Wednesday, 31 May 2017


Iain and I spent a pleasant afternoon at Cameron House as guests at a celebratory dinner.  I am used to the host or possibly a group of guests being civil engineers but this occasion was different; some of the guests were from the nuclear industry.  Lots to talk about - nuclear energy, waste disposal, components of smoke alarms (!)

An anecdote came to mind ... and these chaps did not know the story.  It was told to me years ago ... a rather interesting Glasgow story about how the word 'isotopes'  came into use.

Isotopes and LIfe's Baggage

For some reason I have always remembered the meaning of the word, namely, 'atoms of an element which have the same atomic number but different atomic weight'. (I was obliged to study high school plus 1st and 2nd year university chemisty as part of the Nursing School at UBC in the early 1960s! And this is probably a good example of what a waste ... how irrelevant!.... it all was!)

But I digress ....  the anecdote:

A man called Fredrick Soddy moved to Glasgow in 1904 and was a lecturer in Physical Chemistry and Radioactivity at Glasgow University. His field was the chemistry of radioactive elements.

He found that a radioactive element may have more than one atomic mass though the chemical properties are identical  But he didn't have a name for this. 

At a dinner party in his father-in-law's house at 11 University Gardens he was talking to a fellow guest, Dr Margaret Todd, about this.

It was she who, over a glass of sherry, came up with suggestion of 'isotopes' from the Greek roots isos (ἴσος "equal") and topos (τόπος "place").

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his discovery of isotopes in 1921.

Sunday, 28 May 2017


Two wee gnomes in the garden.  Ellie (2) and Harriet (nearly 4).

Ellie is a very good speaker for 2 years old.  She makes us laugh.  I said to her "Ellie, you're a real blether!" [Scottish word for someone who talks a lot.]  

She replied "No I'm not!.  I'm a little girl!"  [pronounced gur-r-r-r-l   with a strong Scottish accent]

We bought a garden table with parasol. It has been wonderful for this spell of very hot, sunny weather.  Harriet has to test the winding mechanism.

Wednesday, 24 May 2017


Floral tributes and tea lights for the Manchester Terrorist Attack were being placed at the base of the Sir Walter Scott Monument in George Square, Glasgow today.  I happened to be in the city centre at noon en route to a concert in the Merchants Hall adjacent to George Square.
 There was an armed police presence in Queen Street Station as I came through.  The chap at the exit gate said that they are going to be around "for the next few days at least".

Glasgwegians know about terrorist attacks (Glasgow Airport 2007) so it is a topic that is on everyone's mind. Also IRA bomb threats were a feature of the 70s and 80s as well.

 A George Square resident ... pigeon.

Saturday, 20 May 2017


Avocados are getting a bad press these days. if "An idea isn't responsible for the people who believe in it." then a fruit (in this case) should not be held responsible for the behaviour of the people who eat it.

Or maybe that should be "A rose ... oops ... avocado by any other name would cost as much." 
Anyhow.... an article in an Australian newspaper May 15, 2017 by Jennifer Calfas was articulating something people of our generation have observed for long enough, namely, saving and spending habits of the younger generation.

Actually I notice it more when the occasion arises when I am thinking about spending a bit of money e.g. splashing out on something.  I (and other like me) have to fight the habit of a lifetime ... do I need? If I buy this, what else cannot be purchased? Deferment, i.e. putting it off until sometime in the future, was the default position.

Here is this millionaire talking about this generation's spending habits (not 1970s bathroom suites):

Millionaire to Millennials: Stop Buying Avocado Toast If You Want to Buy a Home

Spending on avocados — the pricey, popular superfruit beloved by young people — may be one of the reasons why some young people can't afford a house, according to Australian millionaire and property mogul Tim Gurner.

"When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn't buying smashed avocado for $19 and four coffees at $4 each," Gurner told the Australian news show 60 Minutes.

Only 32% of home owners were first-time buyers in 2016, the lowest point since 1987, according to a study by NerdWallet. A recent study by HSBC found that American millennials have a homeownership rate of 35%, and in Australia only about 28% of millennials own their homes. Cost is often a major factor in millennials' decisions to buy — the study found that a lot of young homeowners got a financial boost from their parents when making their purchase."We're at a point now where the expectations of younger people are very, very high," Gruner said. 

"They want to eat out every day, they want to travel to Europe every year. The people that own homes today worked very, very hard for it, saved every dollar, did everything they could to get up the property investment ladder."

Monday, 15 May 2017


I was treated to a Birthday meal out on Sunday.  Mairi, John and the 4 children all gathered at Pizza Express on the top of Byres Road, Glasgow,  I met up with them after a leisurely walk through the Botanic Gardens (which are celebrating their 200th centenary next weekend).

As someone who eats anything I often say to the person taking the order "You choose; something that is not so big that I cannot finish it."

Without hesitation he replied "Leggera pizza".  Never 'eard of it! 

Here is exactly what I had, i.e. photo taken from Pizza Express's website... 10/10!

'Leggera' mean 'light', i.e. it has a thinner base, is about 9 inches across, and is made with a hole in the middle. This is filled with a green salad and their own properly made salad dressing.  This is their goat's cheese and caramelized onion - delicious and just the right amount placed in front of me.  

Again I sing the praises of Italian cooking. They know about food; they know about eating. (Recently I have eaten at some quite smart places e.g. white linen, hotel or club and the dish served up was white food on white plate with a white sauce.  Oh dear....!

My birthday present was a meal for 2 with John or Mairi as taxi/chauffeur included. I am going to share it with Maggie.  She is up for it; it's come at a good time.

Sunday, 14 May 2017


Ellie (2) and Harriet (nearly 4) were with us for 2 hours this morning. We have had a welcome overnight rainfall after 2 weeks of solid blue skies and sunshine so it was a perfect morning to be out.  
Here are views of the garden with 2 Munchkins in amongst the plants.


A Fashion Statement

A stuck gondola?

 An artist without a paintbrush

Hosepipe Helpers

Friday, 12 May 2017


It's that time of year again... another birthday and this blog clocks up another year - 10years!

After my morning piano lesson (jump-lead session to charge the batteries - never fails!)  Iain and I headed off to catch the ferry to Dunoon to visit friends whose garden this is.  It looks out over the Clyde. Welcome cups of tea on the table under the parasol rounded off a birthday meal at Colintraive Hotel.

Another friend's garden with lots of nooks and crannies for wee ones to explore.

The same garden showing the pond with 'stainless steel' looking balls floating in it.  They are plastic and seem to be unaffected by weathering.

Lots of hours spent these days in our own garden.  The seedlings have germinated and grown lustily in the day-after-day sunshine. The wee bottle of red wine  is my neighbour's gift of a 4 pm pick-me-up.  (It used to be 5 pm but these days I cave in sooner!)

Another day, another treat:

Maggie and Brian and Iain and I went to the Citizen's Theatre Travels with my Aunt by Graheme Greene.

At the entrance the evening sun was shining through the windows on to the entrance foyer statues of Shakespeare and Robert Burns.  Basically they play  was 4 male actors 'narrating' the story. The productions was 'novel' by that I mean modern, quirky... all black and grey and white. 

Tuesday, 9 May 2017


Saturday's Glasgow Herald newspaper had an item about a Coffee Festival being on Saturday and Sunday in the Briggait, city centre. This is my report (as I no longer use Trip Advisor):  Zero out of Ten.
The newspaper article on page 3, Saturday May 6th stated Tickets £14.50 per day and the website reference was

Mairi and Ishie (aged 10) and I arrived at the big glass entrance door of the Briggait. Immediately upon entering there was a table with 2 young lassies standing behind it. "No we do not take cash.  We are not allowed to." "What you have to do is download the app [Eventbrite] on to your mobile phone, and once you set it up you buy your ticket using the link."

"You do it." sez I... which she proceeded to do on my iPhone.  When we got to the point of (a) entering you bank details to set up payment [remember we are still standing at the door!]... and (b) she says "There will be a £1.50 booking fee for every ticket. Mairi and I looked at each other and said "Eh????!!!! ....  No." ... and left.

You couldn't make it up!

Meanwhile ... still being fairly early, i.e. about 10:30 am we were not going to be defeated... so I steered toward to the lovely Russian Cafe called Cossachok Restaurant on King Street.  The big glass entrance doors showed a man inside and the left-hand door was propped open.  In we sailed with me spouting to this gentleman at the door (and there was a cleaning lady with a mop and pail in an otherwise emtpy room) that we had just come from the Coffee 'Festival' and da dah dee dah dee dah ...where we ended up leaving ... and were in for a coffee.

At which point he stops me in full flow, looking at me sideways saying politely "Uh, lady... we're closed!".   Well we laughed and laughed except maybe Ishbel did her best to pretend that she wasn't with us!

Off we went again ... and yes, we got a lovely cup of coffee at Esca around the corner on Chisholm Street. They were open for business, people were there to serve you and the food (bacon on MacKechnie morning rolls) with good coffee was lovely. It was reasonably priced and you guessed it - it's Italian...of course!

When things don't necessarily go to plan we always say "We're on a Magical Mystery Tour" and so, in this case, we 3 headed off to The Barras (open market with stalls in east end of Glasgow).  We had a wonderful hour rooting around the junk stalls with nobody at our elbow wanting to go home!

Clutching our treasures we re-traced our route back to the Briggait where we had parked. We stopped outside the pretty pink and white Coffee and Cream cafe across on the Gallowgate just along from the Barras.  The place was empty but serving were 2 lassies: ice-cream sundae for Mairi, Slushie for Ishie and I had a cup of coffee. By this time I had quite forgotten about our "Rip Off Great Britain' experience. So imagine my delight when one of the lassies topped off our Coffee Festival trip by offering me 'on the house'  a yummy jammy donut!



Thursday, 4 May 2017


Ellie spent the morning with us ... it's polling day in the UK and the schools are closed.
However ... it is Iain's birthday.
Ellie and I met the postman at the door.  He had a birthday card from Iseabail so she got the job of 'delivering' it.

Monday, 1 May 2017


Been out in the garden today.  My neighbour handed me over a couple of wee bottles of wine. 

Nothing for it but to down tools and think Great Garden Thoughts.

When in New Jersey Dawn had some rather nice bottles  of wine which we shared.  When in Rome .... as they say....

They have bought a house so the 'Drawbridge' label caught my eye when visiting the local wine shop.