Saturday 31 December 2011


This was the start of the year.  Remember the low, low temperatures, the deep, deep snow?  (Now we are complaining its too mild, and the flora is confused.)

After having our house for sale for some time it suddenly sold.  So we moved from Greenbrae, 7 bedrooms, 7 bathrooms, sitting room, dining room, library, snug, office and half an acre of land....

To our wee hoosie, 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, dining room, sitting room , study, and summer house and about third of an acre, probably less....

 Where we removed the monstrous Leylandii

and created a view.

The Dawn Patroller came into existence and after doing his patrol and purchasing this bike has lost an awful lot of weight and become fit.

We have been fortunate to retain old friends.

 I love Lucy.

Friends who followed us from England.

Our friends who also do bed and breakfast, which we retired from.

And along came new friends.

There were weddings.


And births.

And then, to round the year off, we were invited to -

Cairness House.  5.30 til 7, for drinks and mince pies.  With other neighbours, the owners colleagues and friends.

The entrance hall.  Where we were greeted. 

Now we have known the owners of Cairness for some years, but not on a regular basis.  Us being tied down to changing beds and catering for paying guests and them doing a bit of the same.  But it was just like being with the lot from the Best of Banffshire and Buchan Bed and Breakfast, hugs and kisses all round.  Such a warm welcome.  And real, not the superficial air kissing, in fact I really felt good will to all men, which the owners both are.

Though they are much more upmarket than we were.  They also do weddings, corporate functions, self catering.  Plus they are into art in a big way, the house contains many superb works of art.  In such a house you wonder if you should be pulling your forelock and curtseying !  But no.  (Although there was a Lady something or other in the party and I did wonder whether I should.  But being a socialist decided I wouldnt.)

The door to the left of the fireplace, which was filled with burning wood last night, leads to the library.  Which is where we all gathered.

The fireplace here was also burning wood, such a lovely smell.  The room was decorated with Christmas a la Victoriana.  The tree was quite vulgar!  But absolutely stunning - oh and the Victoriana was the real stuff.  Probably wrestled it off Prince Albert.

Despite being a stately home, it really is homely.

Well it was certainly an experience.  

BUT there was NO red wine.  It was either "Bubbly or Elderflower Cordial."  Neither of which I can stand.

Thank goodness we have some back at the wee hoosie.
Cheers and a very Happy 2012 to you all.

Thursday 29 December 2011

Trip round Fraserburgh.

First I should explain that my rant yesterday was concerning my beautiful summer house, my artists studio, my music centre, my drinking den, my sewing room, my chill out zone.

The worst weather this part of Scotland has had for many a year took off the cladding on the roof and part of the green felt underneath.  This was on the 8th/9th December.  On the 23rd December the Insurance Assessor came out and his infinite wisdom has informed us that it is wear and tear.  He appears to be basing this on the fact that nails were rusty.  By the time he came out even I would have been rusty if I had been exposed to the elements for that long.  The fight continues.  What on earth do we pay insurance premiums for.  Had it not been 80 - 90 mph winds the roof would still be on.

Deep breath , now for a trip round Fraserburgh.  Above are the small fishing boats that go out onto the North Sea.  Probably for lobsters.

Kinnaird Head Lighthouse, part of the Scottish Lighthouse Museum.  The lighthouse is built on top of a castle and no longer works.
This one does.

And is on the edge of the harbour.

Around the harbour are fishing nets.

Also in the sea are the surfers.  

In the town centre is this beautiful sculpture of different kinds of fish - all to be found and fished in the North Sea and brought into the harbour.

There are, unfortunately, like most town centres these days, empty shops.

And hopefully the group on the left are a happy family and not drug dealers.

Wednesday 28 December 2011

Dusk to dawn.

Just had to show you these pictures of the Fishing Boats at Peterhead, which every year get dressed up for Christmas.

They dont do this in Fraserburgh, which is a shame.  They should.

The Dawn Patroller waited till dusk to take these pictures.  So for a wee while he was the Dusk Patroller.

These are lapwing over the Loch of Strathbeg.  I am currently trying to do a water colour of Pink Footed Geese doing much the same thing.

And finally, back to Dawn, our wee hoose at Dawn.  My new header picture shows our wee hoose on the right hand side, the other lit house is our nearest neighbour.

We are currently girding up our loins to do battle with the insurance company.  The Assessor has decided its 'wear and tear'.  I would have loved to see him standing or otherwise in the strength of wind we had, severe weather warning, the fact that the telephone wire was wrested from its pole and a stone bird bath was lifted from its plinth.  By the time he got here to examine it the bits were wet, shredded and metal bits rusty.  Our neighbour gathered up parts of the roof that had gone yards into the road.  Thats what you get from a severe gale and rain.  Not wear and tear.  Arrogant b******.  Sorry, but I am cross.
And I left my car lights on and the battery is flat.
Time for a wine down.

Tuesday 27 December 2011

Morning has broken.

Well now, the Dawn Patroller is back on the case.

The days are getting longer, thank goodness.  As he goes out around 6 a.m. by the time he gets back the sun has risen.  And the geese are off to feed.

 Sometimes he comes across a deer who can be as surprised as he - and poses for his camera. 

So that I can then paint a picture.

These are the pink footed geese the D.P. photographed and I then pen and inked them.
I will do a water colour wash for the sky.

And just because I am a Grandma, I am posting a picture of my third daughter with my first granddaughter who has got through a hell of a lot in her short life.  

Morning has indeed broken, doesn't it make you feel good!

Monday 26 December 2011

Thats it then. All over.

Imaginative and useful Christmas presents.

Christmas Eve meal with friends.

 Canapes. Followed by Prawn Cocktail.

Chef/Dawn Patroller with Venison Casserole.


Cheese and biscuits, and mince pies.
Followed by coffee and chocolates.

As I wended my way down to the summer house I noticed this rose about to bloom.  On the 26th December.

Our Christmas Day dinner unfortunately did not meet the same standards as the one on Christmas Eve.

Skyping eldest daughter,partner, grandsons,  second daughter and partner and fourth daughter in Edinburgh, the DP kept shooting in from the kitchen to say "Hello".

I kept receiving requests from the Dawn Patrollers sister to skype.  Eventually I responded and by this time the DP was at a cruical point in dinner making and he refused to join in.  Then the telephone rang and it was his brother in South Africa.  You cant really say I'll phone you back, particularly as Christmas Day and New Years Day is the only time this particular brother picks up the phone.

So our Christmas dinner was a very nice pheasant each and burnt everything else.

I trust yours was better.

Friday 23 December 2011

In the midst of life...

Yesterday we returned to the village, we left some months ago,  to attend a memorial service.  A friend's partner who had died.  The church was packed and we were up in the dress circle.
After the service was over I took the opportunity to take these photographs in the churchyard.

The inscription is "Dinna bury me like a beast."

This  plaque alongside explains .

Jamie had an interesting life, his main achievement was to rescue the family and their treasured possessions by discovering a fire.

We lived in the village for nine years.  This was my first opportunity to see his memorial.  Even though fascinated and interested in the story of Jamie Fleeman.  Of course I had many opportunities.  But running a bed and breakfast meant I was usually too busy to stop and go into the cemetery and view the lair, (Scottish for where someone is buried.)  Whilst mourning my friends partner I had chance to reflect on others long gone.  Our friends partner also had a very interesting life.  And was much appreciated by many.

I decided that never again would I not have time.

So today after (I hope) the last shop, collecting prescription, mundane stuff like buying placemats, after realising we didnt have enough, and last minute present buying, instead of hurtling home I stopped at the harbour.  I marvelled at the amount of ships, sorry, boats, that were anchored there.  

It is Christmas.  The Fishermen do not have to brave the seas for a few days.  I hope they all enjoy their Christmas break with their families as of course I hope we all do.

At this point I should break into the hymn, "For those in peril on the sea."
But as I showed yesterday I cant sing, the organ had to be cranked up to drown out my rendering of "Amazing Grace."

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Meeting the Neighbours.

 Last night I went to the farmhouse, pictured above.  The house is the white building on the right.

Presented with tons of evergreens...

On the floor, on the table, 

Circles of oasis were soaked in water and then we got cracking.

 Some were much quicker.

Everyone used different bits and pieces.  This one has walnuts and cinnamon sticks.

This one looked like a hat you would wear to Ascot!

Some of us were prepared for the prickles of holly with rubber gloves, obviously done this before...

Then we were given a map to show where our 'neighbours' in this North East corner live.  Separated by fields and woods, some meeting for the first time, from different backgrounds, careers, beliefs, country, brought together by the spirit of Christmas and creating something beautiful from what Nature around us provided.

I never thought I would meet any 'neighbours' or create such a wreath.
But I did both.