Wednesday 30 November 2011


My third grandchild - my first granddaughter. Born this morn 5.30a.m. weighing in at 8lbs 3 oz. Wow.
Apart from looking like Les Dawson she is really quite beautiful.
(Followers over the pond, google him.)

All those years ago when I gave birth to her mother I announced, "She looks like a skinned rabbit."
This followed the birth of my second child, "Looks like a hippo."
And first, "Amy Turtle."
Apparently the midwives write down your first words after giving birth.
It was not long after daughter number three arrived that I had a visit from Social Services, I kid you not.
The Dawn Patroller had some task trying to explain his wife's strange sense of humour.
Just being honest, and why not? I still loved them totally.
When I had the fourth daughter I kept quiet, indeed I think the DP gagged me.
But I still had this chap come and ask me if I minded that I had had another girl.....
To which I replied,
"If it had been a boy it would have had to wear frocks."
That shut him up. There was no answer to that and no more questions either!

Tuesday 29 November 2011


Not Doric but Yorkshire Dialect, Laikin = Playing.
Well Yorkshire is where I come frae.
I would like to share with you my day of Laikin.

At school today, our session of teaching the local children (not just from the Broch -Fraserburgh -but from Latvia and Poland) how to make catties tails/French knitting. In the next door classroom with older children, proper knitting with needles, our Knitting Nancies then adjourned to Isobel's studio in Pitullie, which is a few miles north of the Broch and right next the sea.

This was for a session on Papercraft where we were the pupils.

We had home made soup - Broth with Mealie Jimmie (white pudding) or Lentil with Bacon, for lunch. (I'll tell you about Mealie Jimmie in another post.)
Then on with our lessons.

These are strings of hearts. Just look at the pride on this bairn's face.

Isobel, with her back to the sea, prepares for the next lesson. In the middle of the table is an Angel/Christmas Tree. You may have to hit on the picture to see it properly, but this is made from a paperback book, pages folded under instruction and then you have this stand alone tree - or angel. Add wings for the Angel, and probably a head.

Cutting out. These are to be the turrets of the Fairy Castle.

Here's one I made earlier, well actually she whipped this one up while we sat around mouths
agape. Tis a Fairy Castle, cardboard tubes, tissue paper, card and later silver spray.

A Butterfly.
Green Hearts and a tin of Quality Street. Starter and Pudding in a tin!

Making a gift box from a Christmas card.

The view out of the window.

My three gift boxes that I made from Christmas Cards. "To Ethel and all the family" to be covered in tissue paper.

By gum I havent had so much fun since I was at primary school. Laikin.

Monday 28 November 2011

Orifices filled and oil rigs.

Now, theres a header to catch your attention!

New doors filling the orifices in the downstairs of our house. Hopefully lightening up the darkness of the inner hallway - shall find out tomorrow in daylight.

As I write, the joiner is still fitting door handles.

The old doors I put on to freecycle this morning and there was a queue for them in minutes. They have now been collected and saved from landfill.
Most strange story of where they are going to which I shall share with you. The couple who came used to own about six Alsation dogs, who did not get on, so they kept them in separate rooms. So as to be able to see what they were up to they halved all their doors, like stable doors. Some of the dogs have gone to dog heaven and the ones remaining get on together, so they can now have proper doors.
Aren't other peoples lives just awesome!

While we mooched around with the wind blowing in from patio doors, joiner doing his sawing and planing out there, and the kitchen window wide open, joiner had his drills etc. plugged in to the kitchen, cable out through the window, not sure why he couldnt have confined all his doings to the room with the patio door....which does have plenty electric sockets....but then.
The Dawn Patroller went off to do the shopping, including more bits for the doors, and took pictures of the sea.
Hoving (?) into view was an oil/gas rig. Presumably one of the submersible ones which arent anchored on the sea bed but sort of float, and can be towed in by tugs to wherever to be repaired or whatever.

Since the land that is going to be drilled cannot provide a base for offshore drilling as it does for onshore drilling, an artificial platform must be created. This artificial platform can take many forms, depending on the characteristics of the well to be drilled, including how far underwater the drilling target is. One of the most important pieces of equipment for offshore drilling is the subsea drilling template. Essentially, this piece of equipment connects the underwater well site to the drilling platform on the surface of the water. This device, resembling a cookie cutter, consists of an open steel box with multiple holes in it, dependent on the number of wells to be drilled. This drilling template is placed over the well site, and usually lowered into the exact position required using satellite and GPS technology. A relatively shallow hole is then dug, in which the drilling template is cemented into place. The drilling template, secured to the sea floor and attached to the drilling platform above with cables, allows for accurate drilling to take place, but allows for the movement of the platform, which will inevitably be affected by shifting wind and water currents. Courtesy of

Okay, got all that? Normally we dont see the platforms as they are miles out, so this one was being towed, probably into Peterhead, where we have seen them towering above the harbour and being refurbished.

So - a day of great activity by everyone but us.

Just waiting for the joiner to finish up then we can fill up the orifices in our faces.

Sunday 27 November 2011

Blackening and Bluster.

More pre nuptials. My friend who we helped celebrate her hen night in the stretch limo, has today gone through the blackening ritual.

Initially the bride to be was the one who was blackened by her friends but now the groom is also blackened in many cases. The bride and the groom are taken by surprise or may be by shock and covered with foul and disgusting substances. The friends cover them with any gross they can think of. It can be curdled milk, rotten eggs, spoiled curry, smelly fish sauces, molasses, mud, flour, sausages, syrups and feathers.

It seems that the bride or the groom, whoever is being blackened, is always mentally prepared for this pre-wedding tradition as they don’t try to run or hide somewhere.

After being blackened he or she or both of them are either tied to a tree or taken to the local streets and the pubs with the friends clanging the pots to announce the wedding. Scots believe that this humiliation prepares them to face all the difficulties and humiliations that may come across them as nothing would be more humiliating through out their life.

Courtesy of Culture Ledger.

Unfortunately we couldnt make it. I just hope they weren't blown away.

We have had some terrific winds. Although these winds were blowing towards the sea it still had an effect.

Our nearest sea is at Cairnbulg which has a small harbour. This picture does show how harbours actually work, in that the sea is calm within the walls. Fraserburgh can be seen in the distance.

The wreck at Cairnbulg remains despite 100 mph winds and raging seas.

The Eider ducks seem to be revelling in it!

I always think they look like matadors, with the black 'hats'.

And it is from these birds that we got our down/feathers from to make the eiderdown.

So in the blustery winds of North East Scotland I am off to find something to keep me warm.
Glass of red might just do it.

Saturday 26 November 2011


Why do I start these things? When they just end up swamping me? Transformation of a cupboard.

Now - see the cupboard door to the rear? Well, that is actually the door to a sauna. I kid you not. It is an infra red sauna in our bedroom. With built in sound system. Neither Sauna or sound system have we used. I am scared stiff of the damn thing. So I use it as a cupboard, one of those things you throw stuff into.... At the moment it holds a pair of spare curtains. Cushions. My painting gear, that is decorating, not water colours. Knitting wools and needles. Christmas decs. Some Christmas presents. Cards, cards to cut up for labels. Laundry basket. Transformation overdue.

Meanwhile the Dawn Patroller had gone off to Peterhead. The joiner is due Monday to transform our internal doors into far more tasteful efforts, which have laid in the dining room for some weeks. We were short of handles for said doors, so off he went. Not one to waste a photographic opportunity he was down at the harbour. There was the Scotia W. To which he was invited on board to have a look.

Scotia W is an 80ft wooden-hulled luxury cruise vessel that has an intriguing history. Here is her story.

Built in 1972 by Richard Irvine and Sons of Peterhead, she sailed in the North Sea fishing fleet as the Fraserburgh-registered Achieve (FR100). For the next 30 years she rode the waves of the North Sea bringing home a precious cargo of white fish that was destined for the dinner plate.

In 2002, the vessel’s original owners transferred her fishing quota rights to a newer boat, bringing the Achieve’s successful fishing career to an end. Coinciding with the reduction in size of the Scottish fishing fleet, this could have been the end of this boat’s story. However, the potential of this beautiful vessel was spotted by former North Sea fisherman Alex Wood. He had the vision of creating a vessel that could offer luxury cruise holidays around Scotland’s coast. Alex purchased the boat and set about planning her conversion into a luxury mini-cruise ship. It would be an all consuming project.

This is the dining area leading through to the lounge.

One of the bedrooms.

The DP has been a leading light in tourism in the North East for some years now. So Alex was eager to tap into any information or advice he could give. Note the pile of towels on the bunk bed. The DP told him that I would have thrown my hands up in horror. You are just encouraging guests to throw wet towels onto beds....... aaaargh. Towels should be on towel rails.

I really dont know why we havent transformed into becoming consultants to the tourism industry. And get paid for it....

And finally - a wave turbine waiting to be installed to transform power from the waves.

Once the joiner changes the doors. Our downsized house will be ready for a transformation into a Christmas Extravaganza. Well thats the plan.

Friday 25 November 2011

Wind, waves and a weird light shining down.

A new moon has brought very high tides.

Strong winds.
And more seasonal temperatures.

In the afternoon...

I did some pen and ink drawings.

Whilst waiting for a delivery.

The Dawn Patroller's new reading light! I have always wanted one of these, but never had the right home, space, money.
Despite gulping at the delivery price - yet another firm that thinks we still have stage coaches up here - I thought if I dont get one now I never will. So I did.

Thursday 24 November 2011


Today we went to Turriff, for the Best of Banffshire and Buchan Bed and Breakfasts monthly meeting. Neil and Sally were our hosts and run Deveron Lodge.

This is the story of the Turra Coo.

courtesy of wikepedia.

Under the Liberal government of the 1910s, the Chancellor of the Exchequer David Lloyd George introduced a scheme whereby National Insurance contributions (by employer) became compulsory for all workers between the ages of 16 and 70. This was enacted via the National Insurance Act, and caused outrage among the farmers local to Turriff, who claimed that their contributions were too high; and that, as they were rarely able to be off work due to illness like industrial workers, it was unfair for them to have to pay for a service they were unlikely to use.

In Turriff, popular protests were held in the Johnston and Paterson Mart, and Robert Paterson, a Lendrum farmer refused to stamp the insurance cards of his employees. This resulted in orders on 13 December 1913 for Turriff's sheriff George Keith to seize property to the value of £22 from Paterson's farm. However, this was more difficult than it seemed as officers could not move property without local assistance, and the locals refused to help in protest.

The Cow

Sheriff's Officer George Keith removed the only piece of property which was easily mobile: Patersons' white milk cow, which was led to Turriff on foot. The next day, the citizens of Turriff found the cow tied in the village square, decorated in ribbons and painted with the words 'Lendrum to Leeks' in reference to Lloyd George's Welsh origin, and representing the sheriff's and government's victory over the hostile farmers. The cow was put up for auction. The response was a near riot, and a 100-strong mob proceeded to pelt the sheriff's officers with rotten fruit and soot.

The cow was eventually sold to a farmer Alexander Craig for £27, but Bryony Miller, a local girl and wife of the Patersons' farmhand John Miller, with his help, rallied the local community together to buy back the cow for Lendrum, where the cow died six years later and was buried in a corner of the farmland.

A statue of the Turra Coo now stands in the town of Turriff to commemorate the event.

Now how many towns have a statue of a cow in their midst?!

Turriff is an attractive town. Yet another small town that has a department store!
Turriff holds an annual show which is extremely popular. Thousands of people descend on the Haughs, a vast, green space, and view cattle,sheep, horses, tractors, crafts, a fun fair, just about everything. One of the most exciting displays I saw there was the curricle racing (not sure about my description here or spelling,) laid back driver in small cart with high stepping racing horse in front? You get the picture I hope.
Today was somewhat more muted but still good fun. Instead of the usual home bakes, coffee and tea, we had the most delicious leek and tattie soup with a dash of curry flavours, cheese scones and chocolate cake to follow. Also mince pies, all home made, coffee and tea.
There wasn't much business, in fact I have dispensed with agenda and minutes, much to the disgust of one of the founder members of the group.....But when the agenda becomes
Minutes of last meeting - Where will we have Christmas lunch.
Matters Arising. Christmas Lunch.
Christmas Lunch.
AOCB Christmas Lunch Secret Santa.
Whats the point?
We will be returning to Turriff over the next few weeks. Delgatie Castle Victorian Craft Fair next weekend.
Oh - and the Christmas Lunch, the week after that.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Today's art class.

Our morning was spent on us being given a lesson on artists who have used pen and ink.
Paul Klee, among them.
More Paul Klee.
I have to be honest - he does not inspire me.

I do prefer a teensy bit of realism.

We were instructed to take our pen for a walk. Well my 'picture' ended up just like the doodles I do when hanging on the telephone listening to Nigel Kennedy on his violin whilst whichever customer care department decides to pick up the phone and speak human to human.

We did have a new pupil this morning though, which was quite exciting. At a guess I would say he was well into his nineties. Came in on a wheeled zimmer frame with carer in tow. She wasnt much help as she was obviously working part time for a customer care department as her mobile phone went off every three minutes which rather interrupted our tutor encouraging us to take the pen for a walk and what to do with it along the way.

At the end of the session the carer asked our newbe "Shall we put this up on your wall then deary?"

How she got out of their alive with the rest of the 'students' shooting daggers at her I shall never know.

Tuesday 22 November 2011

What am I good at?


Trying to take photographs. This is Cairness House, huge stately home we can see from our sitting room window. It was bathed in the evening sunset.

No - you can't see it very well - as I realised later I had the camera set on 'Use for Bright Snow Scene.' But I tried.

My work in progress at the moment is this hoodie for a 3 to 6 month old. The bigger they get, the more tedious the knitting! The buttons are wrong, fortunately not sewed on yet so I can change them for something a bit more chunky. But I am trying.

My water colour of sheep in a snow storm. Did not really think snow fell in clumps as big as I have done them. But this will be our Christmas Card this year. Very trying for the recipients!

My motto is - "If a jobs worth doing badly, its worth doing."

Decorating the Christmas tree draws nigh, never got that right either, but I try.

Monday 21 November 2011

A new dawn a new day.

Tis Monday. The Dawn Patroller goes off to do the shopping and I do the cleaning. And the washing, and if I feel really silly I do the ironing. Didnt feel silly today.

I am planning my next art project. Our tutor asked for pictures of buildings and dry stane dykes. (Walls). We are to do pen and ink on Wednesday.

Putting this one in as it raised a smile. On your right part of the butchers display, the old delivery bike. To the left is a wee customer's bike.

Fisherman's cottage Cairnbulg.


And a church in the middle of nowhere, which according to the sign is an active church.
Just up the road from us. With a dry stane dyke at the front of it.

Cottage in Inverallochy. Ripe for some property developer.

I went to the library this afternoon and requested books for beginners in water colour painting. Took the pictures above. Managed an hour of painting before the light went. Then had a blissful hour listening to opera, full blast, all within the Summer Hoosie/shed/studio.drinking den, whilst watching blue tits, coal tits and great tits decimate our bird feeders.

This evening I shall be continuing trying to finish the latest baby hooded jacket.
Tomorrow its back to school and more teaching on Catties Tails.
Did I mention I had retired?