Saturday, 31 December 2016


As the year comes to an end all of life 's events are being played out.

It is Ishbel's birthday! December 31st! She arrived 10 years ago when we were having our New Year's Eve dinner with our Carseview Drive nieighbours - Peter, Lesley and Sandy, Haig and Adam. Ishie has the distinction of being the first of four children to Mairi and John!

Our lovely 91 year old neighbour, Jack, died last night. He died of pneumonia which in my day was called "the old man's friend" (for carrying off the living to a better place). That is his greenhouse and my December dead roses. His lovely wife cared for him until just a few days before he died. She's a real pal of mine; we lean on each other a lot.

Time to bring out my black hat which I bought in Salmon Arm at the ladieswear shop next to CIBC.  In the bottom left corner of the photo is the artwork for our Christmas card, done again by Peter.  I am only half way through my Christmas letters.  They will all get written in fullness of time (as everyone knows)!

That is last year's Christmas card which functions as a tent. The figures are felt pens from IKEA.  They change arrangement every time they visit!

So we move to the midnight hour and the bells. Iain and I will be joining Mairi, John and the family for a birthday drink for Ishie before returning home to have a few of the neighbours in when we will be raising a glass to the memory of Jack.

Alastair, Dawn and Indy are having a winter holiday in Banff.  We usually have a Skype call every Saturday from them but this probably will have to be deferred today!  They are all well and enjoying their move to New Jersey where Alastair is now in a new job working for Jon Stewart, formerly of The Daily Show.  His input is animation for a new project being undertaken. Basically, he has moved from the film industry to the television industry, i.e. west coast of USA to the east coast. (He says he enjoys smelling the Atlantic Ocean again!)

Wednesday, 28 December 2016


When visiting a gentleman recently we were intrigued to hear how his nephew is employed aboard this rather fine yacht:

This is Octopus, a luxury yacht owned by Paul Allen, the co-founder of Microsoft. This 414 ft superyacht is manned by a 57-strong crew.  It is equipped with a submarine and Remotely Operated Vehicle, for a variety of rescue and research operations... a great life for a young man!
[Photo by Ship Dreams]

Today I passed several marinas with lots of masts showing that there are yachts a plenty on the Clyde.  

I am happy to think that all their owners get pleasure from their summer sailing and winter maintenance activities.

However, for me, happiness is the sight of a CalMac ferry especially if it is already in at the slipway ... as was the case today as I headed home from an afternoon concert at Millport.

The lights of the ferry lit up the darkness as the bus unloaded everyone to get the 3:50 pm ferry back to Largs.  I felt I had been away for the weekend instead of just an hour's car ride journey (to catch the ferry) down the Clyde from Glasgow.

Monday, 26 December 2016


 Fairtrade handpainted birds-on-a-bell hanging from our hall table

New Kilpatrick Church, Bearsden, graveyard where I regularly park my car on a Friday morning. Just caught the sun burning through the morning fog.

Alastair lighting the Christmas pudding.  Grandma got a little heavy handed with the SMWS whisky poured on to the pud!

An idea - one for the Book of Good Design - is this item from Bill Donaldson who  brought the wine for Christmas dinner. A woman from (I think I am right...) from Latvia) taught him this tip for creating the right size cork for the leftover wine.
 One burnt out penguin!

Saturday, 24 December 2016


It's Christmas Eve  and so time for .....

Carols from King's College Cambridge on BBC TV

Having a dram whilst opening the Christmas mail ... from Iain's former student

Having a dram whilst opening the Christmas mail ... from friends

Having a cup of tea with Christmas cake ... more cards; from relatives

While outside storm Barbara has passed and storm Connor is arriving.  The red bit is red alert for Outer Hebrides

* * * * * * 

Another sighting over Glasgow Cathedral

Friday, 23 December 2016


A collection of the week's events or observations ...

I went to collect a forgotten sweater from Harriet's Nursery at Bearsden Ski Club.  I parked the car outside the door and when I opened the door to get out of the car my eye caught this chap on the artifical ski slope poma lift...!

The Duke of Wellington is still in the city centre complete with the traffic cone on  his head. Lots of Christmas lights are around the city; makes for a background night photo of the Duke.

Chestnuts and jingle bells in one of Mairi's Darlington wine glasses.  Alan Duff's pottery salt pot is still in use after 40 years!

That's another issue of Tidelines done. We are now going digital so most people will get it by email. Some still have to be mailed. Envelope stuffing is always easier when helped along with mince pies.

A bit of greenery from the garden helps lift a black hat at this time of year. The last of the Fitou is in decanter waiting for the Christmas leftovers.

See that empty bottle?  It is Strathmore bottled water.  Plain Scottish water.  Iain ordered it at a table we were hosting recently at the Radisson Blu Hotel in the city centre.  Cost?  £9.99 !!!!!!    Talk about Rip Off Great Britain!   We are used to having a hotel supplied bottle of wine costing 3 times as much as you would pay in the shops, but not water! 

* * * * *  Next day * * * * *

Another sighting over Glasgow Cathedral

Thursday, 15 December 2016


When reading the front page of 'The Guardian' newspaper the other day I thought I spotted a typo.  I am one of these people who is a bit twitchy about such things. I know The Guardian is careful with its text so I was a bit taken aback.

The following photo shows the example.  The subject relates to the mobile phone coverage in the UK, lamenting the fact that compared to other countries it is not very good. It is worse than 
"Albania, Panama and Peru. Our roads and railways can feel like digital deserts and even our city centres are plagued by not spots where connectivity is impossible."

Not spots?  Surely that is an error? Somebody typed an 'n' instead of an 'h'?

Wrong ... it is a new word meaning places where there is no mobile phone signal.
It's a good word; I like it! 

This chap seems to have obtained a signal ....

...  unlike these 2 who are still waiting at Charing Cross in Glasgow.
 [Photo John Albiston]

Saturday, 3 December 2016


Life is hard when you are three years old.  Harriet has chickenpx and is confined to barracks just now.

She can't go to Nursery which mean Iain and I have had the pleasure of her company on a couple of occasions.

To keep her amused we get out the felt pens at the kitchen table.  Here is the Waitrose (supermarket) robin complete with spots (snowflakes, I think) so we were colouring robins today... or as they say in these parts "colouring in". 

For 3 years old she has remarkable dexterity!  We have also graduated to making paper chain figures ... which takes me back. Again she can hold scissors extremely well for so one so young!

She makes us laugh with some of her words  "Grandpa is at his 'puter."  "I don't like that. It tastes 'gusting!"