Tuesday 31 December 2013


Another year almost over.  Not one for New Year Festivities, I tend to be tucked up in bed way before midnight, and yes the wine has a lot to do with that!  I do know my failings after some considerable years.  But I am (almost) grown up now so can do what I like.

Traditionally the DP and his siblings commence to block up the phone lines as soon as Big Ben (in London) has chimed in the New Year.  And they all hit the Malt.  Cant stand the stuff.

This year the DP is being the Lighthouse Museum's Official Photographer at a wedding there.  So I shall be unplugging the phone before heading to bed.

The Happy Couple have today had to face pouring rain and gales.  Should set em up for life.  Now it is calmer and dry.  So their fireworks should go off with a bang rather than a fizzle.

Just hope they have warned the Shipping.

So, reflections on the year past.  

Well, its been a full one!

Kids Activities have been great fun.  We have done Pirates, Sea Birds, Halloween and Creatures of the Night - including Santa.

Kids of all ages had great fun.

Art group = educational.  Who wears silly hats and who doesnt.

Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.  Interesting.

Officially announced as one of three new trustees.  Still the only woman......

House is still standing as is the Shedudio.

Depicting beautifully the seasons.  Our wee hoose in the winter and the shedudio in the Summer.

All in all its been a lovely year.  Like everyone there have been downsides.  But now its time to look forward.  

I guess one major item of this year is that I have become an artist, still a small a....  But selling.  Still in pleasurable shock about this.  Along with this come the scary commissions.  

Bloody nightmare they are.

So this is on the drawing board for 2014.

As soon as I get permission from the photographer.  Although there is no way anyone would recognise it as being from that by the time I have finished with it.

FUN!  Lets hope 2014 is the same for all of us.



Monday 30 December 2013

Whats Occurring?

This is mad.  This rose bush is smothered in buds and some opening blooms. 30th December?  Admittedly we have had no severe frosts this year.  Frosts making the ground shine, but not that hard.  The first Spring bulbs are shooting up.  But I think thats normal, then they just sit there for a while.  Speaking of bulbs.  I still have another load of Alliums to get in, which I had completely forgotten about. 

Yesterday the DP went off with friends on a photographic jaunt.  Up the Dee Valley.  Sometimes I regret I cannot walk far.

After walking through here.  This is what you see.

 Wow, just does not come into it.

The DP takes his camera everywhere with him.  Along the way to the supermarket he will stop and take a look.

 He usually makes a detour to Cairnbulg.  A Curlew.  We get fields full of them at this time of year.


 One of my favourite birds (to paint as well) the Oyster Catchers.  Another painting planned.

I have got three on the go at the moment.  Watercolours are exciting, but one does have to show some restraint!  As in wait for the paint to dry.

So, the above is the three on the go.  May look like some murky rubbish to you.  I have Sanderlings at the top left, playing in the surf.  Two Redshanks spiralling down, playing, on the right, and there is a whole row of OysterCatchers with an extremely frothy sea behind them and the cliff edge they are on.

Constrained by not much daylight and paint drying.  Aaaargh.

We had a lovely Open House Saturday.  Sadly no photographich evidence.  The DP was doing the food and I was opening the wine.  And drinking it.

Tomorrow is Hogmanay.  The Lighthouse Museum is catering for a wedding.  The DP is the Official Photographer.  I have been invited as the bride and groom didnt want me to be alone on Hogmanay.  Well bless.  No way am I going to invade someones special day.

Best wishes to all.


Friday 27 December 2013

Yesterday I cleaned my bathroom.

Funny when you stop.  Chill. Then shock, horror takes over.  So I cleaned the bathroom. Vinegar spray, borax, now pristine.

Meanwhile the Dawn Patroller was being official photographer at the Lifeboat Boxing Day Swim.  Fraserburgh Harbour.  Apaarently we had unseasonal weather and the temperature was 10 degree.  Not in the sea it wasnt.

 Just in case.....
Do not be fooled by the sunshine.

 I think thats our accountant!

It was a lovely sunny, still day.  But I can assure you that sea was cold.  28 people jumped in and swam.  There were hundreds of spectators, not daft them.  Hopefully they all donated loads to the R.N.L.I.

Today I dusted everything that didn't move.  Cleaned mirrors.  Not sure why we have so many, I never look in them, oh no I don't.

In the afternoon I finished off the Sun worshipping Hare, as opposed to, what everyone else does, Moon Gazing.  And finished next years Christmas Card,

Title: "You did say fly?!"

There was another reason for me going ballistic on the cleaning front.  Tomorrow evening its Open House at Chez Nous.  The DP has been busy in the kitchen. Some strange looking things have been produced.  I was in charge of inviting folks.  Just managed to stop putting it on facebook.  (There would be nowhere for them to park.) But I still have no idea on who is coming or how many.  Dont care either.  You get to that point dont you when the dust you have moved starts wafting back down on to every surface......

Wednesday 25 December 2013

How was it for you?

Santa on his way homeward.

He was excellent as usual.  Visiting Lincoln and my granddaughter.  So we caught up with his leavings via Skype.

The rest of our family were together in Edinburgh.  Three daughters, partners and two grandsons.  Skype again.  No pictures, all we saw of the boys was their backs stuck in to some construction!

The DP and I still enjoyed our Christmas.  Exchanging gifts and listening to the Messiah.  This is one tradition that has now spanned two generations.  My Dad always played it on Christmas Day.  I wonder what he would make of cds and cassettes, as in those days it was long player records or reel to reel tapes. Even when he was in hospital we staggered in with heavy box effort which played the tapes.  Permission sought and granted, though I bet there were a few patients who thought their end had come!

Oh and the glass of sherry around 10 a.m. tho I do seem to remember when the girls were small it was probably a bit earlier......

One of my gifts from the daughters was a 'real artists hat'.  Well they do say if your head is warm the rest of you is, so great for down the shedudio.

The above was made by one of my dearest friends.  Just putting the photo up for you all is bringing a tear to mine eye.  Isnt that just so wonderful?  It is my shed.

The Dawn Patroller really came up trumps.  He got quite a few tops.  I am not alone in trying to get him away from boring old men stuff.  He is one step away from a brown cardigan.  I kid you not.  Also he was given the latest Rebus and Discworld books.  He gets the telescope when we have sorted the heating out.

So back to trumps.

 A personalised calendar.  Not only does every month depict one of my paintings but all the birthdays, anniversaries are all highlighted.  Gob smacked.  I also received a car sticker and note book with my paintings on. 

Being as its just the two of us I tootled off to the shedudio in the afternoon leaving him to read a book.

I was not feeling very Christmassy, love to all men etc., as it got dark way too fast and I was on a roll with this painting.

  But, hey ho, back up in the warm and smelling lovely cooking smells.

So How was it for You?

Monday 23 December 2013

Almost ready.

As the Dawn Patroller seems to enjoy shopping......  I was not going to argue.  
After all, I use a trolley as one does a zimmer frame.  I have to ask Santa's little helpers to lift down things that 5 foot nothing cannot reach, indeed, I forgot I lost another inch this year, 4 feet 11 inches now.  Then I have to put on the extra stagger and stare helplessly at the trolley and the boot of the car, never fails, someone comes and helps me load up.  So really I am better off keeping away from shopping.

The morning he spent visiting the local shops, butchers and veg suppliers; and being in one of the largest fish ports, a fish shop.  Now you do not zoom into the shop and out again, oh no.  Apparently our butcher gets very stressed with queues.  By the time he had explained all this to the DP the queue was a mile long.

Then this afternoon the DP braved the supermarket.  

Cat Collars.  With bells on. Now affixed to our two cats.  Who shot off after the total indignity of being squashed on the kitchen table while the old collars disintegrated as we removed them and had new ones affixed.  Til I realised I had forgotten to put the magnets on from the old collars.  So after a hectic repeat catching session they decided enough was enough and have gone down the shed.  But at least they can get back in now.

Hmmm.  Mmmmmm.  Just tasting you understand.

The visit to the supermarket , well he was gone for hours.  You know you have settled in a place when you can block the aisles in Tesco chatting away to more than one person you know.  Especially as you only had three items to get.

And thats about it.

One more day.

That I shall spend volunteering at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.  In the shop.

And the flipping cafe is shut!  Unfair.  But I am able to nip up the back stairs and get my own Cappucino.

After that its shutdown.

So while the DP was being a retail stocker upper.  For Goodness sake they are all back open again in three days time.  Its Hogmanay when things close down completely.  For a lot longer.

Anyroads I was down the shedudio listening to Pavarotti singing Christmas stuff and making the most of that extra bit of daylight, already!  Thankyou God and Mother Nature.

Having been asked if I had an Avocet, which I hadnt, but they are an annual visitor, so do come under Buchan Birds and Beasts. I found a photograph by Ron McCombe , and had a go.

Really tickled by this photo, its a reindeer from Tyneside!

When finished, next years Christmas Card!

Finally.  I have to say how pleased I was to have a comment from Annie (Lady M).  Her blog, www.thedayafteryesterday.co.uk is one of the most hilarious blogs I have ever read.  Well worth a look.  Not sure I should welcome Beth who commented on my wording and didnt recognise that 2 sprouts was 2 too many for the North East of Scotland.  

But as its so near Christmas.  I am sure she will get many, many sprouts.

Happy nearly Christmas.

Sunday 22 December 2013

Birthdays at Christmas - well nearly.

I have two daughters born in December.  12th and 19th.  Always takes me by surprise.  Bad planning on my part.  Two in August, another expensive month, and then these two.  Do the Christmas Cards and then panic, need birthday cards.....

Our lovely friend Ron, who is a fellow trustee at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses, was 70 yesterday.

This is he in the cafe.

Which in the evening turns into a restaurant.  So what better place to celebrate.

This was the Salmon.

But Ron and I share a love of cow.  This was a fillet steak. 

And this the Turkey.

There were starters.  No pictures.  Disappeared very fast.  White Onion Soup and prawns with Salmon.  

One needs to be aware of the stalwart back of house staff.  This is Shane our dishwasher of the evening.  

Shane also waters the planted tubs outside the Museum, when prompted, and seeing me said, "Ah, Jill, I'll be watering the plants tomorrow."  

"They arent there any more Shane, ...... its Winter."

Our wonderful chef Kipras, also known as Kipietoffeepuddding.  Which were amazing, again the size of a brick.  But I ate it all.  Other choices were Christmas Pudding and a medley of ice creams.  

(This chef is 17 years old.  At college, where he tends to spend his time being extremely frustrated.)  (They spent a whole day on making bread and before we even started our meal we were presented with bread rolls made from beetroot among other things.)

So this is us stuffed.

Everyone else took their silly hats off when they saw the camera, except the DP and Ron's wife.  Me clutching the red of course.  (I have seen it knocked over before, and I got very cross, and didnt want to spoil a lovely evening.)

So.here is the team.  Not one over 20, apart from the big guy, the Manager.  Fantastic, the lot of them.

Happy Birthday to all who have the misfortune to have been born in December.

Friday 20 December 2013

The Pantomime - Oh yes it is!

Our Pantomine Productions in the Broch (Fraserburgh) began in 1953.  I was 4, I think that could have been the year when sweets were still rationed after the War.  I was living in a pit village in Yorkshire.  But here in the North East of Scotland along came Sleeping Beauty.

Performances on two nights. although even then it was twice nightly, as it is now, but for six days.  Always fully sold out.  In those days, 1953, the performances were at The Picture House, Mid Street, Fraserburgh.  The Picture House has long gone.  Now the Panto is at Dalrymple Hall.

So 60 years of putting on a Panto.

Apologies for poor quality photo, but you get the picture!  

The attendees tonight met at the Lighthouse Museum for Secret Santa gifts to be exchanged.

I was pleasantly surprised.

Sounds really Scrooge like.  Sorry, but I normally get stuff I wouldnt give house room to and recycle .... but well pleased.

Then it was off to the 'Himalayan Tandoori'!  In Fraserburgh!  

 Who is that little old lady?  Only one with wine to drink? Ha!

Gorgeous food and company.

Then on to the Panto.

It was wonderful.  Although I have to say having memories of the original story, NOT the Disney effort, I did find it difficult to follow.  But we had the Dame, the female lead who was female and the male lead who was male, bit of a break in tradition there?  The Dancers were fantastic, and no near nudity either.  A really professional production.  Price of ticket ?  £7.00.

Today.  The DP made some very interesting mince pies.

Me - down the shed .  Producing a very unChristmassy Ostrich painting. 

Unless you are having a very large bird in the oven?

Oh no we are not.