Sunday, 31 October 2010

Tentative steps

Big day for me tomorrow, I'm going into the office for the first time in 4 months!!   Just for the morning, as a kind of try out.

I wonder if they've dusted my desk...? They did tell me they'd washed the mug ;-)

I reckon the hardest thing for me will be the constant noise of computers and people chatting. I'm used to working in my quiet sitting room with the iPod on low....  ah well I'll let you know how it goes!

Random photo theme - boats

Hmm, ok it had to happen sooner or later..

This is "Moneypenny" and she is a typical, modern, high level racing yacht and one of my customers; or more accurately her owner is one of my customers. Which means that I now have to explain my work I guess.     For anyone familiar with yacht racing I can just say I work in the UK office that calculates and issues yacht ratings.  You can skip the next bit.

For those not familiar with yacht racing, when differing designs of boats are racing together they need to use a handicap system to even out the results, so that the likes of Moneypenny can race fairly against a boat half her length/speed.  There are two main methods of handicapping yachts:  personal handicap where your handicap is adjusted depending on your performance; or ratings which are based on the measurements/weight/features of the boat, and if you can't sail the boat to its potential that's just tough luck.  

We run a rating system and issue certificates to 20+ countries, to around 4500 boats; I handle the USA, Australia, Ireland and New Zealand and the 'big boats' (over 70 feet), so get to deal with a lot of the more interesting designs as well as the mundane. 

Moneypenny here is a USA boat but in this photo she was racing at Cork Week in Ireland which is a popular event, big enough to attract entries from across the pond; the boss and I are usually there doing on the spot measurement and general regatta support, but I had to miss it this year for the first time since 1994, since it was a fortnight after the crash.

So, now you know.

IF: Spent

... but Sylvia had spent all the housekeeping on new clothes.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Finding reasons

I was just sitting in front of the woodburner earlier wondering why I can't stop bursting into tears for the last 2 days, when I suddenly thought "I wonder if it's anything to with the fact I stopped taking the Dihydrocodeine on Thursday night?".  At that moment a friend of mine arrived for a cuppa, and we talked about the fact I was upset; the first thing she said was what medication was I on?  when I said that I'd just stopped taking it, she said "Well I'll bet that's it".

I was only taking 2 x 30mg a day (morning and night) for 4 months (although my prescription says 1 or 2, four times a day), but from what I've read it's definitely likely to have an effect when you stop.   Last night I had cramps and a couple of rubbish nights sleep, and the tears.... if I can partly put it down to that (along with the PMS and general miserableness of being stuck at home on my own) then it makes me feel a little better.

The nurture of nature

..the title being, of course, a play on the evergreen psychological Nature/Nurture debate.

What a weird night... firstly I dreamed of blogging.  This is a first for me and I had all sorts of great ideas of things I was going to share with you all and lovely smiley thoughts. One specific I dreamed about was Smacksy, I guess Bob had made an impression on me yesterday (if you haven't already visited Lisa and Bob, please do).  Sadly all those great, sunshiny ideas had vanished by morning.

Then I found myself awake at 4.20am worrying about which of my parents is going to die first.  Or more specifically the fact that statistically my dad is likely to die first meaning that my mum will have to cope without him and what a nightmare that will be.. although, when she had breast cancer and a mastectomy a couple of years ago she really surprised me with how well she coped through it; so perhaps I am underestimating her.   Still, not cheerful thoughts to say the least.

That of course led on to just rubbish stuff about being separated from Mr H. (and Django) and I won't go into that in case I get upset again.

So.. thankfully I dropped off to sleep again, but sadly none of you figured in the rest of my dreams, sorry.

Woke at 7am to pouring rain.  Woke at 8am to sunshine glinting off the wet trees, looked out of the sitting room/bedroom window and there were a couple of Blue Tits pecking away at insects on top of my "Garden Wall"

Sorry about the reflection on the window, I hope you can see it ok.   

When I say Garden Wall I don't mean around the perimeter as we have hedges.  When we built our little extension in 1993 we took out a section of 19th C solid brick wall, which we stacked up against the garage ready to use to lay a new drive.  Over the years it has grown its own garden from seeds blown on the wind or dropped by birds. Last year there was even a cherry tree growing in it but we cut it down before the weight pulled the wall down (sorry Mr H. but I can see a new one growing).    I love all the ferns and foxgloves and moss growing completely wild.

(The front row of bricks is more recent from January '10)

Birds never fail to bring a smile to my face, be they busy Blue Tits, matriachal Blackbirds, steadfast Greenfinches or hovering Buzzards.   

I am currently reading the best of Gerald Durrell, about his exploits with, and love of, all things feathered and furred back in the mid 20th century;  if you haven't read his books they are well worth it and exude feel-good from every page.

So, today looks like it's going to be sunshiny with heavy showers - maybe I'm glad I'm not strolling into the market.  I've done the vacuuming, the clothes washing is on and I'm about to make myself a bacon and egg sarnie for brunch before I settle down to my Saturday studying session.

Onwards and upwards.

Friday, 29 October 2010

TP 121: Yellow

Thank you Carmi for the Yellow theme for Thematic Photographic... this morning, feeling crap as I was, a walk around the garden in search of Yellowness was exactly what I needed.

I was going to give you a Yellow Tour, but since blogger decided that most of the photos would look much better on their sides (not), you are limited to these two for now...

My trusty yellow bucket. Isn't it funny how you can get attached to such meaningless inanimate objects?   This one is the proof that if you buy the right bucket, it won't split in the first frost when you leave it outside.

The Mahonia is just coming into flower; it flowers from now through December. I caught this little chap having a rest on it out of the wind this morning.

Pride comes before a fall

Well, after being so pleased with myself that I'd passed by that 27th date without noticing, of course last night in bed I lay awake for ages going over memories in my head. I just couldn't get rid of them.

There are some memories that I know Mr H must go over occasionally as well, even if from a slightly different perspective, we share them; then there are others that are just mine because I was there on my own, the first couple of days/nights in hospital for instance.

Having been on the ward for 2 weeks so seen people come and go, it's weird that when I think about that first night when I arrived on the ward very late at night, I somehow wonder how it sounded from outside my bed-curtains.   When the police came and took bloods from me, and the nurses had to roll me when they moved me on to the bed and I cried out in pain (I think that was the only time) - I wonder what the other patients were thinking.  None of the others on my ward were in a similar situation so they must have thought "Who is she? what happened? why are the police here?" I'll bet they couldn't wait for the morning to find out the story.

My wee friend Hedgy who was rescued from the wreckage and kept me company

The whole memories-in-the-dark thing reminded me that I should be reading more of the "Crash Course" book that work bought me, but I got to a part in it where I was thinking "What the hell are you talking about?" and stopped. Maybe I'll skip that bit...

To be honest I think talking to people like you is sometimes just as helpful.

An addendum

I am hereby adding a 3rd recipient to the Gold Framed Dog Blog Award:  Barney and Chibi Janine.  Sorry Barney that you slipped my mind before, I am suitably mortified xx

Barney has been poorly but is now better to run around; and a big Thank You to Chibi Janine for inspiring me to play with different types of art which I never would have tried otherwise :-)

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Where to draw the line

You may remember I told you about the slightly annoying man in my OU tutor group, well he is the provocation for this post.  We'll call him Derek.

Not only does he like the sound of his own voice, but on Saturday he kept coming back to one paragraph on one page of the course book that had irritated him and not illustrated the point clearly for him; we all agreed that it was a bit of an odd example, but then the rest of us had moved on.  I can imagine him reading it over and over again thinking "what a ridiculous example, I don't get it, what does it mean? I don't get it, what a ridiculous example... {repeat to fade}".

I fear he is going to become my Big Irritation.

We have an online forum for our tutor group, which is great because not all of the groups do apparently. Those who don't have to wade through reams of posts on the general DSE212 course forum - honestly, who has the time or mental energy? At there moment there are only about 4 of us who have used our tutor group forum but I hope more will join in the discussions.

So, Derek has just appeared on the group forum asking stuff about the first essay, things which really he shouldn't need to ask because the material is right there in the course book, and seriously isn't rocket science.  And now he is directly asking me questions (because I let slip I'd already written it) to which I would have liked to answer "Are you seriously asking me that??" but managed to appeal to my more literate and polite side for a reply.

So this made me think about the whole 'students working together' thing. And I accept that I may think differently to others, because I am a self-professed Lone Worker, though I suspect this might change as things get more complicated in my course-work over the next few years!   Mostly, in both studying and at work, I like to try and work to figure things out myself and only ask for help if I get completely stuck.

Yes I agree of course that students gain from discussing subjects amongst themselves and teasing out the points and arguments etc., and I appreciate that other people work differently to me; but at what point do you say "Listen mate, you get on with your essay and I'll get on with mine, ok?  I'm not going to help you write it." 

Healing time

Hey, look at that - I completely missed the "4 months since the crash" day yesterday!   

That must mean that my mind is healing...

Photo by Mr H.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

October 1987

Marlborough, Swindon
Lechlade, Burford;
Past the garden centre and Filkins
The army ranges, the antique shops.
The Savernake Oak which was
'Our tree'.

Every month we'd visit
Taking it in turns.
Arriving on a Friday night after work.
Leaving, sad-faced, on Sunday.

This time it was his turn,
We sat on bean bags,
(As was 80s fashion)
In our low-beamed dining room
Watching TV.
Which programme?
I have no idea.

I expect he remembers;
He has a mind for

Somebody in the programme
Brought a meal in for their loved one.
I think it was pizza and salad.

He said to me
"If we got married
I could do that."

One potato, two potato... and 3 legs

This morning I went out into a sunny autumnal garden and dug some potatoes and carrots; there is nothing quite like digging/cutting and eating your own home-grown veggies.

The potatoes (Desiree) have done well this year and many are big enough for baking which is great for me, being a bit of a lazy chef at the moment.

I am finding that I can get around the house, and down to the veg patch, pretty well on one crutch which makes carrying things an awful lot easier.   

The downside to this is that I keep leaving crutches in odd places around the house, it's a good thing they're orange.

Spot's Spot - knackered

After a hard day playing in the woods, all Django could do was sleep...

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Spot's been Spotted!

Well well, Mustang Sally, Functional Kaos lady,  Mum informs me proudly that we have won an award!   We are most honoured to receive the Gold Framed Dog Blog Award, thank you very much. I would give you a kiss but you're a little far away - please receive a virtual kiss from me {xxxxxxx}.

Naturally being so good looking, I am no stranger to awards, but this is my first Blogging Award and to be frank I'll bet none of my (ex) showing friends have got one of these!!!!

I thought since I am on the winners' podium I would tell you a little about myself.   I was a Millenium puppy, born on 16 January 2000 to a laid back father and a slightly neurotic mother (I'm sure a few of you can relate to that).  I am from showing rather than working stock, they have short legs and aren't quite as attractive as us; but are more useful. Although I do know how to point, it's in the genes you know.   Anyway, my dog-grandad was top UK Champion Pointer 1994, and my dog-dad won a bit and went to Crufts a lot but never had that last 'je ne sais quoi' to get any further.     Here is a picture of me and my dog-dad, who also owned my Mum and Dad. They always said they should have had the stud fee instead of the puppy (me) but apparently that was a joke...

I did quite a bit of the showing lark when I was a puppy and did very well; I even have a place card from Crufts.  But then we found that because of my short-ass dog-mother I didn't grow tall enough, so Mum and Dad decided there was no point continuing and my showing career was pretty much finished by the time I was 2.  That's just fine as it means less travelling, and less standing around and being made to walk on terrifying slippery floors; and less having to make small talk with all those other Pointers at showgrounds.

When at home in the south I spend most of my day sleeping, running on the Forest or the sea wall, pointing/chasing pheasants in the woods, and eating.

I would like to pass this award on to 2 of our friends:

Lane, Peggy and Teabag - these guys look fun to walk with.

Kalei's Best Friend - yeah ok, a cat.... but I'm open minded.


April 1987

Letters had been written
Back and forth; back and forth.
Visits had been made
And parents met.

We lived 100 miles apart
Which meant we wrote and wrote
And got to know each other
Inside out.

My parents loved him from the start
From the first time he turned up on the doorstep
Half an hour before I was due home.

I invited him to 'our place in the Lakes',
For a week's holiday with my parents.

We went for a stroll one evening.
Down to the weir on the river;
I expect we held hands.

That was the first time he told me
He loved me.

Spot's Spot

Hi folks, it's Django here.     I know you're going to miss me while I'm not living with Mum, having some bonding time with Dad you know, so thought I'd produce the odd update.

Well, they could have warned me!   I should have been suspicious by the way Mum was feeding me up and letting me get fat.... it's bloody freezing up here in Airshire Scootland.  They have some sadistic streak which means I only seem to come here in the winter, what's that all about?

So, Monday morning while I was still tired from our long drive up on Sunday, Dad takes me out to the forest and expects me to go to work with him.  Well I can tell you, I made a point of letting him know I was NOT happy and please could I stay in the van??  

Apparently I can't wear my nice fleece lined coat because I'm likely to get caught up on bits of tree and strangle myself or something; besides if I run around in it I get an awful sweat on, not to mention the chafing (oooh).

I have no idea how long I am staying here but I did hear talk about 'Christmas', so I'm going to have to have a little chat with Dad and get things straight about what's expected.

Medicinal purposes

I have been trying to avoid catching a cold, figuring that I really don't want 'being sick' on top of everything else; but these things can't be avoided forever. So here I am, snorting into my hankie, drinking ginger and lemon tea with honey, and hot chocolate laced with Woodford Reserve (yes, that which I bought for Mr H; I'm sure he won't mind).

It's not flu (if you can get out of bed, it's not flu, ok you men reading this? ha), and it's not 'a stinking cold' as my mother likes to describe them. It's just an everyday, run-of-the-mill cold.

But I'm here on my own, hobbling around with no desire to decide what to eat; so I reserve the right to feel sorry for myself for a few days, ok?

Monday, 25 October 2010

August 1986

There he stood by the road.
I was young, I didn't pick up strange hitch-hikers,
But my sister did.
She was old at 25 and in the army so she could look after herself.

We met outside the festival entrance;
"It's you!" I thought, feeling a bit selfish,
Since I had driven past him.

He was alone.
It seemed natural for him to camp next to us
And hang out; and it was all good.

On the last day we couldn't leave him there;
So I took him home.
He gave me a pot of honey to say thank you.

I can't remember now whether he gave me his address, or I gave him mine.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Not so different...

Yesterday I had my first Open University tutorial, which was good fun and the two hours went past really quickly; my tutor is lovely - light hearted, funny, interesting - she is going to be great to work with over the next 9 months.

As usual, from a group of  15 there were 4 or 5 who were more vocal than others (er, yes I was one of them!); there were only 2 that I found a little irritating - one man who is a sergeant major in the army and liked the sound of his own voice a bit too much; and one South African lady who Knew A Lot.  It didn't help that we had a really annoying, aggressive S.A. lady in my 1st year tutorial group so of course there was an instant link when I heard the accent. But anyway they are a nice crowd and I'm looking forward to the rest of the course.

I got my first assignment finished and submitted this afternoon; I had already written it during the week but waited until after the tutorial to 'tweak' bits; in the end decided it was ok as it was, so off it went into techno never-never land - everything is submitted via the website these days.   It isn't due until 10th November so I am a wee bit ahead, as planned.

After that I watched an OU video about chimps and bonobos, which are our closest ancestors.  Wow, those bonobos are scary how like us are they are, down to walking around upright some of the time, to having sex face-to-face which has got to be pretty rare in the animal kingdom.

Apparently in the bonobo world, the females dominate, and sex is the answer to everything, kind of "make love not war". When male bonobos feel aggressive or pissed off, they just come back to camp, have a quickie and it 'calms them down' and everyone's happy again. 

I wonder what they do if they come back and find that Mrs Bonobo has popped out to the shops, or has a headache....  

IF: Racing

"The crowd groaned as Brian, favourite at 2-1, came in 3rd behind Gladys and Sandra in the mixed racing, while Terry trailed a poor 4th."

Realisation of Reality

This weekend has been lovely, but has proved stark realisation of how my energy levels are still knocked for six after almost 4 months.   Mr H got home around lunchtime on Friday and we had what I would term a 'normal' weekend of doing things, out and about ie. we went shopping, drove around a bit to get stuff we needed, went over to my parents; on Saturday I had a 2 hour OU tutorial. In the evenings we just chilled.

I am exhausted!

I had been planning to take the train up to Ayr in 4 weeks time, to give Mr H a break from driving down here; plus I've always wanted to do the train journey, which takes about 8 hours (the same as driving).  I've been a bit anxious about doing it, which involves 2 changes in big city stations, manoevering on and off the trains etc., and hadn't definitely decided about it. After this weekend we agreed that it probably wouldn't be a good idea as unless things change a lot in the next month, I would be so knackered after the trip that I'd spend half my long weekend up there completely wiped out.  I'll leave it til after the new year when I'm more back to 'normal' and can appreciate the trip more; so Mr H will be back down here in 4 weeks time.

Yes I could fly up, but I dislike flying and don't like the hassle of airports and planes at the best of times; and it would cost a whisker short of £200 for the pleasure.

Mr H and Django have just left for their trip North, it feels very quiet here now... it will be odd not having Django waking me up in the morning or wanting to go out or be fed. I'm looking forward to the peace, but will miss his company. Oh well he will have a lovely time in Scotland with lots of exercise and new scents to investigate.

Thus starts the next month of the journey....

Saturday, 23 October 2010

Six Word Saturday

Six Word Saturday

Been out. Done stuff. Tired now.

I'm too tired to write anything... instead I will share some images from my day:

Friday, 22 October 2010

And another thing..

Here is something else I'm savouring...

Having my man home for a couple of days :-)

TP 120: Savour

For Carmi's Thematic Photographic this week, as ever my mind has gone off at a different tangent...

As I sat in front of the woodburner the other evening, I became aware that I had no interest in the future, or the past - I was savouring the moment.  

That moment of being there, staring at the fire, warming my skin with my dog lying at my feet.

Nothing mattered except the Now.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Now it IS turning colder

I awoke to our first frost this morning - and what was the first thing I thought of?  Yep, Carmi.   Is that really sad?  

So, having just realised it's Thursday, I reckon I can just sneak this one in before the next subject comes up.

Here is 'Turning Colder; from a mole's view point'

And yes, it took a bit of effort for me to get down that low, but I consider it part of my physiotherapy.

Ok, deep breaths

This morning, I know most of you won't believe this, but I'm going to the beauty salon to get my eyebrows shaped for the very first time. Yes I have survived 44 1/4 years without ever touching my eyebrows.  I'm told it's going to hurt, but hey I have 4 tattoos...  I'll let you know how it goooowwwwwwss ;-)

Then later, I am going down to the sailing club for an office meeting. Our office is on the first floor next door to the sailing club, but they have a lift, so we borrow them occasionally when I need to come to a meeting; if it's just, say, 3 of us then we time it so the bar's open!  but sadly not today.  Today we are going to talk about 2011 and application forms and just generally catch up; I will attempt not to get aggravated at the petty requests, and will also attempt to do some delegation so that somebody else gets to comply with said petty requests!

For all Django's fans, here is a picture of him in the snow a couple of years ago; I think he should use this shot for his dating page:

And that reminds me, I will post again later as I have a nice photo for Carmi the Getting Colder theme.

Ok, off to face that pain...

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Pink mice and laughter

Two of my friends came over at 5 o'clock, we sat round the woodburner and for two hours we laughed, and they told me funny stories about their holiday and it all got rather rude, and it was the best therapy.  Just what I needed :-)

And one of them brought me a box of DVDs, and this

I guess I'll postpone that hibernation for a bit....

Anti-bugs (refer to post below)

How I am attempting to cure my mood:

1. Switch off my work computer.

2. Ask friend if we can make it another day please.

3.  Take Django outside for a walk round the garden and fill up the bird feeders.  Watching birds can bring a smile to my face no matter how down I am.

4. Light the woodburner.

5. Make a cup of tea.

6. Sit in front of woodburner with shoes off, reading about Homo erectus.

It's working so far...


I'm having a 'bugged' day.   Everything seems to irritate me; I seem to have a permanent frown on my face; if someone says the wrong thing I might cry*.   And little things just build up. Here are the things that have bugged me this morning...

1. The way the zip tag on my jeans gets stuck upside down at the bottom and I break my fingernails trying to extricate it.

2. The fact that you get a mountain of unintelligible paperwork with a new pension.

3. The way the dog barks every time he hears the slightest noise. He never used to; I'm not sure whether he is protecting me or going senile.

4. How a friend who I haven't seen for about 15 years is probably going to be turning up around lunchtime with half a day's warning... I hope they like cheese on toast.

5. The way everything about work seems to aggravate me at the moment.  Maybe I am starting to suffer from the isolation of being here alone instead of in the office. I'd rather be doing anything than running around after deadlines that apply to people's leisure time, we're not talking about saving lives here; so I am writing this instead.

6.  How everything just seems Too Hard.   Not every day stuff but going to places, arranging things, getting more than one person in the same place at the same time, seeing people.  

I feel like hibernating for the winter and only letting Mr H into my fluff-lined den.

*All it took was my mother saying on the phone 'you'd better speak to dad' instead of discussing something simple with me herself, and that was it, I was off into that bad place of dripping tears into my lunch.

I'm looking forward to when I can escape to places like this to clear my head:

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

I'm in love!

Talking of houses and homes, how annoying is it when you are browsing through a magazine and you see a property that you totally fall in love with... never mind that it's waaay over budget, or that you aren't actually thinking of moving.

I saw this one while I was visiting the parents yesterday, and I was struck:

It has 9 acres, a fishing river, outbuildings.... oh and the house looks lovely too.  And guess what, it's in one of the villages where Mr H. was looking to rent for his job, so it's convenient for that too.

Now, I just need that wee bit of cash over what our house is worth.... until then I have filed it under 'Dreams' ;-)

Houses and Homes

I was going to have a rant today about unreliable friends.. but by the time I'd written it I felt better!  I'm feeling generally grouchy today; I'm not really sure why and I can't blame it on PMS, and I had loads of sleep last night. So it's a mystery really.

Anyway, instead of a rant you get another random photo..

June 2009 this time, at my parents' house.   They bought their house in 1964 (on return from Australia, for those of you who are concentrating in class) and I was born there in 1966.  I was two weeks late and was 'induced' by my poor mother drinking cod liver oil... rather her than me; anyway there I was born in the back bedroom.   I lived at 'VC' as we call it until my marriage in 1989; I never went away to school so spent all my formative years there. It was truly home to me and a huge wrench to move out into the marital one-bedroom matchbox.  My parents still live there.

Going back to the photo, the little shed on the far left is the dog kennel we built for Danny, the Lab x Retriever I got when I was 18; it's now dad's mower shed.   Previously in that spot we had a chicken house and run, but I think my parents gave up when we lost too many to foxes despite all our attempts to prevent it.

Django was tied to a tree on this occasion because my parents had a magpie trap in the garden; I'm not sure why now, but anyway it involved keeping one magpie in it, which attracted others which could then be dispatched.  It seemed pretty cruel to me.  Of course poor Django went demented with this poor bird like a 'sitting duck' in the cage and wouldn't leave it alone.  A different reason to tether him would be that out the back of the garden are fields, mostly fallow these days, but with deer and all sort of other chaseable animals in them which are likely to lead an inquisitive Pointer astray.

I have now lived almost as many years in our current house as I did at VC, and although I am still familiar with all the nooks and crannies, and which floorboards squeak upstairs (learned in my childhood!), it stopped being Home to me quite a few years ago. 

If home is where the heart is, it is definitely where I am sitting right now :-)

Monday, 18 October 2010

Shorts: Chapter 2

My next chapter is on evolutionary psychology - I just know I'm going to enjoy it!    I wonder if it covers the Darwin Awards?

Section 1.5 : Hunter-gatherers. I'd better read that before Mr H. gets home on Friday...

A little speech

I'm slightly stunned that I have gone from having about 12 followers to 32 in the last couple of months; and it's nice to come across the same people in comments around the place, it feels like a whole new bunch of friends :-)  A big welcome to those of you who have just found me, or have loitered around for a bit and decided to follow me - honestly I didn't force anybody!!

Having read on another blog that "obviously I'm depressed, I write a blog don't I?"  I thought that was in itself a depressing thing to think; as if no-one 'normal' would need to write one.   I know there are some incredibly talented writers, illustrators, photographers in the blog world; there are also depressed people, terminally ill people; funny people, people with low self-esteem; ranting people; mums and dads (lots of them!), religious people; thought-provoking people; and many a mixture of the above. 

At this point it is customary to think "Oh no, have I said the wrong thing? will somebody be upset?" but actually in the blog world I don't think that. Everybody in this world seems to be here because they accept themselves and others, whatever the weather.

Anyway, it made me think, WHY do I write a blog?  I started it in Sept 2009, long before I was stuck at home with a broken leg and time on my hands.  At the time it felt like a new start to my life; a period of dreams and reality in fact, hence the name. Mr H. had just finished his degree, I was just starting mine; our life seemed to be at a point of change.  Reading the blog of my friend Rosie at One Year Down the Line inspired me to start putting my thoughts into words and letting people read them, and to start with it was probably only she who did!

Now I have discovered this lovely community, who's words I love to read, laugh at, agree with (mostly), and who make me think about my own.  

Thank you :-)

Shorts: various

Well who'd'a thought that out there is a website called Django Dog ....  for a minute I thought my boy had been snapped up for his 15 minutes of fame, but the photo is definitely not him (albeit pretty cute).

* * *
Last night I had the first hot water bottle of the season; the previous night I lay for half an hour shivering and not wanting to get out of bed to make one!  Autumn is officially here.

I'm not really looking forward to this week. My four main work colleagues were at a conference in Istanbul for 3 days of last week (which I wisely decided to forego) so I had peace to get on with my work and managed to catch up a lot; now they are back and I just know my inbox is going to be full of stuff from the boss by 1200 today.  Friday is also the deadline for copy for our 2011 Yearbook which I have to work on.

But the good news is that Mr H. is back again for the weekend on Friday morning :-)

Happy Monday all.

Sunday, 17 October 2010

A productive day

Today I wrote my essay on Identity, over which I have been procrastinating this week. I always study better at weekends when I can sit down for a concentrated few hours, without having to fit it in after a day's work. Yesterday I wrote most of the essay plan, today I finished that and whacked out the essay, at least that's how it felt.   It is only a 1000 word limit, and the skill in a short essay is saying as much as possible in a compact way, so I worked out  from the start how many words I had for each section as that stops unnecessary waffling. Not that it is an issue for me - I am rubbish at waffling. No, really I am.

So I printed off a first draft, read it through, changed a couple of things and thought 'er, that's fine'.  This seems to be how I worked in the first year - thought about it and struggled over the essay plan and then wrote/edited/finalised it in a day.  And if I get the marks I got in the first year I will be more than happy! I won't submit it yet though as I have a tutorial next Saturday at which point I will go into panic mode that I've got it completely wrong. And then I'll submit it.

Now, on to those pesky ethical research short questions...

Random photo theme

I have discovered a new blogging game...  while mulling over what I could write about today I decided to randomly click on my photo albums (they are filed under year and then month - only occasionally have titles for special occasion) without looking and then write about whichever photo I ended up on.  Now this could be dodgy but don't worry if I come up with anything that shouldn't be aired in public I will re-randomly-select ;-)

Today's random photo is from March 2009; it was on one of my many visits to Doune and it was a cold, spring weekend. I had flown up as Django was living up there for a couple of months; he was getting skinny from being out on site with Mr H. all day in the cold and wet (but dog-coats really aren't practical when fighting one's way though brash on the ground - he would have got 2 yards before getting caught up).

The first day it was dank and wet, the sort that gets to your bones; we walked out in the woods and Django spent a lot of the time standing around looking pathetic. In the evening we snuggled up in the flat with the fire lit, ate some of Mr H's delicious home-cooked food, and drank red wine and whisky.

The following morning we woke up to it snowing; after a bacon and egg breakfast we walked down to the river, and up to this little, old graveyard in the middle of the field, the chapel now long gone. 

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Six Word Saturday

I just discovered Six Word Saturday at Show My Face,  (via Sass at Are you Sassified?)

Living the reality; daring to dream

How many times do you hear "I'm Living the Dream"?   well I'm not right now, I gotta be honest. 

One of our friends once suggested we name our house 'Field of Dreams' because we do a lot of it here; anything from large scale (moving to Scotland) to transient (visiting our friends in New Zealand) to small (fixing the drive).

Right now, I'm satisfied with living my current reality the best I can; but that doesn't mean I'm not still dreamin'....

Mr H. and the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond..

If Cleanliness is next to Godliness, I'm doomed

Although I am working from home, I make sure that I have a proper weekend and Saturday has become 'housework day'.   I don't mind housework, which for me only stretches as far as doing the washing, hoovering and a bit of tidying up; I would wash the kitchen floor but figure that's not a good idea while I'm on crutches!   Dusting is a special occasion job, and ironing is done on those 2 days a year that I wear something made of linen.   Is it true that there is a finite level of dust, after which it gets no thicker?  In my book, a spotless house is the sign of an empty mind; and everyone who comes here says how comfortable and 'at home' they feel, so that dresser can go another few weeks.

Oddly in contrast to this, I am obsessive about the cleanliness of crockery and cutlery and can't abide people who don't wash up properly (easily traced back to my childhood). So if you visit me, you can be assured of a spotless plate to eat off.

There is one thing I won't miss when Django goes to Scotland next weekend, and that is the dog hair and dust that he creates; he is moulting at the moment... well he seems to permanently moult but it is worse right now. If I sweep the floor, an hour later (if he has moved) it has short white and black hairs on it again (in fact it is always more white, do the black ones not fall out as much?  or do they just not show up).  At least the birds will be glad of the sweepings for their roosts and nests.

Sunny autumnal and winter days are lovely, but have you noticed how they show up grubby windows and the dust in the air as the sun streams in?   it never seems to show in summer.  It makes me desperate to clean the windows, maybe I will ask Mr H. at the weekend.... I refuse to pay someone to do what I can do myself (plus they'd probably take one look, suck their teeth, and quote me twice the normal price).

This afternoon I have set aside for studying, I really must get on with that essay that I've been putting off all week. The subject is identity, maybe I can include something about the impression you get of someone from the state of their house...

Sweet dreams...

A gratuitous and non-official 'Spooky' picture ;-)

Friday, 15 October 2010

Shorts: new style

Soooo... after a few aborted attempts at playing with it over the last few weeks, I finally bit the bullet and went for a new (shock horror) template.

It feels like going to the hairdresser and coming out with a completely different hair style - your face and personality are the same but somehow you feel everyone is staring at you!

IF: Spooky

Hmm, the theme for Illustration Friday this week is Spooky... so I figured everyone will be doing illustrations of Hallowe'en and haunted houses, or maybe spooky pumpkins.

I thought I'd have a play around and just see what happened (and also used it as an ArtRage learning process!).

When you're strolling on the beach in the late afternoon, you'd expect one shadow... but three?   That seems pretty spooky to me....

I still can't get over the size of those screws

So... it's getting on for four months and I've just had the CD of my latest x-rays, so I guess time for another update.   Here is one of the x-rays, with mark-up by me.. I will post the others on the separate x-rays page.

As those of you who have been following my blog for a while know, I was confined to non-weight bearing from the end of June until 4th October; and thankfully this time everything was progressing swimmingly so I am now allowed to put 30% of my bodyweight onto it.  Judging that has been - well - an inexact science!   Although I did try the 'standing on the bathroom scales' as advised, in real life there is no guage so I just use intuition, of which we women have so much apparently.

The downside of this is that all the aches and pains in my knee and hip, and in my general thigh muscles have come back; just when they thought it was safe to relax I'm making them work again. 

The accident now feels a little dream-like to me, unreal and distant; sometimes a thought or memory will come into my head and upset me, but more often than not they are to do with being in hospital and knowing how much Mr H. and my friends and family must have been feeling. It is almost an empathetic upset-ness, putting myself in their places; I hate to think of the ones I love in distress. 

Even looking at the x-rays is surreal - that isn't really the inside of my leg, it's just a picture of some bones; and the scars are just there, but don't seem to evoke any feeling now when I see them... I wonder how I'll feel about them in 10 years time?

I've settled into working from home, and living downstairs (although I have promised Mr H. we can sleep upstairs next weekend when he is home), and have a pretty fixed routine of what time I wake up, get up, start work, have lunch, stop work, shower, study (if I'm in the right mood), cook tea, go to bed... and on special occasions I'll fit in a walk to the post box or to the corner shop.  

I can't imagine being back in the office and my old routines of walking or cycling to work, walking the dog, nipping into town on a Saturday morning, driving to visit friends.

But then 2 months ago I couldn't imagine putting any weight on my leg or posting my own letters....


TP 119: Turning Colder

It's nowhere near cold enough here to be taking suitable pictures for Carmi's Thematic Photographic this week, "Turning Colder";  for the first time I had to have a search through my existing pictures.

The one I chose has some sentimental value, it was taken in February 2009 in the Trossachs in Scotland while Mr H. was on his degree work placement there for a year.  I had many happy visits to the north to discover the area; he lived on the edge of a very flat valley which then rose suddenly into hills, it felt like the end of the Lowlands and the start of the Highlands; although we were apart, it was an area he came to love.

On this occasion my best friend G had flown up with me for a 3-day weekend, and we spent it driving around giving her a whistle-stop tour of the area.  One afternoon, as the last visit that day, we went to Loch Katrine which was in Mr H.'s working area (for the Forestry Commission). Judging by the lack of snow we must have been in a mid-winter thaw period - the loch looked beautiful in the dimming light, with traces of snow on the ground and white hilltops in the distance.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Expect the unexpected

Since I started blogging more, and participating in Thematic Photographic each week, I have started carrying my camera everywhere I go - not that I go far at the moment, but I mean it is always in pocket, or my bag which I use to carry things from room to room. 

Until now the bathroom has been the exception... around lunchtime today I was, um, availing myself of the facilities when I saw the sunlight playing reflection games on the wall. I had to rush out and get my camera in order to get a shot of it before the sun moved.

I've never seen this pattern on the wall before, although that bathroom hasn't changed for 17 years; it must just be down to timing.

I've upped the contrast a bit on this, but that's all:

Versatile? hell yeah, why not!

Thank you to The Adorkable Ditz for awarding me the Versatile Blog award!    I'm so pleased that I can just write what comes into my head, more or less without editing it, and people enjoy reading it.

My task is to tell you 7 things about myself that you probably don't know. It's taken me the morning to think of them but here goes:

1. I wore my mother's wedding dress when I got married in 1989.  It is a beautiful off-white, silk dress which she wore when she married my dad in 1958. I will admit though that it had to be let out a little for me ;-)

2. I have 4 tattoos; the first in my late twenties and the last aged 42 at the time of our 20th wedding anniversary.

3. I only just missed being born in Australia. My dad got a job on a 3 year contract in Melbourne in the early '60s so my parents moved out their with my brother and sister; when the contract was up in 1964 they decided to move back to the UK and decide whether to stay here or go back to Australia. They stayed here and I was born in 1966.

4. I never wanted children but have 5 nephews/nieces plus another 6 from Mr H.s side of the family.  Mr H. and I are officially a Cool Auntie and Uncle.

5. I had my first (and hopefully last) brush with anti-depressants when I had my annus horribilis in 1997 - I won't go into reasons but I hated taking them and got myself off them after 6 months.

6. I have naturally curly, dull brown hair but over the years it has been long, short, blonde, mid-length, brown, straight, red.   I didn't straighten it until a couple of years ago and now it spends its time curly or straight about 50/50 (depending how lazy I'm feeling); I have a great hairdresser now who actually styles it (unlike others I've had over the years) and it works either way.  I feel like a different person when it's straight, very noticeably more confident and less like a 'little girl'.

7. The girl who is now my best girl friend, and has been my rock since Mr H. moved to Scotland, didn't like me when she first met me, at college aged 16. Interestingly we don't have a lot in common with hobbies etc. But we know we can count on each other whether it is a life-changing crisis or just needing a small favour.

I can't choose 5 of you over others, to award this to as there are too many I enjoy.  Take a look at my blogroll over there on the right and check out some of them you haven't looked at before. Happy reading!

Shorts: Tactile

Look at this...

Now, (bearing in mind the casing is soft not hard) tell me without your fingers crossed behind your back that you don't want to pick that up and just handle it...

Yesterday I bought a box of Fairy Liquitabs* (as above) and discovered that they have changed the box lid (why???) so it no longer has a hinge on it.  So I decided to transfer the 20 new gel-slightly-squishy-but-not-too-much things into my old box.   Wow!  they felt amazing, so much so that I spent some time savouring the job.

Weird, maybe.

Pleasurable, yes.

*For those of you in a country where they don't sell these - they are a coupla inches square and go in the washing machine.

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Well, it's Wednesday, and I've seen other WW's and I have a few photos to share with you, so here goes...

A busy spider on one of the many cobwebs around the veranda

Mid-October!?  and the first time I managed to hang washing out on the line!

Self-portrait, relaxing in the sun

I knew Django was bored when he attacked the roll of recycling sacks that had been sitting by the front door for a week.

So I gave him a beef pie box to shred instead.

Little Mr Innocent...

A Coal Tit (I think) on one of the feeders outside my 'office' window.

Doves managing to s-t-r-e-t-c-h into the ground feeder for some seed.

An orchid given to me by work, lit up in the morning sun against our old Crittall windows.