Friday, 31 March 2017


March is nearly out ... thank goodness... That means spring is just around the corner. To be fair we have had a reasonable spell of early spring weather but days can still be cold.

We thought we had escaped the bugs this winter but it seems it is the wee ones who have had it the worst.  Iain and I have not been laid low with anything so have been in a position to hold on to Harriet (nearly 4 years old) and/or Ellie (2 years old) because of sickness and diarrhoea probably picked up a Nursery.   

Here is Ellie writing on the wall (where there is a plastic growth chart).

Harriet is learning to use a paintbrush. Also she is picking up the shapes for the letters of her name.  This photo shows that she can keep inside the lines well. What I find fascinating is her dexterity!  She can hold pencil or paintbrush 'properly'.  She has fine motor movements so makes assured stokes.  I get her to 'dab' and draw wiggly lines and then big circles. I spend ages with bits of paper taped on to an old Habitiat easel just watching her 'create'!

I came across this Caravaggio painting recently. What appealed to me was the chap on the right. He is so self-assured and cuts quite a handsome figure in his feathered hat and velvet-looking jacket.

I had a double-take however ... I have the image of the boy on the right as a background 'wallpaper' on my iPhone.  (I find I can read the apps and time easily with Carvaggio's particlular colours.)  Harriet was holding my iPhone and said to me "That's Alastair!".  Heavens!  So it is!

The character of the boy kind of fits too:   The painting shows a good looking foppishly-dressed boy having his palm read by a gypsy girl. The boy looks pleased as he gazes into her face, and she returns his gaze. Close inspection of the painting reveals what the young man [with his self-satisfied gaze] has failed to notice: the girl is removing his ring as she gently strokes his hand.

And furthermore ....  this is the title of the Louvre painting

Yes... [The Gypsy and] ... the Bonadventurerer .... suits Alastair to a T!

Monday, 20 March 2017


We decided to treat ourselves to a short mini-break  on the east coast.  It is not a part of Scotland that we know particularly well.

Instead of heading straight there we traveled with Mairi and the 2 wee ones (Harriet, now 3.5 years old) and wee Ellie (2 years old) for a visit to somewhere fairly close to home for a couple of hours as  she had these 2 Muchkns for the whole day while John had taken the 2 older ones to a rugby game.

I had the idea to visit the Lake of Menteith. It is a place I have enjoyed over 40 years having taken both Mairi and Alastair there in 1979 when the Lake was totally frozen over.  There was an enormous curling bonspiel that February called The Grand Match. Teams from all over the country gathered.  I recall putting my skates on and taking both of the kids on to the ice with Alastair on my shoulders. He would have been a bit over 2 years old.

Having played on the shore for a short while we turned up at the door of the Lake of Menteith Hotel at 11 o'clock exactly.  The premises were Open.  Upon entering the first words to us were  "We only do lunches and it won't be until 12 o'clock."  Hey-ho... 

The place was empty, I mean, there was not a soul in the place.  There were 3 staff.   Having had very  happy memories of taking Donald Bennet (in a wheelchair) here for coffee I did my best to smile and try to overcome my 'heart-sink' feeling .... Can you image entering an establishment in Italy and being greeted that way?  Or even a UK Italian establishment -  be it white linen or checked table cloth - and be greeted like that?!!

I digress ... I grovelled and asked if they could serve us coffee etc etc etc and, yes, we managed to get served.  This is a photo of Mairi and the 2 wee ones while we await our order.

Mairi headed on back to her house and we carried on to St Andrews and the East Coast.

Lower Largo village on the Fife coast

A wind turbine, Burkhaven, Fife.  It appears to be one that is due to be towed out to sea.


Footnote to the weekend:   BnB experience - changed days.

 We stayed at a BnB on the east coast.  It was fine but I offer, not a complaint, but simply an observation:

In the past (and that includes up to about last Christmas) staying at a Bed & Breakfast always meant you got a cooked breakfast.  This was the first time it was not offered.  

Interesting ... not really a problem as we don't normally eat one ... but my idea of a BnB 'experience' is, indeed, to tuck into a full breakfast before heading out for the day's activities or journey (as we are usually traveling in such circumstances.)