Sunday, 30 August 2015

Ruins and Being Organised


The ruins pictures are just because I want there to be a nice picture at the top of the post in case I don't get post for weeks (again). And also because the pictures were taken last Sunday on a particularly nice day, so why not? The ruins in question are Bothwell Castle, some bits 13th century, some 14th, so it's doing all right really!


The kids have been back at school for two weeks now. The Boy Child is settling into high school - it's a big change from primary school but he seems to be adjusting quite quickly, and Miss M is adjusting to not having him at the same school as her. Not that they saw much of each other, but she knew he was there! So new routines all round. I'm due to start my next (and last) Open University course at the start of October so I'm looking at ways to be more organised. For the moment I'm trying to get all the course reading done before the course starts - some things are easier than others. I'm 40% through Gulliver's Travels at the moment and it's slow going, whereas As You Like It only took a couple of days.


I'm a great one for list-making. I am a pen and paper person when it comes to getting organised, although I use my phone and tablet for appointment reminders and so on. A while back I came across a mention of bullet journalling, which is a bit like making to do lists but with different symbols for different things. It can get very complicated and I'm wary of that - it could be a big timesuck, which is hardly the point - but I've taken elements of it so that I can keep track of things done, things started, things no longer necessary, and things moved to another day.

I did a search for bullet journalling on the wonderful world of Pinterest and discovered all sorts of amazing complicated systems involving multiple colours of felt-tip pens, loads of symbols and quite unfeasibly neat handwriting! Hmm. So the picture above is the reality of my own version, complete with post-it notes for other things to keep track of (shopping list, theme list for a picture-a-day group I'm a member of, that kind of thing). It's simple and not very pretty, but is working for me, especially on days when I have lots of not-very-big things I want to get done but might easily forget because they're essentially boring, or when there are things I need to get the kids to. I always start with 'Kids to school' so that I can tick something off at the start of the day!

So there we are, the start of a new academic year and all the resolutions that entails!

Friday, 14 August 2015

addicted to rain


It failed to rain today. The weather forecast promised heavy, no torrential, rain, and all day the sky looked heavy and soggy and rain seemed imminent, but not a drop fell. I'm slightly disappointed.

I've probably mentioned before that I find the sound of rainfall very soothing. One of the great pleasures of our stay in St. Andrews was the moderately heavy rain that fell on several evenings. We were staying in a 'lodge' at a caravan park. To all intents and purposes it was a static caravan though it was a bit wider and it felt more like a small house than a big caravan, but the roof was also the ceiling if you follow me, so when the rain was drumming on the roof it was immediately above us. As well as that we could have the window fairly wide open at night which we can't at home for fear the cats will try to jump out. All this meant that when the rain was falling I could lie in bed and really listen to it - all very relaxing if you're a weirdo like me.

It occurred to me a few weeks ago to wonder why I like the rain so much - yes, it's a soothing sound and there's that amazing fresh smell in the air during and after rainfall, but could it be I've lived in the wet west of Scotland too long and I've developed a weird form of Stockholm syndrome? Well there's an unnerving thought!  Eventually I came to the more reassuring  conclusion that growing up on the windswept coast I rarely knew vertical rain, or for that matter rain when it wasn't also cold and miserable, so summer downpours are probably still incredibly exotic to me. The most vivid memory I have of a horribly jet-lagged stopover in Singapore is a half-day trip over the bridge to Johore Bahru in Malaysia and a visit to a mosque on top of a hill and a batik workshop in the middle of a thunderstorm and properly equatorial heavy showers - that's properly exotic. Summer rain in mainland Scotland can come a good second though.

So where was my torrential rain today then? Oh well, it meant the Boy got to commune with the trampoline.

Edited to add: I had just posted this when my meteorologically-minded cousin posted an amusing and very appropriate Daily Mash link on Facebook.

Thursday, 13 August 2015

Those socks


Although I haven't done very much knitting over the summer I did finish Miss M's Elgin socks last month.  The colour scheme was her choice and it's worked pretty well I think - it's very 'her' at any rate! Twisting the yarns at each colour change meant they were coming out a little tighter than I'd anticipated so Sock 1 had to be taken back to the heel and reknitted a little more loosely, and now they're the perfect fit. The other thing I didn't take into account (and it was a total 'doh!' moment) was that in using purple for the toes, heel and cuffs I'd be using more purple - slightly more than I had as it turned out. Very fortunately Miss M suggested using the blue for the cuff of the second sock - I'd already considered that but I was very pleased that she came up with a solution herself rather than having to be talked into it! So oddish socks they are, for an oddish girl.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

*phew*


Computer is fixed - well, for now at least. Hurray for My Beloved and his tech skillz! I finally got to look at my holiday photos and thought I'd mention the day we went to Kellie Castle, which is an NTS property fairly near Pittenweem, should anybody be in the vicinity. The kids were fairly unimpressed with it as a castle and to be fair it's really more of a tower house with bits added - to them a castle is something like Stirling Castle or Bothwell castle, spoilt brats that they are! I'd been there once before, years ago when I was a student and my parents were visiting and took me out for the day. It was the middle of winter and only the garden was open, but even at that time of year the garden was enjoyable to visit. To see it in August was pretty amazing. It's just my kind of garden - masses of plants, new things to see around every corner, and a formal structure with enthusiastically informal plants.


We wandered around for ages and to be honest I could have stayed for a lot longer, but the kids' patience in gardens is limited. So far.













*sigh* Not much to say, I'm just enjoying looking at the flowers again! I should have taken my good camera with me but I was already laden with other stuff (sun hats, sunglasses, umbrella...) so just had my little compact camera in my pocket. It's an excellent little camera but has acquired a mark on the lens that I can't remove and I assume is a scratch, so some of the pictures appear a bit smudgy in the middle.

After we'd mooched round the garden for a while we went and found the adventure playground, small but excellent, and the kids were able to burn off some energy. Then we headed in to look at the house itself. Miss M, thankfully, decided to do one of the picture quizzes which was great because it really slowed her down and let us have a proper look. It's an interesting house and worth taking slowly.

And that's it really! A nice day out, especially as it was sunny and the garden was looking beautiful.

Monday, 10 August 2015

In which Terrible Things have happened (disclaimer: not really)


Oh dear, a whole month off blogging. Well, that was unintentional, but mostly a result of it being the school holidays and me just not getting much time on my real computer as opposed to my tablet, which is not ideal for blogging from. Alas and alack, that's what I'm having to do just now because Real Computer has succumbed to something which Heroic Tech Husband, aka My Beloved, may be able to fix or maybe not.  And as my typing is rubbish on a tablet pkease ignore any weird typos, or enjoy them, as you please!

We spent last week in St. Andrews and I have a squillion photos I uploaded to Real Computer on Saturday night, but which I didn't actually get a chance to look at properly before it shuffled off this mortal coil - so frustrating, and thus is the reason that this post is illustrated with the three bits of seaglass that were in the pocket of my jeans and photographed in my garden using the camera on my tablet. The photos are safe because they're still on my camera card and will (should) have been saved to the computer's backup drive, but I can't see them on a sensible sized screen. Oh well.

The summer has been not great in terms of weather but pretty good fun otherwise I think. There was much pottering around and being lazy, and the kids and I had a few days in the Highlands with mum and dad, as well of course as the St.Andrews trip. Ah, St.Andrews, so many silly memories of that small grey town. The day we arrived coincided with the wedding of an old acquaintance to which loads of people I knew, including my brother, had been invited, so I got to spend an hour on the beach with two old friends I hadn't seen in decades (and my brother who I saw a couple of weeks ago) and caught up with another later on, and I've decided that if at all possible I'll go to the next reunion ball, sans kids, and catch up with people because Facebook's not quite the same. Unless the next reunion ball involves people handing each other postcards with 'why don't you play Candy Crush?' written on them and passing around comically cantankerous cats.

I have no idea if this post is readable, I can only see three lines of it as I type, and I'm usually a great one for re-reading as I go, so apoligies if it's gibberish. Normal service to be resumed, er, eventually.

Friday, 10 July 2015

light levels


I've been playing around with my camera some more thanks to a quick how-my-camera-works masterclass (or idiot's guide) from my brother. The fun thing about photography is that when you accidentally completely mess up the settings you can still get kind of pretty results, such as the over-exposed bee above, and the underexposed flower below (you'll see it better if you click on it, the white background on this page doesn't help).


Don't you think the bottom one looks like a book-cover? Some kind of gloomy literary fiction I think.

While tidying up yesterday I found the book I bought when I first got my camera - an Idiot's Guide or a For Dummy's one, can't remember, for my particular model of camera. So I've been flicking through it, reading bits that seem relevant. I should probably read it properly, cover to cover, though that I don't find that kind of book very easy to read to be honest, so probably dipping in and out and playing with the camera is my best bet.  Miss M is often a fairly willing model when she's in the right mood, as is Cat2, so I can play with different settings on more or less the same pose and see what works.

In other exciting news, I got my Open University course results yesterday and got a Distinction, which I'm really pleased about. I knew my assignments had been Distinction level, but the final big assignment which counted for half the course was not hugely enjoyable and I honestly didn't know how I'd done on it. Turns out I'm a really poor judge of my own abilities when it comes to assignments!

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

summery





I have things to blog about, I know I do - things flit through my head all day, so why do I go blank when I sit down in front of the keyboard? And it's a beautiful keyboard too! Darn.

Summer is happening - we've had actual warmth. My thermometer said 22.6°C today, which is far lower than further south but plenty warm enough for me, thank you very much, given that it's also horribly muggy. Poor Cat1 is a large boy with thick fur and has spent most of the day lying around. In honour of summer happening I bought myself a summery yellow stripey cotton scarf the other day, because I'm a sucker for yellow stripes and I still had birthday money to spend. I'm not sure yellow suits me but it makes me happy so I can live with that.

I have been knitting - thick cosy socks for Miss M naturally, just what everybody knits in warm weather. They're the ones I started back at the end of April-ish. The first sock was very quick but I just haven't been knitting much recently, too many other things on the go I suppose, so the second sock has been languishing at the toe stage (which, given that it's a toe-up pattern, isn't good). Miss M insists that the first sock is 'fine' but it's tight to pull over her heel so I'm doing the second one looser and fully intend to rip back the first one and reknit the heel when she's not looking. She has no idea how much her feet will have grown by the time it's cosy sock weather again! 

I think I need to sleep now..