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13/08/2018





  Job News.  I've joined the Nurse Bank and now, briefly, have two jobs.  I've only ever had one job, ever, ever.  Ok, there was a bit of promotion in there, but I regard it all as one job, I began my nurse training in 1983, became a trained nurse and have been ever since.  On my Phased Retirement I've got only 2 and a half days left to work now.  I'm enjoying all this time off, phased retirement and some annual leave, but along with the excitement and pleasure at my very good luck, or rather, jolly good planning as a 19 year old (ie persuing a training and job that would award me with decades of the privilege of caring for people and the opportunity to retire early age 55).  There's also a wee bit trepidation, what'll happen next? 
   
  Friend H and I were at Edinburgh Playhouse for Frankie Boyle, Prometheus 3, both he and Bathgate-born Fern Brady were hilarious.
   
 
   
  The Husband was at a filling station in Northumberland where he proffered Scottish money.  The filling station man wasn't happy and a mini-standoff occured.  But aye, he took it, syphoning diesel out a van probably isn't in his job description.
   
 
   
  The Husband and I watched The Bridge IIII.  Emotional.  And already I need more Saga, I need season V.  "Who shall say that Fortune grieves him, While the star of hope she leaves him?"

Robert Burns - Ae Fond Kiss.
   
    The Husband and I watched Sunshine.  It's alright.  I felt the Brian Cox presence in the physicist main character so was hopeful the science was to a big enough degree.  Little things like, one person reading a paper book, surely weight would matter and kindle-like devices would be a given?  The bad guy was the most unbelievable aspect, how could he have survived for seven years?  Anyways, it's visually gold and a wee bit spiritual, not stuff I'm fond of.
     
    The Husband and I watched The Beguiled.  Good stuff, nice down-to-earth human stuff, and Colin Farrell.
     

     


11/08/2018







  I am fast becoming a major player in the saving of the insects.  In the space of one week I've saved a Bee, a Dragonfly, and as an afterthought, I even plucked a drowning Wasp from a watery death.  First up was the Bee, it was sitting very still, I grabbed my camera for the photo op, always my first thought, then I realised it's tongue was sticking out unnaturally (first pic below).  I reckoned this Bee needed sugar water to stand any sort of chance, or it was going to die.  It's OK to do this in a one-off emergency, DO NOT leave sugar water out routinely, that's bad, and stop believing everything you read on Facebook.  After the sugar water the Bee still looked dreadful, but it crawled away from the sugar water spoon, dragging it's wee body over the monoblock and I'm thinking, if you're going to die it won't be on stone, so I placed her on the Blue Bedder flowers.  She was slow, moving around the plant, but she was at least active.  Then, after a while, she actually flew again.  The picture of her flying isn't the best quality pic, but it's the best pic of the day.
   
 
   
 
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Visiting The Parents for the Happy Birthday Mum do, mum and me spent time at their pond with our cameras.  Where we were both a bit stunned when I rescued a Common Hawker Dragonfly (Aeshna juncea) from a Great Diver Beetle (Dytiscus marginalis) larvae.  We didn't know it was a seriously horrid and vicious baby beetle, we actually thought it was a wee fish.  At The Mum's urging I put my hand in the water and lifted the Dragonfly, the slithery thing stayed attached and came with it.  A closer look and we were both going "yuck, it's got legs!".  Turns out the Dragonfly was in a terrible situation, being drowned and consumed at the same time because these baby beetles pump digestive enzymes into their victims to paralyse and dissolve.  Once the larvae had slithered back into the pond our attentions went rightfully to the Dragonfly, she seemed distressed, and was my best friend for ages.  I'd started to kid myself on that I was blessed with an inate Dragonfly attraction factor because she stayed around and on me for ages, and male blue version were zoning in on me too.  I was putting my hand out, them nearly touching me, then whoosh...one of them grabbed her, it all happened so fast, we hardly knew what was happening. and I'm pretty sure it was doing sex to it!  As they flew off together they'd formed the wheel of sex.  A nice lady at the Dragonfly Society helped identify my Dragonfly and said it was a good sign that she was able to form the wheel.  Nature eh.  All this at the Parent's place, a hot-bed of sex and violence. 
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    I've carefully placed 4 big hardy perennial Peony (Paeonia peregrina) seeds in potting compost.  No action is expected there until 2019, they have to overwinter outdoors, preferably in situ but I've put them in biodegradable pots for fear of turning the seeds over when I'm pottering around.  I will be expecting big beautiful red flowers at some point in the future.
     
    The Mum's given me a Jade plant cutting and an Aloe vera plant.  Me, known to be pretty damn good at the outdoor garden thing, but when it comes to indoors, sure I'm the Queen of the Snake Plant but everything else dies.  I've given them houseroom, sunshine and infrequent water seems to be the way to go, but don't blame me if it all goes to shit.  I've placed them at the window-of-much-plant-success (south-facing upstairs hall window) for optimum chance of survival.
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Most Beautiful Island.  Not as good as I'd hoped for and unreasonably short, I was just starting to give the movie a little credit, thinking ahhh, what's going to happen now? and the movie finished.  The plotline needed developed further.
     
    The Husband and I watched Young Adam.  Young Adam. Phew, cracker of a Scottish movie, loved it, great story and acting, so tense, had me second-guessing Joe right up to the end #WhatWouldJoeDo AND it's got Peter Mullan AND Ewan McGregor And EMcG's penis.  Late review 5 hot stars.
     

     


25/07/2018
  The Boy had a birthday, he's really a man now, but he'll always be my boy. 
   
 
   
    On his birthday night there was a full moon, visible: 99%, and I captured my best moon photie ever, and I did it handheld, with my new Olympus 300mm IS Pro lens on the Pen F.  It's like looking through a telescope, it's almost as big as a telescope.
     
   
     

     


23/07/2018

  Having captured great photos of the black Hoverfly I set out to capture pics of the yellow and black stripy version, then discovered I'd captured 3 verities of stripy Hoverflies.  And one did a pee, the things you see with a macro lens.  A bit of research informed me it's not urine, as urine contains urea, but rather this is pollen water excreted by pollinators to maintain their delicate water balance.  Whatever, it was quite something to capture, without the benefit of the macro lens, my naked eyes would never have been capable on their own.  From the top, Eupeodes corollae or Migrant Hoverfly (female then male), Episyrphus balteatus or Marmalade Hoverfly (female), another female Marmalade on the blue flower, and the peeing Hoverfly is a female Helophilus pendulus or Sun Fly.  And I have to add "I think" to all them semi-educated identity guesses.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  And then I spotted a tiny wee fly blowing bubbles.  To decrease body temperature, or to clean the mouth parts or perhaps it's to do with food digestion, says science.  The things you see with a macro lens.  This is not the best quality photo but it's A TINY WEE ITSY-BITSY FLY BLOWING EENY-WEENY BUBBLES!  I tried to identify the fly, impossible, I'm just calling it a tiny wee fly blowing bubbles.
   
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Mom and Dad.  The perfect role for Nicolas Cage to channel his exquisite acting.  It's a bit silly but funny and there is a kinda moral to the story.
     

     


20/07/2018
  An old friend visited bringing a welcome gift of Poppy seeds, he gave some useful advice on the garden and I made a nice photo of his gift.  Today I'll heed his advice and sow some of the seeds.
   
 
     
    I think I always assumed all Hoverflies are stripy, if I did, then I was wrong, this is a black Hoverfly, so tiny, quick, useful, interesting and perfect for a play with the macro lens.  The black Hoverflies are very difficult to identify, but this one I believe is Platycheirus albimanus.  This took a lot of research.  What gave it away in the end are the silvery-grey markings on the body and silvery-dusted face, I think.  I also learned that the males of all Hoverfly species have eyes close together, the wider apart eyes are female. 
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    First-time Fruit Grower Update.  I ate my second Strawberry, leaving one more for another day.  The Tomatoes are so doing the ripe thing, every day the red gets stronger.  There's second and a few third trusses of flowers on display too, with the Bees busy helping with the pollination.  I pruned the vines and leaves not needed, the ones with no flowers/fruits, any yellowing, the ones throwing shade at my toms.  Tomatoes need six hours of direct sunlight each day, with this best for years Summer, they're getting it in #BloomingScotland, apart from today, this one was disappointing.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Birdbox activity.   Them two new boxes on the west-facing side of the shed, Box 3 was christened with Tree Sparrows, then as the fledglings were preparing to fly nest-building started in the neighbouring Box 4.  Those babies have gone too, and Box 3 is being used a second time.  It's a bumper year for my baby birds.
     
    My current favourite light lunch of Feta cheese, green grapes and garlic clove stuffed Halkidiki Olives, so Greek, so EUremain, so about to be out with my affordability, along with all the other European cheeses.
     
   
     
    I won a competition for a year's subscription to an online magazine.  I'd voted for iScot Magazine in the World Cup Of Magazines tournament. iScot won of course and is now officially The Best Magazine In The World.  The lovely team at Pocket Mags offered many choices of subscription prize.  I picked iScot Magazine which I already subscribe to in the paper copy because I read it in the shower.  I know, you'd think that impossible, but it's not, it involves ripping out the pages however, so having the digital version for reference is perfect.
     
   
     

     


17/07/2018

  The best news is The Boy got himself an apprenticeship, with the Scottish NHS at the Estates Dept.  I'm so happy, as are everyone else in the family.  He's found what he wants to do, getting himself a trade.
   
  There he is just getting started on a career and I'm at the opposite end, counting down to retirement.  I started counting down 7 years ago, went like...7 years, then 6 years and a bit, 5 and a half years, 4 years and 2 months, 3 and two third years, two years, one year, 6 months, now it's just 2 months away.  So I've cancelled my UNISON membership and that felt good, what with their affiliation with the Scottish branch of the UK Labour party.  Of course I stopped my Political Party contribution to the Scottish branch of the UK Labour party a while back when I found out on Twitter (because the unions don't tell you) this is possible.  They're a bunch of chancers.  Anyway, I'm now 1/3 way through Phased Retirement.  From full-time worker I went down to 2.5 days a week for the first month, this week I started a month of 2 days a week, then that final 4 weeks I'll be down to 1 and a half days a week.  It feels really good getting extra days off, I'm finding myself working on the other shift too, filling in where a trained nurse is needed instead of being assured of my usual shift pattern, but that's fine, the ward is giving to me, I'm happy giving back and being accommodating. 
   
  Out gardening, with the camera handy, when a Blackbird took a bath in one of the Tomato plant trays.  I didn't have the ideal lens on the camera, and I couldn't move, couldn't breath, for fear of scaring him off, he was so close my lens got wet, lucky lucky me.  I hadn't given it a thought before, but now I know, birds close their eyes when splashing about in a bath, see the third picture.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  First-time Fruit Grower Update.  I have many Raspberries, grown for the birds to help themselves, I ate one, I don't really like Raspberries.  I had 3 Strawberries, I ate one, it was delicious.  And I've got lots of Tomatoes, some of which are finally starting to turn from green to red.  There's ethylene in the Starry Towers garden (ethylene - the natural plant hormone, it's all very complicated, but it causes fruits to ripen).  I seem to have inadvertently picked the best year to grow Tomatoes outdoors in Scotland.  I'm so excited to eat them, cannae wait.  These photies were taken 2 days ago, the Tomatoes are redder today.
   
 
   
 
   
 
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Dark River.  Painful, intense, extremely well acted, but so very sad.
     

     


11/07/2018
  The search is over, I've found my travel lens, see it on The Star Swag Blog.
   
  Meanwhile today the Olympus 60mm macro lens captures the Bees loving the Blue Bedders.  This world-class pollen producer is a pollinator wonder-flower, also known as Echium or Viper's Bugloss, it has special super powers.  It flowers for all the Summer months and because the nectaries are deep within the corolla, and the petals protect the nectar from both the sun and the rain, it produces a steady supply of rich (22-48% sugar content depending on conditions) nectar all day long.  One problem for me is my garden soil is rather too healthy as this wee hero flower prefers poor soil and no love and attention.  I don't give it love and attention but it's tricky finding a few spots lacking in soil nutrients.  Another issue is I'm really allergy sensitive to most of the plants in my garden, I get contact dermatitis every time I inadvertently let foliage touch me though I try really hard to avoid it with gloves and long sleeves, and Blue Bedder is one of the most irritant of all the plants in the world so I'm very very careful around it.  It's worth it.  Rating 10/5.
   
 
     
   
     
   
     

     


06/07/2018





  New Olympus lens and teleconverter on The Stag Swag Blog.  Here's pictures from the first time I used it, handheld, on my Pen-F.  Amazing.  Seriously difficult to pick a few to showcase here, near-on every pic is quality.  Now I'm filling external hard drives with photies of Sparrows, I'll soon have to admit to myself I have enough photies of Sparrows.
   
 
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  Then, on another day, I took this outstanding pic of a Crow.  Eating a grape but watching every little move I made.  A #YES #ScotRef Twitter friend asked if she could paint my Crow.  She's promised me a credit and a full size image of the finished work, wee bit excited.
   
 
   
  I've seen a Hedgehog in the garden a few times over the years and suspect there's a Hedgehog environment of some sort, either a home or a safe place, under the shed, so I got myself a Trail Cam, food and water dishes and a bag of Spike Food to find out for sure.  Took a few nights getting the hang of it...
   
  Night 1: hadn't set the cam up correctly
  Night 2: read the instructions.  One fluffy cat, the early birds ate the food and I got a photobomb Crow Selfie
  Night 3: a LOT of Slugs.  The Hedgehog's natural free dinner was eating the Hedgehog's processed commercial dinner
  Night 4: moved cam closer to where I think he/she lives, supplied only water, I've got a Hedgehog.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  So The Mum says to me the other day "I think we've got Cannabis plants in the back garden", obviously I try to reassure her that it's highly unlikely, everything's OK, she must be wrong.  The Mum insists she really does think it's Cannabis.  Again I tell her no worries, it won't be.  Then we visit to celebrate The Dad's 79th birthday and eat Pigs In Mud cake.  "Not seeing the result you are expecting?" says PlantSnap, well, NO, I'm really not, and I'm now a woman in her 50s wondering how the auld yins recognise Cannabis better than I do.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  The Highland Show Shetland Sheep 2018 Champion is Ivydene Patronus.  Sold as a lamb when The Dad had to sell his flock (cos The Mum had a health thing and he had to be home more).  The son of Ivydene Marilyn. (It could've been me *fake sobbing*)
   
 
   
  Bird shit art appeared overnight on my mini-cairn (2 big stones from the south beach below Dunnottar Castle) in a Banksy type way, made me smile.
   
 
   
  This explains a lot.  The West Lothian Flat Earther, responsible for all the really shite vandalism graffiti on road signs, struggles to spell "flat".  The Falt Earth Society.  Hoping the shite graffiti vandal get arrested soon, and that someone shows him/her a globe and cleaning materials.
   
 
   
  First-time Fruit Grower Update.  The Tomatoes, Strawberries and Raspberries are still alive, mostly not at an edible stage yet, but still alive, I'm taking that as a positive.  I've had 3 ripe Raspberries, well, the birds have had 3 ripe Raspberries, but the Tomatoes and Strawberries need a bit of colour.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Hounds of Love.  Effected me, I cried a bit.  A lot of the plot came from real life Australian serial killers David and Catherine Birnie.
   
  The Husband and I watched Hostiles.  Very good, we could've watched a whole boxset of this, didn't want it to end.
   
  The Husband and I watched Geostorm.  Made me giggle a lot it's so cheesy, but I do love a bit of catastrophic city disaster.
   
     

     


12/06/2018





  Eurasian Tree Sparrow Update.  Bit chuffed, I got gorgeous pics (03/06/2018) of a Eurasian Tree Sparrow (Passer montanus) chick being fed in nest Box 3 AND another pair have started nest building in Box 4. Brood size is normally 5 or 6, so I have no idea if all the photos are the same chick and there's little difference between males and females, so I really don't know if it's Mum or Dad in the photos.  I'm thinking, Box 1 and 2 have been in situ for years and because Box 1 has been Blue Tit Towers since it went up, and Box 2 has never been used ever.  Then there's the new Boxes 3 and 4, both being used in their very first year, that side of the shed is Sparrow Street.  I'm thinking I'll have The Husband move Box 2 to a spot in-between Box 3 and 4 giving it over to the Sparrows.
   
 
   
  So, the gorgeous Sparrow photies.  The Husband stepped up to show me how to work my wifi button thingy properly ie it slots into the hot shoe which stops it moving in a breeze, keeping the camera steady.  And it works, from a distance and through windows.  He also showed me a wee tricky bit, the piece that attaches the camera to the tripod, I did not know that bit comes out to let that bit go there, et voilà, simplicity itself.  I discovered for myself that the tripod has another height adjustment extension thing at the top, bringing it up to a better height to obtain the picture angle I was looking for.  I positioned the tripod sans Olympus Pen-F with 75-300mm zoom lens retired indoors and pressed the click thingy.  Checked out the captures, I'd got the settings spot on, go me.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    All the chicks have fledged, I noticed a lack of parental activity last week, one morning up early for work, no Blue Tits flying in and out, next morning and evening no sign of Sparrows either.  Today I had a peek in both boxes...lovely soft cozy, but empty nests, success.  I'm really happy.
     
    First-time Tomato Grower Update.  I've got Tomatoes, they're very very small and very very green, but they are actually Tomatoes.  So if nothing gets better from here on in, I'll still be jubilant in my Tomato growing sucess.
     
   
     
    The Himalayan Blue Poppies are thriving with each passing year.  These beauties are proving easy to propagate by division but a devil to photograph on a sunny day.  I'll be splitting the 2 larger plants again this year, the front garden will soon be full of blue poppies.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    This teeny wee Moth, approx 1cm from nose (do moths have noses?) to the tip of it's beautiful and intricately patterned fringed wings, without the macro lens I'd never have known how beautiful and intricate. Reminds me of some woolen knit jumper or a blanket, perhaps Shetland.  I've since discovered it's a micro moth, the Yellow-Faced Bell (Notocelia cynosbatella) and now I strongly suspect the larva to be the cause of certain Rose damage, so, swings and roundabouts.  The wee shite, what with Greenfly, Blackfly, Whitefly and Rose Sawflies, my Roses don't need another baddy.
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Snowman.  In a word, disappointing.  The book is brilliant, the film, should have been Nordic Noir, it could've been so much better.  I love Harry Hole.  The Husband and I love Jo Nesbo books and made a point of visiting Harry Hole sites in Oslo, including his apartment on Sofies Gate, we've even eaten in Restaurant Schroder, his regular eatery and bar, and I enjoyed seeing some of the sites in the movie, including the restaurant...we sat at a table over by the windows, and probably my favourite park ever, Vigeland Sculpture Park.  Filming an American movie with American actors in Oslo does not a Nordic Noir make.
     
    The Husband and I watched Blade Runner 2049.  How I wish we'd watched Blade Runner instead.  The Husband has never seen the original, it's one of my favourite movies, it's way better than 2049, I fear I may have damaged the chances of The Husband ever watching Blade Runner now.  Drat, bad move.
     
    The Husband and I watched American Made.  Entertaining and all, but seriously, fuckin' America, sticking it's nose in to control other countries all over the world, the lying, cheating, law-breaking, human rights abusing, evil, corrupt bastards.
     

     


02/06/2018
  Baby Blue Tit Update.  Photo from 9 days ago had me thinking I had 5 Blue Tit chicks in the nest box, now I'm thinking 8...see the wee beak poking out on the left of the pic, maybe even 9...at top of pic there's a swatch of yellow plumage which looks like a face.
   
 
     
    The Starling babies are all over the garden being fed by busy parents who are going through a suet block every day.
     
   
     
   
     

     


30/05/2018
  First-time Tomato Grower Update.  Out of the 8 seeds sown on 03/04/2018 I've got 7 healthy plants.  The first 4 to sprout have flowers on, they're meant to be a hanging variety but they're very strong, standing tall unsupported.  The other slower-to-emerge three are a bit shorter but have required a stick to hold them upright while they're living on the living-room windowsill.  I took advantage of this week of annual leave for the hardening off.  My babies went from cozy living-room windowsill to wide-open windows to days outside and nights in.  It's been fantastic weather for it. They're going out for good tomorrow.  I've learned a lot so far...Tomato plants are thirsty, they've wanted watering morning, noon and night, sometimes more often.  I got the type that are meant to enjoy a hanging basket, but the tallest 4 are standing so tall they'd be sticking up over the shed roof if I put them in the hanging baskets.  So the biggest 5 are going in big pots, the 2 smallest ones are droopier so I'll try them in the baskets.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     

     


28/05/2018





  The Blue Tits are back, every year Blue Tits use one of the original boxes, and this year we've got 5 wee darling babies.  I was reading each of these babies can eat up to 100 caterpillars a day, no wonder the parents are so busy.  The nest box picture is just a quick photo using my less-technical-than-the-Olympus Canon camera for speed, the parents were standing by with that...put the lid down, get down from the ladder and git tae...look on their faces.  I don't have a peek until the babies are nice and noisy and I see both parents are away from the nest, and I never ever touch, just a quick photo (25/05/18) then get out of the way ASAP.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  It's a good baby bird year at Starry Towers, for the first time we have Sparrows using one of the newly installed boxes and it's a pair of Eurasian Tree Sparrows.  This is fantastic news.  These are the rarest and most shy of our Sparrows, the others being the House version.  Every time I step out into the back garden, quick as a flash one of them flees the nest and if I spend time in the garden I see them approaching, spotting me then diverting mid-flight and avoiding the box, I feel guilty being out there.  To capture a pic of my resident Sparrows I had to set the camera on the tripod and use the remote thingy from indoors, it's a bit hit and miss, no control over focus, total trust in the settings I set, and I really didn't trust me.  Imagine my joy at this capture (22/05/18).
   
 
   
  Then today a baby Sparrow visited, actually in da house.  The Husband found the chick in the walk-in cupboard near the back door.  The back door had been standing open all day due to great weather, I say great, perhaps a tad too hot to be honest...at one point late afternoon I came in and swung the back door shut behind me, I heard the sound of a carrier bag rustle from the cupboard.  It did make me ponder, why I'd heard the noise, my brain put it down to a bag in the cupboard must've fell down from a shelf or something.  A little later, The Husband went in the cupboard and found the baby, there's a carrier bag of electric cables on the floor (waiting for The Husband to tell me to bin them or keep them) and the baby was rustling the bag.  We took the chick out to the back garden, a bird in the hand photo op then release, fly little bird fly, and it did, no bother, up into the big bush foliage.
   
 
   
 
   
A giant Pansy or a tiny wee tree?  You decide.  But I'll tell you in case there's any ambiguity, it's a European Beech tree I grew from a beechnut, 20cm tall to it's top most leaf.
     
   
     
    The Husband had dealings with a man from Lewis and got an unexpected wee gift, MacLeod and MacLeod Original Stornoway black pudding with it's Protected Geographical Indication status from the European Commission.  Staying in the EU is of utmost importance for the original and best of Scottish food and drink produce.
     
   
     
    Saltire Watch.  At the village PO shop there's some proper tissues sitting on the counter prominently at the till, these ones are now on my table.  I heart my local shop.
     
   
     
    I've had a Nectar card for, must be decades, I have no idea, I got one then forgot about it.  I've never looked into it, seems I must've registered it at a couple of websites because today, prompted by one of them changes to data protection emails I went to the Nectar website and found I've got £94.03.  I'm not complaining, better than not having £94.03.
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched IT.  Not scary (it's just a 15), but OK.
     
    The Husband and I watched The Florida Project.  Found it a slow-burner, but it grows on you, it becomes more interesting when the adult characters come to the fore.  Turns out this is a great movie.  What we see is the wonder and innocence (yes...innocence) of childhood, so close to DISNEYLAND yet so far away.  We proceed, finding out more about the adult characters, it's sad and moving, and I loved every character in it, regardless of childhood prank, misdemeanours or criminal record.  They're all decent human beings doing their best to cope with where life has taken them. Reading the Amazon reviews, can totally spot the politically right-wingers.
     
    The Husband and I watched Una.  Very good.
     

     


05/05/2018

  I attended my first March for Independence, the All Under One Banner event in Glasgow today.  Claimed to have the largest attendance of such event in Scotland...so far.  I've got a taste for it now and will be attending till Indy.  The Husband nipped uphill to take the picture of me with Friends H and T as we stood in Kelvin Grove Park waiting for the march to start.  Once you're in there all you know is what you can see on the horizon, it's impossible to know how big it is when you're in the middle of it.  But after 90 mins walking along Glasgow streets (the march started at 11:30) I was out-voted 3 to 1 and forced into a pub for lunch at 13:00.  I'm in there, loo visit, then eating chips and salad off the others' plates (they took forever to deliver food to table) and downing a soft drink, itching to get back on the street.  After lunch we joined the back of the march and were soon in Glasgow Green at the end of the 3 mile walk.  What a great day.  I found it extremely difficult to hold a flag pole and take photos at the same time, these pictures were taken on iPhones, the Olympus Pen F didn't get a shot and I pretty much gave up on the pic taking.  I painfully twisted a foot on potholes, twice, same foot both times, just grateful I managed to keep myself upright and I didn't fall, and I suffered a degree of back pain, but...future independent Scotland...it's worth it.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Killing Of A Sacred Deer.  Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman, being strange, think him in The Lobster and her in, I don't know, The Stepford Wives or Eyes Wide Shut.  Extraordinary, and not always in a good way, I did laugh at times, but more out for the pure ridiculous factor.
     

     


03/05/2018
  I'm going on my first march for independence.  Glasgow on the 5th May, looks like it's going to be a biggie with organisers aiming for 40,000.  I've opted for the EU version for my Saltire on a stick (handheld telescopic flag pole).  Being an EU citizen is important to me.  As a Scottish wife of an English man, with a German sister-in-law and a Dutch step-daughter and grandson, I want to live in independent Scotland within the EU, because it's sensible, it's so obviously sensible.  It's also got stars on.  I've prepared the YES Saltire on a stick for The Husband and ironed a couple of plain Saltires for the body wrap-around.  I got the don't-use-straight-out-the-pack-iron-it-first tip from someone on Twitter, and they're right, they look much better with an iron.  Looking forward to the march, with The Husband and Friends H & T.
   
 
   
  Belly full of pretty blue Anemone De Caen then coorie in for a wee sleep.  I'm hazarding a guess here, I'm going to say an Angel Shade Moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) caterpillar.  Looks real sweet.
   
 
   
 
     
    It's Drumstick Time (Primula Denticulata).  These photies were taken in the evening light after a sunny day, bringing a beautiful bluer hue to the lilac petals.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    It's also Tulip Time.  For years I've been attempting to turn the front garden into a red, black, purple tulip patch, but I swear, them yellow Tulips just won't stop.  More recent red Tulip bulb purchases must have been wrongly labeled or the yellows self-propagate more than the other colours.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     

     


27/04/2018



  I sent a Sunflower bouquet and chocolates to The Sis-In-Law, in way of bringing joy and surprise to her Monday.  All was well in the end, she loved the flowers and chocs, however, Thorntons messed up, ruining the wow factor surprise.  Be aware, if aiming for the wow factor don't risk accepting any free gift offers when placing your online order.  I put the sunflower bouquet and accompanying chocolates in the basket and wrote the gift card, then was entitled to a free bag of chocs.  I put the freebie in the basket and paid for it all, with free next day delivery I was happy and confident the Sis-In-Law would be wowed.  On the day two boxes arrived, the first, delivered by Parcelforce contained the small bag of free chocs and mentioned the sunflowers.  Sis-In-Law messages me to let me know she'd received a gift but was wondering if perhaps there should maybe be sunflower seeds in the box for her to sow.  I had to explain there was more to come and got on to Thorntons on Twitter.  They told me this is their procedure, any additional items (the freebie) are sent separately from their factory, the bouquet and proper box of continental chocolates gift would arrive via DPD from their florist.  I told them perhaps they could put that information on their website, if I'd known I wouldn't have accepted the freebie, or maybe they could inform and allow the freebie to be sent to me so the giftee would only receive the wow factor surprise gift.
   
 
   
  In the gifting mood I got a couple more copies of Carnalis by Rose Garnett, three friends in for a dose of Scottish Urban Horror.  Nicely wrapped too, by me.
   
 
   
  The Wood Pigeon.  One of my favorite creatures, mine (I have a Wood Pigeon married couple and occasionally, usually at breeding season and just after the children have learnt to fly, one or two hangers on) are in and around the garden, all day every day.  Delightful birds.  Our relationship - I provide the food, they know I provide the food.  Smart cookies.
   
 
     
   
     
    Gardening Update.  From 9 seeds I have 7 Tomato seedlings so far, now in biodegradable pots on the living room windowsill, intending to move them out to hanging baskets when they're big enough and the weather good enough.  The Strawberry plants are now outside in a Strawberry Tower with the three extra plants in a hanging basket.  They don't all look to be surviving, but time will tell.  Pansy seedlings...they started in trays...the larger seedlings have been transferred to individual wee biodegradable pots, and are out in the grow house for now.  Petunia, in purple and in white, seeds have been sown in trays indoors, the purples are sprouting.  Convolvulus have sprouted, and Cornflower seedlings...so far just the blue ones showing, the blacks seem to be taking longer...they're all in the grow house along with some of the bought Poppy seeds.  Blue Bedder (my favourite annual for the pollinators) and Teasel seeds have been sown in biodegradable pots in the cold frame, Blue Bedder in ordinary garden soil because they hate to be fed well.  The home-grown regular Poppy seeds have been thrown around the garden along with plant food and compost for soil improvement.  The Raspberry plants have been moved to spare big pots on the patio.  No sign of the Lobelia seeds sprouting yet.
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Anemone Blanda, simply beautiful.  These are around the base of my big potted Rowan trees giving year after year of Springtime colour.  The Fritillaria meleagris are flowering and of course the Drumstick Primulas.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Stoker.  Fun.
     
    The Husband and I watched The Ritual.  Suffice to say my attention wasn't grabbed, I couldn't stop thinking, save yourselves, that guy looks so much like Fluffy Mundell, leave him, let him limp off the mountain the morra.  Sorry Sam Troughton
     
   
     

     


19/04/2018
  Starry Towers 59 : 0 Mice
   
  Look what gem of a book deal I came across, the newly published Carnalis, first book in the Dead Central trilogy with and by Rose Garnett.  Rose Garnett is a mind-reading mercenary hired to save the people in and around Edinburgh from supernatural doings.  Supernatural horror is not my usual genre, but Scottish Urban Horror, set in and around Edinburgh, definitely is.  The books are signed and there's Card Carrying Psychopath badges.  I bought 2, one for me and one for the mystery card carrying psychopath benefactee in my life, it's a surprise gift, I cannot name the psycho here at this time.
   
 
     
    Itsy bitsy baby Tomato seedlings with their new indoor watering utensils, a watering can and mister.  No sure if I'm doing this right, it's my first Tomato try.
     
   
     
    I've had an insurance policy for the last 25 years and now find myself 5 months from retirement with 20 months left to pay on the plan.  I phoned the company for some projection estimates and it's clear it's not going to be worth maintaining the payments till December 2019.  Hence I will be surrendering the Life Plan.  It became clear also that the company know me under a non-current surname.  To ensure they are able to pay out on this policy I have to supply a load of certified documents to show my marriage/divorce timeline.  That's 3 marriage and 2 divorce certificates.  This is easy, in that I have all the documents, first thought was, darnation I have to go find and pay a person to certify the documents, all 5 of them.  Second thought was to question who exactly are these certifier people, turns out registered nurses are on the list, people like me that aren't me, I can't certify my own documents, a work colleague can certify for me for free.  So no problem.
     
   
     
    I've been no well for a while, but now I'm on the antibiotics (Amoxicillin 500mg tid x 5 days), the steroids (Prednisolone 30mg for 5 days) and a 4hrly Ventolin inhaler I should be getting better soon.  For the past two weeks I've been coughing so much it hurts the top of my head, was telling people "I'm full of the cold", I was thinking it was a keep-it-till-it's-better virus.  I got so tired, then an Infection Control nurse at work heard me coughing, wheezing, being congested and short of breath, she told me I was ill and shouldn't be at work, for my sake and for the vulnerable patients I was putting at risk.  She was absolutely right, and I will email her an update thank you.
     
   
     
    Made myself a new header for the Twitter and Facebook.  Featuring Stewart Bremner (Scottish Stag and I Said Aye) and Greg Moodie(Nicola Rock Star Sturgeon) artwork, an Independent Scotland in the EU map and a politically stickered up PC screen.  Resembles my real-life artwork life, I have all three images.  My real-life Twitter experience is on a laptop at a coffee table, with no stickers, but the header makes the point.
     
   
     
    Real Fire Problems.  Sign of nest-building on the chimney, damn it, I have twigs on hearth.  I knew what I had to do, the smoke test.  To ensure the chimney isn't entirely blocked off with nest, I feel for a draught then light paper, will smoke rise up the chimney?  I issued a cease and desist order last night and lit the fire after a positive smoke test.  This morning a big twig is sitting atop the ashes, the Jackdaws are back.  Today I'm lighting newspaper and kindling at regular intervals and there'll be another big fire this evening.  On a much happier note there's loads of nest-building signs in one of the bird boxes in the garden, a Blue Tit couple are definitely settling in for the 2018 committed relationship egg laying season.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     

     


15/04/2018





  Achieved a first here, I made tomato soup, with tomatoes, onion, herbs, stock, actual ingredients.  Homemade tomato soup, made at home, by me.
   
 
   
I have seedlings.  Three Tomato seedlings and a load of Pansies.  I've picked out the most mature of the Pansy seedlings and the Tomatoes and potted them on, listen to me with all my technical talk.  I sowed 8 Tomato seeds, still caring for the other 5, living in hope.
   
 
   
  Berry Update.  The Strawberry bare root plants have leafs that are turning brown, I have no idea what to do in this situation so I've put them outside in the grow house for more light, hope it's not too cold, but I reason, established Strawberry plants live outside in the ground all Winter and the worst of the cold is past now.  Green fingers crossed.  I've been given Raspberry cuttings from Friend J.  I don't have space to plant out Raspberries but I'm thinking I'll pop them in some big planters I've got going spare the now, and as we don't eat Raspberries the birds should enjoy them, apparently Blackbirds are particularly fond of them.
   
 
   
  Frankie Boyle.  Tickets are purchased, I'll be seeing Frankie Boyle again, this time with Friend H in August.
   
 
   
  The Scottish Stag is framed, I do believe I love this one best of all.  Art by Stewart Bremner.  Frame and mount very reasonably priced at Best4Frames.
   
 
   
  Listened to Dead Men's Trousers by Irvine Welsh with fabulous narration by Tam Dean Burn.  Always such a great pleasure catching up with Renton, Sick Boy, Franco and Spud.
   
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Sweet Virginia.  Tense.
   
  The Husband and I watched Lady Macbeth.  Stifling, atmospheric and good.
   
  The Husband and I watched Timbuktu.  A beautiful movie, decent human beings under the control of vicious and stupid bastards.  It kept striking me that this movie could be a ballet, the no-football game is particularly moving.  ISIS...nothing to do with religion, they're just cunts.
     

     


03/04/2018

  Gardening News.  Gardening 2018 is starting, I'm always happy to have reached Springtime again, I can get on with more of one of my main hobbies.  This year I'm stepping up the gardening with a cold frame, anyone would think I must be retiring this year.  I deliberately chose one with 3 shelves so that pots on the bottom wouldn't be sitting on the ground, but when it arrived turned out the photos were deceiving and The Husband had to make a bottom shelf. 
   
 
   
 
   
  Every time a passing horse drops a deposit on the road outside my house, my roses say thank you.  I was off my mark quick sticks and got this wee fresh pile before traffic had a chance to squash it into the road. If someone gives you shit, grow roses.
   
 
   
  I got Tomato and Pansy seeds sown in trays, for the hanging baskets later, and the bare root Strawberry plants potted up in my new Strawberry Tower.  I had to get my drill out again, to put the holes in these pots, but that's simple and all 6 can be done in one go starting with a fine drill before moving up to to a larger one.  These are all staying indoors for now, we're having another cold spell and I'll tell you who's sick fed-up of snow this year, my Green Man that's who, look at his little peed off face.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  After The Husband turning his Saint James woolen hat into a semi-felt hat I got him a wee pressie, in the medoc and the navy, and he's banned from using the washing machine.
   
 
   
 
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Security.  But only for the Banderas.
     

     


19/03/2018



  I’d made my decision, I was going to dye, giving my favourite jeggings a wee Dylon Intense Black refresher.  Apparently salt is salt, so table salt will work just as well as the special salt they sell at an outrageous price for dying.  I managed to dye 4 pairs of my favourite jeggings plus only one middle finger and a thumb, pretty good going.  Today I'm wearing a pair of intensly black jeggings with no dye transference to me.
   
 
   
  The Husband (machine) washed his Saint James wool hat for the first time.  All the previous times his wool hat was washed, I was in charge of washing it, safely, at a low temperature, no problem.  The Husband shrunk it.  Wool goes all tight, shrinky and hard compressed squeaky if washed at too high a temperature, it's half way down the road to turning into felt.  So, I soaked it in wool-fabric-softener, rinsed it, hand-pulled it out this way and that, and I'm currently stretch-drying it on the phrenology head.  I'm full of great ideas me.  The next day the hat is certainly less shrunk, it can be worn but it's got a felt-ish feel to it, no stretch left in the fibre, I'll probably buy The Husband a new Saint James hat with strict instructions to leave the washing to me.
   
 
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Good Time.  For a very short while I thought the character of Nick (actually played by Ben Safdie) was Robert Pattinson, and I was thinking, WOW, that's acting.  I was wrong, Pattinson plays the lead character, Constantine.  We both thought it was a pretty good movie and I've never liked anything Pattinson has ever been in before.
     
    The Husband and I watched Brawl In Cell Block 99.  It begins in the real world, the real world of drug dealing that is, but given the title you know where it's headed, there will be a brawl in cell block 99.  Not for the squeamish.
     

     


11/03/2018



  Happy Mother's Day.  The Husband and I went to visit The Parents taking a card, cake and chocolates.  The Brother was also present, what a laugh we had reminiscing about our childhoods.
   
 
   
  I listened to Digging Up Mother written and narrated by Doug Stanhope.  What a memoir, what a life, what a mother.  Over and above the hilariously funny and the roller-coaster of debauchery, it's poignant and sweet, it's all about the love.  The audiobook has extra content too, with added conversations about the book by Doug and his friends and loved ones interspersed throughout.  It's extraordinary.
   
 
   
    The top 2 influential women in britain...Nicola Sturgeon and Mhairi Black.  How fortunate for Scotland that they're both of independent mind.  That poll backfired on Sky News big time.
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Wind River.  It's good, I like the lead actors.  It was just a little too simple to suss out the criminals, and a big bit mumbley difficult to make out the spoken word all the time.
     
    The Husband and I watched Bad Day For The Cut.  Dark humour set in Ireland, good.
     

     


02/03/2018

  The Beast From The East came in strong here on Wednesday while I was doing a 13hr shift on the ward.  Friend and colleague D (driving) and I got to work that morning on slightly difficult snowy slidey roads, as the day progressed it started teaming it down.  Nurses were phoning in reporting absent from the night shift, couldn't possibly get to work because of snow.  It was looking like me and the girls would be staying overnight AND working the night shift straight after our already seriously long tiring 13hr shift, then working another shift the next day.  The pressure was on, I wanted to go home, I wanted to get my nurses home, enough is enough, most of us had just worked x2 13hr shifts and were due our time off.  Management were struggling.  I devised a plan.  The Husband was offering to perform driving duties in the Wrangler Jeep and winter tyres.  I convinced enough nurses to come in to work the night shift on the grounds that The Husband would pick them up from their homes and bring them to the ward.  Big shout out to the bank nurses, I persuaded one of our own nurses (the crucial trained nurse) and 4 bank nurses, bank nurses are doing this of their own free will.  Yes they have to work to be paid but they can pick and choose when they work with little come-back if they mess us about.  So I had night nurses telling me they couldn't possibly get to work then the day nurses managed to drive themselves home.  It's all about the motivation.  Next morning I enjoy a long lie in on a day off and wake to find the drive empty.  The Husband is away in the Nurse Express taking 5 day nurses to work and the same 5 night staff home again.  The story's going down well on The Twitter.  Currently heading towards 1000 likes.
   
 
     
   
     
    There's a naturally-occurring Zombie snowman just standing there in my garden, staring, ominously scary.
     
   
     
    It's always important to feed and fresh water the garden birds but in these severe weather conditions all the more important.  I ploughed my way over to the birdbath and seed feeding dishes to make sure mine stand a good chance of surviving.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Just days before The Beast From The East arrived on a stunningly fine day The Husband and I went to Ayrshire.  First to the Electric Brae, the lovely childhood memories of The Dad treating us kids to the optical illusion experience are strong.  Then on to visit the ruins of Dunure Castle, the ancient seat of the Kennedys of Carrick.  Mary Queen of Scots was here, I adore doing a MQoS visited place.  The 4th Earl of Cassillis, Gilbert Kennedy, entertained Mary from the 4th - 7th August 1563.  The ruins overlook Ayr Bay in the Firth of Clyde, the original castle was built before the 13th century.  Dunure Harbour is seriously attractive too.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Logan Lucky.  Entertaining, I spent ages thinking Daniel Graig was Eminem and thinking Eminem's a good actor, I am embarrassed about that.
     

     


23/02/2018
  I have my own personal Bosch drill, and I got it out, it was THAT serious.  To explain the second picture below, the kettle just happened to be sitting there and remained undrilled.  My drilling was on polystone flowerpots.  I was looking for a stylish matching indoor pot/saucer ensemble that would be nearly as good as the two solid chrome metal matching pots and saucers I've had for years, but they don't seem to be available these days, I've searched extensively.  So I went for black polystone, they go together nicely.  However, when the polystone sets arrived the pots have no drainage holes.  I made wee surprised monkey faces and there’s holes in the pots now.  Difficulty Rating 0.01 out of 10.  The Hay Polystone Flowerpots available from Skandium.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    Due to the familial cancer gene thingy (thanks Mum) I have a Colonoscopy every 2 years provided by the Scottish NHS.  For the same cancer-monitoring-prevention reason I had the Total Hysterectomy and Bilateral Salpingo, so I feel a bit more confident that I won't die from the particular cancers involved.  This is my 5th Colonoscopy, I'm becoming a bit of an expert.  This time round the NHS asked me if I'd be ok with having the Colonoscopy in a private hospital.  I understand the issues involved and agree, it means I can have it sooner.  Make no mistake, the NHS is paying for this, this is not me approving of the private healthcare business.
     
    One difference this time round, I'm given an evening appointment.  I've got the morning appointment fasting/bowel-prep procedure down to a fine art so this throws me slightly.  Having now tried it, I found this the easiest bowel-prep, timing-wise.  Morning appointment Moviprep-taking begins the day before, this time the only thing I have to consider for the previous day is the low-fiber diet, so I ate one meal on Sunday, white bread toast and scrambled eggs at 6pm.  On previous occasions I've actually worked a 13hr shift while fasting and starting the Moviprep, but I came to the realisation that no-one should feel obliged to commence bowel-prep while working, it's exhausting.  See all these common side effects...I've had them every time...stomach cramps, abdominal pain, general malaise, nausea, indigestion, thirst, shivering, dizziness and headache.  For this evening appointment I can spend the worst of the prep-time in bed and sleep through at least some of it.
     
    I went to bed at 7.30pm so I wouldn't even think about being hungry.  I had a broken sleep, having went to bed so early I didn't expect to sleep for 12hrs straight, and I didn't, but when the alarm woke me at 6.30...snooze...then 6.45...snooze then 7am, I still felt tired.  I dragged myself out of bed and struggled through the first litre of disgusting-tasting Moviprep.  When taking Moviprep it doesn't take long before the swilling stomach and nausea kick in.  Anyways, I drank it all, taking short breaks to feed and water the garden birds and reading a bit of iScot magazine then went right back to bed.  It's not long before the first of the shitting starts, I'm out and in bed several times before the alarm wakes me again in time to start the 2nd litre at 10am.  I'm away back to bed as soon as possible, by the start of the 2nd litre the bloating, nausea and tiredness are strong.  In and out of bed to skoosh the yellow-water type feacal matter, by this time you're not really sure what's coming from the anus and what's urine and the toilet bowl is a solids-free zone and urine coloured.  For the next four hours, more sleep gained in between toilet visits.  I finally get up and showered at 2.15pm.  The yucky feeling persists for a while, and still no hunger pangs due to the nausea.   All things considered, this is the easiest so far, due to being able to spend most of it in bed.
     
    The result was an all clear, thank you Scottish NHS.  I have to pass comment on the arse-flap bloomers it was my horror to wear for the first time.  No way I'd be photographed in them so here they are (unused) modelled by The Husband.
     
   
     
   
     
   
     

     


09/02/2018
  Cool Scots by Greg Moodie has arrived, signed to me from him, and it is in no way diminished by the fact that I instructed him on the wording he should put, "from one Cool Scot to another".  There is nothing wrong with proclaiming one's own coolness.  It's a beautifully made hardback book with glossy pages and proper stitched binding, colourful Moodie images and descriptions of the achievements of each of the 42 cool Scot depicted along with their Coolness Ratings.  Available at GregMoodie.com, Coolness rating: way too cool for anyone who doesn't have it on their bookshelf.
   
 
     
   
     
   
     
   
     
    A wee postman detail here, the usual Sunny D postman is a gem.  He will go out of his way to be helpful.  But sometimes there's this other postman guy and he'll go out of his way to do his job badly.  He delivers other people's mail to us often and leaves the gate open on his way out.  Perhaps it's a political issue for him, given that the house is obviously the house of a Scottish independence supporter, perhaps he's just an arse.  So, it was the arsey postman who delivered someone else's large package envelope to Starry Towers today.  I wouldn't have minded so much if it was for a neighbour, but this was for a woman at the other end of the village.  I was so tempted to bin it but I put that wrong idea from my head and took a walk.  Wearing an EU Saltire and SNP badges in case the recipient required to be reminded how kind a Scottish independence supporter is.  The receiving gentleman remarked on how good my actions were.
     
   
     

     


08/01/2018





  Major life event coming up.  Today I took the first official step and sent my retirement application form and request to benefit from the phased retirement procedure.
   
 
   
  The Husband was dying (a bacterial infection), and I recieve this text at work.  He cannae even text because he's chittering all over, typos galore.  Then he says I lack empathy.  It's just a wee rigor, also it's very difficult to impress a nurse.  To be fair I'd have been more impressed if he wasn't already on the anti-biotics, and I did show concern two days before when the other symptoms first started and advised him to phone 111.  I'm not a monster.
   
 
   
  When I was at work on that day I noticed this stain of unknown origin on my trouser leg.  It's not the substance it's made of that of any interest, it's the shape, like seeing jesus on a slice of toast.
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Handmaiden.  Sumptuous.
   
  The Husband and I watched Il Gioiellino.  Every time I watch a movie telling of (based on actual events) financial scandal, I'm furious again. Only way the people of Scotland can be free from this is with a major progressive step forward and away from the system that permits the elite greedy pocket-lining, tax-dodging mates-network, their corruption-enabling laws, politicians, business-people and their banker pals.  Still love Toni Servillo.
   
  The Husband and I watched Graduation.  Romanian movie well worth watching for insight into the nature of humankind from a Romanian point of view.  Very good.
     

     


16/01/2018

  A Sparrowhawk came to the garden.  It's a good sign, I'm obviously a well attended bird restaurant, but I was torn between wanting to watch and photograph him while dreading him taking the life of one of my Sparrows or other wee birds.  The only bird who went near him was a Magpie, he didn't try it with the Magpie.  He's a beautiful bird but all the time he was in the garden he was on prospective-dinner-alert as you'd imagine he would be, every movement was him looking and reacting, three times he behaved like he was going for something tasty, quick eye movement and down he went.  I had to decide watch and photograph or get out there and scare him away, I decided nature should take it's course, but happily my regulars were wise and made themselves scarce.  From what I've been Googling, this Sparrowhawk is a good adult age, the orange of his irises tells his age, the broken iris tells he's had a traumatic injury at some point in his life.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  Every now and then (ok, twice in my life) I've remembered the fridge freezer condenser coils need cleaned.  I really must remember to do this more often, it's apparently important in a climate change way, all that dust on the coils increases the electricity usage.  I'm a Housework Hero, job done.  Listening to A A Gill's Pour Me A Life helped me find the humour in my task.
   
 
   
 
   
  Movie watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Runaway Train.  Obviously the '80s, sexist and no respect for health and safety.  Many faults, the '80s acting, just shout a lot.  What helicopter pilot would allow that?!  One guy at the train control office was flicking through a porn magazine at his desk...so '80s.  I have a story from the '80s where two male trained nurses ordered me (a young female student nurse) to perform a task which involved me bending up and down a lot, when I looked round to see what they were doing they were sitting with porn mags and their feet on the duty room desk smiling at me, creeps.
     

     


14/01/2018







  Of all the tragically wrong and stupid things from Trump so far surely really stable genius is the most ridiculous thing from a leader of any country in the world ever.  Surely we've reached peak Trump, please let it be over soon, it's scary having this idiot bigot racist sexist president.  I read Fire And Fury by Michael Wolff, extremely happy Mr Wolff wrote this book.
   
 
   
  Unison have sent me my annual refund cheque again, in lieu of the funds I don't want going to the Scottish branch of the Labour party.  Why they can't just not take the money in the first place is the mystery.
   
 
   
 
   
  Feeding the birds, especially at this time of year is an important, pleasurable and gratifying experience.  Here is my recipe for dried Mealworms.  Place dried Mealworms in a bowl, add boiled water, leave 30 mins, feed the birds.  Then try to patiently ignore The Husband's so called jokes re his wife's favourite breakfast cereal.
   
 
   
  Sent these RSPB birdsong cards to my parents just because I know they'll enjoy the surprise "I love you" message and hearing the birdsong when they open their cards, Dad got the Robin, Mum got the Blackbird.
   
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched RAW.  French horror, it's ok, better just for being French.
   
  The Husband and I watched Patriot's Day.  Very...sing along with me...I'm proud to be an American, but it's actually quite good.
   
  The Husband and I watched Gorbaciof.  I'm a big Toni Servillo fan, but this is my least favourite so far.
   
  The Husband and I watched La Ragazza Del Lago.  A fine Toni Servillo movie of a Norwegian book, the tale transferred to Italy.  Good seeing Mr Servillo in this role, he's such a great actor.
     

     


06/01/2018





  Since Xmas Day I've worked one day, the rest of the time it's Winter and I'm not leaving the house unless my life is at risk.  Even photies have been taken through very clean kitchen windows.
   
 
   
 
   
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Baby Driver.  More style than substance, glaringly obvious it's aiming for Tarantino status and failing kinda miserably.  The music's good and Baby is likeable.
   
  The Husband and I watched Let Us Prey.  Scottish movie, good horror stuff, but like all horror movies there are inexplicable decisions made.  My instructions to the good character at various times...call for backup, phone an ambulance, 9th in the queue, really? how you going to explain that to head office? went unheard unsurprisingly.
   
  The Husband and I watched Life.  We picked it for the actors.  It looks nice, but it's seriously bad at science and at portraying scientists.  The plot basically ignores everything...rules, protocols and risks.  Me watching Life...that's not right, a scientist wouldn't do that, how do you know it experiences fear? don't do that, shit you done that, why would you do that? You'll have to blow up the ship now, oh, you're going to risk everything alive on Earth, because you're that important? blow up the ship for goodness sake.
     

     


01/01/2018

  Happy Hogmanay and a Guid New Year all.  Lets hope it's a good one full of love, health and happiness, retirement for me and progress in Scotland achieving independence, that would do very nicely.
   
 
   
  We had The Boy and The Lovely Girlfriend over for New Year's steak pie dinner today.  Click on the above image for the full menu, no one made it to the Banoffee Pie stage (though I see late on this evening that someone has taken a slim slice of it from the fridge) and there was no Vanilla Ice Cream available when I was serving up the Sweet Platter, turns out The Husband had already eaten approximately 9/10ths of the tub throughout the Xmas to New Year week.  This problem solved itself when I remembered we had Ice Cream Shots.
   
 
   
 
   
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Marker.  Gritty and very dark, not one for when you're feeling depressed about the human race.
   
     
     
     
  mmm