Thursday 28 February 2013

Recycling, upcycling, but I refuse to get on a bike.

First let me make it quite clear that I am not a fan of the blogs who tell us what we should be doing, and how to do it.  Save money, clear debt, grow your own, bake your own, make your own, otherwise you will DIE.

For many years, long before it became fashionable, we have recycled.  In a quiet way.

Cans being crushed, not so quiet.

Where all my (empty) cans of Tennants go.

Can-Do was established in 1989 to promote the recycling of both aluminium and steel used beverage containers (UBC). In 1999 Can-Do were recognised as a model of excellence  in alu-recycling by ALUPRO. This web site provides details on the Can-Do project and aims to stimulate interest in conservation and recycling.
Can-Do processes aluminium and steel, food and drink cans, as well as aluminium foil and plastic bottles.If you Recycle your waste you can drop bags of cans and plastic bottles at our depot. We also have a very busy van that picks up from collection points located all the North-East of Scotland. For further information contact us 

When we had the bed and breakfast, Can-Do collected all our cans, now we are foot loose and fancy free we take them to their collection point.

We have, as long as it was possible, recycled newspaper, cardboard, glass, plastics, glass bottles (empty), and had a compost heap in which the vacuum was emptied of cat hairs, etc., food scraps, (not meat or fish, encourages rats - where possible make a soup out of them, not the rats , and orange peel, never been sure what to do with that but perhaps slugs dont like it? They dont like coffee grounds allegedly, but the compost heap does.)  Weeds, grass cuttings, etc.

Composting is an art, one has to say, keep turning, it is not necessary but if you have a man around and they can aim properly, urine is great to make it work.  Once it does, you do not need the man, or the urine, but you have a rich fertile loam to put back into your garden and get prize winning specimens and lots of good food, if you can forget about how it got there, but at least you know how it got there. (Unlike Tescos.)

When my kids were small they knew nothing of clothes shops.  We went to school and there was a great exchange of carrier bags stuffed with clothes, shoes, toys.   Like a Jumble Sale without any money exchanging hands.

We even got one of these.  Along with cat bowls, clothes, and an amazing load of stuff we promptly put in a carrier bag for the next school trip.

Now, in our older days, we utilise freecycle.  As well as continuing with the recycling.  I am still extremely chuffed that when we down sized we almost completely furnished a home for a family who had nothing.  

On a more mundane note we have/had bricks in our toilet cisterns, altho the posh alternative and pricey is the Hippos, basically just put a brick in your cistern or a water filled milk thing in , saves on water, if you are in a water metered area or if you are just like us trying to save the environment, it works.  You have a wee to get rid of, does it really need a gallon of water?

We were the first bed and breakfast to gain a Gold Award for Green Business Tourism, got a certificate to prove it, but certificates dont mean that much apart from advertising.....

And then we come to upcycling.  This is where you make something better than what it was, fit in more with todays fashions.  Hmmm,  Well, I dont think this actually saves you money.  By the time you have sandblasted, rubbed down, applied gold leaf, bit of candle wax, which you have to go out and buy, bit of paint, ditto, well, yes, its personal, a work of art even, cost a fortune.  If thats what turns you on so be it.

What this long blog is about is that no matter who you are, what you have, what you have not, we can all do our bit to help save our environment.  

And I really did not mean to preach, and you will not DIE if you don't do any of these things.

But ...... if we do not start to do our bit to save the environment well - who knows.

Wednesday 27 February 2013

Silly Sheep in Lonmay.

Entertainment rural style.  That's eight legs off the ground.

I am so tired I am struggling with one!

Hope you enjoy

Tuesday 26 February 2013

Tuesdays not tinkling, twitter and trouble.

We have had a couple of nights of keen frost.  Wonderful!  Kill off all the bugs.  Frosts been sadly lacking this Winter.  Breaks up the soil.  Hardens off the plants, kills the nasties in the air.

And looks very pretty.

The rising sun highlights our bird visitors.  This is 'Big Daddy' launching himself off one of our plant troughs down to the bird seed .

And gives Minerva McGonagall  a sunny spot to bask in.  (Not sure what she is sat in, its some random metal edifice up the spinney. We are into upcycling, recycling and freecycling but this one has me stumped)

Now that dawn breaks at a more reasonable time, around 6a.m., tho we have a bloody big moon still, the DP is back out again.  You may need to hit on the picture to be able to see it but this is a rare visitor, a Black Redstart.  (Black- red?)  

No painting for me today.  Had my Museum Trustee hat on and attended a meeting with a council representative regarding the Museums future funding.  Abandon hope all ye who enter here.  I will not bore you with a verbatim report, suffice it to say that I wish they would stop freezing our council tax in Scotland and just get on with it.

And finally.  The pig got his mates, the goose has gone on the wall of infamy (good therapy tho!)

And even more finally, (GRAMMAR!)  One of the main occupations of many people up here is to take photographs, here is one for you that is not from the DP, but someone who he knows.....Broch Photo House.


p.s. yet another finally!  Our water suddenly stopped coming through the taps this morning.  After checking all our bits and faucets we phoned the Water Company.  There was a problem, thank goodness it wasnt ours, and to keep updated we should go on TWITTER.  I DONT BELIEVE IT.

Sunday 24 February 2013

Sheep and other matters related. Well sort of.

Quite an exciting few days.  

Scotland is fast becoming overrun with Wind Turbines.  We have them dotted around here, where we live.  I can see two close to Mormond Hill which I can see from the Summer House.  But they are okay when they are sufficiently far away as to be quite beautiful.  

This one was being erected at the side of the road we travel to go to the Broch (Fraserburgh), and being that close to the road just seemed enormous.

The farmer, who's field this has been erected in, had the choice of putting the thing up himself and all the costs involved to get cheap electricity, or selling his field to the wind turbine company for many thousands of pounds, and still getting the cheap electricity.  So what do you do.....

But this erection has changed the skyline.  View from the Broch.

The fields around this edifice are full of sheep. The same farmer hopes they are pregnant.  I do wonder how these ewes will cope with the whirring noise and the shadows cast by this thing.  But then the female of most species is pretty hardy to all manner of upsets to their surroundings.   Hmmm.

Just a quick aside, and sorry no pictures as yet, but the field at the front of our house is full of what will be lamb chops, etc.  I tell you friends, we have had so much entertainment from this bunch as to be worth pounds.  When do they become the brainless sheep you count when you are trying to get to sleep?  This lot, well one will suddenly jump up, all four feet off the ground, then another, then another will do it.  They suddenly set off charging across the field in a line, then stop dead, turn round and charge off the other way.  They have head butting competitions, climb the hay bales supplied to supplement their grub and make them juicier lamb chops (apologies to vegetarians,) leap off on top of each other and then off they go again.  Absolutely hilarious.  Am seriously considering sitting on top of gate and videoing them, tho its still a bit cold up here.  To see big fat woolly sheep that you normally expect to get a DOH/BAA from charging about and just playing is hysterical.  (yet another aside, to see animals which will eventually end up on someones plate, enjoying life is good.)

The other exciting news is the Dawn Patroller has been invited to exhibit his photographs at Cafe Connect in Fraserburgh.  Well it was so exciting he went into panic mode.  Very rare for him I tell you.  But when he takes photos like this, note the sea, why panic?

I have had my exhibition there, alongside a proper water colour painter for the last two months, and sold my paintings.  Whereas the proper water colour painter has not.  Very encouraging.  The DP will be exhibiting alongside another water colour painter.  Exciting int it.

Meanwhile, I was thinking, despite being retired, I still have the weekends.  Which is weird, as when I was a bed and breakfast provider there was no such thing.  Before that when I worked 9 to 5 then yes.  And now its back again.

Last night the DP and I chilled out and watched Skyfall.  The first Bond movie I have actually really enjoyed.  (The DP likes them all, but thats men for you.)

But on my weekend I could just go down the shed.  And paint.

Still work in progress, but I need your help.  On the picture below, there are two amorphous shapes of two more pigs, left hand corner, in the straw, should I include them in the painting or just narrow the framing down to the one pig?

And my angry goose, do you think she/he should be a darker coloured goose than a domesticated one?  (Remember the book, The sky is falling in?!)

Weekends are not good for me, I have realised, I lose the plot being able to do what I want  instead of being on demand so to speak!  Back to counting sheep.

Friday 22 February 2013


After the sorting out of crafts yesterday morning, twas the Dalrymple Hall Art Group in the afternoon.  Its good fun to sit with others who draw and paint in different mediums.  View each others efforts.

One day I might be as good as this.

But then you realise that we are all different.  And although you can admire and wish to achieve such a painting, you also realise that you never will do anything like that, but possibly, just possibly, what you do do is ok.

This is the start of my next painting, a very angry goose!

Also on the beginning board is a happy pig in a bed of straw.  Now, you just cant wait can you!  Well I can't.  I have to be dragged out of the shed kicking and screaming at the moment.  The paint isnt drying fast enough for me to do the next bit.....

But, sheesh, one has to go and do other things.

My hat today was Trustee at the Lighthouse Museum.  

Yet more vandalism.  

Windows smashed on Monday night of the engine room, no gun involved this time, they got in, or one person got in, as there is a foot print inside.  The Engine Room is a listed building, and goodness knows what else, but you are not allowed to fit double glazing, shutters, anything to deter a burglar, so something of a problem to protect.

The alarms did not go off which is questionable.  As far as we know nothing was taken once he/they got inside, they left and did not close the door.  

So today we had Bill and Ben Police Constables , and Weed was the radio attached to Bills pocket.  

Bleep, answer, undecipherable message.  

Bill "Roger".  

How long does it take to be a policeman and to be able to understand whats coming over the radio?  

Bill, "I dont, I just say Roger, and then  switch it off."  Cool.

I like a policeman with attitude.

Meanwhile upstairs in the Museum the Cafe is being blitzed.  Transformed.  

You will have to take my word for it, as no, it looks awful.  And having been dragged up there had to quickly evacuate as there was so much dust my lungs were on the point of wanting oxygen tanks.

So as a trustee I approved the wages, chatted about other problems, I do sometimes wear a sensible hat you know.  And can be quite useful although this is often a surprise to some people.  Who just  think of me as a ditzy blonde, or a total air head, or even worse.  

Which could bring me to another blogging rant, would that I had the courage to be more assertive with the nasty witchy type people, who do persist in popping up in my life and being so nasty and I really do not know how to handle it,  but, its Friday, and I now have a glass of red stuff.  Perhaps, one day the nasty witchy type people will just disappear.  

Thank God Its Friday.

Thursday 21 February 2013

Activities Arts and Crafts.

Yesterday, Wednesday, morning was my Art group.  We have been invited to the Loch of Strathbeg in March to be part of their Art Workshop, beavering away in the background throwing out wonderful sketches, paintings of what is around us.

One of our (leading) members, (well he likes to think he is,) had the bright idea that we should practise before going.  "Here's one I made earlier, " sort of thing, in case we cock it up.  Hmm. Now I had the meeting with the organiser of this from the RSPB and really this was not the idea.  We are supposed to troop around the reserve, sketching what we see, gathering up bits for a still life maybe, hmmm.  En pleine air, on the job so to speak.

Wasnt keen on that either, to be honest.  

Sitting in the Visitor Centre, coffee nearby and gaze out on what decides to pass in front of the window was more my idea.

But, hey ho.

Oyster Catchers.  I can't show you the full painting as its one of those narrow panoramic ones, and my camera refuses to do that.

Sketch of pink footed goose.  They will all have gorn orf to feed in the day when we will be at the Loch, tough.  I did it.

Pen and ink, and brush and ink, Barnacle Goose.

I will not bore you with all the others I have cracked out.  

So by the time I get there in March I will be all goosed out.

Now, the afternoon was quite exciting as I joined my other Art Group in Fraserburgh Library for a Celebration of Arts and Crafts in Aberdeenshire.  I did intend to show you the leaflet for that, but I seem to have lost it.

Basically there were stalls - Knit and Knatter, Closet Quilters, I did ask, and just got, BECAUSE WE CAME OUT OF THE CLOSET.  OK!

 Fraserburgh Photographic Society, the Dawn Patrollers lot, (and he was on the front row of pics. x bless.)  

The Broadsea Art Society, of which I am a member, but dont go as they meet in the evening and I dont do evenings.  

And our lot, The Dalrymple Hall Arts Society.  (I didn't even know we were called that till yesterday.)  - My Thursday Art Group.

Now this was supposed to be a way of recruiting new members.  But as far as I could see everyone who came in, and partook of the free coffee, tea, shortbread biscuits were all members of said societies.

Apart from one, lone, lorn, chap, who looked at the Broadsea Arts Society stand.  As there was no one there, they were all supping coffee and eating biscuits with the head librarian, I asked if I could help.

"I just want to go somewhere quiet and draw."  

Well, I could think of plenty places, my shed, when the opera isn't on, but ...I told him to avoid at all costs the Wednesday Morning Art group, ditto the Thursday afternoon lot and go for the Broadsea Arts lot.  Theres only about six of them, and , I hope none of them reads this blog, but they are mostly pretty ancient and quiet.  But lovely.

This morning.  Three of us braved the cold and into the Lighthouse Museum Store and brought out all the craft resources and sorted.

What a pile of stuff!  Thrown in, in boxes, in bin bags, all mixed up.  Jeez.  but we did it.
The three of us were exhausted but we did it.  So now, with plots, plans, shopping list we will be ready for the Lighthouse Museum Kids Activity Mornings come April.

No activity now, I am off to bed.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Perhaps Tomorrow.

We have had a run of beautiful weather days, sunny, not too windy, and the temperature crept up above freezing.  As the weather forecast promised more of the same I promised that if indeed we had another  lovely day I would sort out the shed/studio/opera theatre/drinking den.

Sadly, we woke up to heavy mist, and cold again.  Even when the mist cleared it was cold, and dull.  Not conducive to moi to wield brush and duster, or indeed just to sort through whats been flung and piled.  Yet another afternoon of sitting very close to the heater and doing what I love best.  No, not the cans of beer, that just shows what a slut I am.  (I love making towers, ok?)    Painting.

What the Dawn Patroller loves best is taking photographs.  On Sunday he went off on a jaunt with others who like taking photographs, so here you go.  As this blog is supposed to be about the North East of Scotland....

Cullen, viaduct.

Cullen roofs.  Cullen is famous for 'Cullen Skink', the very best, ever, fish soup.  You can just see the harbour at the top of the picture below.

Portknockie.  The Bow Fiddle Rock.

A lost Mandarin Duck.


And finally Banff Bridge.

What I should have been doing while he was off snapping was sorting the shed out.  Perhaps tomorrow.

Monday 18 February 2013

I think I am back.

Hey up!  I am back and dont know where to start!  You get to the stage where you think, who the hell is interested in me, my curtains, where I live, what I do, my problems, my art, my anything.
Well, shucks, who cares. Only me, so forget about her!

So, here we go.  This is what cats get up to when you are not looking.  This is Cait Sith on top of the fridge. (Which is above the freezer.)   I have heard sounds of cat thumping/ descending for some time now, but whenever I rush into the kitchen, as no cats are allowed on any work surface, there has been nothing to see.  Now I know why.  (well I am not on a work surface am I?)

Last week we had the Dawn Patrollers sister visit for a few days.  Which is always nice, but does rather overload the alcohol in the blood levels.  (No, my reason for not blogging was because I was under the table.)  

But it is difficult to still continue what one has to do and still entertain a visitor.

I began to realise I have taken on far too much!  But I have -  so lets get on with it.

Done - posters, this was the Pirate who is now on the poster, since he has been painted all the info has gone on surrounding him and 'flagged up'.  Printed off by the dozen and laminated.

Kids Activity Mornings at the Lighthouse.  First this year will be in the Easter Holidays.  The wonderful group of crafters who used to do such a magnificent job have all disappeared.  For various reasons.  So - I arranged a meeting on Thursday for volunteers, advertised on facebook, etc., and who did we end up with - vast quantity of four.

We intend to make pirate masks, parrot masks, telescopes, treasure maps, treasure chests.        Oh god please help.

I have arranged a story teller, 

Helen Macdonald, The Blacksmiths Daughter, find her on facebook.  She also sells 'Barefoot Books', which do not do pink for girls..... so okay by me.

I spent a morning gathering together crafting materials from the dim and dark corners of the Lighthouse Museum, wonderful to find them, but  one begins to realise where all the money went and why it had to then shut in 2011/12. 

Unfortunately no shirring elastic to fasten on masks, so then had to go shopping, oh I do miss Woolworths.

And of course one still had to attend ones Art groups.

Pen and ink on Wednesday.  

Thursday, playing with cling film.  (background and foreground far better than my painting of deer, thank you salt and clingfilm!)

On the same day I received a letter from my doctors asking me to make an appointment with a doctor to discuss my test results.
What test results?  

So I phoned, "Its to do with your minor surgery."  (Wart removal).  

Appointment made.  

For 24 hours, during which I imagined.....chemo, MRI scan, which I swear they will HAVE to anaesthetise me for as no way am I going in a tunnel, I have all on with lifts.  And that moment where the angels waft you up into  heaven. (dont worry I know in which direction I am going and its downward.)

Meanwhile that cat that was sat on top of the fridge begins sneezing.  Snotting all over the windows, okay, too much information, how the bloody hell do you think I felt!  I had just made the appointment for the two cats to have their annual jabs and could just about afford that - not any more, I am a pensioner for Gods sake.  

So I goes along to the docs. 

Why do they ask, " What can I do for you today?"  

Give me full permission to stuff my face, smoke 20 fags a day and drink to oblivion every night."


After much trawling through my files, I am 63 now and there are a lot of them.  It was announced that my summons was down to an Administrative Error.

It has taken me three days to recover from an administrative error, but the good news is that in amongst all the trawling he told me, "Dinna worry about your liver, its fine."