Saturday 26 April 2014


What a day weather wise!  As I was performing my morning ablutions there were loud bangs and rumblings.  Concerned about central heating and plumbing, the house ones not mine, I staggered through to the kitchen.  I then saw out of the window flashes of lightning and the rumblings and bangs were explained.  This on a day that was grey and very misty.  So, rather strange to be in the middle of a thunderstorm.

Some time ago I had agreed to have a stall to raise money for Pitsligo Castle.

Rosehearty (Scottish Gaelic: Ros Abhartaich) is a settlement on the Moray Firth coast, four miles west of the town Fraserburgh, in the historical county of Aberdeenshire in Scotland.
The burgh has a population of approximately 1,300 with about 25 per cent of pensionable age. There is one shop, a butcher, a hairdresser and three hotels in the village.
The settlement which is now Rosehearty was founded by a group of shipwrecked Danes in the 14th century[citation needed]. In 1424 the Fraser family built Pitsligo Castle a few hundred yards inland; the castle was enlarged by the Forbes family in 1570. The remains of the Castle are visible from Rosehearty.
Rosehearty didn't officially exist until it was granted a charter in the 1680s by King Charles II.


 Pitsligo Castle as you can see is a ruin.  But one still worth halting the ruin.

So The Friends of Pitsligo Castle was formed and it was they who were on a fund raising two days which was to be just up the road in Peathill Church.

Peathill is now decomissioned as a place of worship but apart from that it is still a kirk.  Pews, pulpit and the unique Pitsligo Pew.

I assume that is where the Laird sat.

Lots of history round this and the Kirk which I may tell you about one day.  But for today I was there to sell pictures.  11 til 4.

My stall.  

  Interior of the church.

A pleasant surprise was that the other stall holders were my friends.

The other surprise was there was no heating, no refreshments and NO LOOS.

At one point I went out, into the car, heater on full blast and found the public loo in Rosehearty.

Sadly by 1.30 I could take no more  I was frozen solid.  But I am back tomorrow...... with friends.


Thursday 24 April 2014

It's getting serious.

This afternoon we had an appointment with the chap who was to take photographs of the house for its House for Sale schedule.  The DP made the appointment.  

(I would have made it for next week to give me a chance/time to do the major declutter.) 

 So I was up at 5.30a.m. to do my bit. 
( I had my Art Group yesterday morning and am still collapsing in an afternoon.)

At 10 I had to be at a board meeting at the Lighthouse Museum.  Hence my early start.        I did quite a bit, including the bathroom cleaned.

 I gave the DP a list of what was to do, as I shot off.  He was not happy to remove things aka House Doctoring and said, "They are buying a dream."  

Well, yes, but not ours.

The Kitchen with window sill almost denuded of mass of orchids, only three flowering at the moment.

Dining room, still looking like a Doctor Who scene - but they are 'buying a dream'. (Psychedelic Nightmare.)

Sitting room.  The above photographs are from the DP.  The Photographer, who had a much larger lens than the DP, went into each room and CLOSED THE DOOR BEHIND HIM ?  Also moved stuff around, which I had said to do should he wish.  He moved the chair in the sitting room where I always wanted it!  But the DP doesnt.  (Its his chair.)

Tomorrow morning we have our first viewing of our list of potential future homes.  The second is Monday.  The owner of the one on Monday works 'off shore' as many do round here. (Oil industry.)  So our viewing is by the handyman of the solicitor. I am sure he will know all about the house.......At least he can turn the key.

Serious stuff going on around us is birth.  Fortunately I am past all that.

Feathers and furry beasts increasing all around us.

Serious stuff but very pleasing.

Now let us go back a bit.  Remember I was up at 5.30a.m. to do my bit.  Well one of my bits is the bathroom I use.  The DP has the shower room upstairs.  So I cleaned the bathroom to within and inch of its life.  It gleamed.

On my return from the board meeting the photographer followed me in so I did not visit the bathroom.  When he had gone I did visit the bathroom.  Immediately I saw the bath.

"Why would the photographer stand in the bath?"  I asked the DP.

"Oh, that would be me.  I was polishing the shiny bits."

Definitely getting serious here.

Monday 21 April 2014

News travels fast.

As in Jill is better.  (I seem to remember saying to myself that I would not do as much as I had been doing......)  So this morning I found myself at a meeting of the three Fraserburgh Art Groups and the Fraserburgh Photographic Society to discuss our joint exhibition in June.  

If I heard "And now Jill is better she can do....."  well, I lost count.  I appear to be responsible for setting up Facebook page and event, all advertising in any media, arranging kids art activities over two days and informing every school in the town and surrounding areas.  

What is that word that starts in N and finishes with O?

Now the DP is no longer looking after me and has recovered from his own sniffles he is back on the Dawn Patrol.

A Roe Buck.  Early morning is the best time to see deer and late evening, they hide the rest of the day.

Presumably so they are not being seen doing silly things.  So silly the DP couldnt focus.

The difficulty in focussing on this is down to the zizz of the bird.  Long Tail Tit not being still.

Or could be waving?

Now I need some help.  Laurie M are you there?  Since being ill and not doing much in the drawing and painting I seem to have hit a black hole.
Confidence in actually putting pencil to paper and heaven forfend a paint brush has totally disappeared.  I have commissions lined up, exhibitions lined up with not a shred of feeling I can do this.  I look around at what I have done and its as if its nothing to do with me, I couldnt have done that,  could I?  I am back at my weekly art group and when there I mess about and excuse my lack of doing anything on 'chatting too much' but, oh dear, I am scared.

News travels a lot faster than my paintbrush.


Sunday 20 April 2014


Today I commenced on sorting out the shedudio..  Now I know many of you in blogland have been scurrying around spring cleaning, decluttering and sorting like the busy people you are.  But for me, for some time now, it has been an effort to even get down to the shed.

This morning was DIFFERENT.  I  woke up and felt really, really strange.  I felt like ME again.  So I got stuck in.

Hmm. That lot can wait.

Tidied the trolley.

Then things went a little pear shaped.  I ended up with more mess than I started with.  But fear not, all those piles, bags and well more bags have got sorted things in them.  Honest.

Cleaned and sorted the sink area.  Can finally see ''Aphrodite at the Waters Edge'.  She is an indoor water feature.  Which I never use.

 So all I need now is a bit more puff to move the bags to where they can be taken off and recycled.  Maybe tomorrow.  

What made this miraculous recovery even more jaw dropping was that we have just had family visit for four days.  Lovely to see them.  But I have had my fill of 5a.m. starts followed by CBeebies.

 I do not encourage eating of chocolate, unless it is me eating it, so I bought Lego for the 5 year old.  Pleasing to see I could still find the relevant bits.

The 2 year old with Duplo.

Both enjoyed the Kids Activities at the Lighthouse Museum.

But lunch still involved a screen......

Happy Easter to all who celebrate it.

Oh, forgot, house received very satisfactory Home Report.  Now house hunting. Post to follow.

Monday 14 April 2014

Home Report.

In Scotland it is still a legal requirement to have a Home Report done by a surveyor before putting your home on the market.

And you have to pay for it before it is carried out.  Over £500 this time.  Three years ago we paid just over £200 for our previous 7 bedroomed half an acre garden property.  Hey ho.

What you get is really quite hysterically funny.

The chimneys and the roof and the gutters are examined with binoculars.  (I have yet to see any surveyor with a pair ....)  There is a lot of "Unable to view due to floorcoverings"  "Furniture"  and "Loft insulation."  Oh really?

Then there are the scary HINTS.  Possible woodworm activity.  i.e. the staircase in this house is the same age as the house built in 1870 so it is bound to have wood worm.  

It really is money for old rope.  

Fortunately, having gone through all this with our previous home we are quite good at seeing through all the doom and gloom on prospective properties.  Flat roofs are prone to collapsing without warning.  Apparently. Even when they have just been put there.....

Then you get the energy report.  Which tells you about loft insulation (got) thermostats in radiators (got) etc. etc. how much you could save on your energy bills if you did .  Havent actually noticed to be honest.

The biggie is that the surveyor values your house.  At which point you kill him.

Deep breaths, not easy with shot lungs.  

And a partner with an infected throat,  he is banished to the spare room.  

We look round and see what needs doing to present our house in its best possible light.  Well, I have wafted a paint brush round.

On the left behind the fireside tools, is where the plumber made a very large hole.  Now boarded back up and after much scrambling round in the garage I found the tin of paint which matched!!!!  Why do I never write on 'kitchen', 'sitting room' et al?  Also covered up all fat splashes round cooker and skid marks from cats sliding down from windowsills.


Then one looks at the potential future home.




Tuesday 8 April 2014

The Gas Man/Plumber Cometh - with apologies to Flanders and Swann

In our case it was THE PLUMBER.  After two years of topping the boiler up with water to maintain pressure and have heat from the radiators, and the list of plumbers who never turned up or did and then went away never to return, we finally got one.

Who found the leak.  Or thought he had.  And then disappeared.  Head in hands, gnashing of teeth.  But he came back!

I had to vacate the premises owing to dust from floors being removed.  Apparently at one point the plumber disappeared under the floor.  Bit like the cat did after his first visit when he left us with a cat size hole. 

 I had a pleasant few hours.  Told to wait ten minutes to buy a bottle of wine as it wasnt ten a.m. yet.  So I went for another trawl round the supermarket, fatal, 

I got a full set of windscreen wipers fitted.   I can now go out when its raining.

And had lunch at the lighthouse museum.  Doing trustee business.  But still had to pay for me lunch.  AND did half hour stand in in the shop and front desk for staff training to be done.

So far quite an expensive day.

After a suitable interval I returned.  The pipes had not gone the way the plumber thought they should.   So a bit more floor had to come up.  So I escaped down the shedudio and bit my nails to the quick.

Now our floor is quite expensive, top of the range laminate flooring, not your B&Q stuff.  It was also discontinued.....  I went to check the house insurance.

This was the culprit.  The right hand nut was the wrong size for what it was fastening on to so water was pumping out, and had been for some very long time.

Once replaced everything went back.  The floor, you cannot tell its been up.  What a relief.

Now with a clear conscience we can put the house on the market.  We need to as after today we need the money.

So I leave you with this.  Many of you will be too young to remember.  I hope you all enjoy.  And empathise.

Sunday 6 April 2014

Happenings in the Broch and surrounds.

Yesterday and today saw the Scottish Kite Buggy Championships on Fraserburgh (the Broch) beach

The beach is quite something.  Beautiful golden sands with a backdrop of dunes..

The biggest of the dunes is called Tiger Hill.  No-one is clear as to why the name was given.  I always thought it looked like a sleeping tiger from where I viewed it (the car park).  But of course dunes move around a bit so it may be significantly different to when it was first given the name.  

The beach side cafe is called Tiger Cafe.

It must be quite difficult to harness the wind, to ensure you go in the right direction.  Though the DP did say it all seemed quite chaotic!

People surf here every day.  And we have the Surfing Championship some years. 

 Now who would have thought that happened in the North East of Scotland?  

What really p****s me 0ff is that no-one knew this championship was happening.  Absolutely no publicity whatsoever.  One despairs.  Here are we trying to promote the area and all it has to offer.  Aaaaargh.

On the agricultural side of things, equally if not more important, we are now seeing lambs.  Probably later than elsewhere in the country.  But you never know what the winter is going to throw at you..  This year there has been a lot of supplementary feeding as we, like everyone else, had so much rain.  We havent had any snow which is very strange.

When the sheep first give birth the small field at the top of our road becomes the nursery.  And they are gathered into it and get their bums painted , with a number, as I went past today I noticed that number 6 ewe had three babies with 6 on their bums.  Once everything looks to be all well they are moved to a big field.  Hope number 6 copes.

Any field that doesnt have livestock in it is being ploughed.  Where the sheep were across the road from our house has been ploughed.  The sheep had all gained the required weight eating neeps....and had gone off to the abattoir.  The field to our rear has also been ploughed.  That has had Barley in it since we came here, whether there will be a change this year remains to be seen.  Where we lived before it would have been Oil Seed Rape but just 12 miles away they dont seem to go in for that.

On the home front.  It has taken me 4 weeks to 'do a bit' of decluttering.  No photos as I was so ashamed.  I can now visit the loo in the night without falling over stuff.  Floor cleared.  Bag to charity shop, bag of rubbish, bag of rags.  Plus lots of other shall I shant I in bags and then stashed away in the wardrobes.  Neatly of course.

This morning I also got so fed up of waking and wanting to go straight back I did a few of my physiotherapy exercises.  It worked.  Allelulia.


Friday 4 April 2014

Back to the drawing board.

After the excitement of earlier on in the week I have been  trying to carry on with recovering and TAKING THINGS STEADY.  Because thats what everyone is telling me to do - whilst asking me to do things......

School holidays commenced so Kids Activities at the Lighthouse Museum next Thursday and the following Thursday.  This time last year we had over 80 kids at each session.  Pirates being a popular theme..

 This April/Easter we are doing Castles.  Our Lighthouse is built on top of a castle.

So all things Castles.  I have amassed a great pile of cereal boxes.  These will be piled up together with lots of bits and pieces and double sided sticky tape, and the challenge is to make a castle from all said bits and pieces. ..... 

We also have shields, tiaras, dragons, helmets, crowns, etc. to be made.  The only thing missing will be ME.  Banned by my g.p. (doctor) from hordes of snotty nosed kidsHuh.

Done all the planning, obtained the bits and pieces required, can't even tell the story at the end.  Not fair.  One real plus is we have the wonderful Adele who is to be me.  She is at University and learning how to be a teacher.  She is also one of the Lighthouse's seasonal guides and has leapt at the chance.  Hmmmmm.

Anyroads I finally got my mojo back.  After not lifting a paint brush for four weeks I was really worried I might never want to paint again but then out of nowhere I wanted to paint my granddaughter.  Now I am crap at people, prefer a four legged beastie any day, but I just wanted to okay?

The DP had caught her in this reflective mode which I loved.  So I had a go.  Its not finished by a long way.  But when shown the picture, she said, "Thats me."   I nearly wept, well I am quite fragile at the moment......

Then I did a bit more to the lurcher sitting in the middle of fallen cherry blossom (just so you know what all the pink and white bits are).

AND THEN I saw these...

Photos taken by Kenny Buchan, a local photographer, not the DP for a change.  Wow .

So back to the drawing board.  Oh, and I am raising a glass of red wine, for the recovery and taking it easy of course.....

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Who is reading your blog?

You just never know do you?

Some weeks back I was contacted by a researcher from the......

Who told me they had been reading my blog and really liked it.  Could they speak to me on the telephone?  As I had just realised I had yet another chest infection I asked for them to leave it a week.  Ha ha.  Four weeks later I realise I am not about to die, not just yet, but in betweenst I manage to speak to another researcher and found myself agreeing to be interviewed.  

A documentary is being made about the Independence vote in Scotland.  As someone passionate about the North East and an incomer to boot I am an 'angle' . Well there you go.

The lead person, presenter or whatever they are really called is that intrepid rambler, among many other achievements, finalist in Celebrity Master Chef, a Loose Woman, ex editor of the Independent , etc. etc. Janet Street Porter, who is tramping Scotland and finding out what the ordinary people think about Scottish Independence.

So today I tootled off to the Lighthouse Museum and met the team.  Naturellement the Lighthouse Museum was my idea, what better place to a) get some publicity, and b) how photogenic!

 So here we have, two camera persons, one I think was also a director, a sound man, a researcher and an assistant researcher, who also looked after JSPs handbag.  NO make up person, I fully expected the works, a make over, apparently Oil of Olay my usual wrinkle filler was fine...  

Now the sound man.. You have this thing you drop down your cleavage, the top bit is stuck inside the top of your frock or whatever and the bottom is stuck into a square effort which is latched onto your rear waist band.  At one point I had to go to the loo and the sound man was very concerned I would drop the square effort in the loo.  I assured him I wouldn't and then got very worried he had the sound on, he assured me he hadn't.

After a lot of sound checks, light checks, researchers pretending to be me and JSP we were finally off. 

When asked a question, none of which I was expecting, there was no rehearsal, I have a tendency to look above, away from the questioner, this indicates I am thinking....They didnt like that, I had to look at Janet.  Then she was told she hadnt asked enough questions so we had to do it again anyway.  But we got there in the end.

I have to say that having met and talked, not just in the interview , to Janet Street Porter that I really liked her.  She is what you see.  And she is really pretty..... huh.  She is sitting down in the photo as she actually is about twice my height.

So there you go.  The documentary should be out at the end of May and may be throughout the UK, not just Scotland.  I will let you know.

So! Who  is reading your blog?