28 Dec 2006
25 Dec 2006
14 Dec 2006
We have decided to install a new kitchen. The present one is 25 years old and starting to show signs of wear. But we are not just installing a new kitchen, we are moving the kitchen. This means there will be a lot of work to do that involves fitting roof window, a patio door, replacing the floor and installing new plumbing and electricity. Its going to take approx 6 weeks for all the work to be completed. The "real" work starts in January but the Velux roof window was installed last week. This will give more natural light to the new kitchen area along with the new patio doors that will be installed once the sink and dishwasher are removed.
Here is the first job showing the Velux window installation work.
I have put a link HERE to show the ongoing and completed works in another BLOG if you are interested.
11 Dec 2006
Event organiser, Margaret Rowarth, said of the run, in aid of children's charity "Wish Upon a Star":
"It has been a fantastic day. There have been more Santas here than we could ever have hoped for - we had more than 1500 registered this year, where as last year there were only about 400. The atmosphere has just been electric and everyone has had an amazing time. We've managed to triple the size of the event this year, so who knows what we might manage to do next year."
But Edinburgh still has some ground to make up if it wants to set the record for the most Santas in one place at one time. The current record is held by the city of Bralanda, Sweden, when 2,685 Santas paraded through the streets!
Have you ever seen anything like it?
30 Nov 2006
We are back from a good holiday in Florida, US 0f A. Met up with my girlfriend of many years, Minnie Mouse.
Here I am with her and Mickey at Animal Kingdom. Mickey was a bit jealous of my affection towards Minnie but I have always adored her.
Click >here< to see more photos of our holiday.. under construction . come back to see more later.
31 Oct 2006
We recently visited Oban and on the way we stopped at Inverary. There is a very unusual place to have a coffee there in a ship aboard a maritime museum.
Oban is a lovely place to visit. I have been there many times but had never walked up the hill to the south of the town, Pulpit Hill.
Here is a view from the top on a very windy Tuesday morning IN October. Brrrr!
12 Oct 2006
It was another lovely day today so John W and I agreed to look at a fishing beat on the River Don in the morning and go for a walk in the afternoon. We got to the beat on the River Don to find the water very high becuase of the recent rains on the day before & overnight. John never intened to fish there but a gentleman who was fishing with a spinner let us have a shot of his equipment for 1/2 hr or so. What a kind man. He even left us for a while to go to his car to fetch something. What trust! We never cought a fish though.
We then set off for a beautiful area called My Lord's Throat further down the River Don. From here we walked up to the top of Millstone Hill (410m) near Bennachie. The view from the top was very good and I got a chance to see Bennachie from a direction that I have never really seen it from before. Great day out, yet again. The weather for October is astonishing. Sunny and warm!
9 Oct 2006
At one point on the path we saw this sign obviously put up by a person with a bit of humour in his character!
3 Oct 2006
Stereo Dock for iPod with Bath Tissue Holder
I could not believe this when I first saw it in an article from WHICH? Magazine but someone has designed and manufactured an iPod docking station in the form of a toilet roll holder. How amazing and silly is that. How long do some people spend in the toilet on the pot? Anyway, where there is a need someone will supply a solution.
If you are looking for this very sort of think here is the LINK to it.
19 Sep 2006
A Blogger friend of mine said I should post this story on my BLOG as a way to remember my Mum and what she ment to me.
Partly quoting my friend: It is also in the hope that other 'sons' read it and will instil in them a sense of love for their mothers and to take their 'mothers' out before it is too late for them to wish that they had done so but never found the time. Your 'mum' is your 'mum' no matter where you are and what you have become, nothing can change that biological link that God has designed.
Here is my little tale:
My father died in 1995 and my mother then lived alone and 2 hours drive from where I live. Ironically, when he died my father was able bodied while my mum was incapacitated in a few ways. She had fallen down a stairway about 15 years previously and had broken many of her bones. It took her 3 years to recover from the injuries but she never really recovered fully. She was also becoming blind in one eye and after my father died she developed a cataract in her other eye becoming quite blind.
Being widowed for 6 years my Mother often wanted me to visit her but the demands of my work, my three children, and the travel time to her had made it possible to visit her only occasionally. She became, understandably, quite grumpy and sometimes I became quite annoyed with her attitude and didn’t really understand why she was this way. Eventually she was told she could get her cataract removed but if the operation failed she could be blind forever. It was a brave decision that she made to get the work done and it was only then that I realised how much her sight was suffering and it was that that was making her so grumpy and frustrated in her life.
Three weeks after her operation I agreed to go and take her out for the day and she suggested I take her to one of her favourite cafés on Loch Ness. Good friends from Canada were coming over in a few weeks time and she wanted to take them there for lunch but it would be worth her while just checking that it was still up to her high standard. This would be a long journey for me as I could not stay overnight at her home so with the 4 hour drive there and back and the 4 hour tour I would be quite tired at the end of it all.
The evening before, I called to check that she was still OK to go out for the drive and lunch. That Sunday was a beautiful late spring day but I had failed to notice the beautiful day on my journey to Nairn to pick her up. When I arrived at her house, she was smiling and happy and waiting in her living room with her coat on. She had been to the hairdressers and she had just completed buying her outfit for one of her grandchildren’s wedding in July that she was so looking forward to. She smiled from a face that was as radiant as an angel’s. “I told my friends that I was going to go out with my son today, and they were impressed”, she said, as she got into the car.
We set off on our drive and it was not long before she was telling me how, with her new sight, she was able to see things so much clearer and brighter. The world was a beautiful and colourful place. Daffodils, cherry blossom, gorse in the hills were all shining bright and it was only then that I really noticed them. She never stopped speaking about the wonderful scenery for the whole drive to the café. Once at the café I started reading out the menu to her (and all the other patrons in the café too!) when she stopped me and said that she could now read the menu again and she would manage to read it on her own. During the lunch, we had an agreeable conversation, nothing extraordinary, but catching up on recent events of each other's life and discussing the imminent arrival of her friends from Canada and what they would be doing together. She was so looking forward to seeing them and visiting places with her new found sight.
We had another great drive back home with a commentary all the way to her front door. As we arrived at her house later, she said, "I am so pleased that you could take me out today. It has been very special. It means a lot to me and I have seen so much beauty around us for the first time for many years. I will remember this day for ever. Iain, when you were a wee boy you told me that you loved me so much and that one day you would buy a car and take me out in your car for a drive. Well, this is that day”.
I said my goodbyes and drove home with joy in my heart knowing that my mother and I had had a very special day together and that I would try harder to find more time to be with her in her old age. I phoned her to let her know I had arrived safely home (as all mothers like you to do) and she again told me that she thoroughly enjoyed her day and her world had become colourful and bright again.
The next day, after work, we had a knock on the door and a police lady stood there. I invited her in and she pulled the world from under my feet when she told me my Mother had died on that morning. No, no, no! It could not be true. I phoned her neighbour who told me that she had died peacefully in the morning in her favourite chair watching the morning news and working on her crossword puzzle with her dog by her side. God rest her soul. Some time after her death I looked back at that joyous day we had together and can only think that she knew deep inside that she was about to give herself back to GOD and meet her loving husband again in heaven. She gave me great memories to look back on knowing that on her last day on this earth she had the most wonderful time of her life with her son.
11 Sep 2006
We were away on holiday to the West of Scotland (hence Westering Home) 1 week ago with a few members of the Porsche car club. I arranged everything for the trip including where to stay, the full route and things to visit on the journey. There were 16 of us in 8 cars and everyone got on well with each other. We all met in Dumfries on the Friday evening to get to know each other and learn a few words in Scottish before we were let loose on Scottish roads. We then, over 3 days, travelled around Scotland's West coast via Largs, Loch Lomond, Glencoe, Gairloch, Ullapool, Inverness & Pitlochry. The roads were superb and clear of traffic all the way. The scenes were awe inspiring and atmospheric because of the few scattered showers on route. However, we all managed, at various stages of the tour, to go topless except for Alan in his tin top Boxster aca Coxster (Cayman). Ceri and Sarah travelled all the way from Guernsey for the event and enjoyed the fresh seafood on offer in Gairloch. How many langoustines can you eat in one sitting?!? We all had a fantastic time and we all agreed we should not wait for another 10 years before we do it again. Looks like we will be doing another Scottish trip in 2007.
25 Aug 2006
So here is the picture. Its not great but its a start.
This is my 1st watercolour painting I have ever done. Still to be completed.
And I painted this one on the next day. I will complete it next week and hope to frame it and hang it in our home.
21 Aug 2006
18 Aug 2006
I will give it a go ...........................
10 YEARS AGO I WAS ... Not so long ago! Where does the time go?
I was working for TOTAL at St Fergus Gas Terminal. I had just passed my IOSH exams and beacame a "Safety Profesional".
5 YEARS AGO I WAS .......
I had arrived back home to Scotland from working in Indonesia and a long holiday in Australia.
It was the longest I had ever been away from home, ever! 3 months.
1 YEAR AGO I WAS ........
finished my career with TOTAL and enjoying the start of my long retirement.
YESTERDAY I WAS ........
waiting for the rain to go off so that I could go for a cycle ride.
looking at new cars for Claire.
preparing for a childrens panel hearing.
5 MOST RECENT SONGS I'VE LISTENED TO ......
Pomp and Circumstance by Elgar
The arrival of the Queen of Sheba by Handel
Imagine by John Lennon
Panic by The Puppini Sisters (on iTunes)
Norwegian Wood by The Beatles
5 SONGS I KNOW ALL THE WORDS TO ........
She Loves You
I Want to Hold Your Hand
Ticket to Ride
Paint it Black
IDEAL PLACE FOR RUNNING AWAY TO ........
My Home is the best place to run to. You are welcome any time.
5 THINGS I REALLY WANT ........
Good Health for my children
Love of, and for, my family and friends
Peace for the World
Happiness for everyone
Wisdom of our leaders
5 THINGS I SHOULD BE DOING RIGHT NOW ........
Washing my car
Editing my movies that I have not touched for over 2 years
Moving all our bits and bobs into our new study
5 BIGGEST JOYS IN MY LIFE ........
Claire, Grant and Bruce and, of course, Janis
Hillwalking in my Scottish Hills
Cycling, fishing, golf, driving and women.
Being a Childrens’ Panel member making a difference to young peoples lives for the good.
Driving a large truck to Romania and Moldova for New Hope Trust
5 PEOPLE I TAG ......
Lord Celery, sorry janet!
I don't want to tag anyone else.. thankyou.
12 Aug 2006
I’ve been tagged!!
I've just noticed that I've been tagged by LORD CELERY!
Here's the task that Ive been tagged with:
1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next
3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don’t you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.
6. Tag five people.
Here are the three sentences that are on page 123 of my book:
The ratio of searvant to income was well understood in Jane’s day, and is reflected in her novels: Mrs and Miss Bates can only afford the one little maid-of-all-work, Patty, to whom they probably paid between 5 and 10 Guineas a year, and the impoverished Prices, in their Portmouth back street, have two sluttish maids.
Mrs Dashwood and her daughter, who’s income is reduced to £500 a year, can still afford 2 maids and a general manservant; going up the scale, Mr Bennet as a family man with about £2,000 a year might expect to employ 8 female servants and 8 men servants; while Bingley, Darcy and Rushworth probably employed 2 dozen or more.
Taken from: Jane Austen: The World of Her Novels by Deirdre Le Faye.
Thank you Janet for that Tagging.
Not sure I can tag 5 people but here’s who I am tagging:
1. Lord Celery's Little Brother
4. Anthony's Kingdom
Give it a go all of you. Ta, Iain
10 Aug 2006
When I was in Australia I found, for me, the best blue cheese in the World, Roaring Forties Blue. It came from the King Island Dairy. King Island is situated south of Melbourne at the Western end of the Bass Strait, just off Melbourne.
When I came back to Scotland I could not find anyone importing it so I have been sulking for the past 5 years knowing that the best cheese in the World is on the other side of the World and almost impossible to buy here. So imagined my surprise when I was visiting Toronto that it is on sale there. I was so upset that people could enjoy the cheese there but not here in bonny Scotland.
However, while enjoying a most pleasant evening meal with my sister-in-law’s in-law’s in Toronto I was introduced to what tasted very like my delicious King Island Blue and it is called Shropshire Blue, all the way from England. I was so happy that I could again taste a cheese that I enjoy very much back here in the UK. What gave me an even greater surprise was the fact that Shropshire Blue originates from near Inverness that is just 90 miles from my doorstep.
Here is what I found out on the Web.
“Shropshire Blue originated at the Castle Stuart Dairy, Inverness in the 1970's where it was called 'Inverness-shire Blue' or 'Blue Stuart'. It was made by a Scottish cheese-maker called Andy Williamson who was trained in the making of Stilton in Nottinghamshire. He returned to Scotland to produce the first Scottish Blue cheeses which included cheeses similar not only to Stilton but also to Blue Cheshire and Wensleydale. Inverness-shire Blue, or Blue Stuart, was marketed throughout the rest of the British Isles as Shropshire Blue; a name chosen simply to help its sales and acceptability. However, in 1980 production of the cheese stopped as the Milk Marketing Board of Northern Scotland brutally shut down the creamery killing off a number of Scottish cheeses and its only blues.
The making of the cheese was however taken up by the Cheshire cheese maker Elliot Hulme and Harry Hanlin along with the help and advice of Charlie Chisholm, who worked at the Castle Stuart Dairy. The first Shropshire Blue from the farm then appeared at the Nantwich show in 1980. However, soon after this they too also stopped making the cheese. Fortunately, the making of the cheese moved to Nottinghamshire when Long Clawson Dairy and Colston Bassett Dairy took up production. An ironic return to the area of Shropshire Blues real birth-place in the early years of the creators life, Andy Williamson.
Shropshire Blue has a flavour somewhere between Blue Cheshire and Blue Stilton, a creamy orange coloured paste with blue-green veining; annatto produces the orange colour and Penicillium roquefortii produces the veining. The cheese is essentially an orange coloured Stilton style cheese. It is made from pasteurised cows' milk and using rennet suitable for vegetarians. The cheese is matured for 12 weeks but it can be matured for a further 12 weeks to produce a creamier fuller flavoured cheese. Shropshire Blue is excellent throughout the year.
Each cheese is approximately 20cm in diameter, 30cm high, weighs 8kg and has a fat content of 48%. It is excellent on the cheese-board and is also very versatile in the kitchen; it makes fabulous soups and sauces. It is best accompanied by good English brown ale and as with Stilton, by rich fortified wines.
I found a cheese shop in Aberdeen selling Shropshire Blue so now I can enjoy a wee bit of what I like more regularly than every 5 years!
Note of warning: Keep well away from the stuff that you can buy in Tesco and other supermarkets pretending to be Shropshire Blue. It’s not nice at all.
7 Aug 2006
4 Aug 2006
Wed 7 Jun 2006
I read this item below in the news today. Some say that Scottish people have a 15% higher mortality rate than England and Ireland. Well, you can prove anything with statistics! Happy Birthday, Annie.
"Annie Knight, of Aberdeen, believed to be Scotland's oldest woman, was 111 yesterday. She puts her longevity down to no alcohol. Annie, spent her big birthday yesterday with her family and friends. Her son, Bill, 85, who also lives in Aberdeen, said: "She has a bowl of porridge every morning and has never touched a drop of alcohol in her life - maybe that's the secret."
"Britain's oldest man, Henry Allingham, of Sussex, 110 yesterday, attributes his to whisky."
29 Jul 2006
Its been three weeks since Kirsty and Dan's wedding in Toronto and here I am just getting round to writing something about our stay there.
We were invited to Kirsty and Dan's wedding on the 7th July 2006. I was honoured to be asked to walk Kirsty up the isle for her wedding to Dan. This is the 2nd time in 3 months that I have given a girl away to another man! I hope I don’t make a habit of it. The wedding took place at a golf club in Toronto and there was a lovely reception afterwards with all their friends and family. I have posted a few more pictures in another BLOG To see them CLICK HERE.
Canada Holiday - 2006
We also spent a week sightseeing around the Toronto area with Kirsty and Dad. Dan and I cycled into downtown Toronto to see the Canadian Champ Car Grand Prix on the Sunday. We also cycled from Niagara on the Lake to Niagara Falls and back in 30 C heat on the Tuesday! I really enjoyed cycling to Niagara as you can admire the views much more than if you are in a car. Thanks Dan and Kirsty for arranging it all for me. I had visited Niagara Falls 25 years ago and saw a big change in the area. It has become so commercialised that it is almost tacky now. And the crowds of people! I think this will be my last visit there. More Pics here.
Janis and I also spent some time with good friends of our family, the Scott’s. My dad met James Scott during WW2 and they became firm life friends and we still keep in touch with them all.
Most of the family were on holiday North of Toronto so we joined them for a few days. We stayed on Dickie Lake nr a village called Baysville with Alan and Gail and their lovely children, Heather and James. Click here for more pictures of our Canada Holiday.
27 Jul 2006
Here is our new Study. When the house was new 28 yrs ago this was part of the living room but it was partitioned to make a bedroom for guests and a small living room with a new living room built to the rear of the house. Now our children are all living elsewhere we decided to create more space for ourselves and turn the bedroom into a study with the computer installed. We now have loads of room for all our books, manuals and other things that require to be hidden away. I had a lot of rewiring to do to accommodate the computer and peripherals but it has been worth it. Th work was completed 5 weeks ago but I have only found time now to put it in my BLOG and tell you about it.
24 Jul 2006
On our way home just north of Aberdeen we were caught up by the Pagani Zonta that was speeding round Knockhill with all the other exotica. Here it is on the left. The Zonta stayed behind me for a while then overtook and just disappeared into the distance. I, keeping to speed limits, caught it up due to slower traffic. When behind the Zonta the noise from the engine and exhaust was just amazing! We got to a stretch of duel carriageway and I managed to just keep within sight of it up to 90 but after that it just took off! AND that noise, fantastic. Wish I had taken my movie camera in the car to record the noise.
On the Saturday we met up with 15 other Porsche owners and went for a drive around the Perthshire hills for the day. We had the car hood down all the way in lovely weather. My car really showed how good it was in these kinds of roads and that you can have fun but still be safe. A Porsche 911 driver behind me said that he could not keep up with me in the corners! He had to admit the Boxster is the better driver's car. (I am trying not to sound to cocky here.)
On the Sunday we all went to Knockhill Racing circuit to take part in their SPEEDFAIR Classic that included a special guest appearance by Sir Jackie Stewart!! They were celebrating 50 years of Ecurie Ecosse & SMRC not to mention 50 years of Scottish Motorsport success. Again, this was a fantastic day looking at static dip lays and watching the cars racing on the circuit. Even Jackie was speeding round in his Grand Prix winning Tyrrell Ford 003 of 1971 in which he won his second World Championship. Acording to JYS the car is completely original still being fitted with 1971 wishbones etc.
18 Jul 2006
Had a fabulous day out today at Aboyne Gliding Club. I went with our pensioners' club and took to the air in a twin seater Puchacz glider with me in the front seat. We were towed by a plane up to 2000 ft and then I released the tow rope and we were flying like an eagle over the Dee Valley. I was given control for some time and flew up in some thermals to gain some hight before returning to earth back on the runway. We then all helped to prepare a BBQ and relaxed for another hour before returning home. A day to remember.
I have never seen the temperature so high here in Ellon but I must admit it's very hot today too. I took a picture of the car outside temperature reading yesterday just to prove how hot it was. 29 C! Phew. And it did reach 30 C for some time too. We are just back from Toronto and it wasn't any hotter there just a little more humid.
4 Jul 2006
Harry and I had discussed the possibility of taking my Boxster out for a day driving around the top of Scotland and returning on the same day. We knew it had to be in the summer as the days are much longer and we could do it all in daylight. No point in doing it in the dark. So the plan was made that we could do it in one day if we basically followed the route we had taken in 2005 with our cycles. So we kept a keen eye for a weather window that would allow us to do it with the roof down all the way around. Therefore Sunday 3rd July was chosen as the best day.
The trip starting in Ellon @ 6am on a bright sunny day and we travelled around the top of Scotland via Dufftown, Granton-on-Spey, Nairn, Inverness, Ullapool, Durness, Altnahara, Bonar Bridge and back to Ellon by 6pm. Hood down all the way. It did dull down near the West Coast but it soon brightened up again. The best day out in the best car, on the best roads in the UK! What more can say. And Harry smiled all the way. (and so did I, of course). We did 550 miles that day.
Traigh Allt Chailgeag
1 Jul 2006
29 Jun 2006
We had a lovely day out yesterday with friends to Pitmedden Gardens that is near our home. It is a formal walled garden originally laid out in 1675 by Sir Alexander Seton and features over 5 miles of box hedging arranged in intricate patterns to form six parterres. These parterres are filled with some 40,000 plants bursting with colour in the summer months.
A lovely place to visit on a fine summer day (if you can get one!).
There is also a Museum of Farming Life giving a glimpse of how this was done over a centaury ago. These were very hard times for most folk.
And what a co-incidence; my “pen friend” with whom I have been in contact since 1998 had a birthday the other day and she was given an "Allium Sphaerocephalon" plant. What is that?, you may ask. Well, I saw them growing in Pitmedden Gardens and wondered what they were too. And then I read My friend’s Blog and there they were in all their flowering glory. Thank you Janet for finding out more about it. Here, on the left, are the flowers at Pitmedden and here is a link to Janet's BLOG about the flower at LORD CELERY. I have also put a a picture here, to the right, of the ones posted on her BLOG.