Archive for April, 2012

Today my dad turned 83.

I have another blog (on Blogger) that I often forget about, but I was reminded about it today and thought I’d do a little post for my dad’s birthday on it. Rather than repeat the post on this blog, you might like to have a look here:

A nice cup of tea

Although I don’t post on my other blog very often, I had it before I joined up with WordPress and there are some other bits of my life on there, including me at work (in theory I work offshore, but it’s more than 6 months since my last contract, and at the moment I can’t do it because of my wrist trouble). It’s so long since I’ve been to work that it feels quite nostalgic looking at the pictures. Here’s a taster:

A nice cup of tea

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Annie from anunrefinedvegan is hosting a potluck that any fellow bloggers can join in with on 12 May. If you haven’t signed up yet, why not have a look at this and see if it takes your fancy. I think it’s a great idea and Annie’s done a wonderful job of co-ordinating it all. Come on in, the more the merrier!

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Some very kind fellow bloggers have bestowed awards on me recently and I’m afraid I’ve been rather remiss about passing them on.

As with my previous awards post, I’m going to break the rules and combine them all (which is a bit cheeky but I seem to have got away with it last time).

The lovely Tania of taniajessicasmith (as soon as you click on this link you’ll see her incredibly impressive make-up!) takes beautiful photos and has been to some amazing places.  She awarded me the Blog on Fire Award:

The lovely Meg of megtravelling awarded me two awards: the Sunshine Blog Award and the Genuine Blogger Award. I’ve done a bit of travelling in the past and have been lucky enough to see quite a few of the places I always wanted to see. These days I generally feel quite content to be an armchair traveller, but I must admit that some of the posts on Meg’s blog really make me want to see more places for myself, and maybe one day I will. Just as I was composing this post I also received the Sunshine Award from the lovely Fundemental, and then the lovely Nicole at cauldronsandcupcakes so thank you all very much!

The lovely Robin of bringingeuropehome awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award. Robin’s blog is a very satisfying mixture of Europe (where she’s travelled and lived) and America (where she’s from and now lives) and her posts always show me something new and interesting I didn’t know before:

Each of these awards comes with its own rules, but if I obey them I’ll never get this post finished and I’ve been trying to get it done for ages now. So, I’m just going to make up my own rules, which is very impudent, I know.

I have decided to give each award to the people the award made me instantly think of, however many or few that happened to be, although I realise they may well have had the award before. I know this is bad and very cheeky, but alas sometimes I get that way and no matter how much of a talking to I give myself, I fail to take any notice of it.

The Blog on Fire Award goes to anunrefinedvegan and girlinafoodfrenzy because both of these lovely ladies have blogs that are completely on fire! I don’t know how they do it but they are both amazingly productive when it comes to blogging about their wonderful food. They both astonish me, on an almost daily basis, with their culinary skills. I would also like to give it to cauldronsandcupcakes because Nicole is a truly astonishing blogger. I think I’m right in saying that she does a post every day, and very often they’re extremely thought-provoking and inspiring. I am constantly amazed by her ability to put out so much high quality content, which I know is appreciated by many other bloggers.

The Sunshine Award goes to thenaturephile, desayunosveganos, itsonlyerica and land-sea-sky because all of these blogs brighten my day when I look at their blogs. (In fact, this happens with all the blogs I read regularly, but these four jumped into my mind in particular when I thought about who to give the award to.)

The Genuine Blogger Award goes to mehmudahrehman and sukirthasphotography because both of these delightful ladies have strongly held beliefs that they bring to their blogs in a gracious and humbling manner. I may not share their beliefs but I do respect them and I appreciate the way in which they put their views across. I would also like to give it to Mike, who probably doesn’t want it (sorry, Mike, just ignore this if you like!) because I think he is a genuinely nice chap with a genuninely nice blog.

The Versatile Blogger Award goes to jo’sjournal, allsparkleduptimefortea, teabuddy and gippslandgranny – all of whom are very versatile ladies with a whole host of different and most admirable skills.

I feel sure that this time, as happened last time I did this, I will think of other blogs I wished I’d given the awards to over the next day or two. However, all I can say is that if I’ve ever visited your blog and clicked ‘like’, then thank you.

Lately, with the dodgy wrist business, I haven’t been reading as many blog posts as I used to, because I’m trying to use my computer less. I also haven’t been posting very much, and this makes it all the more amazing that I’ve had all these awards, so thank you again to everyone who has given me an award, to everyone who reads my blog, and to everyone who provides such great material for me to drop by and read.

Here’s to you, every marvellous blogger tapping away! I hope to visit you soon, and thank you for visiting me.

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If you’re ever thinking of having a little self-catering holiday in the south-west of Scotland, and fancy staying in a most comfortable and splendidly well equipped cottage, I can heartily recommend Culmore Bridge Cottages as a first class option.

The truly delightful Jim and Marilyn Sime have built four excellent self-catering bungalows next to their own cottage, in an area of grass and woodland near the sleepy village of Sandhead (about 8 miles south-east of Stranraer), and have taken great care to make them fully accessible with a range of thoughtful design ideas for disabled, as well as able-bodied, guests.

I spent last week there with my two most delightful assistants (as well as a special guest assistant), and we had a marvellous time. We’ve all stayed there before, never want to leave and are always looking forward to our next visit.

Here’s a picture of Rowan Cottage, the house we stayed in. The paintwork was being redone during our stay, which is why it looks a little fuzzy round the edges, but I’m sure that it will be looking tip-top by now with all the black paint round the windows touched up. This was taken halfway through the repainting, with the whitewashing already done and just the window surrounds to finish:

Inside, the house was spacious, well laid out, warm, cosy and comfortable.

The very well equipped kitchen:

With dining area next to it and light streaming in from the French doors that led onto a small decking area outside (outdoor chairs and a table provided for those al fresco moments):

The view from the decking area (there was a road beyond the trees but apart from that peace and tranquility reigned):

There were paths around the demesne, some of which led to ponds full of wildlife, including several species of newt. I’ve seen at least two different species here, including the great crested newt. They like to hide in murky water and lurk amongst foliage so this was the best shot I could get:

The cottage had three lovely relaxing bedrooms (2 doubles and a twin). This was my room, where I did a lot of happy snoozing:

Snoozing opportunities were to be had elsewhere in the house, too, as weary assistant no.2 discovered after breakfast in the lounge one day (well, he is nearly 83 after all, and if you can’t take a nap after breakfast at that age, when can you?):

The lounge led onto the dining area and kitchen, all open plan but very nicely designed so that they felt like separate areas:

While some of us were indulging in a doze, others were perusing improving literature on the subject:

Many delicious tearoom experiences were had on this holiday (of which more to come) but before I get onto that, I will leave you with a health-giving salad (the cucumber was pushed to one edge so as not to offend those who didn’t care for it):

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For several weeks now I’ve had shooting and burning pain in my wrists, especially the right one. Sometimes I can’t use my right hand at all, although it’s generally worse at night and in the morning and gets better through the day (no doubt something to do with the painkillers I’m wolfing during waking hours).

I think consumption of cakes also helps, a skill I have yet to master in my sleep. Here’s an example of the sort of medicine I enjoy taking:

My ailment would appear to be a complaint called De Quervain’s syndrome or tendonitis.  Initial treatment for it is to wear a support or splint to keep the wrist from moving too much, take anti-inflammatory medication and rest it as much as possible, particularly from doing the things that make it painful. Very sadly for me, one of the main things that makes it worse is typing, and so on doctor’s orders I’m going to type less and sleep more, like this sensible teenager:

(If I haven’t visited your blog or left comments recently, I really am most aggrieved. My particular apologies if I haven’t replied to any comments you’ve left for me on here or on your own blog, I did try to catch up with them today but I may have missed some.)

In order to try and enforce this cessation of typing and blogging, I’m taking my two most delightful assistants down to the south-west of Scotland next week for a holiday. I plan to sample some marvellous tearooms while I’m there, which will eventually appear in all their glory on this blog.

We’ll be staying a very lovely self-catering cottage in Galloway, where we’ve all stayed before, but strangely I can’t find any pictures of it (I’ll have to remedy that next week). Instead, here are a couple of shots from a little camping trip I had in April 2010 a few miles away in the same county. It was just me, my tent and this lovely view:

One of my favourite tearooms anywhere in the world exists in Galloway. On more than one occasion I’ve had what they call the Mata Hari, which is a sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. It’s so absurdly delicious that I suspect any spy might be tempted to trade in state secrets for the recipe:

And so dear readers, thank you for your patience during my convalescence. I will miss you terribly, but I hope to be back before too long, stronger and full of yet more inane witterings about tearooms.

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I’m glad that rabbits are such a big part of Easter because it gives me an excuse to dedicate a post to them.

I’ve always been fond of rabbits. I used to draw them all the time as a child, and they’re still one of my favourite doodles.

Earlier this year I received a beautiful birthday card from my dear parents:

I also got a calendar for Christmas which is full of rabbits. These two little gems appeared in March and fairly brightened up my month:

Along with my drawings of rabbits as a child, I used to write stories about them. According to the date on the back of this piece of paper (my parents are very good at putting dates on things), it was done in spring 1977, when I was 5. The translation is: “I saw a rabbit in the forest, it was jumping, it was furry, it was very nice”:

He’s now retired, but in his working life my dad was an astronomer and worked at the Royal Observatory in Edinburgh.  He used to bring box-loads of what we called ‘computer paper’ home with him from the office for us to draw on. It came in perforated sheets with holes along the top and green stripes on the back.

In June 1977 I made use of some of this paper to write the following story, and draw a one-eyed rabbit filled with flowers to illustrate it. The translation would appear to be: “I saw a rabbit in my garden. I like the rabbit, it was furry, it was running all over the place. I want it as a pet, mummy said that I could have it. I had it for a pet.”:

On the other side of the paper I drew a jolly little dancing rabbit:

Yesterday there were three small Lindt bunnies playing round this wooden drawered ornament:

This morning they were outside having a serious discussion in the grass:

Very fittingly for Easter, my April calendar page depicts this delightful little rabbit with two eggs that are not that much smaller than the bunny itself:

Happy Easter!

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Tea has widely recognised medicinal qualities.

It is an elixir used to treat multitudinous ailments, working in mysterious and wonderful ways to relieve the mind and body of pain and discomfort, trauma and distress, shock, disturbance and suffering.

When combined with the healing qualities of a slice of cake it can soothe the soul and liberate the spirit from its terrestrial tethers. It tastes jolly nice too.


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