Monday 24 February 2014

Many a slip twixt cup and lip...

Our nearest village(s) is Cairnbulg which is on one side of the main road in and Inverallochy is on the other side of the main road in..  

Very strange.  

Inverallochy has the post office and the school.  Cairnbulg has the local mini supermarket/off licence and the library, and also has the harbour.  There is also a hairdressers to your left,which is in Cairnbulg, and an ice cream shop, and possibly a few more retail outlets I have missed.  Inverallochy also has a golf course, a very ancient one.

The DP often patrols around Cairnbulg.  Its quicker than going to T****s for the daily paper.  Plus he gets lots of photographs of sea birds,

 and in the harbour which is mainly for small boats, he sees seals, and I of course can then paint from all his photographs.

Whilst on a recent perambulation he saw this.

 At the other side of which and through the windows can be seen this.

 So we are off to have a look see at the house.  With a view to going through all the stress, surveyors,  solicitors, builders, plumbers, window replacement etc. we thought we would never ever have to do again before I was placed gently into the septic tank.

Now why ? I hear you asking.  Well, apart from just being plain daft, and this house needs a hell of a lot doing to it, so there is rescuing an unloved old house which we have done before. Bu this one  has not got a vast garden.... I have spent a lifetime gardening, but can no longer do it. The one we have now was beautiful and could be again, but -not by me.

But - many a slip......

Friday 21 February 2014


Suddenly realised it is nearly March and at the beginning of I am booked for an exhibition.

Many of you know I am quite a prolific painter.  But not so prolific in having work ready to hang I fear.  This involves shelling out for framing..  Counted up what is hanging on the walls of the ancestral home.  Eight.  At a push.  And not ones I really want to flaunt.

One has moved on.....

.Fortunately the DP has been Dawn patrolling.  Sheep across the road,so he didn't have to patrol far.

Plus , a bit further, 

So - plenty of inspiration.

Earlier today I met up with the the other artist who is sharing the exhibition.  She also has eight paintings,acrylic for her, and was in the same panic mode as I.  Which didnt help!

PLUS! A panic request for a painting of a Hairy Coo for someones birthday - at the beginning of March.  AND a request for a painting of someones cat.

I should show you a photo of the shedudio.  A sea of begun, half way through, nearly done, but seeing it would just make me more frantic!

Tuesday 18 February 2014

Aden Country Park and wobbly legs.

Aden Country Park is located in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. The park has a caravan area with camping, a small shop, a small cafe near the agricultural museum, a play area, a nature garden and a barbecue area.
It is home to the Aberdeenshire Farming Museum, forest walks and a ruined country house. Every year it hosts a pipe band contest which attracts  pipe bands from around Scotland. Wikepedia.

 The Caravan park,cafe and Museum are seasonal.  But the rest of the place is open all year round.

 It is a beautiful place to walk round at any time of the year. 

 The lake.

 The River Ugie.  Very full, as you see below.  We too have had a lot of rain.  But here we have trees to drink it up, and the rivers and dykes and braes are cleared of weeds and sludge by the farmers.  We do get large puddles in the fields but not floods.

 So our wildlife can thrive.  Soon be nesting.

Aden House is a ruin.  But still substantial.

The Aberdeenshire Farming Museum comprises two main features. The early 19th century semi-circular Home Farm steading features interpretations of 20th century Aden Estate through costumed guides, and the "Weel Vrocht Grun" (well worked ground) contains displays about regional farming history and innovations in agriculture over the last two centuries.[1]
The Hareshowe Working Farm was moved to Aden Country Park in the early 1990s. The farmhouse has been restored to a 1950s appearance and guided tours provide demonstrations of cooking and farm activities.  Wikepedia.

The history is well worth looking into.  As is much of Buchan, and North East Scotland.  

For me the best part is the annual Pipe Band Competition.  In August.

Taken very seriously.


 Culminates with massed Pipe Bands.  At which point shivers up the spine.  And wobbly legs.

Sunday 16 February 2014

And breathe.....

Well I did it.

I warmed up.  Worked my way through the exercises. (Huffed and puffed, not necessarily in the right places, you breathe in while not doing anything then breathe out when you lift, or exert.  Find this bonkers.)

Does this bloke look as if he is exhaling???

And she is just taking the p***

Neither of the two above had what I had to contend with.

 One very worried cat.  Who proceeded to join in with the marching exercise.  This led to him repeatedly tripping me up, by weaving in and out of me legs, and me being incapable of continuing as I was laughing so  much.

So I warmed down and then went to the shed.  And watched paint dry.

 Whooper Swan, presumably breathing in ?

 Two Hares breathing in?
Dog, definitely breathing out.


  Red Grouse,wet and shivering.

And breathe.


Saturday 15 February 2014

Weighing it up.

If I am to get the most benefit from the physiotherapy I need to be having an exercise session number 3, which has to be at home.  

Here we go!

Heaviest is 4.5kg.  Which so far I have not lifted during physio and only now to get them out of the box.

There has been much hilarity on the DP's Facebook Page as he told everyone I had come in and said could he get them out of the car as I couldnt lift them. (I even had to ask this slip of a girl in Argos to put them in the car.) Well this was all 6 of em.  In a box.  Which at my guesstimate was lifting my own weight! She did it and I felt so ashamed......


As it says on the box, ankle weights.  These can also be used fastened round a walking stick for arm lifts.

Apart from the exercise bike I can do all the exercises at home.

If you see a blog from me tomorrow you will know I have succeeded!

Friday 14 February 2014

Happy Valentine's Day?

The Dawn Patroller and moi at the Lighthouse Restaurant at the end of our meal.

The Restaurant as we arrived, above.  

Dessert.  I had every intention of photographing every course.  But..... you cant mess about with cameras.  My first course was beetroot soup with Deveron Cheese.  I so wish I had taken a photo.  Supplied was a huge bowl with bits of beetroot, cheese, then a small jug of the actual soup was poured over the bits.  Wowee. 

We then had an intermediate which was a palate cleanser with a crispy effort made from raspberries which just exploded in your mouth.  

Our mains was sirloin steak.  I will not go into detail as I know I have Vegetarian followers.
Then came the above dessert.  So chocolate. SO SO chocolate.....

 Our chef Kipras.  He is 17.  Remember this - one day he will be famous.

At one point during the meal the DP said, " I remember taking my least favourite wife to an award winning restaurant ........"  I cant remember the rest of the sentence as I was not sure it was that romantic to be reminded you were the second wife  But then ,presumably, the most favourite wife?

Having said that I then lowered the tone even more when becoming somewhat breathless and being asked if I was alright said, "Well, I normally have removed my bra at this time of night."  At which point we decided to go home.  n.b. the bra comes off for comfort not x rated stuff.....

Happy Valentine.


Monday 10 February 2014


Last week I was working at the Museum of Scottish Lighthouses as our small team have to take the holidays owing to them before the end of the financial year.

Whereas I usually work one day a week, this was two, one after the other.

Now,do not get me wrong.  I absolutely love working in the shop,at the front desk, meeting and greeting.  The first day I spent rearranging the shelves.  Checking stock.   Dusting...whilst thinking about the dust at home.....

The day after more of the same.  And slowly realising I am no longer young.

Meanwhile the Dawn Patroller was entertaining one of the daughters.  This one is particularly interested in Museums,as after getting a Fine Arts Degree she decided to return to University to obtain a qualification in Museums Collections or some such.

 The Museum does have many interesting items,and some beautiful lights.

Our Museum also has a cafe,which transforms into a restaurant Friday and Saturday evenings.

So that is where we went Saturday evening.  At which point I became even more tired....

Before going to bed I had to see this.  The Aurora.  We are so lucky and have had lots of sightings this year.  This one is quite faint.  The brighter yellow light is a reflection from Fraserburgh, I think.  But the green light is the Aurora.  This was about 11p.m.

So Sunday - relaxing - doing what I love most.  Off went the DP and the daughter.  Me down the shedudio.


 Few commissions out of the way.  So can really relax - now what shall I do next?

Thursday 6 February 2014

Fit like?

Doric for "How are you?" 

Certainly getting fitter!.

We have warming up exercises and warming down exercises at the physio.  Most of us agree we are more breathless after them than the actual exercises.

First we have to march, on the spot.  This is quite difficult to stay on the spot as you naturally drift off forwards, left or right depending on the bends in your body - or mind - and I think we should just go for the Hokey Cokey.

Our physiotherapist is amazing and should be on a Victoria Wood sketch.

"Lift those knees up, not you Alastair, pump those arms,not you Doris, punch punch punch.  Come on, get those knees up to touch your chest,"

I said,"  Could I not just take my bra off?  " 

At which point three of the chaps stopped breathing as they were laughing so much and had to be resuscitated.

We are now fighting over who's turn it is on the bike, we only have one between eight of us.  Unlike this lot.

New Zealand obviously has a richer health service than we do. 

We however have a trainee physio from Robert Gordon University.  Young,male and very fit......

At least two of the female members of our group have had to be resuscitated.  

Today's session ended with us being given home work diaries.  It is part of the process that three exercise sessions a week, minimum, are partaken of.  The NHS cant afford to run three so one has to be done at home.  Now how do you replicate that in a home environment?  Steps,walking,sitting standing no problem, arm weight lifting - tin of beans or bag of sugar or whatever that has the equivalent weight.  But how do you fasten a tin of beans or a bag of sugar to your leg?  

Joanne had the answer, " Shove it down your support tights."

Right.  Do Tescos sell support tights?


Wednesday 5 February 2014

Kinnaird Head Wine Tower.

The Wine Tower
The Wine Tower is the oldest building in Fraserburgh and is described as "remarkable and mysterious". It contains an extraordinary collection of ceiling bosses including representations of the Fraser coat of arms. The original use of the building is unknown and there are various local stories about the tower. Entry to the public is only allowed on special open days organized by The Museum of Scottish Lighthouses.

As it is now, above.  And below.

For the last two years, on  Halloween, a special event is held.  Holding lanterns and with no other light, visitors are taken round the castle and lighthouse and to the wine tower.

 Legend tells us that Isobel the daughter of Alexander Fraser (c1536 to 1623) 8th laird of Philorth had fallen in love with a servant piper, and that the laird was not happy about this.  So to separate the two the laird had the piper tied-up in the cave under the Wine Tower known as Selches Hole (Seals Hole).  The laird then locked-up his daughter in the uppermost floor of the tower (The chapel) and retired to Kinnaird Castle.  Unfortunately for the servant there was an abnormally high tide due to a storm, and the poor man drowned.  When Isobel the laird’s daughter was informed of her lover’s fate, she was distraught and committed suicide by jumping from the top of the tower onto the rocks below.  The rock that she fell on is still painted red to this day.  It is said that Isobel is seen prior to bad weather, and when the weather is bad it is said that you can hear the skirl of the pipes being played by the ghost of the piper for his lost love. Web Historian.

 We went the first year the Halloween event took place and thoroughly enjoyed it.  At the end of the above tale we were supposed to hear the skirl of the pipes,played by Danny the piper.   After a long silence we realised this was not about to happen.

Why?  Because Danny thought he had seen a ghost.

The above is the , very boring and small, working lighthouse.  The wine tower is to the right.  In the dark,of course,the light was working and as it swung round it projected Dannys shadow onto the rocks beyond........He made it back to the museum in 10 seconds.....

 We have all suffered from this Winter's storms.  Sadly so have the surrounds of the Wine Tower.

But it is still standing.  And so is Danny.

Monday 3 February 2014

Fun and Enjoyment.

Here is the Dawn Patroller.  And no he didnt get wet.  The photograph was taken by one of his mates.  Much hilarity all round.  So I thought I would share it with you.

My latest commission which I am really enjoying.  
 How many cat owners are there????  How much time have I Ieft????

The powers of facebook.  I am quietly tootling along and sent the beginning of the painting then stage 2 which the above is and the owner posted it.  Not realising there is every chance I will totally wreck it before I am finished.  So its cats for the foreseeable future.

I do keep intending to join in the 52 week tasks to do or whatever it is, check it out on Mums Simply Living blog, and no I am not doing links as I dont know how to and its too late in the day for me to struggle with it,  I havent even got time to write a list!!  Top of the list is 100 Allium bulbs to get in before the end of January.  Excuse - the weather. Surely a good excuse.  Oh God, just remembered there were 50 snowdrop bulbs came with the alliums....

I manage to find a bit of time to read everyone elses blogs.  And am totally amazed as to how much they pack in.

However,I do have a Hyacinth bowl and I have just got a Slow Cooker. Havent thrown anything into it yet.  And my orchids are all flowering again, and I am saving every odd coin in my purse, but I do need to prune the roses,which despite 70 mph winds are still blooming, all the herbs are flowering,so should chop them back, and reconstruct the garden and turn the compost bins.  I havent even got time to find a wood supplier , we are now burning the wood shed.

Its Fun and Enjoyment but I fear I am not a proper blogger.


Saturday 1 February 2014

At home.

This house,unlike our last,does not shake,rattle and roll.  Therefore you get quite a shock when you go outside and are blown off your feet.

High tides at the moment and strong winds.  You cannot go anywhere without falling over a drenched photographer.

Fortunately we live 3 miles away from all this.  Although our fields around are having their own problems as the water has nowhere to go now the ground is so wet.  The sheep across the road are practising their breaststroke and bobbing for neeps (swedes, turnips).

I went down to the shedudio much faster than I came back, thanks to the force 10 gale.

Once there,Pavarotti and Madame Butterfly, heater on,I was off into my own world.

I usually have at least two paintings on the go, or three.  I use watercolour and while waiting for it to dry I could do press ups and stretches, but prefer to carry on with another painting.  Other artists are in awe at how prolific I am. What they do not realise is that when I suddenly produce three paintings at once, it has actually taken some time!

I should say here that my header 'At Home' does not mean what it used to mean,when the aristocracy welcomed guests in to their home.  I am not of the aristocracy and if anyone disturbs me down the shed..... so perhaps I should have said,"Not at Home."