Turn of the Year

September weather, sunny and warmish! A nice day for my visitor to go travelling…. not home, but down south to attend a 4-day course. It is great having her with us. I haven’t got round to asking about the Support Group I mentioned earlier, too much news to catch up with, and I hope I don’t forget, as when she returns from her course, we won’t have very long left of her precious holiday! I must say it is very odd having her, but no dogs! We were so used to one or more of her dogs being with her on her visits! But they are all enjoying the warmth of Colorado. Tomorrow is the day of the monthly “Retired teachers” coffee morning. What a great chance to meet up with friends, and see who is new!! (So we older ones can say to ourselves “Gosh, is he/she that age already!!”) The plums in the garden next-door are turning red. And out in the country the rowan-trees are a blaze of colour, hanging thick with berries. Some will say that is the sign of a hard winter, but in truth, the rowan trees are always like that!! They are beautiful to see, but the plums are a much greater temptation! Boss-man is gradually putting the garden into winter order. Autumn is seldom a long season up here in the North-east. The nasturtiums are past their best, time to pull them up. But no doubt enough seeds will have fallen to the ground to ensure a colourful display next summer…. free!!

Thank heaven for old friends!

Today it has been dry and sunny all day long! Such a relief after five days of “sunshine and showers”, which translates into torrential downpours, alternating with blinks of sunshine. And today our slater arrived! He wasted no time in checking the roof, fixing and replacing slates, and generally making everything water-tight. And the boss-man heaved himself up into the loft, (me having kittens, as per usual!!) and retrieved the emergency basin and the travelling-light. Such a relief! Thank heavens for old friends and former pupils!! It is always nice to welcome our slater, we go back close on fifty years. He is a faithful friend and helper-out in times of crisis!! I told him he would be getting a gold star on my blog tonight, so, Dennis, consider yourself duly “starred”! Not long now till my visitor arrives from America! I am so looking forward to it! More of her visit later. 😀

The ultimate blog!

When one’s life is circumscribed by a breathing disorder,it is very easy to give in to frustration. But it helps if you look for victories rather than defeats. My wee “buggy” gives me a measure of independence, and I get round the problems in this street by taking more circuitous routes! In the house, certain chores appear as enormous mountains, but by tackling them at the best time of day, and in small steps, the mountain becomes a series of small hills. I,luckily, was never obsessively “house-proud” otherwise life would be much worse!! If the hoovering isn’t as thorough as it used to be, well, so what? One of my least popular chores is ironing. So I try not to let the ironing-basket get over-full. At the moment, the ironing-board seems to have taken up permanent residence in the kitchen, away from its canny storage neuk in the utility-room. Thus I face the job with more equanimity! No board to humph around! All tasks involving physical movement have to be planned, as rushing around trying to do several things at once leaves me puffy-puffy! Of course it doesn’t always work out right. An unexpected phone-call or visitor puts my mini-schedule out of kilter and I am chasing my tail to catch up. But no matter. The important thing is not to give in. Somewhere out there on the great Web there must be support groups for COPD, so when my beloved daughter-in-law comes to visit, next month (only a week away! Hurray!) I shall ask her to research into this. It would be nice to share thoughts with people in a similar predicament! Only others so afflicted really understand. Walking in the other fellow’s shoes, and all that! Anyway, this is something to look forward to. And what brought all this on? Well, I have been reading some of the books by George Mackay Brown, the great Orkney author. And his “Letters from Hamnavoe” is the ultimate blog! So I felt inspired this morning to put finger to keyboard!

Wet and grumpy!

Rain, rain, rain! Persistent and heavy. And to make things worse, a mysterious pool of water on the floor of the ulility-room. The boss-man heaved himself up into the loft to survey the situation, and returned with the news that it wasn’t a leak in the water-tank, so it must be a faulty slate on the roof.Buckets to the rescue, and now we wait till the beginning of the week to contact our friendly slater. Let’s hope he is free on Monday to replace and check the slates. Through the hatch, now open, into the loft, we hear the steady drip!drip! of drops of rain, plopping into the pail below. How ungrateful we are for water in the wrong place! Thousands and thousands of people would be so thankful to have rain to give the basic water they need to survive. It has been raining all morning, wi’ nae devaal. Now, there’s a good Doric phrase for you! Although the Scots Language Group which I used to attend, and often chair, is no longer in existence, I still read my beloved Doric verse, and enjoy coming across some new expression.I fear for the future of the native dialects in Scotland, be it Doric, Lallans or whatever. There is a tide of Americanisms, so-called Queen’s English and modern idioms sweeping away a lot of traditional words. Some of the phrases we hear now make me wince! “He done good”. What sort of language is that! And children grow up accepting that kind of slovenly speech as the norm! You will notice that I am practising to be a grumpy old Wifie!!

Banner header

Another rather gloomy day, with little sunshine. Poor weather for August! The Scottish schools return to work in a weeks time, and all the mums will be saying “The sun will come back when the bairns go back to school!” A week on Monday, our grand-daughter starts work as a teacher. Wow! it doesn’t seem all that long since she was born!I hope she has as enjoyable a career as I had! Anybody who has been looking at this Blog may have noticed that I now have a banner header. This was created by my son, and consists of a number of photographs stiched together. The view is from the end of the street where I live. Some days, it is so clear you can see the hills of Caithness in North Scotland. And some days it is so foggy that you would think the world ended at the bottom of our road! The houses you can see are some of the oldest buildings in the town. The really old fisher houses were built with their gable-ends towards the sea, for shelter, I suppose. My house is over a hundred years old, I would reckon, although it has been changed and modernised several times in all these years! My grand-father-in-law bought it nearly 100 years ago, and my husband’s family have lived here ever since. Our town has a lot of interesting buildings although nothing earth-shattering seems to have happened here! In communities like this, roots go deep, and people come back here from a’ the airts to visit the home town of parents, grandparents, and even further back, I suppose. When I was teaching I would often talk to the children about their town. We spoke about where the street-names came from, about dates and names on houses, about buildings and bridges. I think it is so important to give the children a sense of belonging. Especially in this restless age!

Heathrow shut-down

The 10th of August, and it was like a morning in November!Memories of last month’s heat-wave are fading fast. It was deemed too wet and windy for me to take the scooter (we’ll have to find a name for the thing!) to the hairdresser’s, so my long-suffering husband drove me there and back. And such fearsome news this morning, about terrorists making plans to blow up 9 aircraft in mid-flight! Heathrow is virtually a no-go area today. There have been a considerable number of arrests, but we are not told too much, obviously. This will undoubtedly cause even more unease in government circles, as Blair’s policy with regard to the middle-east conflict is extremely unpopular, and will be held to account for a UK airport being a terrorist target. I was so relieved to hear from my son,from Amsterdam, en route to the States.The airport there was not affected by today’s events, but I will be even happier when I know he has arrived safely home to his wife and assorted “critters.” Several of our family are engaged in work which entails flying all over the place. We tend to get blase about it, until something like today’s “critical alert” status brings home anew the dangers in our troubled world.

results and reminiscence

Today was the day that the school external exams results were delivered by post to all the children who sat their O-levels, Highers and whatever else. I was thankful that my family, two generations of them, are beyond that stage. It is hard on parents as well as children. Mums and Dads have to stand by to console or cheer as required! I was thinking back to my own schooldays. We sat our exams in the month of March. In June, the school was visited by members of the Inspectorate. This was to give an added opportunity to those children whose marks were border-line. (No grades, in those days, you passed or you failed!) Of course the inspectors would talk to a whole group of pupils, so nobody knew who the “borderliners” were. Then, just before we broke for our summer holiday, we were all gathered together, and the Headmaster himself appeared. He read out the name of each child, followed by the subjects where that child had achieved a pass-mark. Later on that week, we got our actual certificates. Was this a better system?

Me versus Council… part 1

The down-side to this retirement lark is, that over the past 6 years or so, I have developed a chronic asthmatic condition. This, I believe , is often referred to as COPD. The result of this is that I get very breathless if I engage in any physical activity. Walking any distance is both slow and distressing. To alleviate this, I have recently acquired a mobility scooter. It is not a very large machine, with a top speed of 4mph. And now I am experiencing at first hand some of the problems facing disabled people. It is frustrating not to be able to “scoot” from the house to the local store and post office,a distance of only a few hundred yards, because there is an intersection with no dropped kerb. I am currently engaged in waitng to see if the local council will rectify this, and give me access to the centre of the town. At the moment, I have to use alternative routes, both involving roads with little or no pavements, and which take me on very round-about ways. My local councillor describes me as being “isolated” and has been most supportive, so I await with interest any positive response from the powers-that-be. It was quite annoying to be told by an official from the roads department that there were good facilities for wheelchairs and scooters in the town centre. Rather like looking into a beautiful shop-window, and finding the shop door locked. Ah, well, an ongoing tale….!

Introducing me!

Okay, so he said ‘anybody else want a blog’? and I said Yes! I’m what’s know as a ‘silver surfer’, although I got my first computer in 1984. (This has nothing to do with George Orwell!) I have now reached three score years and ten so I thought it was time I had a new hobby. I’ve been retired for a number of years and I’m enjoying leisurely pursuits.