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Star smilie clear09/11/17
many prizes, Free Fire, Fences, The Founder, Wonder Woman, The Levelling and Toni Erdmann











My project poster is now an award-winning poster/project.  Came first at a major NHS health board event.  I got chocolates and a certificate.  This is a big deal to me.  I've spent the last year, devising documents to improve the care and support of patients and families, while also enabling the nursing staff to provide the improved care and support.  Then piloting the documents, writing reports, making a poster (award-winning), next stage, applying for endorsement.
       
       
     
       
       
    Another Monday, another Greg Moodie cartoon strip in The National, another Greg Moodie competition and another prize for me.  Last Monday I made plans to ensure I'd win, the logistics were covered.  I arranged for The Husband to go to the Sunny D village shop early-doors, while I was in bed watching on the CCTV app on my iPhone as he brought the paper home.  I won without getting out of bed.  No mean achievement.  
       
    Another Monday.  This time I hadn't organised for The Husband to go to the shop so I had no real aspirations of even entering, let alone winning.  Then I find the competition hasn't started yet despite me having a leisurely start to my day.  I amble along to the shop, and I'm ready and waiting.  Then I win.  
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Then yet another Monday (I was still on annual leave) and another competition win for me.  Now I need more picture frames.  I'm going to have to stop entering, I won't be available next Monday due to work commitments, so I'll have to stop.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Free Fire.  Not quite up to Tarantino standards, but I liked it.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Fences.  Love and respect to all the characters, apart from Troy, he's put us right off Denzel Washington.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Founder.  Educational, interesting, entertaining and well written and acted.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Wonder Woman.  Best superhero movie for ages, all the back-story, energy, excitement and so charming and funny.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Levelling.  Daughter and father struggling to reconnect in extremely sad circumstances.  Emotional.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Toni Erdmann.  Father and daughter struggling to reconnect in sad and often extreme circumstances.  Emotional and funny.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear27/10/17
white poppies and flat earthers too close to home
  My white poppies have arrived.  Symbolising peace, respect for all war victims - civilians and members of the armed forces, anti-war values, nuclear disarmament.  The fabric ones are available from The Poppy Pledge Union.  The enamel I obtained from eBay.  
       
       
     
       
         
      The flat earth mental illness syndrome has recently piped-up in and around my area of Scotland through the medium of spray-can graffiti on the back of road signs.  The one I find the most annoying but also a bit too difficult to photograph says "flat earth - research it".  Inside I'm screaming "NAW! YOU research it! then get past the non-science stuff and read the science stuff".  If you're prone to conspiracy theory, pick a better one, pick one that isn't so very obviously wrong, and please, stop with the vandalism, it's just ugly and you're making it clear, there's a gullible idiot close by.  The pic below is the old bus shelter at the entrance to Bangour Village Hospital, mere meters from Sunny D, I'm offended.  
         
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear26/10/17
competition, door repair, free panettone and Tin Star

  Winning.  I won the Greg Moodie/The National Monday Cartoon Strip competition.  He did give me a bit of encouragement the evening prior to this week's competition, probably due to my prior attempts at winning in previous weeks. Every Monday in The National there's a Greg Moodie cartoon strip.  Lately he's taken to holding a competition on Twitter by asking the winner to be first to identify a person who has snuck on to the strip.  To win I had to get my hands on The National as early as possible while also having a long lie in on Day 1 of 2 weeks AL.  Planning ahead I arranged for The Husband to collect The National from the Sunny D village shop as early as possible.  While still in bed, with The National in my hands I identified the character (by Googling "Mallen Streak"), photographed the character in the newspaper, obtained a pic of Ms De Carlo and composed my competition entry tweet ready for copying and pasting.  By this time I was champing at the bit for Moodie to announce the competition.  I won.  Then I learned what the prize (usually) is.  A signed print of that day's Greg Moodie cartoon strip in The National, which is "Up David Davis".  However, the strip had a bit too much of ugly Tory unionist Brexiting bastards, I couldn't imagine ever looking at it and feeling the love in happy prize-winning nostalgic reminiscing.  So I asked for a Nicola Sturgeon strip instead, "Her Majesty Meets The Queen" from 12th December 2014.  The lovely Greg Moodie sent me both.  
       
       
     
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
      The Bosch washing machine door broke in the closed position, with a washing in there.  I turned to Youtube where a nice Australian man with the same machine demonstrated what to do with a kitchen knife, and the wet washing were duly rescued.  When The Husband returned home I asked for him to fix it.  It's working again, just have to poke a screwdriver in that hole.  Ingenious bish bash boshory, but unslightly to say the least.  Spoiling the story now...it's just a temporary measure, a new replacement door handle has arrived.  
         
         
       
         
         
      A surprise free gift Heston Black Forest Panettone came with my Waitrose delivery today.  Beautifully packaged, but £14 worth of panettone, how is that even possible?  
         
         
       
         
         
      TV Box Set Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Tin Star.  The Husband gave up after a couple of episodes.  I love the wee pumpkin that is Tim Roth, and everybody be cool, but Tin Star seemed much ado about not much.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear21/10/17
Dino Park
  Who knew Jurassic Park is in Dumfries?  The Grandson likes him a pirate, he's also very fond of dinosaurs, so with much chanting of "Dino, Dino, Dino, Dino" (pronounced dee-no) we head off to Dino Park in Dumfries.  My favourite quote of the day came from the Dutch Grandson as we pulled into the car park, "they're not real, are they?".  There's dinosaurs in their natural habitat (with sound effects), paleontology type sand pits for the revealing of prehistoric skeletons, several Jurassic Park type victims who've met their doom, an outdoor play area the Grandson was very adventurous on, a fabulous multi-story indoor soft play and massive dinners in the cafe.  There's also a fairy section, I wasn't expecting that.  All the staff have got to have been to Disney University, they're like the best Scottish children's attraction staff ever, so smiley, polite and friendly.  I'm still wearing my Dino Club wristband.  
       
       
     
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear20/10/17
taking the Dutch Branch to Seacliff Beach
  This afternoon at Seacliff Beach with the Dutch Branch of the family is rather special.  My favourite beach to visit, the Bass Rock out there (my favourite rock in the world), a chance to take beautiful photies of a beautiful boy in the perfect Scottish light and I discover what the Olympus zoom lens can do in these circumstances.  So what follows now is quite simply me falling in love with my step-grandson as seen through the medium of my camera.  He is an adorable golden child.  We all got "water in the boot", a phrase coined by the Step-Daughter that I particularly enjoyed.  
       
       
     
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear18/10/17
pirates and Inchcolm
  The Grandson is very into pirates and prior to his visit I got word that he believes Scotland to be a pirate island.  Specially for him, pirate things happened.  The Starry Towers Saltire was temporarily replaced with a Jolly Roger.  He looked ultra super cute in his little pirate outfit, played with his pirate ship and pirate pop-up tent, there was pirate bunting, he read a book with his Mum called My Granny Is A Pirate by Val McDermid, used his pirate treasure map and telescope to look for pirate treasure and found pirate treasure, a pirate treasure chest of golden coins, on Inchcolm.  We took a sail on the Forth Belle from South Queensferry to Inchcolm and under the three Forth bridges.  On Inchcolm, as well as the treasure, the Abbey and garden gnomes on a near-by rock, there was a very greedy Seagull, I suspect this bird has lost, or never had, the power of flight, walked everywhere, mostly following us, which was a nice addition to our experience really.  
         
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear17/10/17
Riverside Museum, the Tall Ship, Scottish CND and the long-term planning of a car boot sale
  The Dutch branch are in Scotland.  The Step-Daughter and 2 year old Step-Grandson over for a holiday so we're all about the toddler activities.  They took a trip to The Five Sisters Zoo on the first afternoon and were pleasantly surprised, reporting back it's better than Edinburgh Zoo.  Today we all went to Glasgow.  Visiting the award-winning (European Museum of the Year 2013) Riverside Museum and The Tall Ship, both free, both fabulous places for young and old alike.   
       
       
     
       
     
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
      I joined the Scottish CND and received my badge (blue one).  I also looked out my 30-summit year old black one.  
         
         
       
         
         
      I'm thinking we'll do a car boot sale.  I usually offload any quality reusable items to The Mum to give to her local church for their regular fund-raising sales.  I saw the community and purposely ignored the religious institution, and I was OK with that for a long time, how nice it was to help the people of the local community I grew up in.  Now I'm questioning, why is it OK to support the church.  I was supposing the local people would benefit from getting items they need on the cheap and the money raised would go to...what?  I have no idea what the Church of Scotland spends their locally raised funds on, apart from the maintenance of church buildings, replacing church roofs.  Instead, I could do the selling and raise my own funds.  This is a long-term project which will be approached with my usual OCD type thoroughness.  I'm thinking of using the van, so it'll be more van-back-doors sale, we have a wheeled clothes rail we can display clothing on, we have an awning, if it rains we'll be a popular stall.  There's clothing, footwear, jewelry, handbags, unwanted gifts and probably much much more once I get right down to it.  I've started with a list.  
         
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear09/10/17
Lanark, mural, thistles, The Lost City Of Z and The Girl On The Train



  Satin on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    The Husband and I visited Lanark.  While there, I said "hey, 'mon I'll show you my old school".  I attended Lanark Grammar School, a school founded in 1183, from 1975 to 1981.  What we referred to as the "main gates" was the entrance on Albany Drive, at what we always referred to as the "main building".  This is where I sat in maths, religious education and French classrooms.  The office of my school house, Jerviswood, was here.  This school house system meant nothing to me, I've always struggled with conforming to a "team", though I can recall in my mind's eye, the teacher who was head of house.  He was the maths teacher who got me through my O level in 6 hours.  I hadn't chosen maths (I don't like maths) as a subject, but later needed it when applying to universities.  The Parents paid him for 6 hours of private one-to-one tuition and I got a B.  I just can't recall his name.  Anyway, back to the Albany Drive building, it was opened on Wednesday 16th September 1914, was in use for just over 95 years and closed on 22 December 2009.  I recall the staircase being quite scarily high, if you were standing on the top most floor looking down, probably when my first vertigo acrophobia type situation occurred.  Imagine my shock and awe at the main entrance gates, the main building was demolished in 2011.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    And so, on to the reason for visiting Lanark, finding St Kentigern's Kirk where it's believed William Wallace and Marion Bradfute married.  Click the pic below for the 10 minute documentary written by writer and publisher, the late Jimmy Black.  Filmed in the early 1980s.  
       
       
     
       
       
    We found the ruins of St Kentigern's Kirk, up  the back and far right in Lanark Cemetery.  Enter the grave yard, go past the Art Nuevo style Murray Memorial Mortuary Chapel built in 1912 and bequeathed to the people of Lanark by Helen Martin Murray in memory of her parents, brother and sisters (first pic below), past the Covenanters Memorial, erected in memory of all of the Lanark-associated Covenanters, listing those who were martyred, those who were tortured and banished, and also those who were fined (2nd pic below), turn right and keep going till you get to the kirk.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    After soaking in the atmosphere, conjuring up the history in my imagination and standing on every square inch of the kirk floor space, to ensure I was stood where William Wallace had once stood we moved on to the Riverside Tavern in Kirkfieldbank.  We went for the Alasdair Gray Clyde mural, an important piece of Scottish art history.  Then had dinner.  There's extremely friendly staff, the girl who served us dinner was quite charming.  We enjoyed the food, prices are very reasonable and the chips are the best chips ever.  I was treating The Husband (for a change), should've seen his astounded face as I picked up the tab, dinner and drinks for two cost me just £25. We're visiting again in December for a Xmas dinner night out, looking forward to it, I don't care what else I have, I'll definitely be having chips.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I'm having a go at growing Thistles, for the birds, the bees and the butterflies.  I brought a handful of Thistle seeds back from Bangour Village and set them in a tray, we'll see what happens.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Lost City Of Z.  I rather wish we hadn't.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Girl On The Train.  Here's a rarity not often written, said or heard...it was better than the book.  The book didn't grab me, at least on the screen I gave it my full attention.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear06/10/17
no faith
  Sheer pleats on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    Have poster will travel.  My work project poster got out again, to a faith mission (for it's conference facilities), I find myself in the strangest of places.  The conference people managed to break my poster due to their poor quality display boards falling to pieces, leaving me with no faith in wobbly boards.  Those who are having the faith might choose to believe it was a comment from on high.  We'll print another copy.  The top picture is not my poster btw, the bottom was is.  
       
       
     
         
       
         
         
 
 
  Star smilie clear29/09/17
poster, Autumn garden and Vikings season 4

  Boohoo stuff on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    My work project poster had it's first outing at a conference in the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.  I loved the building.  Loads of little detail when you look up.  
       
       
     
       
       
    My baby Rowan has a stunning red on this Autumn, the big Rowans have berries to match, but their leaves aren't quite as beautiful right at this moment in time.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
      An Autumn and all Summer favourite in my garden is Echium vulgare, AKA Blue Bedder, AKA Viper's Bugloss.  A fantastic flower, considered to be a weed in some parts of the world, them parts of the world have no concept of what a weed is.  It's so pollinator-friendly, flowers for months and months, self-seeds, but most seriously brilliantly important, it makes pollen all day long every day, even after the Bees have took their fill, the flowers produce more, and neither sun nor rain can diminish that pollinator food supply.  A true hero of the pollinator world.  Beneficial in so many ways, but I've got two problems with it. Doesn't thrive in a well-fed soil, my garden is uber-healthy, I'm seeing a reduction in the number of plants I get with each passing year, even when I deliberately throw liberal amounts of seeds in there.  It's also a caustic plant to humans, I know that and would never touch it without gloves.  Despite this knowledge I suffer from the garden, I'm hyper-sensitive to something that my garden does to my skin.  Every time I garden I get a rash on my arms, sometimes it effects my décolletage area, if I'm out there in a V neck top.  If I gardened in shorts, my legs would suffer too, I seem to have a hyper allergy reaction to plantlife.  Even when I protect my skin as much as possible, with industrial strength barrier cream, plus 2, even 3 layers of clothing and gloves, my skin reacts.  And that's when I don't touch the caustic Blue Bedder, even happens in Winter when there's none of it around, so I totally shun the Blue Bedder, apart from taking photographs of pollinators dining on it.  Here's a Hoverfly benefitting from one of my Blue Bedder's today.  
         
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
      TV Box Set Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Vikings season 4.  It's over again, so I'm naturally devastated, but all that AND the Ragnar incident.  The Ragnar incident was so brutal.  I've watched far worse blatant gratuitous aggression on screen, however I'm emotionally attached to Ragnar, this was worse than anything, they drew out every cruel moment and it hurt me, I'm bereft.  Still, I'm holding out for a plot twist where Ragnar's not really dead (even though he does die in the sagas), some trick was played, the snakes were de-venomed and/or Ragnar was full of anti-venom stuff, please let him return.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear22/09/17
Blackness, Bangour and Black Pond

  Shoes on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    That's this year's birthday behind me and I'm into my last working year.  This is monumental, I've been counting down since 7-years-pre-retirement and now there's less than a year to go.  Time flies.  As well as the goose flower thing there were flowers from The Boy's Lovely Girlfriend.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Apparently, when a physiotherapist asks you what physical aerobic activity you do in a week, going to work doesn't count.  Yes, I know, doesn't make any sort of sense.  Apparently even when a day at work is a 13hr shift on a care of the elderly mental health stress/distress dementia unit it doesn't count.  In my book, it counts, however, it doesn't, so I was sitting there like *blank face*.  So, I'm trying to up my physical exercise with a bit more walking on my days off.   
       
    Hence, The Husband and I took a drive to Blackness to check out the castle and beaches, there would be walking.  The castle was closed to the public due to the filming of the movie Mary Queen of Scots, due for release in 2018.  I tried to speak to one of the security guys, he turned out to be a man who doesn't believe in being friendly, or even just polite to his fellow human beings, he pretended he couldn't hear me, twice, in the end I got one single word out of him...that word was "no".  Seriously, what a dick.  Also, there were frequent mini buses running back and forth on the castle road.  I swear, when 2 of these staff mini buses met on that tight wee road, in relation to me, they could've engineered to pass each other before or after where I was standing tight on the side of the road.  Not the way it went, they opted for the very spot where I was standing to pass by each other, the very spot...like they adjusted their speeds and positions especially to pass each other exactly at the wee tiny bit of road space I was standing at.  Who knew very minor film crew jobs could make people feel so self-important?  Anyway, putting all unpleasantness aside, the Forth bridges and the Greylag geese made up for the human disappointments.  There was a sticky moment on the west-side beach, the tide coming in under our feet and the dark sand was sucking us in, after a wee fright we were out of there quick sticks, stepping from swathe of seaweed to swathe of seaweed.  Views from Blackness beaches.   
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    On another day and on my own I had a walk around the remains of Bangour Village Hospital.  Where I trained as a nurse, lived for 4 years in the nurses home and worked until it closed.  I keep reading on the www that the hospital closed in 2004 prior to the filming of The Jacket, that's not true, I was working in Villa 32 during the filming of the movie.  There were only two wards left open at that time, but we didn't consider the hospital closed until we finally left.  I suspect the building industry is hoping all the protected listed buildings are going to deteriorate so badly they'll be permitted to flatten the entire site and erect box housing.  Meanwhile BVH is being used as the largest dog toilet in Scotland, the grounds are full of dogs and their walkers each and every day.  
       
    From the top...  
    1.  the nurses home, my room 2nd floor window at far right.   
    2.  Rear view of ward 2, over a decade I worked there, on placement as a student, my first staff nurse role and back for 10 years as the Deputy Charge Nurse.  The amount of times I trundled a laundry buggy down that back door slope and threw the bags in that wee cubby hole on the left of the door.  Notice the local delinquents have "jelly factory" and "origami sharks" on their minds.  
    3.  Ward 32.  Another student placement and the time the Charge Nurse asked me what I wanted written on my assessment.  Then another 2 stints in the building as a trained nurse.  The first time was a great experience with the brilliant Betty Brown (sadly recently deceased) as my C/N and mentor and my Toy Poodle Kipling became the ward dog so I could get a puppy and take him to work.  Imagine, infection control would go ballistic these days, the patients loved him.  
    4.  Betty and me with Kipling circa 1990.  
    5.  Nurse Management offices were in the middle of the wd 1 and 2 block.  
    6.  Bangour Church door sign making promises it can't keep, that house of a deity is not open.  
    7.  Bangour Village shop.  Some fool has sprayed "Capitalism is killing us", I hardly think the long closed-down psychiatric hospital shop is destroying humanity.  It wasn't even harming people when it was one of the more pleasant patient-orientated parts of a thriving hospital community.  I wish the graffiti was smarter, but then, there's been a spate of flat Earth graffiti on the back of road signs in this area recently.  When I was a youngster, we didn't have a www, and I managed to stick to the science, just from books and school.  What's wrong with your brain if in 2017 you can avoid the vast research advances and available information?  If you have something to say, please listen first, then engage with the world, even if you are so ridiculously impeded you believe that planets aren't round like a ball, least you can do is stop making stuff ugly in your local community.  
    8.  Ward 9.  People are so prone to their own imaginations Villa 9 was closed way before the hospital closed...because nursing staff, people who should be sciencey and research-based, believed it was haunted.  I despair.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Black Pond.  The Husband's most commonly used comment after a movie is "well, that was different".  He says it so often I regard it as his movie catchphrase, he says it after some movies that, quite frankly, aren't different from the commonly made movie in any way, shape, or form.  I know he deliberately didn't say it after Black Pond because he knew I'd be expecting it.  Black Pond is different, quite enjoyed it.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear06/09/17
strange Goose and Braehead
  I love H&M basics, on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    So, a florist box arrived at Starry Towers, inside was this.  For a long long time I had no words, then I watered the yellow flower and I found words.  The fatal flaw in the design, there's no waterproof barrier betwixt compost and receptacle, watering the plant leads to the goose weeing and crapping all over.  I leave Mrs Goose in the sink until she has her incontinence under control, and now she's over the in the corner of the room staring at the star light.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    On a visit to The Parents at Braehead I went for a chicken inspection.  These old girls, their egg laying days are behind them, but as The Mum told me, "they'll live till they drop off the perch".  Here they are, eating water melon, lucky chooks.  
       
    The Parents now have a dedicated wild flower patch for the precious pollinators, lucky Bees.  
       
       
     
       
     
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear28/08/17
Edinburgh Fringe, Grey Squirrel, Anti Matter, Gold and The Great Beauty





  I seem to be all about the H&M these days...Star Swag Blog.  
       
    Only managed one day trip to the Edinburgh Fringe this year, but what a day.  Friend H and her The Husband, my The Husband and me.  We began with Alex Salmond Unleashed.  Chat, funny stories, singing, comedy from Janey Godley, music from The Carloways, a mystery guest and raising charity cash while he's at it.  Singer Sheena Wellington recreated A Man's a Man For A' That as she sang at the opening of the Scottish Parliament in 1999.  On our day we got special mystery guest Lesley Riddoch, who we were all pleased to see, wouldn't have wanted a Tory.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Then a quick taxi ride to George Square for the rest of the day.  Fish and chips in the gardens followed by Hardeep Singh Kohli.  Hardeep rocks, wee bit of politics, lots of humour.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Last show of the day for us is Tom Binns is Ian D Montfort: Ian Talk Three.  I saw this guy a couple of years ago and already love this one of his characters.  He only has to open his mouth, or even just the look on his face, it's genius.  We got down to the front row and I'm all ready to participate.  He had me on stage at the previous show I attended so I know he's kind to the audience, and he's just so funny.  He's looking for people to fill out little cards with some secret information that he'll get the spirits to tell him later, me, me, me.  I complete a card and when it's my card he refers to later he gets it all correct.  One of the secrets is a question, which the spirits relay to him accurately because he tells me he does foresee a second referendum, he doesn't know if it'll be next year, 5 years or 100 years and the answer will be YES, but he can't be sure how the question will be framed.  Another of the answers was channeled through him from the spirit world and was the name "Marilyn Monroe", the spirit world channeled it to Ian in writing, once done and audience amazed once again with his psychic-ness he flourished the paper at me.  When I asked him to sign it he graciously did, twice.  What a lovely guy he is, and he's so funny, I'd never tire of watching this show.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Bloody Grey Squirrels, coming in here, eating the bird food and digging up the bulbs.  Just wish it was a red one, then I'd put food out specially for it, but these damn grey ones are a scourge.  This one sat on the shed roof while I was able to catch some super pics from the dining room, through the glass of the patio doors.  I've got a great camera.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Anti Matter.  We liked it.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Gold.  Like a bit of Matthew.  Loosely based on the true story of Bre-X mining scandal of 1993.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Great Beauty.  Fabulous film, I heart Rome too.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear20/08/17
Ladybird Update, bird real estate, The Age Of Shadows, The Infiltrator and The Salesman





  Just when I was thinking the Ladybirds must've all up and left me (ungrateful bugs), I spotted one, which made me unreasonably happy.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I've added two new bird boxes to the Starry Towers garden shed.  With two on the front of the shed and only one of them ever used, though it does get used every year, I've added two to the side, hopefully one of them will get lucky too.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Age Of Shadows.  Our first Korean reader, excellent movie.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Infiltrator.  I like a drug cartel movie, I liked this one.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Salesman.  Iranian, subtitles, very good.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear08/08/17
saving cake, Rob Roy, Origami, SPLIT, Prevenge, The Accountant, The Autopsy of Jane Doe and Silence






 
 
  H&M favourite basics on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    I just spent a week or so protecting cake, The Boy's 15 cubes of birthday cake.  He himself ate 4 cubes on his birthday, greedy, but can't deny he deserved it, it was his birthday.  I realised I'd better reserve a cube for The Husband, another for The Mum, and The Dad, and The Boy's Lovely Girlfriend.  I'd also have to bagsie my own before very long.  After a visit from The Parents, and The Husband eating his, and I admit I had a sneaky 2 cubes (I was in charge, and I actually bought it, I'm actually entitled to 2 cubes, if not more).  I don't actually know where the next five went, probably The Boy (his cake after all), perhaps The Husband had a sneaky second cube, if so he'll probably never admit it, but in the end, I'm proud to announce I managed to save this last cube for The Boy's Lovely Girlfriend, she seriously enjoyed it too.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Should've been here a long time ago, but I only just got round to paying tribute to Rob Roy MacGregor.  The Husband and I visited the reputed grave sight for the first time, paying our respects.  Whether the remains of Rob, his wife and two of his sons are there or not, respect paid.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Bought a little summit from Japan and this little piece of paper fell out the envelope too.  A cute wee Origami crane came for free, very thoughtful and made me smile #hope #peace.  
       
       
     
       
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched SPLIT.  James McAvoy, always liked him, always will, and he gets better and better all the time.  Kevin Wendell Crumb, what a creation.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Prevenge.  I expected a bit more, just missed the mark.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Accountant.  Very Hollywood blockbuster, but no bad.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Autopsy of Jane Doe.  I admit it, made me jump several times, well played.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Silence.  I admit it's a good story well told, also frustrating as it displays so well how stupid humans are.  Religion zealots...nothing much has changed.  I spent the entire movie shouting "tell them to apostatise!  Get out of their country and tell them to apostatise".  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear25/07/17
Birthday Boy, Vegas, back pain, I Daniel Blake, 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days and Get Out


 

  The Boy's birthday, Happy Birthday The Boy.  I moonpigged him a big version of the Vegas picture below and got him this cube style chocolate birthday cake, which is delicious.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Following in his mother's footsteps The Boy's been holidaying in Vegas.  There was the suggestion that The Boy and and the Boy's Lovely Girlfriend might be planning a Vegas wedding, he had bought a stunningly handsome new suit prior to going, but I suspected those two won't do it the Vegas way, when they do it, which could and probably will be, a long time away.  
       
       
     
       
       
    I've got the back pain.  34 years of nursing and I was getting off relatively scot-free with just a chronic niggle type pain but I'm now one week into acute and increasingly unbearable lower back pain.  I've been to the GP, a hassle-free same-day appointment and I've got myself the required kit.  I'm using all the things in this pic (yes, even the support belt) and resting, staying active but no lifting, no bending.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched I, Daniel Blake.  I'm raging at the injustice and the bastard Tory government.  
       
    The Husband and I watched 4 Months 3 Weeks & 2 Days.  Oh, the hardship, women in communist Romania open to abuse to endure backstreet blackmarket abortions.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Get Out.  I was so looking forward to this movie, expecting a psychological thriller with some clever humour, but it's just not enough of that and a wee bit too mad scientist sci-fi for me.  We got the social injustice angle and the suspense build up, but then it goes all weirdo Stepford Wifey.  The humour is basically supplied by the friend of the main guy, and he's not all that funny TBH.  And it all ends in one quick sweep-up, it's too easy and I'm disappointed.  I was so ready, willing and able to be thrilled but the menace evident in the beginning quickly evaporated, it wasn't scary.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear04/07/17
GSOH, Grandma and La Cérémonie



  The Boy's Lovely G/F is my favourite young female and The Boy is obviously my favourite young male person.  As I was seeing them off at the door (they're away on a Vegas holiday) this was the view across the street...  
       
The Boy's Lovely G/F: "they doing something to that house?"
    The Boy: "what gave it away?"  
    That's ma boy.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Grandma.  Very good, Granny herself is fabulous.  
       
    The Husband and I watched La Cérémonie.  French, seriously good depiction of how unstable people can go one step further.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear20/06/17
ants
  Stripes on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    Ants  eat honeydew and stroke aphids (yes the ants clap the greenfly) to encourage it's secretion.  Ants protect aphids from ladybirds.  Ants are my enemy.  
       
       
     
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear18/06/17
Ladybird larvae, Golden Y, T2 Trainspotting, The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada and Mystery Road





  Couple of bits of H&M stuff on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    The Ladybird larvae have settled into the Starry Towers garden, I'm sure, it's no easy to check.  Today I was fortunate enough to spot (excuse the pun), one of my babies.  It must be 3 to 4 times the size it was on the 8th of June, the day of their release.  I can see the hard shell spiky segments developing.  This stage is 21 days long, then they'll be pupae, from which my home-grown Ladybirds will emerge, all metamorphosed, in approximately a further 2 weeks.  I watched this Ladybird larvae today, a veritable eating machine, it was ripping into wee beastie after wee beastie, tearing them apart, leg by leg, licking it's lips.  I noticed a surplice of Greenfly legs, I suspect the legs aren't so tasty, they seemed to be causing annoyance, like chicken bones tossed to the side.  This larvae is way more impressive than anytime I've watched a Ladybird.  If you decide to purchase Ladybirds, don't mess about with the adults, go for the larvae.  Ladybirds are territorial by nature, if they have to stay in your garden due to being non-winged larvae, they're more likely to start developing their territorial nature for staying put right there, this is home to these babies.  Very difficult to photograph, still tiny and it's fighting with it's food and chomping down ferociously.  I'm not particularly proud of these pics, just the best I got on the day.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Then, I spotted a Moth, a rhinoceros of a Moth, a pit-bull of a moth.  A very sturdy, fearsome looking Moth.  Turns out it's a Golden Y, I know, strange name, very impressive.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Me, I had me a long lie Sunday. The Starry Towers Wood Pigeons, waiting for their breakfast, didn't approve.  They rule me.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched T2 Trainspotting.  Fabulous and so emotional, it brings back where I was 20 years ago, and since then.  Makes you think.  That can be a sweet pain.  I love T2, and so does The Husband, who wasn't even here, in Scotland, at original Trainspotting time.  Then we watched DVD extras, a group chat with Danny Boyle, and cut scenes.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Three Burials Of Melquiades Estrada.  A different kind of western, very good.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Mystery Road.  Set in Australia, very good.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear09/06/17
Vote SNP GE17
  Studded slip-ons on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    I spent about 5 hours on polling place duty representing the SNP in Sunny D.  In the company of my SNP activist friend Liz, meeting other SNP activists, handing out Stronger For Scotland window stickers and pilfering all the pens, oh, and I finally got my hands of an SNP squeezy face thingy, result.  Hannah Bardell was re-elected as our MP.  Lots of people were lovely, one man was horrid, he said to me, "I hope you have a bad night".  The conversation went thus:  
    Me: you hope I have a bad night?  
    Horrible Man: I want that bitch to get a slap in her mush.  
    M: that's no way to talk of a lady  
    HM: she's no lady  
    M: and you're no gentleman.  
       
    Then I went home, set up a second Labdybird Hotel, rubbed on Ladybird attractant and released 50 Ladybird larvae, which was a lovely thing to do.  The horrid man probably went home, ate a pie then spent his evening poking his nose and scratching his rather big arse.  
         
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear06/06/17
four candles and Train To Busan

  Deciding how best to position my Ladybird Hotels (I've got another one on order along with a batch of larvae) in the front garden I opted for four candles a la the Two Ronnies.  Just the right height, tapered for easy sinking, T handle perfect for rubber-hammering into the ground and light coloured Ash wood which is attractive to Ladybirds.  An inspired choice.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Train To Busan.  Great zombie movie.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear02/06/17
Ladybirds and Green Room

  Comfy silver shoe on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    Greenfly are the scourge of my roses, they don't seem to do much harm to the rest of the flowers but the rose buds take a drubbing.  Not wanting to go chemical I went Ladybird.  A batch of Adalia bipunctata, the two-spot Ladybird, arrived with a Ladybird Barn from GreenGardner.  I released the Ladybirds today, yet to see any one of them eat a Greenfly, and two of them were more interested in the sex.  On the other hand, there must've been some healthy appetite building AND Starry Towers could be all set to have it's own indigenous population.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Green Room.  It's a horror/thriller/wee bit slashy genre movie, but it's a great one, very well made and acted.  
         
         
 
 
  Star smilie clear22/05/17
Blue Tits in residence, Lemming and Children Of Men



     
    The Starry Towers Blue Tits are back in residence.  This has been going on for years, since way before I got my current Olympus Pen-F with a 75-300 telescopic lens.  And this is a more current nest box than the first and it's on a different shed, that's how many years.  So all my old photos aren't as good as I now have the equipment to achieve.  Doesn't mean I've figured it all out yet though, so still no in flight pics, but here are the best two pics I got on this first day I had time to spend on watching and waiting.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Lemming.  By the end of the movie we felt cheated.  I'd read reviews and was expecting something particularly wonderful, and, at least...explicable.  What we got was...well at least we know why a Lemming was in the neighbourhood, not why it was where it was exactly, but at least we know why it's in the country.  The rest..it's not as clever as it, and we, would like it to be.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Children Of Men.  It's 2027 in a Brit Nat racist corrupt war-torn hellish England.  We were left wondering why they didn't just drive up to Scotland, where a peaceful independent Scotland with First Minister Mhairi Black at the helm, is treating everyone equally and fairly.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear17/05/17
presentation, Rosa Alba, Magnolia, Ghost World, Insomnia, Jar City and The Girl With All The Gifts







  I've delivered my first Powerpoint presentation to a small audience of bosses.  I had my 6x4 cards to hand, one per slide, I couldn't have even considered doing this without cards...OCD says I had to have them, they were my crutch, got me past the anxiety.  I thought I'd sit to deliver, but in a test run prior to the show I stood and found it comfortable.  Standing and delivering allowed for a bit of movement, flexibility, freedom, it felt right.  My mouth was soon as dry as a desert, what's that all about, mouth please stay wet in future.  I did the job, the document has permission to go forward for endorsement application.  
       
    The Little White Rose of Scotland...now blooming at Starry Towers.  Back at the rear end of 2015 I purchased two bare root Rosa Alba plants, summer 2016 no flowers, I thought I was doing something wrong.  But no, they don't flower that first year, in their second year I've got my very first Little White Rose of Scotland, sharp and sweet and it'll break your heart, breaks mine just looking at it.  Damn you Anosmia, I seriously want to smell this rose, seriously...fuck you.  
       
       
     
       
       
    The Magnolia plant The Mum was trying to kill up at Braehead, I took it away to Starry Towers, heaped on my loving gardening skills, it's just got first ever flower on.  You would think The Mum would be jealous or disgruntled, but no, she's loving the success.  Braehead is just too cold for the Magnolia.  I took it away from Braehead...and out of it's dirt, repotted in rich compost with extra feeding and watered regularly, but hey...it's all about the temperature.   
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Ghost World.  Quirky and indy, quiet little movie I quite liked in a quiet, quirky indy type way.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Insomnia.  The original Norwegian Insomnia.  Good.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Jar City.  Love a movie set in Iceland, this one is great.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Girl With All The Gifts.  The Hungries and a wee girl who turns the usual zombie story on it's head, problem is, she makes a decision that doesn't win me over.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear05/05/17
#LE17, breasts and  Alphabet Killer

  Congratulations to us, the SNP, on the Scottish Local Election results.  It's wonderful to now have mostly SNP at my local council in the Starry Towers ward and how fabulous that we've taken Glasgow from the Scottish branch of the Labour party, first time since 1980, a Saltire flies over the Glasgow City Chambers now, as it rightfully should.  Here's my Starry Towers SNP windaes 2017, and at top left, that's my EU citizen neighbour, she popped round for a poster.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Breast screening time again, just the second time.  I was so not looking forward to this, the discomfiture of the top-half stripping, the ungainly poses and the being squashed, one breast at a time (twice each breast) between hard flat surfaces.  That stuff is far worse than the slight discomfort, the wee bit pain each squeeze.  But it all goes down to nae bother level in comparison to cancer treatments or dying of breast cancer, so swings and roundabouts and count your blessings time.  Thank you NHS Scotland, saving me and mine.  The woman squashing my breasts was lovely too, we spoke of my work project, that my powerpoint presentation day is a matter of hours away now, of dementia and how music helps.  Anyway, for now, that is all, I've got to go work some more on my powerpoint presentation.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Alphabet Killer.  Meh.  
       
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear02/05/17
The Husband's birthday
  A very Merry Birthday to The Husband, officially crowned the undisputed chief of the clan on his birthday card, which is better than never being crowned undisputed chief of the clan.  
       
       
     
         
       
         
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear24/04/17
Lego nurse, monoblock clean, Under The Shadow, Bullhead, The Loft, The Messenger, Dheepan, American Hustle, Blue Ruin, Don't Breath and Cold In July

















  Here I am, in Lego.  My Lego work keyring.  
       
       
     
       
       
    The monoblock and garden furniture have had a spring clean with Patio Magic and damn it, I forgot to take some before pics.  Four days and loads of Cocodamol later the entire estate is cleaned.  Patio magic works, no more algae, hoping it's going to keep the tiny little weeds away too.  
       
    I love it when the garden kicks in again, here come the Tulips.   
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Not been an awful lot of stuff being done here apart from watching movies and working, and doing work stuff on my own time.  A major work project, which started in August last year...making a document, piloting the document, evaluating the document with questionnaire feedback, writing a report on the document, and currently, making a powerpoint presentation of the document.  It's been endorsed at HSCP level and will hopefully be fully endorsed on completion of the pilot study.  I think I'm going to be an author, of sorts.  
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Under The Shadow.  Fear and anxiety in Iran.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Bullhead.  You've got to feel for the pumped up Belgian farmer (Matthias Schoenaerts) in this complex thriller.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Loft.  For one reason, Matthias Schoenaerts.  This is a who-dun-it by numbers, a modern Agatha Christie with blurry nudity and poor acting and script.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Messenger.  With an inkling I'd seen it before.  Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster are brilliant in this.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Dheepan.  Engrossing.  
       
    The Husband and I watched American Hustle.  Loved it.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Blue Ruin.  Revenge, you don't expect that guy to do it like this.  I enjoyed it.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Don't Breath.  Yes, good enough.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Cold In July.  I quite liked it, and there's Don Johnson, haven't seen him for ages.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear31/03/17
Mother's Day, wee beastie, seeds sown and Only Lovers Left Alive, Captain Phillips, The Perfect Witness, Olympus Has Fallen, The East, Jason Bourne, Frozen land, Rams, The Magnificent Seven, The Witch and I Am Not A Serial Killer






















  Mother's Day message from The Boy displaying an unexpected level of mushy sentiment.  Made me smile, after I laughed, I smiled.  
       
       
     
       
       
    In the garden I wouldn't have spotted this tiny wee beastie on a tiny flower if I hadn't been looking through the macro lens.  I believe it's a Greenfly.  Itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny, very very wee.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I was at work when I received a message from The Husband, "what did you do with all the phone numbers on the notice board?"  I answered telling him I'd taken the phone numbers card through to the sitting room to rewrite and make it nice and neat again.  Later that night when I was back in the house The Husband says, "what have you done with the router password, it's not on the notice board"...I tell him I've done nothing with the router password card, it's on the notice board, when I arrive at the notice board he's standing there, "ahh, there it is" he says and one beat later, "but what did you do with the phone numbers?"  Always looking to one-upmanship me even when it's patently ridiculous to try.  
       
    Been loads of movie watching here and an upgrade to a Blu-Ray Player.  The Sony BDP-S7200.  It's a 4K Upscale Blu-Ray Disc Player with Super Wi-Fi, High-Resolution Audio and Dual Core Processor.  I like it.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Only Lovers Left Alive.  Bored vampires who don't bite.  I was bored and didn't bite.  
       
    I watched Captain Phillips.  I tried to watch Captain Phillips but it was a bit boring.  Perhaps because I'm no fan of Tom Hanks, and I much preferred the Danish movie A Hijacking.  
       
    I watched The Perfect Witness.  I tried to watch The perfect Witness.  About 15 minutes in it became apparent that this ex-rental The Husband brought home from Norway, was in a damaged condition.  I'm not complaining, the movie wasn't shaping up as any sort of interesting.  
       
    I watched Olympus Has Fallen.  I didn't really, I played it on the DVD player, but I was doing stuff on my laptop instead.  It's nowhere near as good as London Has Fallen.  
       
    I watched The East.  I admit I was expecting some witchy stuff, it's actually an eco-warrior movie.  I've been getting through some DVDs I instinctively knew The Husband wouldn't entertain for a minute.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Jason Bourne.  That's enough Bourne now.   
       
    The Husband and I watched Frozen Land.  Moral of the story, do not move to Finland.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Rams.  Interesting, engaging and emotional drama.  I felt their pain.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Magnificent Seven.  The remake, does what you expect.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Witch.  Was ok, bit boring, the sound is dubious too, difficult to make out speech, specially the Dad. Human fear and anxiety combined with religious zeal drives people crazy.  This is New England in 1630, they do have the excuse of ignorance, can't blame them for turning on each other "you're a witch!".  Today, there's no excuse, we have science, we have facts, explanations, stop turning on each other in the name of the god of whatever dogma you happen to be born into or pick out the box of gods available to you at a later date.  Seriously, do people still get down on their knees and pray (without an audience)?  I struggle with that level of willful ignorance and gullibility.  
       
    The Husband and I watched I Am Not A Serial Killer.  On Blu-Ray.  Loads of unexpected twists and likeable characters, the multiple layers of monsters.  Also, all bullied schoolchildren...absolutely...do that.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
13/03/2017
The Boy & lovely GF in EU, Baillie, owl lights, John Wick, Salt of Life and Them





  The Boy and the Lovely Girlfriend have had a couple of trips away.  First Paris then Warsaw.  Slightly jealous.  
       
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Today's top photography model is Baillie.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I didn't expect this when panning The Parents' garden with a zoom lens.  Owl being held hostage.  Owl freed now and parents reported.  The Parents claim the owl lights are cable-tied to stop the wind blowing them off the fence, the owls were obviously traumatised.  
       
       
     
         
         
      Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched John Wick.  Eventually got around to it.  I'm no Keanu Reeves fan, my opinion remains unchanged.  
         
      The Husband and I watched Salt of Life.  Charming Italians.  
         
      The Husband and I watched Them.  A French couple in a massive house that badly needs decorated, in the middle of Romanian woods.  And shit gets serious.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
10/03/2017
Baby Ellie, sex change deer. Sin Nombre, The Man of the Year, Triple 9 and Carandiru









  The friend and work colleague D, has had her baby.  I messaged her a few hours later to politely enquire if she could please come back to work now.  I miss her.  However, biting the maternity leave bullet I bought her a baby gift and went to visit her and her beautiful new baby Ellie.  I like JoJo Maman Bébé stuff, I like their style, I'd quibble a wee bit about the name, I can never remember it when called upon to name my favourite baby clothing firm, admittedly that doesn't happen often, but it is a difficult name to recall once every two or so years.  The star sleepsuit and matching star hat with a Born in 2017 Bunny and all presented in the Born in 2017 Keepsake box.  And it turns out baby photographs are relatively simple to do.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I walked in on The Husband trying to fix my stag.  He'd just broke a leg, an ear and the antlers off it.  He glues the leg and ear okay but struggles with the antlers and gives up, announcing it's a doe now.  I've managed to glue the antlers back in but can see daylight through the base, it'll never be the friggin' same again obvs.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Sin Nombre.  Hooks you, if you have a decent bone in your body, you want these people to get to safety and a chance to make a life for themselves and their families, they stand no chance staying put.  See Trump, he can stick his great great wall up his arse.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Man of the Year.  Set in Rio, very good.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Triple 9.  Thing is, despite a couple of our favourite actors, it doesn't hang together and gets a bit boring.  I was trying to work out why the dirty cops were doing the bad stuff, maybe cos that one dirty cop has a son the Russians have a hold of, but why didn't he go the other way and take the Russians down and claim legal custody of his boy?  That would seem the best way to go.  The most interesting thing for me was the Mara Salvatrucha, with their distinctive MS tattoos, a gang which features in both Triple 9 and Sin Nombre.  In Sin Nombre I was downhearted at the "Mara forever" message, like there is no escape, once in the gang you either stay there and do what you're told or you die.  In Triple 9, there are reformed Mara Salvatrucha members doing bit part acting jobs.  I liked Casey Affleck telling a Mara you're gang hand sign comes from heavy metal bands.  There's hope after all.  Read more about the Mara here.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Lincoln Lawyer.  DVD purchased for the Matthew McConaughey, he's so good.  This one is fabulous.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Carandiru.  I liked it, for the characters and their stories.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
03/03/2017
bin lid, Stake Land and Amores Perros



  Star earrings on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    The lid of the 30 litre Brabantia Touch Bin broke, no biggie.  This bin's already had a free lid replacement under the 10yr guarantee, but it's in the range of 20yrs old now, so new lid purchased on Amazon.  However, every time I walked past I was trying to close it, as did the Husband, muscle memory can be infuriating.   
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Stake Land.  Zombie movie, nothing new really, despite attempting enthusiasm (me) it's a bit been here, done that (Stake Land).  
       
    The Husband and I watched Amores Perros.  Good movie, enjoyed by us.  Translation..."love's a bitch" and this film sets out to prove it with humans and dogs.  Difficult to believe no animals were harmed in the making of this film but it comes down to clever editing and heavy sedation with Mexican SPCA monitoring.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
27/02/2017
Mark Littlewood and Nine Queens

  Blue crystal ring on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    Haven't had a moment to blog this before now, but I can't let it go by without putting it up here.  Marilynsworld is my diary, in my old age I'll want to be reminded of this.  The recent Glasgow episode of BBC Question Time (16th February 2017) was surprising for several reasons.  For one, it was balanced and fair, for two, immigrants were not blamed for all of that ails the UK.  Then there was the panel which included known Scottish Independenistas John Swinney and Val McDermid.  Then there was Mark Littlewood, the Director General of the Westminster-based think tank, the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).  Mr Littlewood opened his mouth to answer a question, I heard his English accent and naturally (and wrongly) assumed he would be talking Scotland down.  How wrong was I, this man supports Scottish independence and made his case brilliantly.  He made a lot of new friends in Scotland that night.  I tweeted to thank him, he tweeted me back, he followed me and he initiated a direct message dialogue with me, with words of inspiration and top secret information.  The content of our private messages will remain confidential, but it's all good and I await future developments on matters he divulged (it's probably not top secret but I prefer to believe it is).  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Nine Queens.  An Argentinian hustlers gotta hustle movie.  OK, I worked out where it was going relatively early-ish, sussed the plot, but that's only because I'm a clever cookie.  We both loved the movie.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
26/02/2017
Wish upon a star, James Nally, DVD & Coat Cupboard, Crocuses, Paradise Lost, The Guest, Gomorrah Season 2 and Now You See Me 2









  The born-in-England Husband notices this from where he's sitting on the sofa and asks "what's this pish in a jar?"  Aye, he's definitely the full-on Scottish now.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    James Nally is an extraordinary generous, kind and talented man.  Having audiobooked his two P C Donal Lynch novels, perfectly voiced by Aiden Kelly, I tweeted my appreciation of his work and asking for more.  I told him I'd also purchased the Kindle versions for my old Mum.  He tweeted me back (whoop whoop) thanking me for my kindness and a declaration that he's midst writing the third P C Donal Lynch book (fantastalicious) and that he'll be sending me a couple signed copies, one for my old ma and one for me (screaming inside with excitement, emitting a subdued sound of humming glee on the outside).  I love such wonderful surprises and I do adore a signed copy, this man instinctively recognised the way to my literary heart.  For a split second I toyed with the idea of making Mr James Nally my new favourite author.  Sacré bleu...of course that could never be, though I do wonder if Mr Douglas Lindsay would get jealous, loosing his Number One Fan, or his Stalker as I'm known in the Douglas household, to a relative newcomer.  P C Donal Lynch is an Irishman in London in the early '90s, great crime fiction with fabulously funny Irish humour.  Some factual elements I vaguely remembered from the time are incorporated in the story, the interest it stimulated sent me googling and reading the full story about that too.  I love these books and Mr James Nally, my second favourite author.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    The four gloss white Umbra Flip Hooks from Red Candy, £22.50 per five hook rack, are on the wall in the Starry Towers DVD Plus Coat And Footwear Cupboard.  I'm extremely happy with this cupboard improvement situation.  All this cupboard had before was the DVDs, now it's got all the DVDs in the drawer units, and the everyday coats, and some of the shoes, gloves, hats, scarfs, a few umbrellas, the shoe-shine stuff, my bag-for-life Baggu bag collection, loads of stuff.  And I've found some perfect-fit Interdesign storage for the built-in alcove shelving, very happy with these.  And BTW, the religious figure on top the back shoe shelf unit, Buddy Christ from Kevin Smith's Dogma, not an indication of me giving up atheism, the very opposite actually.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    There's Starry Towers Crocuses in bloom.  A joy to behold.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
    Movie Watch (some spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Paradise Lost the extreme edition.  Full of the typical clichés, the youngsters go to the house in the woods, but it's Brazil, and there's a claustrophobic drowning-risk, I got the scary thrill with that.  The bit I couldn't forgive is the statistics, they don't add up, the bad guy was planning on providing at least 24 organs, x6 livers and hearts plus 12 kidneys, which would mean at least 24 recipients waiting in the Rio hospital at the other end, with a team of doctors and other medical professionals for each individual operation AND no-one's even done any cross-match testing.  This would surely not be possible, even under private health insurance.  
       
    The Husband and I watched The Guest.  A wee bit silly, ok, a big bit silly.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Gomorrah Season 2.  I watched all 12 episodes, The Husband managed 9 episodes.  I like Gomorrah a lot, The Husband seems to be tiring of it now.  
       
    The Husband and I watched A Lonely Place To Die.  Very good, enjoyed the Scottish scenery and pleased to see Scotsman Garry Sweeney, then I find he's an Independence YES, so even more into him now.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Now You See Me 2.  It's a bit bang, bang, bang, follow the winning formula, don't have to work too hard, it's in the bag.  So it's not very good really.  
         
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
02/02/2017
DVD problem, Baby Snake Plant Update, Suburra, Hell Or High Water and Eye In The Sky





  Photography stuff on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    I love when the snowdrops are back, another gardening year is coming soon.  
       
       
     
       
       
    I walked into the garden to feed the birds one recent morning and discovered an ice formation in one of the poppy garden decoration thingys.  This is a type of ice spike which is described at io9 better than I can explain.  It's pretty and interesting and rare.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I had a DVD problem.  According to my DVD Profiler I had 1652 DVDs, arranged alphabetically on shelves in the Starry Towers walk-in Movie Cupboard.  After 3 decades of functional service the walk-in Movie Cupboard was about to fail me due to overload, bursting at the seams in there.  I had to rethink the DVD storage situation.  I'm not persuaded away from the DVDs yet, but it's time to give the cupboard back to coats and shoes, keep the DVDs but store them differently.  There are options permitting 1000 DVDs to be stored in one aluminium case, I'd only need two cases.  The DVDs would be stored in wee plastic disc sleeve thingys, the covers in folders and a load of the DVD boxes could be stored in the attic, enough for the special box sets and resalables anyway.  So I spent some time looking for the right storage solution.  In the end I didn't go with the 1000 DVD cases, or the folders for the paper covers.  I went with the...kinda similar but much better...drawer option from Neo Media.  This is fabulous because the drawer cases are stackable, the suitcase version could only be one high, drawers can be stacked way high.  Only problem was the drawer option was near-on sold out.  Good fortune led me to locate the last four of the 600 DVD size and the very last 400 size AND at discount prices because one was a demo model from the actual shop and the others were classed as "minor defects".  And so, the DVDs are now in the 600s with space for future purchases and the CD collection is in the 400.  My first thought for the paper covers was to put them in folders, but I discovered I needed 7 big file folders and it was unworkable as a browsing-the-collection option.  The answer to this is the DVD Profiler program, it has a printable list feature with loads of options, some offer pictures of the covers too, and I'm pretty sure it'll be an easy workable solution to browsing the collection.  I'll have to print the list a few times a year, but with our printer, it's a good few years old now, paper and ink are cheap, that's not an issue.  The paper covers are in them boxes that 5 reams of A4 paper come in.  I had one box and got the second at work, for free, it was going in the bin otherwise.  
       
    Next problem was the redundant plastic DVD cases.  I put some in the attic, kept all the special cardboard sleeve ones and a bunch of others, just in case.  Still found myself with about 1000 too many.  I wasn't sure if these things can be recycled so I emailed the Sunny D local council.  I was briefly amused at the reply from young (I'm assuming) Danielle, she told me the Head of Waste was unavailable so in her own opinion she thought DVD cases were probably good to go in the recycling blue bin...plastics (but not ALL), paper and card.  I replied, saying, yes that seems to make sense (but not really) but just to be on the safe side could she perhaps maybe run it past the Head of Waste when she tracks that person down.  I got a reply, the Head of Waste says no, DVD cases go in the black landfill bin.  Which I'm sad about, I don't want to put hundreds of DVD cases in the ground, forever.  I took to The Facebook and The Twitter to find a reuse option and a woman I know took 510 DVD covers to local nurseries for the kiddiewinks to be crafting.  I'm exceedingly happy to be saving some landfill space, for the time-being anyway, though perhaps some of them will be treasured forever, if a toddler turns it into a...I don't know...a work of art or the base of a something or other.  
       
    I removed the shelving units, they are for the tip I reckon, apart from the one on the back wall, with a bit of a shelf-shuffle this one can house the DVD drawers and provide shelving for footwear.  Next up was a coat of white paint for the cupboard, which I had done in a trice.  Then purchasing some coat racks, I went with my old favourite, the Umbra Flip Hook, in gloss white, from Red Candy, £22.50 for the five hook size.   
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Baby Snake Plant Update.  Those baby Snake Plant cuttings I started back on 26/03/2015 when I accidently pulled a leaf off my very old original are coming along nicely.  First picture on 26/03/2015 6 bits of leaf stuck in compost, then on 31/07/2016 I discover a 3 out of 6 success rate.  Today the bottom 2 pictures show the three babies potted on, one in a silver pot and two together in a bigger pot.  I'm really not entirely sure what I'll be doing with these plants in the future.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Suburra.  Very good.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Hell Or High Water.  Excellent.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Eye In The Sky.  Edge of the seat indeed and thought-provoking.  However, overplayed the individual army staff's emotional reactions to achieve empathy from the movie viewers, they wouldn't be in those jobs if they were going to hesitate for a second.  Yes, it's a quandary...but the entire fucked up global situation was created a long time ago and for the benefit of a few individuals in politics and the oil and arms industries, I couldn't quite suspend believe long enough to stop being angry about the reality.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
14/01/2017
JW, smarts, Dispute Update, Slow West & The Good Neighbour



  The Husband and I headed into The Burg to see Jack Whitehall at The Edinburgh Playhouse.  Pre-show we popped into The Slug and Lettuce in the Omni Centre for dinner.  We ordered a diet and a regular cola while we perused the menu, the waitress came back with the drinks, but which was which?  She seemed uncertain, off she went again with the colas, she returned and put them on the table, my diet version over here and The Husband's sugary one over there, I asked her, "did you take them away to taste them?", the uncertain waitress said it's the lime/lemon that indicates the difference.  To be fair to her, when I'd swished my fruit slice around in my cola enough to be able to check the colour of the peel, my lime was a bit yellow, but just enough green to tell it was a lime.  The Husband and I opted for our first taste of a steamed bun for starters.  Two steam bun options, BBQ pulled pork with pickled red onion or the Kimshi, which is Korean-style pickled vegetables and baby spinach with a spiced lemon dressing.  We ordered a plate of each and shared.  Turns out steamed buns are a little bit sweet and the fillings were spicy so, though they might look like unbaked dough they are actually cooked and are light and delicious, a perfect starter.  The Husband continued with the exotic unknown and went with the Bulgogi beef Bibimap, a Korean style stir through sticky rice, pak choi, peppers, onions, kimchi, edamame beans and radish, topped with a fried egg and drizzled with a hot chili sauce.  I enjoyed the hand-battered "by the lovely chefs in the kitchen" (begs the questions who else and where else?) cod, chips, garden peas and tartare sauce.  Apart from the silly frier-style basket which requires a dig-in whereas I'd prefer a more relaxed side-on approach (on reflection I could've tipped my main out the basket onto the ceramic below if there'd been more space on the table to put the basket, but there wasn't, so on more reflection, probably best I just dug in from above) and the tartare sauce portion was tiny.  The waiter asked if he could fetch us any sauces, I said yes, more tartare, the second dish of tartare was bigger than the first, so I was well served tartare-wise in the end.  We shared a sweet...see, thing is, when I break my low-carb lifestyle, I figure it's best to go for it, if not today, then never again for a long time, so I have to get everything, might as well.  We shared the Mini Desserts Selection, I say "shared", The Husband tried 2 little bits.  This is a Mojito jelly shot, a salted caramel chocolate bar, a blackcurrant & Prosecco meringue roulade, a French macaroon, a praline flavoured profiterole coated in crunchy hazelnut pieces and a vanilla flavoured cookie crumb profiterole.  My first jelly shot, more reflection here...perhaps I was supposed to warm the glass in my hand or breath on it several times, but the jelly was impossible to reach, until The Husband gave me his little coffee spoon, even then I had to use the handle of the spoon to reach the rest of my first jelly shot.  The jelly shot was delicious, as was the salted caramel chocolate bar and the meringue roulade, the macaroon was nice, the profiteroles disappointing.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    With a full tummy and a blue catering plaster on my left shin we headed out of the Omni Centre to the Playhouse.  You'll be wondering about the blue plaster.  I'd scratched my leg and it bled, I was pressing a Mona Lisa paper hankie on it for a wee while before realising I surely needed a plaster to permit me to eat my dinner with two hands on cutlery, so I asked the uncertain waitress if they had a plaster, seemingly causing her a little more uncertainty.  I knew they'd have a plaster, they'd have a first aid box, they'd have a first-aider if I saw fit to request it, they'd definitely have a plaster.  I heard the uncertain waitress as she disappeared behind the kitchen door, "do we have plasters?".  She was quick back with a blue catering plaster.  I think perhaps she was relatively new to the world of waitressing.  
       
    On to The Playhouse, we had a couple of seats in the AA section, AA5 and AA8, really great seats, no one in front of you, no fight in and out past other people, very close to the stage, good view, ice-cream salesperson right there in the interval.  5 and 8 sounds like you're not sitting next to each other, but you are.  Warm up stand up was a young man called Tom Lucy, he did well, especially his clever Colin (a man chosen in the front row of the stalls) stuff.  This pic is Tom talking to Colin.  Jack Whitehall was hilarious, he slipped once, referring to England when, given that he was in Edinburgh he should've said the UK (I'm hyper-sensitive to this kind of stuff), apart from that he was spot on throughout.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
       
    I've always been in the habit of occasionally assaulting myself, what with chopping kindling (a stick hits the face, the axe hits a hand), I've had monumental falls (always sober, never drunk) and now I've become the Most Likely To Bleed To Death.  Since I got out a new set of ultra-sharp knives for the new magnetic knife display thing in the kitchen, it's been this practically every bloody time I use one of them.  This latest one was sawing into a plastic bottle of mayo with a bread knife.  Imagine holding down a plastic mayo bottle with your left hand (if you're right handed) and attempting to slice into it with an ultra-sharp bread knife, the bottle moves due to your rubbish hold on it, and it all goes to shit at that point, that's not so strange, is it?  I'm very economical in many (not all, that would just be unreasonable) ways, and I'm a serious recycler, cutting open a mayo bottle gets the last of the mayo out, so no waste and a cleaner bottle for recycling.  I'm big on recycling since the council made our grey landfill bins shrink.  I actually have had foresight and purchased a pair of "no-cut" gloves a while back, I really should become more insightful and adopt the habit of wearing them in dangerous kitchen knife use situations.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Starry Towers has the smart meters now.  The biggest benefit is I'll never need to read another meter or input the results on the website again.  It is a bit big brother of course, but then, what can the power suppliers use my gas and electricity usage stats for, other than billing me?  I understand the cost of installing the meters is being paid by energy consumers in higher bills and the gadget does run on electricity so the energy providers have pulled a fast one really.  They no longer have to employ people to come out and read the meters either, win win for the utility companies then, smart meters from the smart bastards.  I'm happy at no more meter reading.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Amazon Dispute News Update.  Three days after I lodge my official complaint with Amazon an email arrives inviting me to review my transaction, how happy am I with the product, the service, how happy am I with "item as described by the seller"?  Do not make me laugh out loud, it was meant to be 12 plates, it was 2.  Even more peeved now than I was.  Making matters even more peevier, that's the battle over, Amazon accepts no responsibility and Drink Stuff say they're not supplying the other 10 plates, end of.  Despite Citizens Advice and LoveMoney both saying if you have a contract (which I do) and if you believed the price was correct (which I did) then you are in the right, it's a tricky situation and impossible to prove, and too much trouble, you rely on the company's goodwill basically and Drink Stuff aren't brimming over with the milk of human kindness.  In return they are now on the Starry Towers blacklist and we'll never do business again.  I've shopped with them several times, they've had a couple hundred of my Scottish pounds, but no more.  Crosbys and Global Food Service Equipment will now be my first ports of call for all my crockery needs.  As Drink Stuff allowed me to keep the 2 plates they did send (they'd have a terrible cheek to make me send them back) I found another 6 of the same plate at Global for less than Drink Stuff are claiming they're really worth.  
       
       
     
       
     
         
         
      Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Slow West.  A bit of a strange one, I could understand the Irish accents easier than the Scottish characters.  The background sounds are too accentuated, sometimes interfering with the voices.  
         
      The Husband and I watched The Good Neighbour.  Seriously good thriller.  
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
05/01/2017
contract law, Indy ceramics and A A Gill
  H&M stuff on The Star Swag Blog.  
       
    Amazon Dispute News.  Oh Drink Stuff you have surely let me down big-time.  I've shopped for my crockery needs at Drink Stuff a couple of times before and been extremely happy.  Y'all know I like to dress a table and fancy-smancy plates are my thang, so I was very pleased with this plate bargain from Drink Stuff on Amazon, a pack of 6 plates for £7.99 (down from £8.99).  At £1.33 per plate, I ordered 2 packs.  When my plates arrived there were 2 plates, not 12.  I'd never buy 2 plates at £7.99 each plus postage of £4.99, I'd search for a better deal.  I'd never even buy just 2 plates, I buy crockery items in units of at least 8, for family dinners, and I'd absolutely never pay £4.99 for postage for 2 plates.  I only purchased because the plates were a great deal, I didn't even think they were a stupidly too-good-to-be-true deal, the listing said "sale", £1.33 a plate on sale, is not unreasonable, especially when they were not on Amazon Prime free delivery.  On receipt of the 2 plates I contacted Drink Stuff via Amazon, they emailed telling me this was a listing error, they have refunded me fully but are happy for me to keep the 2 plates for free.  Not so fast Drink Stuff, I don't want 2 plates, I want the 12.  There's been a sudden and dramatic change to the listing, apart from a massive hike in the price, it's now Prime delivery and Drink Stuff is no longer attached in any way, the item is now sold by Amazon.  I did Drink Stuff a huge favour drawing this listing error to their attention yet they still think they can cheat me.  Advice from LoveMoney leads me to believe the law is on my side, Drink Stuff accepted my order, we have a contract.  Drink Stuff are now saying they are done with me and are taking it up with Amazon as it's Amazon's error, I too have taken it up with Amazon, initially on The Twitter then via their website and sincerely hope they can make me a satisfied customer again.  This morning I have an email from Amazon, it could take 5-7 days to resolve my issue, watch this space.  I expect Amazon to honour the contract and dish up me dishes.  
     

 

 
         
       
         
       
         
         
      On the subject of porcelain I've created the essence of waiting for Scottish Independence through the medium of ceramic drinks containers.  
         
         
       
         
         
      I'm so sad at the death of A A Gill, my favourite journalist in a newspaper that isn't The National.  His death does give me permission to stop buying The Sunday Times, but that's a wretched benefit in comparison to the option of him not dying of cancer.  My reaction, after cancelling my Sunday Times order at the Sunny D village shop was to purchase a load of his books, second hand from AbeBooks.  
         
         
       
         
         
 
 
         
  Star smilie clear
01/01/2017
New Year dinner, surprise calendar gift, The Day, and Solace


 
  Happy New Year to the lovely people.  
       
       
     
       
       
    New Year dinner was a thing at Starry Towers this year, we don't always bother especially if one or more of us are working.  Happily 2017 New Year saw The Husband, The Boy, The Boy's lovely girlfriend and me all being available for a sit-down four course extravaganza with an award winning local Boghall Butcher's steak pie for the main.  Absolutely fabulous meal, I've reached peak celebration dinner, I'm done, don't think I can do any better than this.  
       
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
     
       
       
    A surprise Xmas gift from Indy artist Stewart Bremner arrived at Starry Towers just before Xmas.  His IndyPrints 2017 calendar The Early Days of a Better Nation, how very thoughtful and kind.  
       
       
     
       
       
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Day.  It's alright.  
       
    The Husband and I watched Solace.  Good to see Messrs Hopkins and Farrell, wasn't really taken with the script though.  
       
        mmmm
         
         
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mmmm   mmmm