal harbours and anchorages on the north and northeast coast of Scotland from Cape Wrath to Inverness. Passage notes for the Scottish coast and out to the Northern Isles, including Fair Isle, are also included and the Pentland Firth section has been substantially re-written and expanded.

Published by Imray (2016) - 150pp – Spiral Bound – ISBN 978-1846235795 - £35.00 plus p&p

Available from 13th June 2016

* * * *  It is also available from Imray Publications (based in England). 


Brian's boat - our boat 
Stronsay Pier 2012

Monday, 6 June 2016


There is a gnome or two in the garden these sunny, summer days!

* * * * MISCELLANEOUS * * * * *

These American biscuits are now in our supermarket ... and they cost £6.00 for $8.67 or a packet!

Thursday, 2 June 2016


I had Harriet (3) and Ellie (16 months) with me in the garden today.  We are currently having a wonderful spell of hot summer weather ... makes life so much easier with wee ones to look after.

When is a table not a table?  When it is a Wendy House! All it needs is a washing up basin and some water from the hose and they play for hours!

My other ploy is the bring out the watering can!

Meanwhile I keep the top half of my glass filled with the first of the Scottish strawberries which are now filling the shops.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016


Hill House in Helensburgh is a much admired Charles Rennie MacIntosh house built for a family who were in the publishing business.

It is cared for and maintained by The National Trust. Since my last visit there I noticed that the house and gardens are remarkably spruced up.

Dresser at the window of small bedroom. Vases of anemones flank the mirror on the dresser.

 Small bedroom with dresser at the window.

Dining room

Looking through hall doorway into the lounge

Window ledge in the Flower Room - stylized image