23 November, 2010

Flooded and Spoilt

And I don’t mean the weather, although we’ve had plenty of rain recently, and there have been quite a lot of little floods on the road. The River Nith in Dumfries hasn’t burst its banks yet, so we haven’t officially had proper flooding yet!

No, it’s not the weather, it’s the car.

I made a complete fool of myself yesterday. I felt like a pathetic, girly wuss.

Frazer was here for the weekend, and yesterday morning he headed off to work, as he had to do a site visit not far from here. As I was leaving to go to work, got into the car as normal, and tried to turn it on. Nothing. This is my nice, new car remember, so to say I was annoyed is putting it lightly. I thought it was the battery, so I called Frazer, who came back to try to jump start it. The last time I needed a jump start I discovered that there are loads of men, some living in my street, who don’t know how to do it! Incredible really. Every man should at least know how to ump start a car. Anyway, I digress…

The jump start didn’t work, and we decided that the battery was fine after all. I then called the autocare plan I have with the dealership where I got the car, and they said they’d send someone out.

An hour or so later, the nice AA man arrived (no, not Alcoholics Anonymous!). I explained what had happened, and he said he thought he knew what it was. He got into the car, turned on the ignition, and floored the accelerator until it started. Apparently the engine was just flooded. He asked me if I’d been anywhere the day before, or if I had just moved the car. I had only moved it, because we had spent Sunday afternoon cleaning the cars, and they were lovely and pristine! He said it’s a common fault in Vauxhalls, that if you start the engine and then stop it again within a few seconds, the engine floods, and because you haven’t let the engine run, it doesn’t un-flood. Not one I’ve ever heard of before – it never happened with the Corsa, and we had that for 13yrs. Anyway, he said that to sort it out you just put your foot down on the accelerator pedal and don’t pump it.

I felt such a fool. I buggered up Frazer’s work day and he had to resort meetings etc, I called an AA man out, and I was 2½ hours late for work, which I have since had to make up. All because the engine was flooded. He did say that he gets called out a lot for the same fault though.

So, not a good start to the week.

However, the end of the week should more than make up for it. After work on Friday, I am getting the train up to Glasgow to meet Frazer. Isla is staying over at her best friend’s house, and we are having a proper, grown up night out. I’ve never been to Glasgow, other than the airport, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Frazer told me he’d booked a cheap hotel for the night, which I was perfectly happy with, but then he told me he hadn’t actually booked that one, but the Grand Central Hotel instead! It’s seriously posh and smart, and I am so excited! We’re going out with some friends of his for a smart dinner (I have been told no jeans! L), and then some Christmas shopping on the Saturday before we come home. Massively excited, I’ve never stayed in a really posh hotel before! No idea what we’re eating, will wait and see!

And meanwhile I am preparing for Christmas. I’ve got quite a few presents sorted, and will get Isla’s and Frazer’s at the end of this week. Not a clue what to get my parents, but I’m sure I’ll find something! We’ve got a wee while to go yet!


A more light hearted topic today – chavvy names people name their kids. I’ve been collecting the worst ones I’ve come across over the last few months, and some are truly awful! I have no idea where the parents find the names, or why they even think they are nice.

I think the easiest thing to do is list them and let you decide if you like them or not! Apologies to anyone whose kids’ names appear!






Braedigh (Brady)


Cayce (Casey)


D’Andre (pronounced dee-andray)




Acerjoe (I think a few people love their computers far too much!)




Ptolomy (maybe not chavvy but terrible anyway!)

Rubii (Ruby)



Nevaeh (Heaven backwards!)



Jazmine (not too bad as a rule, but never with a Z!)













Nimoy (maybe they didn’t like Spock?!)




Amoy (Stirfry anyone?!)








Neev (liked the name obviously but couldn’t spell it – it’s Niamh dimwits!)










And, of course, the old standbys…

Kayden and Jayden

What I can’t get over is the fact that some people like to name their kids perfectly nice, normal names, but for that little bit of “individuality” they muck about with the spelling – eg Emaleigh, Abygayle and Zakari - it's unique innit – what’s that all about? Perfectly good names until you mangled them! And adding “ii” onto the end of a name – unfortunately we have Jordan to thank for that with her Princess Tiaamii! Some of the names are clearly made up too.

I can’t understand why people would want to saddle their kids with appalling names. For example, how is Brie going to get on when she decides she wants to become a doctor or a solicitor? She’ll never be taken seriously! Dr Cheesey anyone? Or the Reverend Kayden? Or Destiny QC? Unfortunately, there is a section of our society that, in all probability, won’t get far in life, thanks to the names they have been saddled with by their parents. Thanks Mum and Dad, you ruined my dreams of becoming Prime Minister by naming me L’Mel!

I have looked at the top 100 baby names of 2010 for boys and for girls, and the vast majority of them are pretty normal. Some owe their origins to our multi-cultural society which is fair enough. And some are just simply awful.

What’s your opinion?

02 November, 2010

Britain vs France

It shouldn't come down to this, but it does, time and time again. This post is in support of a fellow blogger who feels that she has been forced to stop her blog, due to some small minded people who seem unable to accept that there is another viewpoint to their own. I have had similar trouble in the past because of cyber bullying, and am sad and disappointed tht one of my favurite blogs is no longer being written. I am even sadder for the blogger, who really enjoyed writing it.

We have had similar experiences in moving back to UK from France, and it all happened around the same time, so it has been nice to be able to compare the experience.

I moved back here last year, and I have not regretted the decision one little bit. I do not miss France at all. If you are retired, and have the money to live there comfortably then yes, I'm sure it's a very lovely life, and good for you if that's the case. However, if you are younger and trying to eke out a living then it's a damned hard place to live. I spent nine years trying to get a proper job, and that's with fluent French. I spent all that time doing bits and pieces and living a hand to mouth existence. It's not living, it's surviving. And while I do know that not everyone has that experience, most of the people I know and knew, did have that experience.

My daughter went to school in France, and I actually had a good experience of the education system. She left half way through CM2 having been there since she was 3. The education was good, the teachers were brilliant, and the food was top notch. She made excellent friends there, and is constantly in touch with most of them still, through msn and facebook. The only complaint I had was that it was all a little too "learn by rote" for my taste, and I hated the fact that all french school kids have exactly the same handwriting, leaving little room for personality or creativity to shine through. My daughter is now at a school in Scotland and loving every minute of it. The education system in Scotland has always been regarded as excellent, and it gives her the chance for that creativity to blossom. The school food is ok - not a patch on that in France - but not as bad as I had feared it might be. Vegetables do actually appear regularly on the menu, despite what many people may think.

I don't get why some people get a perverse thrill from slagging off the country of their birth? They come up with reasons - I think they're excuses - as to their hatred of Britain.

It's too cold, it's too expensive, people are so miserable, it rains all the time, it's all so built up, it's all ugly, there is nowhere beautiful, the food is dreadful and so on and so forth. France is wonderful, France is this, that and the bloody other - get over yourselves! Why do you feel the need to do this? Does it make you feel big and clever to do nothing but criticise the country from whence you came? Does it give you pleasure?

It drives me mad!

OK, I used to live in France. But that does not mean that I hated Britain. In fact, it's quite the opposite. I love it, particularly Scotland.

OK, the weather in Britain isn't that great. But it's not constantly bad. On a sunny day there is no place more beautiful than, for example, Somerset or the Highlands, or Devon. The autumn in Scotland is the most beautiful season - the colours are incredible. In France the summers are hot, the winters are cold. Simple. The countryside is not as green as in Britain, and this is due to less rain. So, either more rain and beautiful, lush green grass, or less rain and brown dull fields. The one thing I desperately missed in France was the greennesss of Britain. Ok, we have to put up with more rain, but it’s worth it to not have to look out of the window and see brown, drab fields.

Too expensive - don't make me laugh! Have you tried filling your car up with petrol in France recently? It's cheaper in Britain you know. I generally shop in Tesco or Asda and the great majority of products are cheaper than you would find in Leclerc or Carrefour. Yes, this is probably due to the weak pound, but that's not going to change any time soon. About the only thing I can find that is more expensive is cigarettes and wine. Apart from them, most things seem cheaper. OK, in UK there is very expensive council tax, but for most people in France it's not that much cheaper. So stop whinging that Britain is expensive because, if you do your research, you'll find that it ain't necessarily so.

People are miserable? Durr, there's a recession on you know. And it isn't just in Britain either. Jobs are no easier to find in France, in fact it's harder to find a job in France, especially in rural areas, which is where most expats settle! In UK, people can find jobs, if they are willing to do anything. But stacking shelves or cleaning is so below some people that they would rather be on the dole and sponge off the government. And that's good why exactly?

It's all so built up is it? Have you ever been to rural Hampshire? Or Somerset? Or Dumfries and Galloway? The cities are built up, the countryside isn't. You could say the same of France, which has many cities that are hugely bigger than those in UK. Every country has its beautiful parts - don't generalise on the basis of inner cities.

The food in France is, in my opinion, not much cop. It's fine if you like steak, duck, greasy duck or goose liver, or baked bean with sausages which is all that cassoulet is. I'd rather have the Heinz variety personally. I have no idea where France's reputation as a gastronomic nation has come from. Britain, on the other hand, has some delicious food, and no, it's not all swimming in grease. Steak and Ale pie is the food of the gods! I know that Britain has some wonderful food, because I used to cook it for a living.

Compared to Britain, France isn't so wonderful. The thing that is wonderful about it, is that people can move there, where nobody knows them, and completely reinvent themselves, which is what a lot of people do. They can be anything they want to be, and there is no one around to contradict them. The expat community can be great, but you have to be careful who you tell what to, because if there is an opportunity to stab you in the back, there are many people who will do so.

The amount of people with whom I keep in touch, I can count on one hand. The friends that count are the ones I have had for years. Most of the people I knew in France were fairweather friends. Out of sight, out of mind, and that's just fine.

To those people who say they are “living the dream” – how I loathe and detest that phrase – are you really? Is it really your dream, and who are you trying to convince? Why do you think that you have to justify your overseas life by bashing the UK? For most of us it’s something we’ve tried because we quite fancied it. For some it works, and for some it doesn’t. Don’t criticise those who have had the balls to admit they’ve made a mistake and decided to go home again. Because it doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in France, never forget that Britain is still home (in fact many people still have a house there so they have a bolthole in case it does all go horribly wrong).

So what's my conclusion? France has its good points, but so does Britain folks. And don't forget that, because, for most of you, it is Britain that is still paying your pension, your winter fuel allowance and your health care. Don't criticise the country that is paying for you to live out your old age in another country.

And don't be afraid to be proud to be British, whether it is English, Scottish, Northern Irish or Welsh. Well, maybe I'll let you off if you're Welsh!! But be British and proud. We should accept and embrace our own culture and country, and be proud of where we come from, and not deny our own roots.

Your country is not awful, it's actually a pretty great place.

01 November, 2010

Introducing F

Ok, so for the last year or so (despite my absence of several months!) you’ve heard quite a bit about F. Well, he’s given me permission to use his name, not just his initial, so I’ll tell you a little more about him.

His name is Frazer, and we’ve been together for just over a year. We were actually at school together, and we went out for about three weeks at the end of 6th year, back in 1995. It wasn’t the romance of the century, we decided we were better as friends, both went off to separate universities and lost touch for years. We kind of got back in touch through Facebook two or three years ago, but never actually corresponded. It wasn’t until I came back up here last year that we spoke again.

You know the story of me losing my job at the pub in Cheltenham and coming back up north? Well, Joocey arranged a night out in Dumfries for that first weekend I was back, and she contacted Frazer on Facebook and invited him along. As luck would have it, he was down that weekend for his mum’s birthday anyway, so he said yes. We had a great night out, and got on brilliantly again. We arranged that I would go up to see him the following weekend for a Festival show and a night out in Edinburgh. He’d bought a bottle of Moet for when I arrived, which I was impressed with! We had a great evening, and a really lovely weekend together, and have been together ever since.

Frazer lives in Edinburgh, but is working in Glasgow at the moment, so he’s down here more weekends that I’m up there, mainly because it’s easier with Isla, and she can still go out and play with her mates here, whereas she gets quite bored in the flat in Edinburgh, so we have to try to organise stuff to amuse her. Also, from Glasgow, it’s just as easy for him to come down here as it is to drive back to Edinburgh on a Friday night. We see each other most weekends, although now and again we have a weekend off to do our own thing. I miss him like mad during the week, but on the other hand, it makes the weekends more special, and after a year we both still make the effort for each other. He and Isla get on amazingly well, which was a massive worry.

We’ve had a few little ups and downs, but, without wanting to tempt fate, I’m really happy at the moment.

13 October, 2010

Lemon Meringue Pie

This is the best Lemon Meringue Pie that I've come across. The biscuit base instead of pastry makes it a lot lighter, and I always do three times the amount of meringue that it says, because, as everyone knows, that's the best bit!

Can't claim it's my own recipe I'm afraid, but it's a goodie! Enjoy!


It’s generally men of a certain age who are technophobes. Not even old men really, but late middle aged. In their last 20 or so years in work they must have worked with computers of one sort or another, yet they still stick firmly to their guns that they have no idea about “technology” – and they say it with the quotation marks too! Half the time I don’t even think they’re telling the truth. They must know something about computers, otherwise half of them wouldn’t have had jobs in the last 20 odd years or more. It’s not hard, most of these things are idiot proof and you just follow the instructions.

For some people it’s almost a badge of pride. “Oh no, I have no idea how to use this, I’m useless with technology”. They say this with a proud little smile, as though you’re meant to be impressed with that. Why would you be? When did this become something to be proud about? It’s all rather sad really.

As I said, it is generally men. Most women have had to come to grips with it, because the men won’t. It goes back as far as video players. How many people do you know who never knew how to programme their videos to record something? Or even now, refuse to embrace dvd’s because they’re to complicated?

I deal with this on a daily basis, and cannot understand how some people haven’t moved with the times. Fair enough, with the elderly people it is a bit difficult, but at least they have the gumption to ask for help. The technophobe man just shouts that he can’t do it because of course he’s just not very good with technology.

Why don’t these people pull their fingers out and join the 21st century?

Interviews and Reviews

A couple of links that you might be interested in looking at.

About 2 years ago I was approached by another blogger to do an interview about expat life in France which you can find here.

And the other night I discovered that my blog has been reviewed – favourably I might add – here.

Just thought I’d share these with you. You can find lots of other interesting blogs through these two links as well.

12 October, 2010

Interesting Weekend

Well…that was an interesting weekend. I just met my biological father for the first time in 33 years.

To backtrack a little…on Bastille Day (14th July) my mum had been out for lunch, got home in the evening, switched on the computer, and found a message through Friends Reunited asking if she knew this particular person. She phoned me straight away, and basically said it was up to me what I did with the information. So I sent a message back via Friends Reunited giving my email address, and got an email back from his partner the same evening. He (J) doesn’t do email, so it was through his partner to start with. We started off exchanging a few letters and photographs, progressed to texting, then phone calls. And this weekend was the first actual meeting!

They came up on Saturday, and got here around 3ish. J and I nipped into town to get some steaks for dinner from the butchers, and left his partner here with Isla and F. Got back and had a lovely first evening – F and I got a bit sloshed – and we played Trivia which kind of broke the ice a bit – competitiveness will always do that! J&J went back to their hotel at about 2am! They stayed at the Lochinvar Hotel in the village, so was literally 2 minutes from the house!
On the Sunday, F and I woke up slightly hungover! We had to go across to his parents’ to collect their car as F’s borrowing it this week as his clutch failed last week – the car saga continues! The only problem is, that that particular road is well known for making people ill! We had gone in J’s car, so it was me, F and Isla in the back. Neither F or I are good in the back of a car, but I wasn’t too bad. We had to stop though for F to get some fresh air as that road really makes him ill, even when he’s driving himself!! We had lunch in a café there, dropped F off at his parents, and I took J & J (his partner is also J so may have to think of something else other than initials!) into Dumfries to have a little look. We didn’t get out of the car but I showed them the nice places, and took them up to where I work. We then came home via Castle Douglas, and I showed them Loch Ken which is beautiful.

We had another lovely evening. I did a Raclette, which is a Swiss cheese dish where you grill meat on top and melt cheese underneath and have it with bread or cheese.
It’s a very sociable meal and everyone was most impressed. We played Scrabble that night and I won! Obviously!

F had to go back to work on Monday morning (yesterday), but I had a couple of days off this week because it’s the October holidays. We went out in my car to a local distillery, Bladnoch, as J is a big single malt fan.
We then went to the Isle of Whithorn, which is beautiful, and sat and had a drink by the little harbour there. Unfortunately, we got there just after the pub had stopped serving meals, so we went back into the town of Whithorn and found a café and had fish and chips. J and I did dinner together last night, and I set Isla to teach J (J’s partner J) how to use facebook, as she’s been on there for a couple of years but had no idea how to actually use it! While the dinner was cooking, J and I sat down and went through all the photographs he’s sent me so far, which was really interesting. Much better than just looking at them on my own. We had a lovely evening again, and they left about 11ish as they were leaving this morning.

So…today I’ve had a really lazy day! It was a lovely weekend, and very interesting, but it was nice to relax and wear scruffy clothes! All weekend I was well behaved, moderated my language, dressed nicely etc! Was nice to spend a day just slobbing! Went out to the doctors earlier, came back, had lunch and fell asleep on the couch! I woke up at 5.50, rushed down to the garage to get fuel for tomorrow – lucky that, as they close at 6!

So back to work tomorrow for a few days, and then it’s the weekend again! Phew! And next week I have three days off which will be lucky. Might be spending that weekend helping F pack up his flat as he’s trying to find somewhere else to live. We’ll see what happens!

24 September, 2010


In August, while Isla was in France, F and I went away for a few days on holiday. The original plan (his, I might add) was to take a tent and camp in the highlands for a few days. I was dubious about this, not being a tent kinda gal, but while I was checking out campsites on the web, I came across a website for the Loch Ness Caravan Park, which was offering Hobbit Houses. It’s like a barrel turned on its side, with a proper bed, a wee fridge and plugs for charging phones etc! Much more my style! Mentioned it to F and he duly got it booked.We went up during the second week of August, I’d arranged for a friend to come into the house and feed the cat every day. We decided to go in the Red Shed (the nickname for the Peugeot) as it used a lot less fuel than F’s car, and we were both insured to drive it so could share the driving. I went up to Edinburgh on the Friday night, and we headed off on the Saturday morning. Stopped for lunch near Perth – Perthshire is one of the most beautiful regions of Scotland, SO green and lovely! Made it to the campsite and found our wee Hobbit House, but were slightly disappointed as we didn’t have a loch view, it was obscured by bushes. We dumped our stuff, and went back into Fort Augustus (which we’d come through on the way) as it was the nearest place with shops and restaurants. We had the most delicious dinner – Balmoral Chicken – chicken breast on a bed of haggis with a rich and creamy honey, mustard and whisky sauce! It was totally delicious! I really must try making it at some point, and uploading the recipe if it works!The second day we decided to go up to Inverness to see Culloden and to try to find the Clava Cairns. We never did find the Cairns, and got hopelessly lost driving in circles around Inverness – honestly, they don’t believe in clearly signposting the way to their tourist attractions! We did, however, make it to Culloden. I’d been a few times before, but F had never been. I’d been there before in dreich sort of weather, and it can be quite an unsettling place to visit. You can feel the history all around you, and it can be quite bleak. That day however, the weather wasn’t too bad, and it just felt completely peaceful. It was lovely.We went back to the caravan site in the evening, to find a note on our door telling us to move along a couple of Hobbits. F had been to have a wee word with the boss that morning to have a bit of a moan about the lack of a loch view, and he said he’d do what he could for us. And lo and behold we got our loch view!We arrived to find a new bunch of people had moved in just for one night next door. They were sort of late 20’s, and were already sitting at the picnic table having already eaten and made a good start on a drunken evening. We quickly caught up, and had a really brilliant evening.Unfortunately, they left the next day, and we got the Weegie (Glaswegian) family from hell, who didn’t believe in talking to their children nicely when shouting would do the job so much better! Did wonders for our hangovers! We escaped to a very smart nearby hotel, where F mainlined pots of tea and I had diet coke, and we had a very nice dinner there too. We didn’t do a lot of exploring that day, but did drive quite a way along the loch so that I could take some pictures of Urqhuart Castle.The next day we went back into Fort Augustus and went on a boat trip up the loch. The weather wasn’t bad, and the boat trip was lovely.The plan then was to go back south into Perthshire to stay there and have a look at F’s clan castle. Well, we got down there, through some appalling weather. I’d have loved to have taken some gorgeous pictures of Glencoe as we drove through, but the rain was pelting down so hard that there was no way I was going to expose myself to it, let along my camera! F slept most of the way! He’s not the most exciting person for a road trip – he’s like a big kid, the car makes him go to sleep! Anyway, we got down to Aberfeldy, andcould find a hotel for love nor money. Well…that’s not entirely true. Money would have done it…and extortionate amount in fact. As we were only about an hour away from Edinburgh we decided just to get back there to F’s flat. We stopped off for dinner in Perth, when the car started to make a funny noise. We pulled up on the main street, and discovered we had a puncture. Looked for the jack…there wasn’t one! Luckily, F is a member of the RAC, so they came to change the wheel. In the meantime, we found a great little Chinese buffet style restaurant, just off the main street. I have to say, I was quite proud of the Red Shed – we did about 800 miles in it, and the only problem was a puncture. It did us proud!

We got back to Edinburgh and had a day or so to recover before we started our festivalling! I had never seen anyone famous, so we had a couple of shows booked. We saw Greg Davies (amazingly funny), Ardal O’Hanlon (brilliant), some skinny Australian dude called Sammy J, a freebie Ghanaian Scottish comedian and Axis of Awesome who were, in a word, awesome!! So, I got my fill of famous people! I also got winked at by a famous actor that I recognised, but still cannot for the life of me remember his name! Very irritating!

We had about 10 days off together and it was lovely, it was just a shame to have to come home and get back to work. I think we’ll have to go back up to Loch Ness at some point with Isla as she’d love it there.

Maybe next year…

Last 6 months in a nutshell

Right, well…hmmmm…if I have any blog readers left then my sincere apologies for not updating since April! Jeez, that’s half a year ago! I can only hope that I show up on your RSS thingummyjigs, otherwise no bugger’s ever going to read this again!

Life has had its ups and downs since then; mainly due to cars, as you’ll know if you’re friends with me on Facebook! I had a wee bit of an accident in the Corsa back in June, rendering it unuseable ever again.N
eeding a car I jumped at the first one available (M reg Peugeot 405 estate) which, in retrospect, was a mistake.The first hint of mistakenness was when the alternator decided to pack up, leaving me broken down, outside the Caledonian Hotel in the middle of Edinburgh! This was not a good couple of days! The car got fixed, and I stuck with it for a few months until I was reliably informed that it would be more worthwhile taking it to the scrappies rather than getting the MOT done! To be fair, I was going to try to flog it anyway, even if it had passed the MOT, because it was far too big for me. I have no need for an estate car, and the engine was too big too. So, car was duly delivered to scrapyard, who gave me £100 for it, and I now have a nice Astra on HP.I decided that it was ridiculous buying a cheap car which would die on me in a couple of months, and it was worth seeing if I’d be accepted for finance to get something decent. So, happy bunny now!

So the car troubles have been a large part of my life for about the last four or five months! There have been some ups though, as well as the downs! I’m still seeing F, and he and Isla get on really well together, which is a big relief! Isla went back to France for her summer holidays, and F and I went away for a few days up north, which I’ll talk about in a separate post.

The job is still going ok, I’m trying to see if I can get further in it, as I’m kind of bored with what I’m doing, so we’ll see if that pays off.

Well, that’s kind of up to date in a very small nutshell! I will try to be better at blogging, I’ve just kind of let it lapse recently!

Must try harder :-)

13 April, 2010

What have you done?

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to DisneyWorld
8. Climbed a mountain
- sort of - have driven up the Pyrenees!
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
11. Bunjee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own veggies
19. Seen the Mona Lisa at the Louvre
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillowfight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not sick
24. Made a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Ran a marathon
27. Went skinny dipping
28. Rode in a gondola in Venice
29. Witnessed total eclipse
30. Seen a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
- in rounders!
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace/ home of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish country
36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Taken a ride in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted (Does art class in Std 8 count?)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower - three quarters of the way anyway!
50. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
51. Kissed in the rain
52. Played in the mud
53. Gone to a drive-in theater
54. Been in a movie (this one is a stretch I was in a TV advert).
55. Visited the Great Wall of China
56. Started a business
57. Taken a martial arts class
58. Visited Russia
59. Worked at a soup kitchen
60. Sold Girl Scout cookies
61. Gone whale watching
62. Gotten flowers for no reason
63. Donated blood, platelets, or plasma
64. Gone sky diving
65. Visited Nazi concentration camp
66. Bounced a check
67. Flown in a helicopter
68. Saved a childhood toy
69. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
70. Eaten caviar
71. Pieced a quilt
72. Stood in Times Square
73. Toured the Everglades
74. Been fired from a job
75. Seen the changing of the guards in London
76. Broken a bone
77. Been a passenger on a motorcycle
78. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
79. Published a book

80. Visited the Vatican
81. Bought a brand new car - well, have been bought a brand new car anyway!
82. Visited Jerusalem
83. Had your picture in the paper
84. Kissed a stranger at midnight on New Year’s Eve
85. Visited the White House
86. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
87. Had chickenpox
88. Saved someone’s life
89. Sat on a jury
90. Met someone famous
91. Joined a book club
92. Got a tattoo
93. Had a baby
94. Seen the Alamo in person
95. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
96. Been involved in a law suit
97. Owned a cell phone
98. Been stung by a bee
99. Swam in the Black Sea
100. Sold
term life insurance
Go on copy and paste, you know you want to! Anyone can participate!

07 April, 2010

Six Month Anniversary

Easter Sunday was the six month anniversary of when I moved into my wee house! Doesn't seem that long at all, and I'm amazed at how much I've achieved in that six months. The only room left to decorate is the sitting room.

We had a great Easter weekend. On Saturday we went down to Carlisle and met up with F, Joocey and her bloke and her sister. We went bowling, which was fun, and I almost equalled my previous best score! It was Isla's first time bowling, and she actually did ok!

We went back to Dumfries after that, had KFC, and then went home. F was down for the whole weekend, and we spent Sunday chilling out watching movies and eating chocolate (compulsory!), and on Monday we did some more chilling, then went swimming and had a Chinese before F had to go back up to Edinburgh.

Excellent weekend - the next one planned is May Bank holiday when we've got Edinburgh touristy stuff planned.

Hope your weekend was just as good!

21 March, 2010

Life As We Now Know It

So, since then life has been just me and Isla. I’m at work, she’s at school and life is good! She's settled in at school brilliantly, has made a few friends, and is finding the work easy! We’ve been out for a couple of walks when the weather’s been good and seen friends. Last week was Mother’s Day, and our plan was to go to the fair. I’d also had a text from F the night before asking us if we wanted to join him and his mum at the cinema to see Alice In Wonderland. We got into town and the fair was shut, so we had chips, and met them at the cinema. The movie was pretty rubbish, and F kept falling asleep and starting to snore! Isla and his mum enjoyed it though, and afterwards we went and got a coffee (well, diet coke for me and Isla!) and had a chat for a bit. It was Isla and F’s first meeting, and they hit it off almost too well! Within minutes they were ganging up on me!! In a good way though!

After that, we went home via the Cat Protection place and got a pussy cat! He’s about 1 or 2, they’re not quite sure, and he’s gorgeous. He’s called Milo – not massively keen on the name but he seems to know it and no one has come up with a better alternative so it’s going to have to stick! He’s a bit nuts, but I think it’s the first time he’s lived in a house. He is lovely though, and since the second night he has slept on my bed and purrs louder than a steam train!
This weekend was meant to be a weekend of intense relaxation but it didn’t quite work out that way. I got home from work on Friday night, made dinner and fell asleep on the couch. Joocey phoned – she was in Edinburgh staying with her sister – to tell me that they had picked up a waif and stray (F) in the supermarket, were having a party and I should come up. F shouted that he’d pay my fuel – being the end of the month I’m a bit skint! – and so within ten minutes we were on the road having packed a bag, sorted out the cat and got going! We got up there eventually after a massive diversion that took us through all the highways and byways! Isla stayed up for a while playing Nintendo with F and whupping his ass! I mainlined the first vodka, and within an hour had caught up with all the others! I’m a lightweight when it comes to alcohol which is always god as it makes a cheap night out, and means I can arrive late at a party and be caught up with everyone really quickly! Isla went to bed, and after that it turned into a pretty raucous evening with motown music, dancing, learning how to throw bottles and juggling lessons! It was a brilliant night. F and I went back to his flat at about 4am – I woke Isla and we got a taxi and she went straight to bed when we got there. We stayed up another hour or so catching up, and then went spark out! The next morning we were both hungover but I got up and made breakfast and we all slobed on the sofa watching Fantastic Mr Fox, which was crap! We went across to Joocey’s sister’s to collect the car, Isla went into town with Joocey for a bit of a walk around Edinburgh, and F and I went back to the flat for a while.

I collected Isla around 7 last night, and we came home. I saw a shooting star over the Dalveen Pass which was pretty amazing. I’ve seen loads of shooting stars in France, but never one here.

And today we’ve managed to do some heavy duty relaxing. Although I’ve got a couple of jobs done too. I have birthday cards made until the end of May and managed to fix my coffee table so it no longer wobbles!

The next thing to look forward to is Easter weekend. We’re all getting together again and going bowling in Carlisle which should be a laugh. And then I have some time off work which will be fantastic!

Settling In

February was spent decorating! My mum and dad came over at the end of the month, so before that I had to get Isla’s room decorated and the spare room, so most of my spare time was taken up doing that. Had another weekend in Edinburgh and went bowling again, and on the Saturday we had a great touristy day wandering around the old town and happy snapping which was great.
We had snow again though which wasn’t so great, as on my way to work one day, the day my parents and Isla were travelling up through France, I had quite a bad accident in the car. I hadn’t even got a quarter of the way there, got caught in a skid, couldn’t control it and went into a really deep ditch going into the back of the car who had got caught in the same skid about 10 minutes before me. I knew it was going to happen for about 30 seconds before it actually did and did this pathetic little scream as I was descending into the ditch! I then had to struggle to get out of the car as it was at such an angle in the ditch, and then had to stand around in the blizzarding snow waiting for my best mate and his dad to arrive to rescue me.We managed to find a farmer to pull the car out, and J drove it back to Castle Douglas while I went in the car with his dad. J took me down to their house, fund me some dry, warm clothes and I had a hot shower because I was totally freezing through to my bones. By 9pm tht night, the car was driveable home as they ordered the parts in the morning and got it done straight away. I don’t know what I would do without them.

And two days later, Isla arrived! She has settled in brilliantly! She and my mum and dad arrived on the Friday, we had Joocey over at the weekend, and Isla started school on the Monday. My mum and dad were here for a week, and during that time we got the kitchen decorated and my dad completed the list of jobs I had for him! It wasn’t really long enough though, as they had to get back down south to see Grandma for a little while before heading back to France.

Long time no see!

I apologise for being a useless blogger over the last few months! Things have been pretty hectic and every night when I sit down on the couch I fall asleep, hence the reason the blog has been neglected!

The last post was New Year – a lot has happened since then!

January started off ok but we had loads of snow and I got stuck at home for four days as I couldn’t get the car out of the street! I was seriously bored! It’s fine being at home when you have the choice, but when you’re stuck it’s not exactly fun! It took 5 big, strong men, with sack loads of grit to push the car out of the ice patch it was stuck on! The problem was that the snow we'd had before Christmas hadn't melted and had just turned to ice, and then it snowed again on top of that! I love snow normally, but you can have too much of it!I had a great long weekend in Edinburgh staying at F’s and we went to see some comedy at the Stand which was good. The car broke down on my last day up there and I just fell apart! It wouldn’t start and F arranged for a garage to come and pick it up but it hit me really hard. My problem is that the small stuff gets to me…I can cope with big problems, but it’s the small ones that are the last straw. It turned out that it was just the spark plugs, but it really got to me for some reason.

I went bowling to in Ayr one weekend, got thoroughly beaten by F, who’s practically a flipping pro, but I hadn’t been since I was about 14! Oh, and on one weekend in Edinburgh I also got the chance to get a book signed by my favourite author, Diana Gabaldon, which was pretty cool. I only saw her for about a minute, but I have my book all signed! Went with a rotten hangover too so it was a struggle, but I was determined to get there! It's not every day you get to meet your favourite author!

10 January, 2010

Hapy New Year

Yes, I know it's been ages! I've been a tad busy!

Christmas in France was great, although I did miss out on a UK white Christmas! The recent weather has made up for all that though, with me being snowed in last week unable to get to work! The problem is, that in my wee street the snow that fell before Christmas never cleared up and just turned into ice, so the more recent snow has fallen onto that and made driving pretty treachorous!

F was down last weekend, and we went out on the Monday for a swim and dinner before he headed back up to Edinburgh. I came home, parked the car, and overnight it snowed. I tried to get the car out the next day to go to work, but it was stuck on the ice and wouldn't move! I had to phone into work, and apparently I wasn't the only one not able to get in, which made me feel a bit better. I was off work for three days unable to get in. The only reason I got the car out eventually was because the other day I saw a van in the street with a bunch of men with grit and shovels. They put loads of grit under all four tyres, and it took the five of them to push the car off the ice! The road to Castle Douglas was dreadful, but Loch Ken was totally frozen over and snowed on - the first time in my entire life that has ever happened! It was spectacular!

It is stunningly beautiful at the moment - because the snow has been lying for so long, it's got that crispy crust on the top and during the day it sparkles in the sunshine. Driving home at night with the headlights on, it's like there are millions of tiny fireflies on the ground.

Despite the problems the snow brings, it is nothing compared to the problems they're having down south. Out main problem is a lot of ice, and no salt for the roads. In the south of England they have extremely heavy snow, and there are a lot of people left without power. So I'm not complaining! I spent my days off making soup and casseroles and filling the freezer up with nice, warming food!

My favourite author is coming up to Scotland too, so fingers crossed I can get my books signed! I know, it doesn't sound very rock'n'roll, but I've always been a bookworm, and Diana Gabaldon's books ust suck you in so that you believe you are living them. She's doing a book signing in Edinburgh so I'm hoping that I'll be able to get there. To learn more about her books, visit her website here or visit Karen Henry's brilliant blog, Outlandish Observations, about the books here.