Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Just some rambling

I made my Christmas cake today, for the first time in several years actually. And it's a full-size one because I couldn't find my notes on the ingredients for the slightly smaller cake I made last time, and I really couldn't be bothered doing all the arithmetic again! It's such a faff when you're basing calculations around the number of eggs while simultaneously tweaking the ingredients (omitting mixed peel and glace cherries, that kind of thing). But it's done now and it smells nice. 

I also went for another very quick walk to get a dose of sunlight and fresh air. It was pretty chilly and some of the puddles still had ice around the edge. I like ice patterns, there's so much variety.

Not a very good picture - I thought had a better one than that but it might be on my actual camera rather than my phone. I'm trying to get into the habit of carrying my camera with me regularly again.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Red sticks in the sun (not exactly poetry)

A clear, bright day on December is a wonderful thing. I'm trying to make the most of what daylight there is and get out as much as possible, even if it's only a 20 minute walk. I love low sunlight in winter - all the colours look so rich, especially that red dogwood.

Once again I'm blogging from my phone and finding it quite tricky to be honest - aside from apparently having huge clumsy fingertips, I seem to have a really short attention span and forget what I'm trying to type if I can't see it all at once. I was actually going somewhere with this. Nope, gone. Perhaps I should compose blog posts in haiku form.

Right, I'm boring myself now, I'll leave off boring the world at large and go back to trying to find out about SQL as the Boy has just muttered something about it.

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Today's adventure

I'm experimenting with blogging from my 'phone. It's like trying to write a letter while pushing it through the letterbox. That is not today's adventure.

Technically Miss M's adventure rather than mine, but as I have my own concert band past, I rather enjoyed it.  It was the regional heat of the Scottish Concert Band Festival, and their school band got a Gold Plus, which automatically sends them to the final in Perth in the spring (I say spring but I am familiar with Perth in March, it could easily be snowing).  Miss M is very excited. I've got to say, they played beautifully. I'm really impressed with the quality of music at her school! So it was worth getting up at dark&gloomy o'clock, to get her there on time, having had another rubbish night's sleep due to my annoying cough. Still, there are worse ways to spend a morning than listening to live music and chatting to friends.  Ha, sounds like quite a hipster morning!

Saturday, 1 December 2018

I had this plan..

.. to get back to regular blogging. I actually have loads of things I could ramble on about. Can I remember them? Not a chance!

I have a cold - nothing major, sore throat, cough, the usual, but I'm feeling rough.  I've spent a fair amount of today in bed - reading, sleeping, or catching up on I'm A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here on my tablet.  The cuddly boy cat has been my companion for most of the day:

I can't remember where I was going with this. He's lovely though, isn't he?

No longer having a child at primary school means I'm no longer on the PTA, and though I miss aspects of it, I've noticed how much time and energy I must have been putting into it because normally by the 1st of December I'd be stressing out big-time and this year I'm not. Not yet anyway.  I'm still busy but in different ways (ways that don't involve epic battles with a photocopier) - early start tomorrow, for example, as Miss M's in the school concert band and they have a thing on tomorrow morning. And the Boychild has his prelims (mock exams) soon so he gets me to help him revise. This is frequently comical, given that the last time I did chemistry was about 1985...

Saturday, 29 September 2018

waking up

Sleepy Sheep

Oh dear, it's been a long time. But now it's a Saturday morning, the Boy and I are awake and pottering around (actually he's waiting for Small Cat to move so that he can get to his computer), and I have some peace and a bit of time at my computer. It has been a busy few months one way or another. Miss M finished primary school and has started high school, so now we're all getting used to the new routine - in some ways easier because at least they're both at the same school. The Boy has his National 5's (exams) this year, but seems quite placid about it. He's likes all his subjects so that helps.

Now that I'm blogging of course I can't think of a single thing to say. It's always the way of it. So I'll tell you about the pictures.

The sheep one is from a day last month when we went for a longish walk at the windfarm nearby (Whitelee). We were walking there one day last year and noticed an oddly-shaped hill just beyond the edge of the windfarm, past the end of one of the tracks leading to a turbine. It was unusually flat-topped so I googled it when I got home and found out that the unusual shape of Dunwan Hill is thought to be the remains of a hill-fort,"occupied probably in later prehistory between around 1200 BC and AD 400" (more details on Historic Environment Scotland's page on it). So when we went again last month we decided to climb it - it's not high, and there's a footpath from the edge of the windfarm land but the previous time we'd gone there had been sheep by the gate and we didn't want to disturb them. This time the sheep were further up and pretty much unbothered by us, and even posed nicely for me. I do like a good sheep picture. They were lounging around just outside the lower rampart, enjoying the sunshine.

Dunwan Hill

Roses on the kitchen windowsill
The roses - every now and then I buy myself flowers and put them in a vase on the kitchen windowsill where they catch the sunlight, if there is any. The kitchen is generally quite a bright room if there's even a hint of sunlight. And then I take a photo for looking at in January, just to remind myself that the sun will be back.

Sleepy cat; dignity optional
And finally Small Cat, this morning, looking very relaxed. Lazy weekend lounging, though to be honest the cats do lazy weekend lounging on any day of the week.

So that's all for know. If I get round to blocking my latest knitting project and adding a pompom, I'll blog about that too!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

spawn, spring, other words beginning with sp* (*probably not really)

The frogs have spawned again! My Beloved's response to this was 'That's brave of them - the forecast isn't good' (apparently there is to be more snow, depending on which forecast you look at). I'm not sure if he thinks the frogs consult the weather forecast before embarking on following their reproductive instincts. In any case, frog spawn is pretty robust stuff.

However, delighted as I am to see evidence of new life in our garden, I'm back to the annual worry about tadpole welfare. Our pond is tiny and is currently pretty much filled with frogspawn and not much water, as despite various batches of snow we haven't had much actual rain recently, and I suspect the pond 'liner', a plastic tub, may be leaking. So I find myself hoping for plentiful April showers so that they eventual taddies have somewhere to actually swim, and considering installing another tiny pond. Maybe eventually I'll have a chain of tiny ponds across the garden. Actually this wouldn't take long. I bought a magazine the other day that had a supplement called something like 'tips for small gardens' and on opening it could only conclude that their idea of small gardens and mine do not even feature on the same Venn diagram, let alone overlap.

In knitting news, I finished the green hat I started in January, and also the camera pouch.

And now I'm knitting a shawl (the Age of Brass and Steam Kerchief) from some Malabrigo Rios which I got a while back. I have reached the stage of eternally long rows but I want it to be a proper shawl rather than a kerchief (not that I'm clear what a kerchief is, but it sounds small) so I'm adding at least one extra repeat, so there is some way to go. Good telly knitting though!

Talking of which, in the interest of doing things as a family, even if it's only watching telly together, we are currently working our way through all the episodes of Scrapheap Challenge available on All4. Miss M is mechanically minded and the Boy is keen on science in general, and we'd watched all the Mythbusters and White Rabbit Project episodes available on Netflix so we were really pleased to find Scrapheap as well. Inspired by all this we finally got round to trying the Diet Coke/Mentos thing last week - we completely forgot to take pictures, but they would have been rubbish anyway as we were falling about laughing!

Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Hairy legs and hairy string

I'll start with hairy string:

It's jute gardening twine actually. I bought a large roll yesterday because I always need string in the garden, and anyway a ball of string is so aesthetically pleasing...

And then, naturally, I wondered what it would be like to knit with. Not that great, if I'm honest, as there's no give to it at all, but I like a challenge. Obviously it's not suitable for, y'know, a garment or anything, but I'm making a coaster kind of thing to put under a plant pot that's on my windowsill. I'm hoping it'll be a bit absorbent if there's any leaking from the pot. After that maybe I'll knit little jute hats for the outside plants. (Or not).

Anyway, hairy legs:

Miss M's school had their Scottish afternoon on Friday (the day after Burns Night). As you can see the younger kids had decorated the school hall rather fabulously.  In January they all learn Scots poetry and songs, and if they feel like it and are good enough three or four from each class are chosen to stand up in front of the whole school and a whole lot of parents at Scottish afternoon and recite a poem (the Boychild avoided this like the plague when he was at primary school). This year Miss M was one of the ones chosen. Her class had a large chunk of Tam o'Shanter to recite. This chunk in fact:

But to our tale:- Ae market-night,
Tam had got planted unco right;
Fast by an ingle, bleezing finely,
Wi' reaming swats, that drank divinely
And at his elbow, Souter Johnny,
His ancient, trusty, drouthy crony;
Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither--
They had been fou for weeks thegither!
The night drave on wi' sangs and clatter
And ay the ale was growing better:
The landlady and Tam grew gracious,
wi' favours secret, sweet and precious
The Souter tauld his queerest stories;
The landlord's laugh was ready chorus:
The storm without might rair and rustle,
Tam did na mind the storm a whistle. 

Care, mad to see a man sae happy,
E'en drown'd himsel' amang the nappy!
As bees flee hame wi' lades o' treasure,
The minutes wing'd their way wi' pleasure:
Kings may be blest, but Tam was glorious.
O'er a' the ills o' life victorious! 

But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;
Or like the snow falls in the river,
A moment white--then melts for ever;
Or like the borealis race,
That flit ere you can point their place;
Or like the rainbow's lovely form
Evanishing amid the storm.--
Nae man can tether time or tide;
The hour approaches Tam maun ride;
That hour, o' night's black arch the key-stane,
That dreary hour he mounts his beast in;
And sic a night he taks the road in
As ne'er poor sinner was abroad in. 

The wind blew as 'twad blawn its last;
The rattling showers rose on the blast;
The speedy gleams the darkness swallow'd
Loud, deep, and lang, the thunder bellow'd:
That night, a child might understand,
The Deil had business on his hand. 

(Spell-check isn't really keen on Burns! Translation here)

I don't know how she memorised that lot. But she did and she performed it really well, without going blank or throwing up or anything (I may be projecting slightly). It is a competition, but she knew she had no chance of winning because two of the boys in her class are excellent at this sort of thing and have represented their class in it almost every year (and in fact one of them was over-all winner for the school this year). But she was just so pleased that she did it at all. And I was so proud. I also wondered how she did it as neither her father nor I would ever have done such a thing!