Monday 31 October 2011

Just to prove....

to you - and myself - I do not spend the day gawping out of a window or drawing down the shed.
Every morning I clean the house. Vacuuming up cat hair, mopping floors, dusting and re-arranging flowers.

Lilies are my favourite flower. If you go to the supermarket on a Monday there are always reduced flowers, as they over stock for the weekend. With a bit of judicious pruning and clipping throughout the following week I can keep them going and looking beautiful. Most times I only need to buy, at a reduced price, a few stems to add to the vase, the following week.

I managed a quick trip into town this afternoon and bought a set of buttons for the hoodie I have knitted for my granddaughter Neve, who will appear sometime in December.

The sleeves are nearly finished, will be tonight, then I can sew them in and sew on the buttons.
Whilst at the shop, which sells very upmarket curtains and curtain fabric, I discovered they have two shelves full of remnants at incredibly cheap prices.
The shed also is my sewing room and the piece I bought has already been cut out for three cushion covers.

These orchids were also bought at reduced prices and these are the ones I have encouraged to re-flower. They fill the kitchen window, not only beautiful to look at, but provide a bird hide so we can view the bird feeders outside, without scaring any of the birds.

Then in the afternoon, I do return to the shed to do some drawing!

Sunday 30 October 2011

What time is it?

The clocks went back last night here in the UK.
In Scotland we heave a big sigh of relief as our daylight hours are increased.
Moves are afoot by the 'baddies' in England, the Westminster Parliament, to change it all and remain on British Summer Time. This would mean in Scotland we would hardly see any daylight at all. Dangerous for children getting to school in the pitch black. Depressing for all those who travel to work, spend their day under electric light, and return home in darkness.

This morning the Dawn Patroller made the most of the change in our daylight hours. For the past few weeks he has been going out for his morning walk in the dark. So no chance of actually seeing anything, or photographing it.

Just look what he has been missing - until today.

A wren.
Whooper Swans in flight.

Roe Deer.

For me - I had the delight of watching ten pheasants play "I'm the king of the castle." Unfortunately no photograph. They took turns to flap up to the top of a hay bale and then launch downwards into the group. Who all duly scattered, ran round in circles and then another went flapping up the hay bale. Hilarious. There are some naturalists who maintain birds don't play. Well this lot were and enjoying every minute. No, they were 'developing their skills'. Isnt that what our children do? Learn through Play.....?
Remember, "What time is it Mr Wolf?"

Saturday 29 October 2011

New Neighbours!

The field across the road from us has had it's barley cut and the round bales of barley straw remain.
This afternoon we had friends round for coffee and cake. (Served on paper plates suitably displaying Halloween ghouls and ghosties.) When we noticed that there were a lot of sheep at the other side of our front hedge.

Shepherds nowadays use quad bikes to direct the sheep.
But they still need a sheep dog.
Here they all are wandering around like lost sheep. And indeed there was one. A woman came running down and said there was one in her garden. The farmer shot off on the quad bike and returned with one on his knee and put it into the field. Everyone, well us and the farmer, were grinning and cheering.
The Dawn Patroller went off to Fraserburgh earlier in the day and saw this Guillemot in winter clothes.
And flags on boats.

While I was down the shed - still practising me drawing.

Just hoping the new neighbours dont party till dawn. Baa.

Friday 28 October 2011

I thought I had retired.

Yesterday the Best of Banffshire and Buchan Bed and Breakfasts met here at our house.
Despite the fact we have retired from offering B&b I am still secretary of the group. Mainly as no-one else wants to do it.

This is some of the group when we had one of our familiarisation jaunts - this one to Pitmedden Gardens - back in September.

Main topic on the agenda was the Christmas Lunch. To be honest it is the main topic on the agenda starting in January and carrying on the whole of the year.

We have decided on a venue. That decision usually takes six months.
Now for everyone to select from the menu.
I then book the venue and tell them the menu choices. Sounds simple. Oh no.
It does not matter how varied the choices are on the hotel's menu there will be so many variations requested on what is on offer I wouldn't let us through the door.
Gluten free, dairy free, no gravy, no dessert..... it is a nightmare for me. I am the one who has to grovel and ask, "Will it be alright if?"

Then will come the post mortem in January before we start again....

The field across the road from us has had lots of curlews feeding. This is a first for me. I have only seen them in books till now.

Fortunately not on the menu, boiled, roasted or grilled.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

My First Art Class.

Was at Dalrymple Hall in Fraserburgh.

I have tried hard to give you a history lesson about this building but it has been difficult. It was owned by someone called Dalrymple and he gifted it to the town before scooting off to the other side of the world, but what he did before that to make enough money to build such a place needs more research.
It did however have a Beatles Concert back in the sixties. So I have a warm feeling towards it. I first saw the Beatles before they were famous, and again before they became really famous. The second time I had to be rescued by a St.John's Ambulance person, possibly being the first ever person to surf the crowd.
I have not showed you the other side of the building which is all boarded up waiting for Hysterical Scotland to decide what to do, or what to allow anyone to do. (Historical Scotland.)

This is Louise M Hewitt our art teacher.

Unfortunately this was not what we were given to draw/paint/drool over.

I got a conker, a twig and a leaf.

The Dawn Patroller asked if I had learnt anything. "How to spend money, "I replied.
Then zipped through a few web sites ordering water colours, brushes, paper as this is a Water Colour Painting Course.

I have since discovered that some of the Knitting Nancies have got into a life class at the local college at reduced prices as they are all pensioners. One consolation is that they are all disgruntled as so far the models have all been female and they could have just looked in the mirror.

Tuesday 25 October 2011

A day in the life of....a Knitting Nancie.

Note the gap beneath our new patio doors. We have lived with it for three weeks. Hopefully the vermin population roond and aboot have not moved in. What was increasingly annoying was the wind did move in and howled around underneath our feet. So I emailed pictures of said hole on Monday morning to the suppliers/fitters.

It worked. Two builders arrived and cemented in a couple of layers of breeze blocks and then went away.
Not before I witnessed one of them having a pee up the bund. Unfortunately I did not have my camera...... Though he must have known I could see him from the Summer House.....
So still unfinished, still piles of rubble, and does anyone remember Lindisfarne going to have a "Wet up the wall."?! You get the picture. Without it.

I said I would never return. But I have. Back to school.

This morning our merry band of Knitting Nancies (!) helped various primary school classes at a local school meet their Challenges.
Isobel and I were showing groups of four how to make pom poms.
Another class were being taught 'Cats Tails', which is North East Scotlands take on French Knitting.
And another class were being taught how to knit.
Isobel and I had the youngest. Hence the pom poms.
The head teacher had already explained to us that they had many children for whom English was not their first language. We have many migrants from Eastern Europe. Walk round Tescos and you dont understand a word.
Having said that I still have difficulty with those who are born and bred here. As I have tried to explain before on this blog the vowels are totally different to the ones I was taught. So I did think the head teacher could have said that none of the children had English as their first language!
Then it was on to the Lighthouse Museum for coffee and a big discussion on whether we would have got nits/head lice from the kids...... Once that was finished I explained about worms. No one had a fancy piece....
Remember this? Our Under the Sea display of knitted fish at the Lighthouse Museum.
It was time for us to remove what hadn't already gone.
The mermaid had gorn orf in a pushchair to a local nursery and is now called Anastasia and makes regular trips out, in the push chair, with the nursery kids to entertain the 'old folks'.

That enormous fishing net, no-one wanted.
It is now in the back of my car.
As I explained to the bemused Dawn Patroller I would drape it from the ceiling in the Summer Hoosie/Art Studio/Drinkers Den and hang fairy lights, oars, shells, and it would be a great decorative feature.
He went off muttering. Divorce. Are you mad. And other stuff.

But before I came home with the wonderful orange thing we Knitting Nancies became Ladies Who Do Lunch.
Fraserburgh is really a town that appears to be on its last legs. BUT we have a department store, Maitlands, which has a wonderful cafe/restaurant. So we adjourned/got blown there, and had soup of the day - which really was fantastic. (Green pea or chicken and sweet corn.)

We had Valerie entertain us throughout the meal, which rather too much information, about her grand daughters wedding when she, Valerie, will be wearing a Hatinator (?) midway between a hat and a fascinator. Her designer shoes from Portugal and - to my horror - that the wedding would have no alcohol! Glad I havent got an invite. Though there was lots of advice as to how she could still imbibe. Bottle of whatever down the cleavage and a straw.
Cait Sith and I adjourned to the Summer House for my chill out session. When I sat and thought about my day.
Never, ever thought I would be a Knitting Nancie.

Saturday 22 October 2011

Give me a chair and I'll sit on it.

Well, who wouldn't! Here is Minerva McGonagall sitting on one of our two new chairs for retired people in their dotage. Which she is not. Still on vermin patrol.

Cait Sith, to give him his full name in the Shed on a shelf. Cait Sith is Gaelic for Fairy Cat.

When we got him from the Cat Protection League he was a slim, small, fey thing. So he was named Cait Sith. He then grew, and grew.
We once were at the University of Aberdeen at an RSPB do and in the foyer was a glass case with our Sith in it. Well it looked like our Sith.
The Kellas Cat is a result of a Scottish Wild Cat and a feral cat mating. So it said.
Our Sith was a couple of centimetres off being as big as this Kellas Cat.
And what is really spooky is that the Kellas Cats more colloquial name was Cait Sith.
The Cats Protection League found him in someones back garden, all alone, and would have still been feeding off his Mum who was nowhere to be seen. He spent his early weeks down one of the CP's foster parents bras. I am glad he has forgotten that!

Puzzle cat pretending to be a table upside down. Yet another from the Cats Protection. We know little about his early life. But he is definitely weird. He is the squarest cat I have ever seen. He looks like a table when he is the right side up.

Sunrise this morning. Just to keep up with Land of the Big Sky theme.

Moi - also taking the opportunity to sit on a new chair. Note my look of disbelief. Mainly that as Mike had put the chair together it hadn't collapsed.

Our funky dining room.

Our first Winter visitor one of two Bramblings who came to feed today.

Well, that's Saturday nearly over, off to find a chair to sit in, that hasnt got a cat on it.

Friday 21 October 2011

Frustrating Friday.

Anyone out there like me and want things to happen yesterday?

Our morning view. The queue for breakfast!
Once the Dawn Patroller returns he has his breakfast and then goes outside to feed the hungry hordes. It took me a while to work out why we were still buying porage oats when neither of us ate porage......This lot pictured above have a trayful every morning.

The DP then changed a bulb in the dining room and still no light. The lighting in there is halogen lights set into the ceiling, which the DP considers to be an invention of the devil. Mainly as it is not energy saving and also he doesnt know how it works when it goes wrong.

So he went off to B&Q in the afternoon while I had my drawing session down the shed.

He returned with all manner of stuff. None of which worked, so a call to an electrician now on the cards. We do have all the other lights in there working, so why this one refuses to join in ......

We also have two radiators refusing to behave. One will not heat up and the other is too hot.
The DP still thinks he can fix this.....But while he is sorting lights out I am c-o-l-d.

He also came back with a load of paint charts and sample pots so we can decide on the wall colour in the dining room.
I may just frustrate him and refuse to do anything about wall colours and the eventual painting of said walls till after Christmas.

Thursday 20 October 2011

Wednesday wind and waves.

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, now the Lighthouse Museum.

We have had strong winds the last couple of days.

Easier to depict by showing the effect on the sea.

Been a bit stormy inside too.

We now have two swivel /recliner chairs and footstools. Now we can really enter our dotage and nod off in comfort.

Purchased on the internet.

It said that these would be delivered without the feet attached. Well nothing was attached. Back, seat, arms, swivel, feet........ All had to be made up, screwed together.
To get this far has taken a lot of hard graft and a fair bit of swearing. It has taken the Dawn Patroller two days now to finally put them together, and we are still 2 screws short for the footstools.

As I ironed the curtains and put in the hooks and the first curtain went up I praised myself. Saying - to myself - "Well Jill, after hanging so many curtains over the years, you finally got it right."
When it got to the second curtain and I was drawing up the gathers and nothing was gathering I realised that I had NOT tied off the bloody string on the end.
I could have cried. But with a bit of tweaking, I dont think anyone will be able to tell.

Both the Dawn Patroller and I have closed the door on our 'new' dining room, perhaps tomorrow we will finally be able to use it.

We will then be able to sit and watch the wind - and wave.