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 One of our mousetraps is missing in action.  I have a small set-up outdoors, bricks for walls and a slate tile for a roof, forming a little one brick tall shelter to protect the two mousetraps and save the garden birds from injury.  The tiny gaps in the structure would only allow something as small as a mouse to get in.  This morning a brick was pushed an inch out of place, making a two inch gap and when I lifted the slate tiles...very surprised to see there was only one trap there.
  Even more surprised than I usually am when I see a dead mouse, though I should expect to see dead mice, it still freaks me when I do.  I haven't yet managed to do this, lift a slate tile and see a dead mouse, and not involuntarily exclaim something out loud.  Something along the lines of...feck's sake! or OMG!  I'm guessing there's a Grey Squirrel running around with a mousetrap attached.  I'm keeping a look out for it, though I suspect it's kinda unlikely it'll return.  Meanwhile I've been to Amazon and ordered another mousetrap twinpack.
  With The Sis-In-Law visiting her lovely family in Germany and The Husband still at work in Norway, The Bro invited me out to breakfast and a run into the Big Boy's Toy Shop in Edinburger.  How could I resist?  We had a great cooked breakfast at the Livingston Dobbies Garden Centre.  Dobbies do a two-for-the-price-of-one cooked breakfast between the hours of 9am and 11am, your choice of 6 items from the hot servery...including tomato, link sausage, square sausage, scrambled egg, fried egg, potato scone, hash browns, baked beans,  black pudding, erm, what else, ahhh...bacon, think that's them all but I could be wrong, and your choice of a big thick slice of either white or brown toast, and a drink, which can be tea, coffee or the fizzies.  All that, times two, for only five and a half of The Bro's Scottish pounds.
  That's £2.75 for a meal that fills you up entirely for the rest of the day.  I'm so full I haven't eaten anything else today...has to be the most cost-effective way of surviving in these times of austerity.  I should go every day, especially if I go with someone else who pays.  THAT would be THE very best cost-effective daily living budget.  You could actually stay alive for free.
  After our delicious brecky The Bro and I headed into The Big Boy's Toy Shop AKA Machine Mart, the specialist supplier of power tools, machinery and workshop equipment in Edinburgh.  The Bro had a VAT-free ticket he just couldn't refuse to use, and he needed a summit and loads of bits.  I tried to pay attention, honest I did, but him and the shop guy were speaking a foreign language.  I've been in The Big Boy's Toy Shop before, twice already, quite recently, with The Husband.  I swear one of the shop guys was looking at me funny, the guy who sold The Husband a generator a couple weeks ago.  He had this sly smirk look on his face that said...she's being unfaithful to one of them.  I felt like such a power tool slut.















 My Dotty P sale stuff is on The Star Swag Blog.
 Hope you all had a well fabby Christmas.  The way it went here, as previously blogged, The Bro and Sis-In-Law and The Husband and I, we did Christmas dinner already, and shared a lovely time, delicious meal and had such a laugh.  I spent time with The Parents, and The Boy and I did pressie stuff on Christmas Eve's Eve.  This all left me family Christmas done and done, so I was all ready to go spend Christmas day with The Husband in Norway.  The Husband was on-call you see and duty-bound to remain in Norway.  Our favourite Norwegian hotel, The Hummeren in Tananger had given him a key.  The Hummeren closes for Xmas, but quite astoundingly, trusted The Husband to stay there and gave him a key to the main door.
 Hence, there I was on Christmas Eve, flying to Stavanger via Amsterdam.  Of course I prefer to fly with The Husband so I don't have to focus, but when called on to go solo, I can do, and the more I do it, the better I'm getting at it.  Edinburger Airport is always easy, it's small and my only worry was at the check-in desk.  They had a seasonal sign declaring NO CRACKERS.
 I didn't take it personally...they're talking about Christmas crackers, the ones with cheap gifts, a party hat and a joke inside.  I had four in my suitcase.  Now, remember, I'm the woman who took indoor sparklers to the USA, back again, then unintentionally took them to Holland.  Then The Husband explained to me them's fireworks, they come under the heading of 'explosives' when you're anywhere near an airplane. I admit, I did consider saying nought, but in that few seconds I had to decide, I reckoned the seasonal sign made it very clear, leaving no room whatsoever for pretend innocence.  I fessed up and told the woman I had four Xmas crackers.  She instructed me to step to the side and remove them then come back, which I did.  I handed them over, not particularly annoyed at all.  My suitcase had a load of Christmas dinner stuff, some of which might be illegal to take across borders.  But I didn't know that at the time, honest.  No really.  I swear.
  At Schipol Airport I managed to stay on track and the flight to Norway was more than half empty.  It was so empty the KLM crew gave us all a savoury AND a sweet bag of nibbles with our drinks.
  I arrived in Norway with all my lovely Christmas dinner goodies.  I was planning on spoiling The Husband with just how wonderful a non-cook Christmas dinner can be.  We had thick turkey slices, wraps, potato salad, 6 different cheeses, sundried roasted tomatoes, char-grilled artichokes, a festive Brussels pate with cranberry, oatcakes, mini pork pies, a mini stilton cranberry and spinach quiche, Christmas cake, Mince Pies, Christmas pudding and extra-thick Remy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac brandy cream.  A chocolate Santa, a box of Thorntons chocolates, Pringles and a tube of fruit pastels (one of The Husband's favourites).  I took cocktail sticks for the cheeses, festive red napkins, disposable cutlery and plates and a fine bottle of Pinot Grigio.  Did I forget anything?  I DON'T THINK SO!  Sterling work in my less than humble opinion.  And The Husband agreed.  She shoots, she scores!  How good am I.  That's not a question, just a declaration.
  I also took a couple of DVDs.  On Christmas Eve we snuggled up in bed and watched a particularly apt movie on the laptop.  What else are you going to watch in an empty hotel?
  On Christmas Day The Husband was up and away early to get the boring work stuff out the way.  When he came back around 11am we met three German kitchen staff in to do 3 hours food prep for a big Boxing Day lunch.  They made us a full-on eggs and bacon breakfast.  We hadn't been expecting that.  After the yummy we headed off in the hire car, to the snowy bits of Norwegian mountains.  Up we went till the ears were popping, the ground was white and The Husband threw a snowball at me and the G10.
  Back at The Hummeren, mid afternoon, about 3pm, we were having a look around hoping to watch a DVD on a better sound and vision set-up, because the laptop screen was a bit small and the sound too quiet.  The owner of the hotel dropped in at the same time, we told him our thinking.  Ahhh he said, in Norwegian...out of a walk-in cupboard he wheeled a 50inch flatscreen TV.  That got hooked up to the DVD playing laptop.  Sound was still insufficient...ahhh he said again and came back with a surround sound system to be connected to the laptop/TV combo.  While they were fixing the sound and vision I'd been setting out the dinner on a table in the lounge.  As if the proprietor hadn't provided enough for us already, he then came in with an ice-filled champagne bucket and a bottle of his favourite white wine which he gifted to us.  Then he took up the G10 and did photographer duties, there was nothing this hotel proprietor was too busy to help us with.
  Today I flew back home again, on my own and fully focused.  Still stuffed with Christmas dinner, all I've eaten today is two packets of the freebie mini Doritos on KLM flights, I'm still full.  The Bro picked me up at Edinburger Airport at the same time he dropped The Sis-In-Law off.  Happy coincidence, I was coming as she was going.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Shining.  The movie of choice when spending the night in an empty hotel.  Always great.
  The Husband and I watched Unstoppable.  OK.
  The Husband and I watched Shrink.  OK.





The Inbetweeners

 The Mum and The Dad were over yesterday, on their Happy Anniversary, 49 years married, amazing.
 Starry Towers 6 : Mice 0
 Starry Towers 8 : The Bloody Squirrels 0
 It's only two sleeps till the rest of the world does Xmas, but The Boy and I have done one already.  We'll both do another on the 25th, but with different people in different places.
  Merry Christmas dear readers, I hope you both have a lovely Christmas.  Normal service will resume after the day that is Christmas.
  Merry* 。 • ˚ ˚ ˛ ˚ ˛ •
•。Christmas 。* 。    *
° 。 ° ˛˚˛ ___Π_____*。*˚
˚ ˛ •˛•˚ */_________/ \。˚ ˚ ˛
˚ ˛ •˛• ˚ | 田田  |門|  ˚• ˛
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Inbetweeners Movie.  On my own, after inviting The Boy to watch with me and being told that wouldn't be entirely appropriate.  Having since viewed the movie, I agree, he'd have been awfy embarrassed, poor wee lamb, they're terribly easily mortified teenagers.  I didn't find it as absolutely massively funny as reviews I've read would have had me believe.  But it was alright, I sniggered a few times.










 The Husband and I have both had little health issues over the weekend, which I don't wish to mention in any great detail in my Berlin Journal so I'll mention them here.
 First me.  At approximately 3pm on the Saturday, standing outside a Berlin tourist shop (the one opposite The Riechstag but it could've been any of them) waiting on The Husband returning (from the loo, but that's not important), I felt a wave of heat, discomfort and dizziness, which I assumed was the obvious, a usual hot flush menopause thing, but that soon worsened to nausea, fatigue and I seriously felt the need to sit down immediately before my legs gave way.  I sat on a cube thing.  A few seconds later there was the sharp stomach pains.  We had to return to the hotel where I spent the next  couple hours between sleeping in the bed and shitting the runny stuff in the loo, and I managed to get the right thing in the right place every time, which was a bonus.
  We had tickets for The Barber Of Seville at The Deutsche Oper, so about 5.30 I got out of bed, showered, did my makeup and dried my hair, got dressed, even put on my new leather collar tux and glittery heal wedge peeptoes and was sat there with my clutch bag and opera glasses in my hand.  The entire process involved a lot of kneeling on the floor or the shower tray cos of the fatigue and nausea, it was awful, but I really wanted to go to the opera.  In the end The Husband advised against it.  I went back to bed at 6.30pm.  So very very disappointed.  I felt totally better and back to my usual self by the Monday, I don't know what caused it, but it had to involve bacteria and my digestive tract in some way.  I'd say no shit Sherlock, but...that wouldn't be entirely appropriate.
  Now The Husband...he was complaining of cramp in a lower leg, which didn't cause me much concern, it's cramp, you wiggle it, it goes away.  It seemed to recur a bit too often, till the Monday on the way home it had become constant, he was limping in the last few hours.  At Berlin Schönefeld Airport as we went through security (talk about looking suspicious) he had an episode of breathlessness and chest pain.  I was watching him closely which didn't seem to reassure him much (irritable due to his symptoms I'm guessing), but I know what a person looks like in a cardiac event and they don't have a healthy colour about the face.  If I'd had the right equipment to hand I would've checked the other vital signs, but I was doing all I could at the time.
  This passed, though the cramp/pain/limp didn't.  No sooner were we back at Starry Towers then The Husband was off again, away to Aberdoom en route to The Land Of...erm...I'm running out of "The Land Of" references, it was Norway, away back to work.  Due to flight issues he booked into an Aberdoom hotel to fly the next day.  Was about 7pm last evening just as he'd settled in and made arrangements to meet up with a good friend for coffee and chats, and I'd finished unpacking, doing laundry and other housework, I sat down and cleared my mind for a relax and a think.  Was then I became very worried, leg pain, breathless, chest pain.  I'm thinking DVT/Pulmonary Embolism.  I phoned him with the NHS 24 number.  They instructed he go to hospital immediately, and phone 999 in event of severe deterioration.
  Was 2 in the morning before he got out of A&E, with two test results still pending, but the calf swelling had reduced a bit while he was in A&E, they'd obviously been monitoring that, and other test results were encouraging.  The biggy results were phoned to Starry Towers at 7am this morning, I spoke surprisingly politely to the nice doctor after I woke up.  The Husband is in great health but had the worst case of cramp I ever heard tell of.  The medical people were 100% behind the need for testing though, them set of symptoms could have been a death sentence.
  In other Starry Towers news, that bird seed feeder I'm convinced a Grey Squirrel broke, in the couple hours before he set off for Aberdoom, The Husband fixed it.  It's back in the Starry Towers Lilac Tree, and approximately 100 small garden birds will be forever grateful.  Me too, I was figuring I'd need to buy a new one.  
  At Edinburgh Airport on the way out to Berlin a very nice man in Dixons Travel very enthusiastically explained all about memory card speeds to me.  He loved that I had my Canon G10, told me it's the best available so didn't try to sell me a camera.  He wasn't even trying to offload a memory card, just wanted to tell me, and show me with a giving me a speedy card to use in the G10 while he danced around to let me take pics of him jigging...that a memory card with a 45MB/s speed, a class 10, would give me amazing results with my G10.  Not all shop salespeople are predictably and cynically making their sales targets...who knew?  So back home I got a couple of these Integral UltimaPro 32GB SDHC 45MB/s Class 10 UHS-1 Cards from Alphamemory at Amazon, at the best price of £39.61 each.  I got the last two available today, so give them a chance to restock if you want them too.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers)I watched Deliverance in honour of recently deceased Bill McKinney, none too savoury sadistic rapist in this role, but damn he was frighteningly good at it.  That scene has entered my mind far too many times in the years since I first watched the movie.  So very disturbing, scream piggy (shudder).




 Starry Towers 5 : Mice 0
 Ich bin ein Berliner...well, I was for the weekend.  The Husband and I got back from Berlin today.  I'm putting together the Berlin Journal and Gallery and will let you know dear reader when them's all sorted.
  North Korea has some despotic socialist dictator news.  Kim Jong-il is no more, death by physical and mental over-work apparently, or as the rest of the world knows it, a heart attack.  The official party-line is probably more accurate, this was no ordinary 'heart attack'.  His heart gave up under the pressure of too much lunatic mental crazy for just one heart to cope with.  On the one hand, death by natural causes in the sure and certain knowledge that his fecked-up abusive rule goes on is a better deal than a bullet in a bunker.  He wins...but on the other hand, he didn't have the benefit of taking a spouse/lover and his dog with him.  Back to the first hand, he was surely blissfully at peace in the end, knowing the product of his loins will carry on his lunacy legacy in the form of podgy prodigy Kim Jong-un.  The world awaits how this tyrant mini-me situation's going to pan out, one thing's for sure, this particular nut didn't fall too far from the nut tree.





Due Date


 There's a lovely fashion faux pas on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Husband needed a Tux suit dry-cleaned at very short notice.  He's in The Land that is internationally known as Norway, so it was all down to me.  One little matter that impacted on this important mission is I don't drive...for the safety of people and all other living creatures on the roads of Scotland.  Sooo...I phoned the Sunny D village shop and enquired about the dry-cleaning service they offer.  Unfortunately that service provision didn't fit in with The Husband's Tux plans as it would be available for collection too late by a matter of a few hours.  I got on the www and the phone, and found a local dry-cleaning service that was prepared to pick up and return to the door of Starry Towers, and dry-clean the suit for the meager price of only £15 all in.  I would have paid double that, but that's cool.
  Deans Dry Cleaners, Livingston, deserve a huge big shout out recommendation.  The dry cleaning lady promised the suit would be returned by tomorrow, way it turned out she was at the Starry Towers front door at 9am this morning.  Still can't get my head round the measly sum of 15 of my Scottish pounds.
  I'm the queen of sorting stuff and The Husband will be kissing my arse for a good long while.  Wanna laugh?  Right, here you go, like The Mum long has he known you?  This was The Husband's suggestion as to how I could fix it for him and his tux.  He messaged me online that I could get a taxi into a local town, drop the tux suit into this particular dry cleaners, wait for it, pick it up and take a taxi home.  Wait for it?  He did emphasise that there was no pressure, just if I felt like it.  Sheeesh!!!
  Squirrel News : here at Starry Towers I recently got the squirrel bafflers to protect the peanut and fat ball feeders.  Good news is the bafflers are doing a sterling job.  I've seen a Grey Squirrel doing his best and failing.  Bad news is I reckon he's turned his attention on the Squirrel-proof globe-cage-style seed feeder and broke it.  Yesterday I watched him try to get to the seeds because he couldn't get to the nuts and balls.  This morning the seed feeder is lying in the dirt, the wire hanger bit broke off.  This is Squirrel War.  Don't be taken in by the innocent face, he's a cunt.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Due Date.  Three things I liked about it, looking at Robert Downey Jr, The Grand Canyon and that bit where he rushes in to see the wrong baby.  The wrong baby was the only time I actually laughed, it's not a very funny movie, for a comedy it's a bit sad really.  Never mind, could just be my hormonal state.






 I caught a bit of X Factor last evening, just enough to remind me how much I dislike all things Cowell.  And, two other little matters, that Coldplay singer guy is far too sweaty and thunder-thigh and camel-toe emphasising gold lame leggings are not a good thing.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched RED.  Bruce Willis abducted a girl and got back with his old work mates...and...I don't know what else happened because I lost interest.















 Starry Towers 4 : Mice 0
 This is a very disturbing, shocking story of nurse Carol Felstead or Carole Myers as she later changed her name, who died at age 41 on the 29th June 2005.  It's a sad tale of a woman who had spent time in mental health wards and received therapy that included the false implanting of memories of satanic abuse, unknown to her family.  Her family were only informed of her death two weeks after she died.  There have been claims that no one knew of her family, this doesn't seem to be true, on a very simple level any amateur detective would've thought of, her passport contained her Dad's name and address.  Here are the Guardian/Observer article and the family's story told at the Justiceforcarol website.  And here.  As they state on their website..."This website has been specifically created to draw public attention to the behaviour of Dr Fleur Fisher, the Ex-Head of Ethics of the British Medical Association, following the death of our beloved daughter and sister, Carole Patricia Myers (formerly known as Carol Patricia Felstead)."
  Religious Zealot News.  Just had some Jehovah's Witnesses at the door asking if they could talk to me about how me and my family can live together forever.  I didn't need to be officially introduced, it was obvious by the cut of their jib and them few unrealistic supernatural words.  I immediately told them, politely but firmly, I'm an atheist and not interested in any discussion on the matter.  He says, "you're an atheist is there a reason for that?"  I politely, I respect their right to hold their beliefs and would appreciate if they would respect mine, and have a good night.  Out there in the cold while I relax by a roaring fire.






 The Husband and I went for Xmas dinner with The Bro and The Sis-In-Law today.  Due to busy lives, prior engagements, work etc we decided to do our family Xmas dinner today.  The venue was picked because a couple weeks ago I happened to lift a menu and felt my taste buds a-watering.  I put the menu about a bit and got positive feedback from The Husband and The Sis-In-Law.  The Parents decided they wouldn't bother, but the rest of us, minus The Boy, who's 18 and too embarrassed to be seen with us, were all in agreement.
  It's a bit off-the-wall, but we enjoyed our Xmas dinner today at the Livingston branch of Dobbies Garden Centre and had a great time.  We booked a couple weeks ago and made one special request, the Sis-In-Law didn't want bacon with her Savoy Cabbage to accompany her Grilled Fillet of Sea Bass.  They said that was fine, and proved true to their word.
  When we arrived at Dobbies today The Husband took a liking to this 77cm tall "Premier Sitting Bear".  He went off to buy the bear while I went looking for and found The Bro and Sis-In-Law.  We all went into dinner with an unpaid for bear, due to the queues at the tills being far too long for The Husband to be troubled with.  The staff in the restaurant were exceptionally good humoured, obliging, friendly and tolerant.  The Husband had asked for five meals to be booked as he was hoping his Dutch daughter Alice might have been able to visit and be there for the family dinner.  She wasn't able to be here, and Dobbies said, OK you've paid x5 £10 dinner deposits, we'll take that unused £10 deposit off the price of your drinks.  Which they really weren't obliged to do, we only paid for what we actually consumed in the end.
  The table was set awaiting our arrival, with Xmas crackers and party hats for five, the bear took up the empty seat and even got his own hat.
  I had the Roast Duck and Champagne Terrine served with Homemade Spiced Cranberry & Orange Compote and Arran Oaties for starters, my main was Grilled Fillet of Sea Bass served with Thyme Crushed Potatoes, Savoy Cabbage and Bacon and Chive Butter Sauce, and finished off with Rich Chocolate Torte and Mulled Pear served with Raspberry and Basil Creme Fraiche.  The 3 courses were followed by complimentary coffee or tea and a Mince Pie.  Only £15.95 for the 3 course meal.  My favourite, and The Sis-In-Law had the same and was equally satisfied, was the Grilled Fillet of Sea Bass main. Very cheffy to look at, delicious, and the Chive Butter Sauce, mmmmmm.  I wish I could open a tin of that every day.  We had a good time, and The Husband even got the waitress to put the bear through her till, which she was then told by her boss that she shouldn't.  But she did, and as we exited the building...the alarm didn't go off, so all was well.  The Xmas Bear has been named Honey.
  Back at Starry Towers we had a lovely time laughing at The Bro making fun with the bear as if it was a puppet, he was very good at it.  The Sis-In-Law borrowed a lacy shrug for a night out and I tried on The Bro's new glasses.  I've thought for a while that I probably need my eyes tested, and am totally convinced now because The Bro got his first pair of specs today, they also happen to be the only pair of glasses I ever tried that actually improve my eyesight.  It's probably a genetic thing, he's 2 years younger than me, I think it's time I got spectacles.
  Back at Starry Towers we had a lovely time laughing at The Bro making fun with the bear as if it was a puppet, he was very good at it.  The Sis-In-Law borrowed a lacy shrug for a night out and I tried on The Bro's new glasses.  I've thought for a while that I probably need my eyes tested, and am totally convinced now because The Bro got his first pair of specs today, they also happen to be the only pair of glasses I ever tried that actually improve my eyesight.  It's probably a genetic thing, he's 2 years younger than me, I think it's time I got spectacles.
  Regular readers will know I'm a big fan of all Mr Douglas Lindsay's work, the Scottish author, creator of the cult "Barney Thomson" crime series.  You'll also know that I have two signed books already, one I purchased and one which he signed specially for me.  You'll also probably be aware that he has recently started working with the new Scottish ePublishers Blasted Heath, and that I'm a fan of their work too.  There's currently a free Kindle book available at Amazon for a limited period, the Government conspiracy thriller Lost In Juarez, so be quick and get over there.  The other piece of Douglas Lindsay Blasted Heath news is that the, signed by Douglas Lindsay, Blasted Heath Boxset Tin I won in a competition recently has arrived.  Mr Lindsay has signed his name on his page of the  booklet inside, and in big marker pen written a special message to me on the bottom side of the tin.  The comp prize was for an ordinary unsigned tin, but I asked nicely.  Buy your own at BastedHeath.  That's me well made up for a while.
  I've listened to the new Amy Winehouse CD Lioness : Hidden Treasures just once since it arrived at Starry Towers yesterday, made me cry in a sad, but a good way.  This is the first I've been able to listen to Amy music since she died, apart from the occasional little snippets of REHAB I get when my mobile phone gets a call.  That's been my mobile phone noise since it's release in 2006, I don't think I'll change it ever.

















 Good crystal wrist decoration news on The Star Swag Blog.
 Starry Towers 3 : Mice 0
 Mice News.  Another mouse in a trap this morning, dealt with by The Husband.  If by 'dealt with' you mean 'thrown in a wheelie bin', like a Coventry cat.  Imagine my surprise, and by 'surprise' I mean 'shock', when I went to put trash in the almost full wheelie bin...on top of the previously put in large kitchen bin bags was a dead mouse, right there, so close to my hand reaching in.  This illicits an involuntary scream from me.  The Husband, he laughs and doesn't understand why the fuss.  Yeee gads.  me of a time, maybe 20-odd years ago now, I was at The Parents house, The Dad was up a ladder to the attic.  He was handing items down and I was there to take them and place them safely on the floor.  To do this I had to climb a few steps of ladder each time.  This time I climbed the ladder, raised a hand, looked up, 1cm from my hand was a dead mouse The Dad was dangling by the tail.  I nearly fell off the ladder, he laughed, men and their dead mouse jokes.
  Bargain Of The Week is this great little travel hairdryer.  The Okoia HD12 is on special offer at Comet.  With a saving of over £15 this is currently on sale for only £4.99.The most impressive feature in my opinion and why this little dryer caught my attention, is the size and weight, it's so little and light.  Much smaller and lighter than my other travel dryer, itsy bitsy compared to any others I've looked at.  It has a folding handle and duel voltage.  1200 watts, two speeds and two temperatures.  I'm always looking to minimise and streamline, lighten and hypersleek-up my luggage contents and this is a brill replacement with that in mind.










 A beautiful photograph of Amy Winehouse leaving Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom in November 2007 has been donated to her charity by photographer Brian Anderson.  The picture was taken the last time she played in Scotland.
  Severe storms are hitting Scotland today and my hatches are well and truly battened.  I've been following the news on The Twitter throughout the day.  All the major bridges are closed, double decker buses taken off roads after one was blown over.  Cables down, power cuts all over, a wind turbine blown over, the list just went on and on.  A slate fell off the Starry Towers roof and I had to take down the Squirrel Bafflers and the hanging baskets, which still had Virginian and Night-scented Stocks in flower.  First I saw that a 102 mph gust was recorded at Glen Ogle.  Next Aonach Mor near Fort William (elevation 1200m) had reported a wind gust of 130 mph.  Shortly after there was a report of 151mph over the Cairngorm Summit.  The anti was upped just after with the news that 165mph had been recorded, Cairngorm again.  The highest gust ever recorded in Scotland was 173mph back in 1986 again on Cairngorm.
  It was so sweet with some Scot naming the storm Hurricane Bawbag (scrotum) and it trending wordwide on The Twitter.  Sean Batty, the lovely Scottish weather man was trending later in the day too as a nation held it's breath, would he refer to the winds as Hurricane Bawbag?  No he didn't, but Scottish TV (STV) had a bit of fun with it on their website.  Sean was trending on The Twitter for a wee while this evening, he was thrilled.
  Mice News.  There are mice outside, because I feed the birds they think it's for them.  Problem with them treating the Starry Towers estate like a top class restaurant is that when the weather gets bad they think it's a good idea to come into Starry Towers.  We've had 3 or 4 over the years.  All the little holes in the house interior, in cupboards and such, are all blocked up, but they still find a way into the attic space on the north wing.  So...the remedy...The Dad brought me two mouse traps.  The Dad set them up with peanut butter, but this morning it was down to me.  I gingerly lifted the slate tiles off the itsy little hut The Dad had constructed out of two monoblocks, two slate tiles and a couple sticks of wood.  EEEKK!!  A dead mouse, I was expecting it, but you know how it is.  The only good thing about this situation was The Dad had got me Intruder The Better Mousetraps.  These little traps are made for people who want the least possible to do with dead mice, while still killing them.  You simply press to set the trap and it's another press to eject the deceased.   And it's reassuring (kinda) that the trap grips the mouse tightly, quickly suffocating without breaking skin, so no messy blood, erm...good.  I went with gloves on and took a plastic bag, I didn't have to look at it's dead little face because it's head was stuck in the trap, I averted my eyes as soon as I could.  The Husband's home for the weekend, he'll be taking over mouse killing duties for a couple days.




 I don't particularly like Tom Cruise, but O M bloody G, he deserves some merit for this stunt.  Sitting at the very top of the world's tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.  It's my 2nd biggest nightmare, I'm strangely scared and OH WOW! and awesome! at the same time.  The picture is to promote his new movie Mission Impossible 4, fact is he's half a mile off the ground.  Makes me dizzy, nauseous and terribly afraid just thinking about it.
  Yesterday I saw a strange man  wearing a slightly inappropriate outfit.  OK, maybe it was just different, if he'd been at a music festival or trancing out in Goa with a bunch of fellow Shamanic types on acid, no one would've blinked an eye...they'd just be staring into the middle distance or have their eyes closed.
  Anyways, he wasn't in Goa or at Glastonbury, he was in a local town here, late morning, mid week.  He had some white tracky bottom type trews tucked into ordinary boots.  From mid shin up was the issue.  I've no idea what he was wearing exactly, was something white, maybe just a baggy shirt, but with a looser, almost dress-like, kinda butcher's apron without the stripes, longer black tabard type garment with dungaree type straps over the top.  It wasn't his clothes that first caught my eye, it was his purposeful stride with arms pretty much akimbo.  He passed me by then slammed a hand down hard on the bonnet of a parked car.  It was only after a lot of furtive glances that I realised what was on his head.  Strapped down with two substantial looking black bands, flattened down on it's tummy, with it's four legs splayed out, was a  green frog soft toy, very similar to this one.  Very strange, though he would've even got away with the hat in Goa or Glastonbury.
  can also be worn on the head











 I've got starry wrists on The Star Swag Blog.
 A year ago I had a seriously bad chest infection which required steroids as well as antibiotics and led to me attending the Respiratory Clinic with Nurse V.  She ran some tests and predicted if I didn't stop smoking I was on track to develop Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.  Today was my year later call-back, and I got to surprise her with the good news that I've stopped smoking.  She was very pleased.  This time round my test results have improved and my lungs are now age-appropriate, they match the rest of me now.  I'd never have expected such an improvement in such a short time, it's only five months later.  This should be a welcome incentive for others thinking about quitting.
  While I was there we covered a few other things.  Number one was I asked for and got a flu vaccine.  I usually take this every year at work, as nurses are encouraged to have the jab to reduce the risk of staff shortages at critical flu peek times.  As surely everyone must know by now, the influenza vaccine is not a live vaccine, so no, it doesn't give you flu, though if I had a penny for every time I've heard someone complain of being struck down with the flu after having the jab, I'd have in the £5 to £6 range...probably, I'm guessing.  This evening there's a mild localised pain to the touch at the injection site, which is to be expected.  The injection itself wasn't as stingy as I've experienced in the past.  Nurse V told me this year there's a bit of Swine Flu in the vaccine as this is still an issue in the northern hemisphere this Winter.
  Next on my 'list' was my nose and it's rather annoying congestion, sneezing fits and having to position a hand so as to hold open a nostril while I fall asleep, not to mention my amnosia.  The last time I was with Nurse V she prescribed Beconase Nasal Spray for my hayfever type symptoms and advised me of the proper use of daily oral antihistamines, ie to start taking them before Summer.  I followed medical advice, no change.  So now I'm on the Nasonex.  Momethasone furoate treats the symptoms of allergic rhinitis, fingers crossed.
  Last thing on my'll be getting the impression I'm a hypochondriac type person, but I'd argue that's not the case.  If I was I'd be at the GP all the time with these individual complaints.  The way I do it is I suffer for years before eventually mentioning stuff to a nurse.  So, last on the list was my lower back/right shoulder/right arm general aches and pains.  This stuff has been bothering me for years.  I put it down to natural wear and tear, but it's been getting worse till for a good long while now, the right shoulder can be excruciating, and the recent new right arm issue which was triggered again to the point of, jeeez feck this! by just a spot of light ironing.  I need a physiotherapy referral. 
  So that's me all health issue updated and on track, I do this approximately once every decade.





The Hangover II DVD








 There's this season's collaricious outerwear on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Husband (and the Z4) eventually made progress and stayed safe and sound, eventually getting off that boat from Norway to Denmark.  He travelled down through Denmark, Germany, Holland, then France and back to that bit that tacks onto the arse of Scotland...Engerland they call it...via the Chunnel.
  We've got an inch of snow today and my new Squirrel Baffles arrived.  Reasons to get the camera out.  First up here is the Starry Towers Robin, looking ever so cute and seasonally festive.        
  So, onto the Squirrel Baffles, purchased from arkwildlife at £19.95 each.  I'll be calling them Bafflers, sounds more appropriate to me.   Here they are on their first day in use, unfortunately the two Grey Squirrels that have been annoying me of late, didn't show their fluffy tails today.  I can't wait to see them being baffled.  The Squirrels go for the peanuts first and foremost, if there's no nuts they go for the fat balls.  The seed mix is in a Squirrel proof cage type feeder, though I've never seen them even try that.  Hopefully that's me got the Starry Towers bird feeding station 100% Squirrel-proofed sorted now, I hate watching them going mad on the nuts, as I fret over the little birds fearing them and their baby bird eating evil ways.
  the Starry Towers Squirrel Bafflers
  I feed the birds all year round, but the Winter and snow especially, puts me into overdrive care mode.  Please feed your garden birds, on the right specially bought stuff, and ensure there's a fresh water supply, especially when it's hard icy frosty cold.
  Yesterday there was snow.  Not the type of snow that causes problems however, so The Husband and I took a drive into Edinburger.  Driving past the Zoo gates there was a commotion, a very controlled commotion.  There were kilted pipers, a bunch of police people and a small crowd of primary school children.  There were a lot of Scottish flags being waved, there was bunting of Scottish, British and Chinese flags.  Sunshine and Sweetie have arrived, Scotland has borrowed a couple of Pandas.
  Happy Birthday to The Bro today, my wee brother's 2 years younger than me, lets just say he's 40 summit.  I sent him a FunkyPigeo card this year, the personalised spoof biker magazine one, and the matching mug.  Hope he likes.
  The Alan Partridge book, I Partridge We Need To Talk About Alan in audiobook form is almost 7 hours of him being very funny.  I'm currently listening and loving it.  Highly recommended by me.
  Product Of The Week...  Maybelline's The Smoother.  A free sample came my way, I don't often bother, but I gave it a fling instead of flinging it in the bin.  This purports to be a skin retexturizing primer which will create a perfectly smooth canvas for ideal makeup application.  And it is.  This innovative fragrance free dimethicone silicone-based gel primer does a fine job of smoothing, pore filling, shine-defying  and delivering a silky matte appearance and a velvety soft feel.  I've never regularly used a primer before.  I did try one a few times years back, but all it did was deposit a scummy layer that the more I touched it, the more it rubbed up into little dry lumps of unwanted nuisance factor detritus and had to be cleaned off again before I could get on with actually applying my face, a disappointing failure, unusable.  So I'm really happy with this Maybelline Smoother.  It's supplied in a very small pot, but you only require a teensey tiny dab, it spreads very easily, and a little goes a long long way.
  Maybelline The Smoother
  I've got a little story to impart.  I did blog when I first met the man because I was touched at his telling me the story of his 93 yr old Mother and her love of chewing gum.  When I first set eyes on this ASDA delivery man my first thought was he should be retired.  Sad thing is, he delivered my messages the other day and told me that the spirited old gum-chewing mother of his had died.  He spoke at length about his Mum dying and the other four funerals he'd attended recently.  I was in danger of feeling sorry for myself because of my inability of accepting the idea of death & dying, but I recognised his need as being greater than mine, and let him talk.  We were on the doorstep for a while.  He was able to bring a lighter note and a smile at the end, told me about when they were cleaning out his Mother's house, they found ten packs of chewing gum.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Hangover Part II.  The biggest star of the original The Hangover was Las Vegas, Bangkok could never compete.  It was practically the exact same story, only set in the depressingly sad Bangkok.









 Over on The Star Swag Blog there's the best star print item of clothing, like forever.
 Bit of nurse strike action yesterday, because public sector workers are being shit on.  I've been an NHS nurse for 28 years, thinking I won't have to and shouldn't have to, do it for very much longer, I'm definitely the right side of putting the years in.  This recent turn of events, with the Westminster government changing the goal posts re pension and retirement ages is scary.  All my working life The Dad reassured me, I may be under stress, giving my all, but at least I could be confident that I'd get a good pension.  At this time it appears my pension and Mental Health Officer status is safe, but it's worrying what might still be to come.
  Today The Husband spent 7 extra hours on a ferry in the North Sea, on his way home.  The Norway to Denmark section of the journey is usually a 12 hr sail.  But this turned into 19hrs.  For 7 extra hours the sea was so violent the ferry had to keep parking up facing into the wind, any attempt at progress during the worst 7hrs of the sail resulted in the boat being flung around too severely to persist.  I was worried...he's got the Z4 with him.









 Soft knits on The Star Swag Blog.
 As I quietly mentioned on here, I won the Blasted Heath tin in the competition held by the lovely guys at this new Scottish epublishers.  Well, even better news is they've sorted it for my favourite author, Mr Douglas Lindsay (@thisblastedlife on The Twitter), to autograph my prize.  This is really special for me, and I can't thank all those involved enough.  For 'all those involved' read Allan Guthrie, Kyle MacRae and Douglas Lindsay himself.  I'll put up a photie when it arrives.  This is the good news tweet.
  It was with more than just a touch of distress that I watched Fatima Whitbread and her nostril invasion.  I can't stand the nose thing, I've got an issue with the nose thing, you do NOT touch my nose.  Ever.  I reckon this is because I've got tiny nostrils, which are easily blocked.  Fatima Whitbread's issue was on the other end of the nostril size spectrum.   She had a cockroach up her left nostril.  That's disgusting.  Then she snorted and blew that nose like a coal miner fresh up from the mine.  A doctor flushed her nostril with a syringe of water, several times, I lost track of the details, watching through my fingers by this time.  She dealt with it way better than I could.  





The Deer Hunter DVD

 There's blingy friendship on The Star Swag Blog.
 November the 26th and still roses blooming in the Starry Towers garden.  I was seriously tempted to leave them till December, just for the novelty and achievement, but the weather's taken a turn for the windy.  Strong winds throwing them around can cause root damage with all the battering, blustering and gusting.  From what I understand it's not a good thing to let them carry on flowering too long anyway, sometimes they need to be told it's time to rest.  This is the only time of year that I cut flowers from the garden and bring them in to the house.
  As regular readers know, I had a total hysterectomy this year, everything went, the womb, the ovaries and the cervix.  With the gynae bits also went any tone I had in my tummy area.  The bruising and damage was quite extraordinary at the time, therefore I'm putting a gruesome reminder here again.  I can't believe that was me.  Five months later I'm left with a 6 and a 1/2 inch bikini line scar which is obviously much less dramatic looking since then, but the tummy has felt alien to me ever since.  You loose the ability to suck it in.  Well, until now.  My body is getting better.
  I'm dieting and I've found my abdominal wall muscles again.  The dirty E word...exercise...has entered my world.  I'm tensing regularly, only problem I have is I can't suss out how to tense and breath at the same time.  I've lost 6lbs recently and am 8 stone summit, I hated being 9 stone summit.  Once I get back to 8 and 1/2 stone I will take a new photo of the tummy and scar and put it up here in celebration.  The positivity of loosing weight and working them muscles again, combined with the smoking cessation, and the obvious biggie...cancer risk reduction...makes the hysterectomy experience very worthwhile in the long run.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Deer Hunter yet again.  What a movie, Walken and De Niro, both in their youthful top form.  Horrendous scenes, De Niro's character Michael is such a hero and Walken's Nick is too.  "Here's to Nick"...indeed.  This is the movie when I first fell in love with Mr Walken, over three decades ago now, a love that hasn't wavered, not for a second, not even Joe Dirt could sway me.  




 Couple of bits of bling on The Star Swag Blog.
  Me! Me! Me!  I've won a Blasted Heath competition.  Blasted Heath are the groovy new Scottish digital publishers I was recently blogging about, the business of Allan Guthrie and Kyle MacRae.  You can find them on The Twitter @BlastedHeathens.
  The competition was to win a Blasted Heath Tin and was hosted by Sarah at her lifeinabreakdown blog.  Entrants had to post a comment telling Kyle and Allan why they deserved to win the free Blasted Heat Tin and "make it as witty and well thought out as you can!  Make them laugh and smile".  Was no sooner read than done.  I was witty, I didn't have to think about it, I made them laugh and was easy I just told them the facts.  Click on the picture of the blog comment revealing me as the winner to see my entry, the winner announcement, Sarah's thank you and my acceptance speech, which has been called awesome.
  and the winner is...





Source Code


Annie Hall DVD


Bridesmaids DVD






 I've added a load of new Norway photies to The Norway Gallery, still got hunners to sort and add.
 The new Starry Towers Bosch is in situ, performing extraordinary laundry services in shhhh silent stealth mode.  It's fabulous, a baby could sleep in that thing on a 60 degree cotton wash.  I keep looking for stuff to wash, clothes, coats, rugs, duvets, pillows, shoes, curtains, anything I can fit in the drum.
 There's a new celeb in the Shetland Sheep world.  In the November issue of the magazine The Shetland Breed, The Dad appears twice.  There's two photographs of The Dad and Rench Marilyn II.  As a bonus claim to fame, I'm now a published photographer, credited on page 16 for my photo of The Dad and Champion Rench Marilyn II at Yetholm this year.  On the cover of the magazine are three of The Deceased Octogenarian Friend's young rams, The Dad's Rench Dandy is at the back of the trio.  
  British Gas cold called me yet again today.  They probably don't consider it cold calling because Starry Towers is officially still linked to British Gas as the upstairs is with them, even though we shut the supply down two years ago, they still send us bills for zero of our Scottish pounds.  The plan is to have one gas supply from one provider for both floors of Starry Towers once we install a new boiler and heating system.
  Today BG was represented by a young sounding man called Chris.  He quickly became subtly condescending, then down-right offensive.  "You seem to be upset Mrs H..." (and for H read the H surname I had before I became the H I am now, remember I only marry men with H surnames), "...I don't understand why you seem to be upset...", he then said, "I've only told you I'm phoning from British Gas and my name is Chris, so what bit of that had upset you, is it BG or my name?"  I could hardly believe his cheek, he interrupts me, he invades my house with his cold call, then gets mouthy like a teenager.  Quite flabbergasted so I was, I told him I wasn't upset, I'm annoyed at these phone calls trying to offer me some sort of deal to upgrade or benefit in some way on an account that reads precisely £0 every time they make out a bill to us.  He persisted, I told him at one point that he was cheeky (and not in a good way), he kept on keeping on, I had to  talk over him to tell him I'm sick of their calls and say "goodbye, you have a nice day Chris" as I put the phone down on him.
  Another big company is the cause behind my having to deal with these cold calls, and it seems like not a day goes by without at least one cold call making me rush to pick up a phone.  I am so pissed off with SKY.  SKY is now our broadband, TV and phone provider.  Try as we might, we can't get them to provide the caller display function.  When we were with our last provider it worked just fine.  The Husband has activated the service on the SKY account, we've followed their trouble-shooting jump-through-the-hoops advice, we've done the *234# thing and received the message 'callers identities will be displayed', but that's a blatant untruth.  If SKY could sort this problem, then I could ignore the cold calls.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Source Code.  Entertaining enough and also kinda made me thoughtful, on the subject of death.  Yes, I enjoyed the movie, and brushing the sad bit out my mind swiftly, yes it was good.
  I watched Annie Hall.  Jeeez...Woody Allan.  Maybe I got bored with his selfish neurosis over several decades, maybe all that 35 years age gap marriage with Soon-Yi, the adopted daughter of his ex Mia Farrow, is just too big a deal for me.  And Mr Walken doesn't have a big enough part to make it all right.
  I watched Bridesmaids.  Very funny, a lot of scenes made me giggle out loud.














 Problem here at Starry Towers, the washing machine is kaput.  It's been making a lot of bad noises for a few weeks, then I noticed clothing was a bit soapy at the end of the wash, it wasn't rinsing properly.  After that it just stopped spinning, so the clothes were soaking wet when they came out.  I've washed my last load with that machine.  Messaged The Husband on the www, he wrote back saying a new  BOSCH WAS32461GB 1600 Spin Washing Machine will be delivered on Saturday.  That's the way to do white goods.
  After nearly two years (they started in February 2010) of free funnies from the lovely guys at Tell 'Em Steve Dave I've splashed out a few $s to purchase the podcast specials, which can be got at the online music store Bandcamp.  The freebies can be got from Kevin Smith's SModcast.
















 Over on The Star Swag Blog there's my new favourite nail polish.
 My Continental Tripping 2011 Norway Journal #3 is finally done.  It's a lot of work sorting our photies and researching to check my info is factual, and most of all, remembering this stuff, the details.  I do keep a day-to-day key-word type diary while I'm away to make the remembering a tad easier.
 On the iPod recently...the 8hrs 45mins of the Rob Brydon autobiography Small Man In A Book.  I enjoyed the greater half of this, the bigger first half...nearer the end it gets a bit, then I did this, then I did that and it comes to an abrupt halt just as he becomes successful.  Mr Brydon's got a lovely comforting voice and is great with the impersonations so it's an enjoyable listen.  I noted that Rob says Jimmy Savile told him it's easy to get to the top, the difficult bit is staying there.  The very same thing Jimmy Tarbuck told Jonathan Ross as reported in his book Why Do I Say These Things.  Back in the day this was popular advice from men called Jimmy. 







Kill The Irishman







 There's a faux fur trimmed parka on The Star Swag Blog.
 I've been away, so this blog post is a catch-up round-up of some of what's been happening in Marilyn's World in the last fortnight.  I've been in Norway again, this time it was Stavanger, Tananger AND new-to-me the more northern Trondheim.  I had a great time in Trondheim because it was a new city to explore, soon as I can get it done I'll put up a journal of my latest trip and the accompanying photies.  I'm still recuperating after the surgery, taking it easy away from the pressures of life, gentle exercise (ie walking), and being waited on hand and foot and wined and dined by The Husband is just what the GP ordered.  While I was away The Mum was over laundering the bedding and cleaning windows and The Boy, YES, The Boy hoovered the house top to bottom.  I'm so fortunate having caring folks loving me.
 Back to the cruel reality of death.  67 is way too early isn't it, damn you cancer.  RIP Joe Frazier.
 RIP Legend
  I had to use the discount code from The Daily Record to buy my Blasted Heath Tin because there was an eBay first for me.  I failed to win the auction for the one and only signed by all five authors Blasted Heath tin, damn and blast.  If you're not the guy who did win it then quickly get over there and enter RECORD at the checkout for a £3 discount on an unsigned one.  I'm usually in like a shark at the end of an eBay auction, swiping it from under the nose of the last 'you are the highest bidder' at the last second, but given that I was in Norway and using my Asus Eee (a bit rickity slow, can't handle too much shit at the one time) I spoke to The Husband who put the item on his Bid Burglar.  He entered £116.28, and we sat back to watch.  It was sitting at £50, in the last split second of the auction...£118.28 won the day, and it wasn't us.  Some other Bid Burglar won it with a higher Bid Burglar bid.  Fair dos.  The money was going cancer charities.  
  I searched up and down and all around Starry Towers for my metal detector.  The Dad was even in both attics, no sign.  So on the second day of the search The Boy's back from his Dad's the night before, he shuffles in, in his pants, scratching his bed-head hair and rubbing sleep from his eyes.  I only asked him out of desperation, did he remember it?  Remember it, he'd taken it to his Dad's place, a long time ago.  All's well that end's well, and it was a very happy ending to the metal detector tale.  The Boy got it back to me, the batteries, with a use-by-date of October 2009, still working.  And I passed it along to The Brother who was planning on finding a needle in a haystack with the help of The Mum, always up for a challenge is The Mum.  His 'needle' was his bullet camera and the 'haystack' was both sides of the entire 1.3 miles of  Knockhill racetrack.  I didn't think he stood any realistic chance of finding it, even with the help of the metal detector.  But he did, the Camsports HDS-720p was a foot off the side of the his own words "just where I started braking for the hairpin.  We were prepared to have the whole day looking but ten minutes later we were heading back to the car...took it home and plugged it into the laptop and downloaded some good footage...I must have been doing between 80-90mph when it parted company with the bike and hit the track, then it's lay for three weeks with the Scottish weather hammering it."  That's a good camera.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Burlesque.  While in a Norway hotel, I took the DVD with me because I know The Husband likes Cher and a bit of high kicking les Folies Bergère type corseting.  The best that can be said about Burlesque is about the singing and dancing, the Christina Agurelalalala performances are good, not her acting, not hers and not no one else's, the acting was bad.
  The Husband and I watched Kill The Irishman.  Mr Walken as a loan-shark and Irish mobsters in 1970s Cleveland.  For the first half of the movie I found it all a bit poor, but it does improve.  Couple of points that stayed with me, when did Val Kilmer get so fat?  And Vinnie Jones was rather good.  












 There's a new ePublisher, launched today, and it's Scottish.  Blasted Heath, founded by Allan Guthrie and Kyle MacRae, is Scotland's first digital-only publisher.  I became aware of them thanks to my favourite author Douglas Lindsay.  He's involved and some of his books are highlights of the launch.  They are giving away free ebooks, in all the file types, compatible with all the gadgets, I'll be getting mine for the Kindle.  The website also kindly explains all about the different file types and guides novices through the world of ebooks.  This info is on the Blasted Blog tab.  I learned how to get my free kindle email address sorted so I can send docs to my Kindle without being charged by Amazon.  I'd previously knew it was possible, just couldn't fathom out how to do it and Amazon don't make it obvious, the info is there, they just don't put it in an easy to find place.
  Today Blasted Heath started with the free novella End Of Days by Mr Lindsay, sign up to their free newsletter here, and they'll email you the code and instructions on how to get that.  Then tomorrow and the following four days there's more ebooks available free for 24hrs, see here for the details.  The individual novels are available in a USB stick/tin presentation pack too.  I'm feeling really enthusiastic about these guys and their business and sincerely hope they succeed.  They're also offering the first five launch novels in a special Blasted Boxset, a branded USB stick in a cute little branded tin which includes a colour brochure with author and book information.  If you wish to purchase said branded stick, tin and booklet, there's a discount code to get you £3 off.  Enter RECORD at the checkout.
  I'm holding off using the code because I'm bidding on the charity auction on ebay in the hope I get the one and only signed by all five authors branded stick, tin and booklet.  I do a lot for charity when charity does a lot for me.  I lurve giving when I get, I know this may sound a tad repulsive to many, but but but, that's the way I roll, like it or lump it.  Is it my fault?  This is a mix of nature and nurture and I'm Scottish, end off.  
  Blasted Boxset
  These are the five freebies...
  the five freebies
  The other big news for my entertainment world is the announcement that there will be another Amy Winehouse album, of material I've never heard before, set to be released in December.  I read the NME article by Dan Martin here.  The material, 12 tracks, spans a long period, from a 2002 demo of ‘The Girl From Ipanema’ through to her Tony Bennett duet, ‘Body And Soul’, from March this year.  I'll be buying because I can't stand thinking I'll never hear Amy stuff I don't already know.  I want to hear everything she ever did.  Miss you Amy.





Paranormal Activity 2







 If you need an umbrella-ella-ella, have a look on The Star Swag Blog.
 Happy Halloween and all that bullshit.  Last year The Husband entered into the traditional swing of things and filled a big basket with a mix of sweets and a big black rubber spider on the side, put a light-up pumpkin in the window and was prepared with coinage, but no guisers arrived.  So this year on my own here, with no welcome-pumpkin in the window I was expecting a quiet night of glittering up my nails, soap operas and a spooky movie.  I was disturbed by a loud door chapping.  For fully 30 seconds I deliberated on what to do,  Even though I should've half-expected this, I didn't.  I was near on finally decided to ignore them, but a spark of Z4-in-the-drive-worry suddenly struck me.  As I switched on the hall light and approached the front door I heard them...'who said she wouldn't answer' one of them said, excited babbling, I unlocked and opened the door.  Three boys in costumes with their faces on show, one boy in a werewolf mask, and a girl who had made no effort to dress for the occasion staying in the background, she was in a pink hoody. 
  The little beggers are just lucky my nail job was dry and not damaged with the ripping open of a Mars Bar 5-pack.  They told jokes mostly, and when I asked if no-one was going to sing, one of them did.  I didn't push for a dance.  I gave these five guiser kids Mars Bars to make sure they didn't egg the Z4.  I engaged them in conversation, they were surprisingly friendly and open with their information.  I asked if they know The Boy, my 18yr son, they did, one identified himself as the younger brother of one of The Boy's friends, another gave his name willingly even though he had no older sibling.  I told them The Boy was going to be peed off I gave away his Mars Bars.  They told me tales of how they got freaked by some man who had stared at them for an eternity then eventually gave one of them a £1.  Make them view you as a real human and not an anonymous victim.  That's the correct psychological approach.  And its wise to threaten with an 18yr old son if you've got one.  They know he will hunt them down and kill them if they do any damage, so that and the Mars Bars, and all is well at Starry Towers.  Cheap night really and I actually enjoyed the encounter.
  Sunday morning, The Husband and I were up and out dead early and met up with a bunch of Z4 owners to do this Z4 drive thing.  The Husband is on a www site for Z4 owners you see.  Not our usual kind of behaviour at all, but we thought we'd give it a try.  The idea was after we met up we'd go for a drive down through the Borders, have a coffee stop in Moffat then go on to meet up again at South Queensferry.  How to stick out like a sore thumb in a Z4 group...have a red one, and keep your top on.  Our Z4 was one of only two with the most powerful Z4 engines.  I found it strange that no-one showed any interest in our top of the range superior model.   Nine cars set off, seven arrived at The Bridges.  One missing in action was explained, apparently the new convertible got stopped for speeding and another went missing en route, no-one knew why.  This wasn't a pleasurable day out.
  When we set off on the drive they all had their soft tops down apart from the one coupé who doesn't have that option, and us, with our hard top on because it's winter.  Some of them quickly pulled over and put their soft tops up, but four, I kid you not, four of them did the entire journey roofless.  It's Scotland, it's winter, it rained...hardy people.  Problem was, the way I saw it, I found myself gripping the seat with two hands, when I wasn't holding onto the seat for dear life, I found my hands grasping at bits of my clothing.  I was never relaxed.  But on the way back up after Moffat, The Husband let them go and I could relax.
  On a convoy type excursion you expect to stay together, all the better for turning heads and impressing the members of the public, or so I thought.  But some of these people treated this like a race and disappeared quickly.  What's the point?  We drove through narrow bendy-twisty country roads with bumps and holes in, roads we'd never normally take the Zed, we'd go Range Rover for this terrain.  The Husband does this kind of thing on a motorbike on racetracks.  If you're in a sports car, then that's what race tracks and Germany is for.  I wasn't impressed.  The roads of Scotland are shared with walkers, horse-riders, cyclists...oncoming traffic.  Some of these Z4 people were just plain stupid, putting other's lives in danger as well as their own.  By the time we got to South Queensferry, I was peed off at their antics but very happy to see The Rail Bridge with no white scaffolding men-at-work stuff on.  Best view of the day, though earlier in the day we'd seen The Devil's Beef Tub with clouds in and it looked strikingly lovely, but it was gone in a flash as we had to keep up with the 'boy racers'.
  Another of my daily walks around Sunny D and I traipsed along a new path, and when I say 'new', it's obviously been there a good long while, it's just new to me.  The 'No Loitering' sign at the half way point on the path indicates there's been massive amounts of loitering on that path.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Paranormal Activity 2It's a prequel.  The dog's a disappointment, rubbish at sensing the paranormal presence and not even very good at noticing normal human activity.  With a German Shepherd you expect to be better protected, or at the very least, better warned.





You Kill Me










 Confession Time...after my total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, 17 weeks ago, I followed medical advice.  Not my usual behaviour, but I had The Mum and The Husband making sure I did, so I was outnumbered.  They said don't hoover till 12 weeks post-op so I didn't, they said don't lift, so I'm not lifting, they said walk, start with short strolls out of your hospital bed, build up to 20 minutes and do it every day.  When I got home I walked at least 20 mins every day, slowly to start with, building up to a brisk pace.  I did that for weeks and weeks, but I'm confessing I eventually got bored with it, it fell away...then stopped.  Exercise scares me.
 After my total abdominal hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, 17 weeks ago, I followed medical advice.  Not my usual behaviour, but I had The Mum and The Husband making sure I did, so I was outnumbered.  They said don't hoover till 12 weeks post-op so I didn't, they said don't lift, so I'm not lifting, they said walk, start with short strolls out of your hospital bed, build up to 20 minutes and do it every day.  When I got home I walked at least 20 mins every day, slowly to start with, building up to a brisk pace.  I did that for weeks and weeks, but I'm confessing I eventually got bored with it, it fell away...then stopped.  But I'm back on it, brisk 30min walks daily.
  In-car music in the old silver Z4 was via an iPod connection to my iPod and it's six BMW folders, the new red Z4 has a CD player for which I was tasked with making 6 CDs of my favourite tunes.  I finally got round to the job this evening, got carried away and made 7.  Takes sooooo long, took up several hours of my life, but it's done now so I'm feeling a satisfactory job-done tingle.  That's us musically prepared for the upcoming Z4-forum Scottish Pre-Winter Meet.  The good news is the meeting place is just round the corner from Starry Towers, the bad news is they're meeting at 0800 hrs.  My goodness, that's early for a drive, even if there'll be about 10 better be fun.  The Husband is looking forward to the photo ops.
  The Boy sent me to Take This Lollipop...OMG!  It's www scary fun, like watching your very own psychokiller stalker movie.  1 : 0 to him.  Take This Lollipop is an Interactive Live Action Facebook Connect experience, only uses the info you've put out there on The FB, and tailors it to scare you in a top quality movie trailer experience, starring you.  Halloween's a coming, shit your pants if you're on The FB, check it out at TakeThisLollipop.  
  On Wednesday this week Mount Rainier in Seattle in the USA...the conditions were just right, the sun rose further to the south as the winter solstice approaches and the 14,000 feet (4300 meters) of mountain was in the exact position to block the first rays of morning sun before they hit the sky they threw a shadow onto the cloud cover.  Beautiful.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched You Kill Me.  Starring Ben Kingsley and Luke Wilson, I should've been more impressed I think.













 I think I may have annoyed an old work colleague, a man I haven't seen for years, but they're organising a reunion (just like Steps), so a load of them are now in contact on The Facebook and I've been invited.  This one guy wrote on The Facebook re his relationship.  Yesterday he put up something apologising publicly for not being attentive enough, taking her for granted blah blah blah.  Today he put up saying he is in a relationship...he hopes, with question marks, he was looking very wimpy pathetic.  I responded to his post, how it was all getting a bit Jezza Kyle round here with public displays of relationship issues and said I'd pull my chair up and get the popcorn.  He only went and deleted my post.  What?  What did I say?  As an update to this story, he deleted the entire post later on, I think he either realised for himself or the woman involved, told him what a plonker he was being.  I like to think my wise words helped.
  I was on a roll on The Facebook today.  A female friend had posted several sad news stories throughout the day, then this evening she said...'I feel doom-laden'.  I asked...'Is he Bin's brother?'  Now come on, that was a good liney, always trying to bring cheer and a smile to the faces of my 'friends'.  She deleted she didn't, only kidding.  
  Nice Scottish News : Maurice Hurrell of Tullibody in Clackmannanshire has been awarded the fifth annual Scottish Conkers Championship title in Peebles...nice.  
  I spent my day in The Starry Towers Estate, pottering around tending to the flowers, I'm surprised at how flowery a lot of them still are.  It's nearly November.  








 A pair of bargain gloves on The Star Swag Blog.
 I put in a special effort to catch Ricky Gervais on Curb Your Enthusiasm.  I've never 'got' the whole world of Larry David, Seinfeld or Curb.  It must be me, I just don't find any of it funny.  But tonight was the Gervais episode, so I wasn't funny either.
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Unknown.  Was alright, but perhaps too many unrealistic turns and twists.  Too much made of the intricate details, like the secret passwords had to be written in a code, I'm sure any agent worth their fee would be able to commit such stuff to memory.  And just cos it's set in we have to have Stasi agents coming out of the woodwork?  As if that isn't hunger is resolved and Neeson leaves Germany with a new wife.
 I watched Machete.  Very glad I am that I kept this bad decision to myself, it's rubbish, I couldn't even watch to the end.




 The big news today is Gaddafi is dead, really really seriously definitely dead, I've seen some extremely graphic and, despite his evilness, still very disturbing proof.  Took Libya a while, but they got him in the end.  The uprising started in February this year, he came to power 42 years ago and ruled like a true despot crazy man.  Hiding like a desperate rat in a drain, dragged out and brutally murdered, he deserved it.
  I had a nice day, due in some part to the fact that I chose a long time ago not to be a despot dictator crazy woman ruler of an oil rich country.  No, for me it was a quiet day with The Mum.  The Mum was over to do some heavy housework tasks for me, she set off to clean the windows, but getting a bit carried away she took a Stanley blade to the outside of The Starry Towers windows and removed the paint spots left there by The Starry Towers paint job of 2009.  I've been meaning to get round to it.  The Mum done a great job, the windows are sparkling.
  Duvet news : We also stripped the bed and The Mum persuaded me I need a lighter tog duvet to help with the menopausal night sweats.  I've been struggling on with a Slumberdown Climate Control 10.5 tog, having changed down to that from a 15 earlier this year...due to the menopausal night sweats.  But she's right, 10.5 tog was still too hot, and I never got the climate control feature, didn't seem to work.  I'll report back tomorrow after a sleep under the new Slumberdown Refresh Anti-Allergy 7.5 tog duvet.  Of all the symptoms of the total-hysterectomy-surgery-induced full-on menopause, now 16 weeks post-op, the abdominal wound is still tender, but the night sweats are the worst.







 There's fabulous furry boots on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Husband and I were in Worcester yesterday and set me wondering why its pronounced Wooster?  We were there to attend the funeral service of an old friend of The Husband's.  I say 'old' friend, as in 'long-time' friend, this man wasn't even 60 yrs old when he died from cancer.  A very sad time for his wife, and their three children, all grown into fine adults but still young 'uns that just lost their Dad, very sad.
  This funeral had songs played, I haven't thought what music I would want, and what The Husband would want.  A brother of the deceased's wife took the stand to read a passage from Narnia, he was a wonderful narrator, annunciating at every turn, so impressive was he, I can only conclude, he's got to be an actor at some level or another.  I even Googled his name and came up with stuff about an actor in the Worcester area, I think it's him.
  Worcester and surrounding area is made of bricks.  There are some old religious buildings constructed from good old stone, but practically everything else is brick, some of the brick is kinda nice looking, lots of it very ugly.  I say 'kinda nice' because much of it I couldn't decide.  Terraced, semi-detached and detached two-story dwellings, many of them look unfinished.  Houses right next door to each other, one can look OK, next door looks like a hovel because it's a bit less well maintained.  But it's the bricks, I just don't like the bricks.  When first we arrived in Worcester we located the crematorium then drove to The Crown and Sandys in the nearby, very picturesque, village of Ombersley.  There's a lovely feel of history and people caring about history in the place, indeed the bit I saw is at the centre of the Ombersley conservation project.  In this bit it's all timber-framed black and white medieval, very quaint, very nice...from the outside, but inside, I'd be afraid a house here would fall down about my head.  The Crown and Sandys (pronounced Sands) is an impressive former Coaching Inn with a fantastic history dating back to the 17th Century.
  It amazes me that some of the buildings are still standing.  On the outside The Crown and Sandys is very much part of this beautiful all English nostalgia, inside it's all Eastern European immigrant workers and crap cola on tap.  Really crap cola on tap, I had to refuse one of the glasses they squirted for me, it was see-through, the colour of bog-water, tasting of the soda water, and another was borderline.  And the exposed bricks, all uneven, sloping off to the side, very dodgy.
  Anyways, it was Sunny D to Worcester and back again in one day, up at 3am, left Starry Towers at 4am, got back home around 8.30pm.  Of course The Husband lays claim to the hero-of-the-day crown because he had to stay awake and do all the driving, and I got to sleep a lot in the car - but I was the one who got a jiggered neck from all that nodding-off and a load of people on the M6 got to see my wide gaping mouth with drool on my chin.
  On The Twitter two of my favourite funny men have been embroiled in a very public argument over the use of the word 'mong' by Ricky Gervias.  Ricky has stated his view of the meaning of the word, Richard Herring has been offended, Twitter Wars have ensued.  It got so bad it was distressing me that two of my favourite funny men would stoop low to argue on The Twitter.  I went to The Twitter in the first place to stay informed on my favourite comedy and podcast stuff.  I've been a bit surprised at these two publicly giving it playground slaps at each other over such an inconsequential matter.  Richard Herring took great pleasure at offending the very oldest of the  generations with his Hitler moustache, Ricky is using the word 'mong' in the belief that the word has changed meaning and no longer offends the older generations.  They've  both done stuff that could offend, but neither offended me personally, it's all gone crazy on The Twitter.  The up-side is my tweets got me a tweet from Richard Herring.
  Mr Herring Tweets me




 The Husband worked all week, then home again for the weekend.  He brought with him a bag of the original normal sized Smash, the very tasty salty-sweet Norwegian snack/sweetie mash-up, consisting of salted corn bugle shapes covered by Nidar's milk chocolate, on reflection, the mini version is slightly better.
  Licks fingers, wipes lips, moving on...we had a family get together up at Knockhill today.  The Parents and I followed The Husband and The Brother up the M9 to Scotland's national Motorsport centre.  We left a couple hours after them because they chose to go at some unreasonably early hour of the morning.  When we got there they were already zooming round the track at great speed enjoying a track day.  Knockhill has good facilities.  From hygienic toilets to decent eateries at The Champions’ Clubhouse and Kinnairds Restaurant.  We spent our snack and drinks time in Kinnairds, with The Dad getting treated at my insistence and him not even making the slightest attempt at pretending I shouldn't, chips followed by cake for The Dad then, I adore The Dad.  And The Mum...The Parents and I had a lovely time chatting, watching the guys on their bikes and taking photies, the guys seemed to really enjoy going round and round very fast, each to their own.











 RayBans on The Star Swag Blog.  
 Psychic News.  As reported by on 13/10/11, Simon Singh has very politely thrown down the gauntlet, inviting 'Psychic' Sally Morgan to prove her abilities and honesty by agreeing to testing.  According to the article Ms Sally stated on her FaceBook page that her management team intend "to commence libel action in relation to press allegations that she is a cheat".   Mr Singh feels her pain and is tirelessly "working with the Merseyside Skeptics Society and Professor Chris French at the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London, to construct a suitable test that would offer a chance to demonstrate her psychic powers."  How very generous and nice of them, she should jump at the chance.










 Getting all domestic goddess on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Best Friend was over last night for another of our highly enjoyable Wine & Whine nights.  The Best Friend brought me a box of chocs, in return I offered her the coffee sweets out of my Thorntons box (the only ones left), she declined.  Yes I know, poor exchange.  Today when The Dad dropped in to check if I needed any heavy lifting done, I tried again with the coffee chocolates, he too said he wouldn't, I said he should take them to The Mum, no joy...oh well, I put them in the bin.  The Best Friend and I did our Wine and Whine outdoors, sitting at the patio table, wrapped snugly in Slankets.  I wore the black, she went all Greta Garbo in the leopard print.  It's October in Scotland an' all, Slankets are fab.
  On the subject of alcohol, MPs drink on the job.  This is not a good or acceptable thing.  When I was a student nurse, 1983 to 1986, I heard tell of many nurses-drinking-on-shift stories.  Tales of covering up and older female nursing assistants putting male charge nurses to a bed to sleep it off after boozy afternoons at the local golf club.  I never witnessed it for myself, but if it wasn't still happening it was a relatively recent occurrence and widely regarded as acceptable within the old boys network of the time. 
  During the tale-end of the old days when I was a student nurse I had one day of shame.  I met up with an old school pal and went for a pub lunch.  She was a dental assistant in the health centre I was based at while on a placement with a Community Psychiatric Nurse.  I partook of a cheeky little Pernod & Diet Coke on our lunch date, all was well.  Later that afternoon, back on duty I had to administer a depot injection to a patient in their own home.  I found it an extremely distressing experience.  The patient, the CPN, no-one else seemed to notice.  I was freaking out with anxiety, I never drank on duty again.  Now nurses can be sacked for even smelling of booze from the night before, so forget getting bladdered on their dinner break.  Should be the same for MPs.  If I can't nurse with a drink in me, and I know I can't, they can't effectively run the country drunk, they just don't know it.  They really are a bunch of hypocrites, yet again it's one rule for the plebs another for the rulers.
  Jarvis Cocker News.  I've been enjoying Jarvis Cocker in the Eurostar TV adverts, there's my man on the telly.  AND there's more Jarvis Cocker News, he's taken up a book editing post at Faber and Faber.  I'm quite excited, who knows what this could lead to.  Meanwhile his own first book, Mother, Brother, Lover: Selected Lyrics, is to be published next week by Faber and Faber.  I've pre-ordered my hardback copy already, at Amazon for only £7.49
  I just became aware that the UK guidelines on food and drink packaging dates are changing in the hope that it'll reduce the massive amount of perfectly good food stuffs thrown out.  It's all to do with the immensely bewildering best-befores, display-untils, sell-bys, consume-bys, chuck-it-out-bys and feed-it-to-people-you-don't-like-bys.  Apparently from now on all food and drink must be labeled with one date only – either a ‘best before’ or a ‘use by’.  That isn't extreme enough for my liking, one date only should mean one...a use-by.  I have no sense of smell, so I think I have to rely on the packaging dates more than most.  I'm glad they're improving the system, but now they're admitting the old system is so wrong and misleading and that loads of foods previously labeled as untouchable can now be considered to be edible, I'm still confused.
  What we need is a this-will-either-make-you-sick-or-kill-you date.  That's clear and not confusing at all.  This new system will still leave me and my anosmia in a 'best before’ or a ‘use by ' dilemma.  The new thingy will mean that most foods – such as tinned and dry goods, jams, pickles and snacks – will carry a ‘best before’ date to indicate when they will no longer be at their best but are still safe to eat.  ‘Use by’ labels will go only on food which is unsafe to eat after a certain date, such as soft cheese, meat, fish, eggs and ready meals.  I say they should stick a 'use-by' on everything.  Cos maybe even a 20 year old tin of beans might make me a bit nauseous.
  Today I tested the current food-date label system for myself and ate deli chicken slices that were labeled as best before 07/10/11.  They'd got kind of lost in the Starry Towers fridge, easy done.  So five days after I'd normally have thrown them out...I couldn't tell any difference taste-wise, and I'm not ill yet.  If I'm not in bed with food-poisoning diarrhoea and vomiting tomorrow I'll eat the other pack, same deli chicken slices, but it'll be 6 days too late.




Animal Kingdom


The Fighter



 SALE Tees and a tunic The Star Swag Blog.
 I shoplifted a carton of milk from the Sunny D village shop.  I'd went into the Sunny D village shop in all innocence, with no intention to be thieving.  What happened was, I got talking to The Sunny D Shop Silver-Haired Fox AKA the Sunny D Post Office Guy.  During a short lull in the conversation, while he was concentrating on the job in hand, sorting out my package, I thought I'd just get the milk, so I did.  Took it out the fridge then went back to talking more with The Silver-Haired Fox.  After our conversation I just waved goodbye, strode nonchalantly past the lady at the shop counter bidding her a pleasant day and walked right on out with the milk.  Walking along Main Street it suddenly dawned on me what was in my hand.  There could be no-one more surprised than me.  I swear, I have never ever, to my knowledge,  shoplifted unintentionally.  I nearly turned around and went right back, but the virtual grocery shopping had arrived, the Tesco lorry guy was unpacking out front of Starry Towers, I was torn, but obviously the Tesco thing took priority.  Took approximately 15 minutes, after I'd told the Tesco guy what I'd just done (my character witness if needed), for me to put the groceries away in the fridge and freezer.  Then I walked back in the shop, the lady on the counter just said "96p".  She'd seen me shoplift, The PO Guy joked how he was going to run after me, but the shop lady said she knew I'd come back.
  The stuff the PO Guy and I were talking about that so distracted me was books.  He'd asked me what I was doing that fine day, I told him I was thinking of perhaps the thrill of a bit of daylight robbery.  No I didn't, truth was I was sorting out old books to go to charity.  The Starry Towers book shelves are straining with too many books and we've got Kindles.  The PO guy told me he takes books to the nursing home where his wife works.  There's five or six male residents there who read ferociously and can't be kept in books.  I told him I'd give him a dozen or so, but on reflection, I decided to give the lot.  I bagged them, a dozen or so carrier bags full, and he took them all away.  I felt good, less clutter AND an act of selfless charity.  Or maybe The Silver-Haired Fox does regular car-boot sales and took away twenty quids worth of free merchandise.  We'll never know for sure.
  The Husband was home for the weekend, first thing was going to get the roof for the Z4.  The hard top has had a spray job, it's now Imola Red to match the car.  The Husband was talking to a Sunny D man who told him there'd been discussions in the village, had we painted the silver Z4 or got a new car?  It's looking like a red Bat Mobile.
  I captured a picture of this Great Spotted Woodpecker, looking well satisfied at the job he's done on my Lilac Tree.
  We dined out Saturday evening, I was feeling shitty due to allergy type symptoms, nasal blockage, itchy sore eyes, tickly throat, skin reactions and nodded off all afternoon on the sofa.  (I've went back on the anti-histamines and feel normal again).  So dinner was at the local Deer Park Beefeater.  I started with my fav Camembert, The Husband had the Garlic And Herb Breaded Mushrooms.  The starters are massive, almost full already, we set about the mains.  The Husband had the 9oz Ultimate Beef Burger with Jalapeños and Cajun spiced onions & peppers, for me was the Chicken Burger with the Flat Mushroom and Black & Blue Sauce topping.  The burgers come with Bottomless Chips, in either plain or spiced.  We both had the plain, and didn't need to ask for seconds, but apparently if you need more, they will keep bringing Bottomless Chips if you wish.  The Husband ordered sides, Cheesey Garlic Bread and Battered Onion Rings.  After that we waited a while, then had Caramel Apple Crumble Pie with ice cream.  The waitress was a very friendly lady called Andrea.
  Paul McCartney and I have stuff in common, we're both rubbish singers and have had three marriages each.  Both of us happy that our firsts were good decisions at that time in our lives, moving on to embarrassing and short lived seconds, though mine cost me only £62 to get rid, he had to splash much more cash, and moving forward to our happy, much more sensible thirds.
  Disturbing  Alzheimer's Dementia News from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston, it might be contagious.  I've spent the last 28 years cuddling up to Dementia sufferers, many with the Alzheimer's type.  Their research has shown that when they injected human Alzheimer's brain tissue into the brains of mice, the mouses exhibited changes characteristic of the disease - suggesting that some cases of Alzheimer's may spread from person to person.  They're not saying (at this stage) that a hug can do it, it's all to do with consumption of contaminated food, blood transfusion, tissue transplant and surgery.  I hope further research prooves this to be false.
  A couple of weeks ago ex Wheezer bassist Mikey Welsh said on The Twitter that he'd dreamt of his own death, he tweeted that it would be in a Chigago hotel that weekend, then he tweeted he'd made a mistake, it would be the following weekend.  I'm thinking, in between tweets he'd changed his travel plans.  Now that's a very modern method of suicide note.  
  Move Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Animal Kingdom.  The 2010 Australian movie about a Melbourne criminal family.  I liked it, I like Guy Pearce who plays Sgt Nathan Leckiea.  Also starring an old Kylie lookalikee with a bad habit of kissing her boys on the lips.  On Googling it was 1947-born Jacki Weaver.  
  The Husband and I watched The Fighter, boxing, drugs, hard-times and crazy family, especially that mother and those special needs sisters.  Very good.  





The Resident


Black Dynamite














 Shades of blue on The Star Swag Blog.
 My big 2011 bulbs order arrived today.  No..not the entire UK supply of 60 watts still available online, but flowery garden plant type bulbs.  I did the bulb shopping back in June, they deliver when the time is right.  The Anglia Bulb Company are a good bunch, they gave me freebies and the bulbs arrived all nicely packaged with advice to wait till the weather cools down, obviously The Anglia Bulb Company are in Anglia, good advice if you're in the south of England.  Up here I can safely introduce bulb to soil on the next dry day I reckon.  I'm a big Allium fan, The Starry Towers front garden puts on a good show every year.  The start of the year goes, snowdrops first, the tulips, then the alliums, then it goes all roses and everything else.  So far, Allium wise, I have are a lot, loads, of the normal sized purples and three giant purples.  The performance of these flowers is so impressive I decided to introduce many more to the mix.
 More giant purples, more purples, giant whites, whites, violets, lilac blues and some purple reds.  The Starry Towers future Allium show is going to be even more way impressive.  I also got more Anemones in blue shades (freebies) and blue Irises (freebies), and more Tulips.  The Starry Towers front garden puts on a fabulous Tulip show but still has some that aren't red, purple or black.  My aim is to remove all the other colours, but I've been trying to do this for several years, the yellows and what not seem to be putting up a good fight.  I want it to be all red/purple/black.  With that in mind I ordered more reds, lilacs, blacks and violet blues.  I've got a load of bulb planting ahead of me.  The worst thing about it is trying to not accidently damage the bulbs that are already down there, finding the empty spots isn't easy at this time of year while they're lying dormant.  Some gardeners swear by lifting their bulbs and replanting every year, that's undoable.
  Couple of results to report this evening.  Last week at the GP surgery I gave her a fresh, very fresh, urine specimen.  I'd asked the receptionist for a bottle and produced the goods there and then, well, not exactly 'there' at the desk, I visited the loo.  I'd had a couple of weeks of urinary tract symptoms, the pain, the urgency, the frequency, the blood.  The GP tested it and found leucocytes and blood.  I phoned the surgery today to be told the official result after Culture & Sensitivity testing.  The specimen contained white blood cells and no microbe growth.  This indicates Acute Urethral Syndrome I think, the receptionist could only tell me what a doctor had reported on the specimen result..."leucocytes no growth".  I'm sure at my next GP appointment I'll talk to her about it and take her advice.  The symptoms haven't returned at this time.  The other result I got today was a letter from the Consultant Gynaecologist who performed my Total Abdominal Hysterectomy and Bilateral Salpingo-oophorectomy.  They send all the bits away to be tested by the pathology people for cancer cells, I feel sorry for the people who receive the bits.  My bits result abnormality, which is a very good thing..
  Coleen Nolan promising Park Christmas "Saving" Club will give families a magical Christmas, aye if they don't go bust and keep your money like Farepak did a few years back.  Who are these people that sign up for this?  "Savings Club" is a very misleading term, though apparently totally legal, they don't give you interest on your "savings", they take your money in exchange for the goods they're selling...that's like what a shop does.  I'd argue too...not very good quality goods either, tat type stuff, many that can be personalised.  Personalising catalogue goods is never a good thing.  Most annoying TV Advert Irritant at this time, not only do they swerve the boundaries of honesty they also have a Nolan.
  It's all iSad on the www, Steve Jobs died at age 56 today, he was an outstanding genius of a man.  I love my iPod but hate iTunes, so if they could just make iTunes better now he can't argue bout it, I'd be grateful.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched The Resident.  I invited him to watch it with me, he turned it down, I counter-attacked with the threat I'd watch it on my own then, he volleyed back with a make-me-salad-and-ham-sandwiches while I have a shower and I'll watch it with you...I made his supper.  This was always going to be better watched with The Boy.  I knew we'd have a laugh and a scare together.  We both enjoyed it.
  I watched Black Dynamite on my own...boring.  





The Runaways










 A little bit of crochet for the cold on The Star Swag Blog.
 Weather went a little bit OTT here in Sunny D this afternoon.  I was out front tending to The Starry Towers gardens, a little bit of gentle pruning.  Dead heading the roses and my new favourite chilling pastime, nipping the growing tips of the Escallonia bushes, makes for lots of new fresh growth.  It's like every few days there's new stems, I just keep nipping, the Escallonia's seem to appreciate it, they're positively flourishing.  Hope winter 2011 doesn't hit them as hard as the last couple winters.  The older ones nearly died, I had to cut them right back them two years running, somehow they survived that severe dunt and look well healthy again, just massively shorter than they used to be before the heavy snow, severe temperature dips and hard frosts.  So, there I was, blissfully nipping away, and a weather phenomena occurred around me.  A really strong wind got up, an out of the ordinary wind, it came blowing up Main Street with gusto.  Autumn leaves rushing past me at ground-level, right down the road and pavements, woooo-ooo-ooooo-ooooosh.  No blustery gusts swirling and changing direction, it was all heading east, a west wind, fast and strong.  I stood in it watching the leaves and feeling the power, was lovely.
  The winter pansies that previously filled the hanging baskets were disappointing this year so the baskets sat empty for a while this summer.  As a kind of late summer after-thought I sprinkled the last of the stock seeds in them.  I'm pleasantly surprised to find the Virginian and Night Scented stocks had enough time to blossom.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Runaways.  A wee bit duller than I expected, the Joan Jett music I like was only heard near the very end of what came across as quite a clichéd and boring story.  






 There's a foxy tail on The Star Swag Blog.
 I recently blogged about a really itchy skin reaction and I thought it was probably due to some plant contact, it was effecting my wrists every evening after I'd been pottering in the Starry Towers gardens.  By the time I'd scratched around it would spread to my arms, my back, my front, my legs, everywhere really.  Well, I've sussed out what was causing the problem.  I was adding information and reading up on my garden plants...I have the information on most of my plants gathered into one word doc...and something caught my attention.  It's the Echium Blue Bedder.  The clue...the words "caution : skin irritant".  I was collecting seeds from them a few days running, and though I was wearing gloves, I wasn't careful about my wrists and arms.   
  When I explained this to The Husband, his response was he wants to collect seeds and put them in The Boy's bedding and underpants.  In defence of this suggestion and laughing off my horror, he says it's just like itching powder, all the kids do it.  Do they?  Maybe back in his public school boy days.  So this Echium does this to everyone, it isn't me, its them.  Which is good, I'll just have to be more careful, problem solved, I can stop the antihistamines tabs till next year.  Echium is a great plant for the bees and other such buzzy insects in the garden, so don't let a little skin irritant put you off.  It's also known as Vipers Bugloss and is probably THE best plant to have in your garden if you care about the bees.  I found this information explaining why it's so good.  Having read this stuff my next project is acquiring Borage and Phacelia, though I think I may have Borage already, I'll check with The Mum.  
  It's all to do with the plant's amazing pollen production rate and it's pollen protection methods.  This year I've gathered seeds from the Echium, the poppies and the Rose Campion.  I also got some cuttings I'm really pleased about.  I already have a purple Buddleia but was hankering after a lilac one.  On my walks around Sunny D I saw a load of the lilac ones, tempting to just steal, but I felt a bit awkward about that.  One day I saw a lady in her garden and eyed up her lilac Buddleia, I asked her nicely, turned out it was a nurse I knew from way back, she was very giving, told me to take what I wanted.  Two of the cuttings have since rooted, I'm going to give her a box of chocs to say thank you.
  Op Update.  Including the grizzly swollen and bruised tummy pic, it's not pretty, seriously, it's really horribly ugly.  Remember I told how every nurse and doctor that saw it did recoil while saying stuff like...woooahh that's some bruising!  While they regained their composure and tried to look nonchalant checking my blood results to ensure I wasn't accidently getting too much anticoagulant.  It's 15 weeks tomorrow since I was in theatre and got rid of my bits, lets remind ourselves what bits...from the top...two ovaries, two fallopian tubes, a uterus and a cervix.  Wake up in a hospital bed after such an operation, and you're the owner of a severe post-hysterectomy menopause.  The sweats, the flushes, burning up is a most uncomfortable unusual sensation.  The Husband's getting used to it now, he'll be hugging me, then wooaahh there hot stuff, you just get over there for a minute.  The bed isn't getting used to it, it's damp, I'm hoping the mattress cover is doing a good job of protecting.  I'm sick of this flushing thing, it's not quite so bad during the day because I can react in the moment to flap my hand around my face, open the car window or turn up the AC, remove a layer, blow down the neck of my top or dress and stand outside if need be, but the nighttime wetness following me around the bed is gross and it's disturbed sleeps every night.  By the time the sweating wakes me...the bedding, sheet below and duvet's all wet.  It's icky and sticky and so uncomfortable, it's nasty and not nice, I hate it.  I throw the duvet off then get chilled, I bring the damp duvet back up, then need to throw it back off again.  The last couple of weeks I've also had some urinary tract symptoms, dysuria (pain and burning on passing urine) and a frequent need to pee, a teaspoon at a time.  And there was blood.  This would normally be indicative of a urinary tract infection.  But in the early stages after the op I had these symptoms, at that time I put it down to the op, especially because I'd had a catheter for the first couple days post-op.  When these symptoms first returned I was in Norway so had to let it go, thinking I'd go get treatment when I got back home.  Then I found they were coming, getting worse, then going away.  A few days later they'd be back again.  Very confusing.  It fluctuated so much I put off making a GP appointment specially for them knowing I was back to see my GP on Friday (30/09/11).  She tested my urine sample and on finding blood and leucocytes she sent the sample for culture and sensitivity testing.  I'll phone the surgery early in the week for the result.  She wrote me a prescription for an antibiotic so if I need it I won't have to go back to the surgery.  Meanwhile the symptoms are absent at this time.
  It's not all bad, I'm feeling positive in a couple ways, my body feels more like my own again, the abdominal swelling is much reduced, and I can now step down out the back door and go upstairs without feeling my abdomen lurching in that unnatural heavy and sore way.  It's not easy to define how it feels after abdominal surgery, it's kinda a numb sensation, unattached and alien, unable to suck it in like normal, but all too much there, sticky out, uncomfortable and painful.  Even when the initial very painful stuff dies down there's the twinges of sharp pain for a long time.  I still get a few here and there.  And sometimes when I inadvertently touch the abdominal scar area, when I do it by accident, cos I don't like to do it intentionally, it's that thing that sends squeamish yeeeuck feelings to the brain.  The effected area is getting smaller I think, like sensation is slowly returning.  The doc says there's no way of knowing how much sensation will return, maybe the entire area will go back to feeling normal, maybe not.  Currently the 'dead' nerve area is approximately a few mm below, and about 10cm above the actual scar.  It's that 'dead' way when touched gently, but it's still sore, like an old bruise type sore, if I put any deliberate pressing pressure on it.
  Another good thing is the bowel function, in this last week the constipation seems to be gone.  The GP did tell me I could expect it to be a while, and I should take Senna till it got better.  I'm feeling positive enough to share the photie of my post-op abdomen, you were warned.  This is post-op day 4, the Friday, the stitch was removed the next day.  The bruising is fading, turning yellow, it looked even worse on post-op day 1.
  Due to the fact that I work in a heavy branch of nursing, I'm about half way through the recovery period before I can safely return to work.  I've been supported in that by many nurses I've talked to, including nurses who have had a hysterectomy themselves, nurses who understand the physical demands in wards like mine, nurses who realise what a total hysterectomy actually involves.  There is the guilt factor, but The Mum and The Husband are very supportive and are thinking only of my welfare, and so is my GP.  I'm never the best one to judge what's best for me, so thank goodness I've got these people on my side looking after me.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Super.  A super hero geek movie.  The self-declared supers in this one are the usual geeky distressed individuals with low self-esteem and socialising issues of their own, but the portrayal of the violence came as a bit of a shock for this type of film.  You want to like the 'good guys', not easy when these people turn out to be violent psychopaths every time they put on their ridiculous outfits.  And the police never get a look in, in real life the police would've apprehended this pair early on because of their ineptitude and lack of guile, he frequently leaves the scene in his own car, registration plate obvious to all.  There's much more blood and gore than Kick Ass or any other of the comedy super hero movies, these people put on silly costumes then actually smash skulls, stab and kill.  And some of the 'baddies' they inflict their form of vigilante violence on aren't actually all that bad.  It's a very dark version of the genre, the portrayal of the violence does detract from the humour, it's not very funny watching some kid, who might have or might not have keyed a car, get his head caved in by a diminutive psychopath in a green and yellow latex suit. Too nasty and not funny enough.





The Next Three Days DVD


Skeletons DVD










 There's some beautiful leather on The Star Swag Blog.
 The first Sheep News is on The Shetland Sheep Blog.  The Dad's first show as sheep owner and official shepherd and Rench Marilyn II is Champion.  Aye, she's awfie braw, great wool you see.
 After the sheep judging The Husband and I had a wander around the rest of the show, which led to him spotting a lady photographer with prints for sale.  And who was in several of the photographs?  Only The Octogenarian Friend Tom...sadly missed.  The Husband came home with a framed A3 size photograph of The Octogenarian Friend.  The photo was taken at the 2010 Yetholm Show, which turned out to be, Tom's last ever agricultural show and his final judging.  A moment in time, unaware of the camera, the picture taken by a stranger who was attracted to his face, an interesting face, a face that reminded her of an old uncle, a face just thee months before the end of this great gentleman's long and fulfilled life.
  There were a lot of characters at this Yetholm Show, 2011, and life is for the living and all that stuff.  Back at base camp with the Shetland people, Mrs A announces it's Brandy Time.  Mrs A is my new favourite Shetland Person now I don't have Tom.  Mrs A is of a certain age, lets just show respect and say 'retired'.  The Tom show-ritual was Ice-cream Time, Mrs A's is Brandy Time.  Checking her watch, seems the sun was over the yard arm, so all hail Brandy O'clock.  I wasn't sure, was it too early?  Naaah, a ritual is a ritual, I ritualed ice-cream with Tom, so I felt I really should ritual brandy with Mrs A.  I'd never had brandy before, and I reckon I'll keep it for agricultural shows, but I enjoyed the natter and bonding with Mrs A over a tot of B.  And there was no denying the buzz/inner glow effect, Mrs A called it a 'little boost'.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Next Three Days.  Starring Russell Crowe.  Exciting enough, twisty-turny and all, little too syrupy at times, and all too simply tied up, but all in all, was good enough.  Wasn't a rollercoaster though, it wasn't THAT good.  
  The Husband and I watched Skeletons.  This isn't a straight forward type of movie.  It started poorly for me, it got so bad I actually suggested watching something else, worried that if I was struggling, The Husband's patience would be wearing even thinner...I thought.  But he said, no, lets see what happens.  The beginning, probably up to the first half hour or so, does become a tad too boringly confusing and surreal.  This is two exorcists paranormally doing supernatural shit to find out people's closet-bound skeletons.  If I'd known that I'd probably not have went there.  Then Paprika Steen appears as Jane, the middle-aged going slightly loopy, woman with a husband who disappeared 8 years back.  She was lovely, and a great actress.  She makes everyone else became more interesting and real, the human stories and emotions became clearer beneath all the Sally Morgan type psychic storyline.  I started to care.  By the end of the movie, I'd really enjoyed and was well satisfied with the spoilers the movie, you'll probably like it.  





Avatar DVD










 There's a cute lace 60s dress bargain on The Star Swag Blog.
 A gorgeous day here at Starry Towers, they're saying it's a very-mini Indian Summer heat-wave type thing that will probably last a day, maybe two if we're very lucky.  I spent the day checking the estate, little bit of pottering, trowel in hand, secateurs in the other, happy as a sheep with it's nose in a packet of digestive biscuits, so I was.  Late afternoon The Dad dropped by with some fresh potatoes recently pulled from a sheep friend's garden.  We will be having home-grown potatoes and a melty bit of butter with a sprinkling of Starry Towers grown chives at the weekend when The Husband's home.  
 Starry Towers garden wise, there's loads of rose second flushes, late Summer flowering shrubs and Rowan trees heavy with berries.  I was perhaps a tad premature with stopping my anti-histamine tablets, I'm having itchy wrists every evening, I'm thinking it's due to allergy plant contact.  My nose is really blocked tonight too, as bad as my Norway holiday nasal passage blockage, I put the Norway stuff down to the hotel feather pillows.  I don't do feather pillows.  I'm going back on the Cetirizine tomorrow, my drug of choice.  










 Is Peter Tobin the 1960s Glasgow serial killer Bible John?  Could be, I hope he is because it would mean Bible John didn't get off unpunished.  I watched the STV documentary In Search Of Bible John presented by David Hayman tonight, a well made programme, had shivers up and down my spine.  Chilling.  They used age regressing techniques to arrive at an image of what Peter Tobin probably looked like back in the '60s, and compared that to the photofit image that was believed to be what Bible John looked like back then, first image below..  They also showed another photo of a young Peter Tobin with what is probably a missing tooth, and it did look a lot like an eye-witness description from the '60s.  Second image is artist's impression of Bible John, Tobin in the '60s and Tobin now.
  Peter Tobin Bible John
  I predict there's going to be a whole load more Sheep News on The Star Blog, The Dad will be breeding and showing his Shetlands.  Aiming for the top Dad, I reckon we could well be at The Royal Highland Show watching The Dad pick up some rosettes in future.  We just need to come up with a great new name for the flock, I suggested Wull's Woolies, but it didn't get a good response.
  Product Of The Week is Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector Daily All-In-One BB Cream.  A BB is a Blemish Balm, which makes it sound like a spot cover item, but it's actually the newest cosmetic big thing.  Multi-tasking foundations.  They claim to do a whole bunch of good skin stuff.  This Garnier BB claims to brighten the skin in the same way a primer does, provide luminosity and radiance, even out the complexion like a lightweight foundation, cover blemishes like a concealer, hydrate like a moisturiser, soothe skin like an anti-inflammatory, contain UV protection (factor 15) and have the sort of anti-ageing ingredients more commonly found in serums to smooth fine lines.  I got mine, the 'light' shade, with one of my Scottish pounds off at Boots, only £8.99.  I like it a lot, enough to make me change from my usual preferred foundation I've used for several years.  Garnier BB is wet, I can practically feel my skin drinking it in on application.  I find it's so luminous and 24 hour moisturising that I no longer need to apply my used-to-be absolutely essential Nivea Visage Daily Essentials Oil Free Moisturising Day Cream beforehand but I still have to apply a light dusting of 17 Shine Control Pressed Powder to control the shine.  I've got one or two blemishes and fine lines I'm watching closely, in the hope they'll be soothed and smoothed out of existence.








 Do you believe in the the supernatural, paranormal?  If the answer is yes, get off my website, if you believe that vulnerable people are being ripped off by some people claiming to be blessed with an ability to communicate with the dead?  You can make a difference.  There's a place you can add your name to try to change the situation.  Psychics/mediums/clairvoyants, also known as liars, charlatans and con-people should be prevented from separating the gullible from their money with their cold-reading and other such techniques.  Project Barnum is asking theatres to stop psychic shows, sign the petition here.   
  Others are so unstable they do it for nothing.  I've been Reikied, free gratis by a very damaged woman, she'd believed that she had powers to heal others because a 'Psychic Surgeon' had removed the foetus of her dead twin from her neck, and thus, improving her life greatly, she felt so good about her experience she got trained and was now doing it to others.  On the one hand I could see an obvious improvement in this woman's circumstances.  She described to me her sexually-abused childhood, the mental illness was blatantly obvious.  She explained that psychiatric services had tried to help her, she'd been diagnosed with Schizophrenia and given medication.  She met the 'psychic surgery' people and stopped medicating, broke away from the medical services.  She harboured a deep hatred of doctors and the medical model of care and treatment.  She was high on the paranormal, but she was so out of touch with reality, it can only end in tears.  I'll never know if she was part of a whole group of damaged people supporting each other in a strange deluded group therapy community self-care setting or if she was one innocent victim of a few bad guys.  Hey-ho, she wouldn't listen to anything I tried to tell her anyway.
  If you meet me in person I'm going to give you one of my own personal business cards now.  Made them at Vistaprint.  Neat.
  Sometimes adverts annoy me so much I feel the need to tell you about it.  There's two annoying me greatly right now, they are so feckin wrong.  Both are for SURE deodorant.  A bit ironic, because I'm a SURE roll-on deodorant devotee, I use the Sure Crystal Clear Aqua, no white marks on my LBD.  It works, does what it says on the tin and all that.  Still, doesn't give them a pass to talk shit, the ads in question...#1  the jingle bells.  SURE asked women to use jingle bells so they realised how much they moved.  Personally, and maybe it's just me, but I know how much I move.  Motion Sense Technology...I'm not persuaded.  #2  the fine fragrance collection.  He's on his way to his perfume launch and notices out of the chauffeur driven car window that women never stop.  He must be 60 or 70, where's he been?  I don't understand how it took till now before he noticed that women move a lot.





 Exciting new nails on The Star Swag Blog.  Yes, I said exciting, nails can be exciting, go and see.  I've tried the new polish and already had unsolicited compliments, and solicited ones.
 Also The Continental Tripping Journal 2011 #2 telling the tale of my most recent trip in the direction of the Scandinavian countries is completed and online.
  Another  annoying thing is that Google+ social circle thing.  Was bad enough when they were making that blue arrow point to it every time I was a-Googling, but even more of an inconvenience and a bother is...on the black bar, I used to have the 'shopping' option, but the +You thing has knocked my shopping off into the 'more' drop-down box.  I'm no real pleased at that and can't figure out how to make the +You go away.
  Something else a bit annoying, that REM waited so long to split.















 There's a few summits on The Star Swag Blog.
 Today's Guardian article written by Chris French on Sally Morgan, you know, tells of evidence of her 'psychic' tricks.
 Trailer Watch (spoiler alert).  The Boy and I watched the trailer episode of the new season of Two and a Half Men- without Charlie Sheen.  I had to wait for The Boy, to make the SKY thing work.  He tells me this Comedy Central is there all the time and easily found, channel something or other.  The Kushty's character seems a bit of a simpleton and he isn't Charlie.  Way I figure with the storyline they've left the door open, Charlie could return.  Him and stalker/mad woman Rose could be covering up, he could've ran away and disappeared himself to escape debt and woman troubles.  The story of his exploding badly damaged corpse and closed coffin, no one saw the body.  My work here is done...signed Miss Marple.
  Then we watched the Charlie Sheen Roast, also  on Comedy Central...very very very funny. The Boy and I laughed, we laughed so hard, though The Boy did admit, a couple times he felt bits of 'too soon' and/or 'too emotional'.  He was offended by some stuff he called 'racist' and the bit when a joke was made at Steve-O's expense bout his dead friend Ryan Dunn.  This tells me, my son is a far more decent and caring individual than his mother, I failed to be offended at all.  However, The Boy is 30 yrs younger than me, and this could explain how he views stuff.  I blame the teachers.  The Roast was all hilarious.  Amy Schumer deserves a special mention, she's edgy.









 There's a really lovely dress on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Husband and I are just back from Norway again, but he's walking out the door to go again...such is the life of the international traveller, bon vivant, oil industry insider, racing champion and human comet that is The Husband.  I flew out to Stavanger, via Amsterdam, a couple of days there then The Husband and I drove back in the new Z4, via Denmark. There'll be a write up journal available ASAP and photies up when I get the time, meanwhile this is the Viking who returned to Starry Towers with us.
  As a non-smoker...twelve weeks and 4 days, thanks for asking...I'm very satisfied and highly recommend the E-Cigarette, as seen on Johnny Depp in The Tourist.  I've been using mine with the nicotine-free cartridges for approximately 12 weeks and find it's fantastic for them times when you really have to have something to suck and blow, though The Husband does make frequent suggestions on what else can be used instead.  Every time the Stop-Smoking Nurses spoke to me and we mentioned the E-Cigarette they had to tell me the NHS does not recommend the use of E-Fags and why didn't I try the gum or the inhalator or a patch, something the NHS does recommend.  But I'd be telling her, I'm using the E-Fags with NO nicotine, it wouldn't be good to start taking nicotine again, and these E-Ciggies must be safe, watch The Tourist.















 New shoes on The Star Swag Blog.
 There's some weather trying to get noticed here at Starry Towers.  We're getting the tail end of Hurricane Katia, it's almost embarrassing, with it's 'travel disruptions' and it's 'gusts of up to 70 mph'.  STV had to go to the obvious place to get anything worth trying to be excited about.  They reported from the Saltcoats sea-front over on the west coast.  They chatted to one older couple who'd driven down to watch the waves blow over the road.  Here at Starry Towers one of our large Rowan tree saplings got knocked off it's pot feet in it's big pot.  A to-be-expected hazard for such tall young trees in big pots on patios, when the pots each sit atop three pot feet.  The pot feet raise the pots off the floor level to help save the plants/trees from Winter frost damage, but they make them much easier to coggle over, and in high winds it's the taller specimens that catch the gusts.
  I'm a big fan of the work of Frank Skinner and have an avid listen to his twice weekly podcasts.  They speak of this minor phenomena, the Idiotic Eureka Moments (IEMs).  This is when you have been aware of something for a lengthy period of time and suddenly realise there is another meaning or level, and it seems so clear you should've realised way before now.  I've had two, yes TWO, IEMs in the last week.  Isme, I thought it was pronounced like Izmy, it's a clothing catalogue I think, they sponsor Loose Women.  Well I just realised isme, 'it's me!'  that dress, or this blouse, IS ME!  I get it.  And Doc Martin, the Martin Clunes TV prog, his name is Doctor Martin, like Dr Martin, the boots, I'm not really sure if this is intentional because I can't see the connection between a country GP and tuff footwear.





Limitless DVD




 There's a stylish accessory over on The Star Swag Blog.
 On this ten year anniversary, my thoughts are so sincerely with the many innocents effected by the terrible actions of the few bad bastards on THE 9/11.  My heart breaks for everyone who suffered and everyone who is still grieving.  
 I find my eyes welling up with tears on a regular basis because I keep thinking of that day, and the people who died knowing their plane was slamming into a Twin Tower, the people at their desks when a plane killed them instantly.  The people on the floors above, trapped, knowing for a half hour or so they were going to die, phone calls to loved ones, some made contact, some left messages.  The ones who jumped.  The police and fire-fighters who willingly entered the buildings to do their jobs.  I can't stop crying about 9/11.  
  Currently I'm so surgically-induced-menopausal deranged I have little control over the gushing emotions I'm feeling.  I think it's a mix of my hormone turmoil, my recent birthday (I'm nearly 50 you know) and the aging process reminding me, every time I look in the mirror, we are all going to die, everyone dies.  My old Octogenarian Friend died December 2010, and I'm not quite over that, and the big 9/11 anniversary footage.  The world stood still for me as I watched events unfold on a TV at work.  I was supposed to be administering medications in the east sitting room of ward 32 at Bangour Village Hospital, a job that would normally take half an hour tops took me several hours, I couldn't work for watching.  I knew the suffering I was witnessing, and I knew there would be repercussions resulting in an escalation in human pain, suffering and death.
  The Husband and I released the Cruachan today, with a visit to the hollow mountain that is Ben Cruachan on the north shore of Loch Awe in Argyll.  A working power station in a massive cavern buried one kilometre below the ground, where four enormous turbines convert the power of water into electricity.  The visitor centre is a great example of getting the tourist trap experience right.  It's modern and clean, pleasant facilities with really nice staff.  We shared a toastie and side salad, The Husband wanted the toastie and I wanted the salad.  We spoke of sharing at the till, when a lady delivered it to our table they had thoughtfully divided the meal onto two plates and when she spotted we hadn't lifted cutlery, off she went and fetched that back for us, with napkins.  The pony-tailed and decoratively tattooed chap Mikey was our guide.  Mikey is in the Scottish Stand-Up Comedian mould of tourist attraction guide.  Much the same humour as the man at The Falkirk Wheel, indeed both started their routines with the same we-set-off-in-boat/bus-then-stop-just-seconds-later-and-announce-end-of-trip joke.  To his credit Mikey was a lot more topical, sharper, fresh (and younger and better-looking).  Though his material always related to the audience members as if they were all foreigners, which, given that I was there, we weren't.
  The tours are regular, quite quick and not very spectacular, but still, I found some of the information interesting, mostly that 15 men died building this.  And I certainly have a better understanding of it's history, workings and purpose.  A 440 MW reversible pump-storage power station built in the early '60s (that makes it round-about much the same age as me), it is a fantastic engineering feat.  One disappointment is this wasn't devised as a purpose-built tourist attraction, damn them, what were they thinking I ask you?  They could've put a lift shaft in.  Anyways if you want to see the dam at the top of the Ben you have to walk up there of your own accord and apparently that takes quite some time, and, well, it's walking.  In today's weather that would definitely be trudging.  If you fancy a visit, you can get all the information at the Cruachan website.  I like this hydropower, especially stuff that's out of sight underground.  While enjoying our meal we couldn't help but notice, most - but not all - visitors were of a certain age, ie most could say, 'I'm nearly 70 you know'.  Not complaining like, a plus point is they tend to be very well behaved.  Overheard in the cafe, a group of four elderly Englanders.  The loudest of them, a man, seemed like a bit of a character, he was saying how he doesn't like this email thing, much rather phone to make a booking.  Started me, what it would be like back in the day...see what I don't like is, I don't like these new telle-phone-otics, this modern technology, what I like to do is get on me horse, ride over to the next town, right, get off me horse, tie me horse up, walk up the garden path, knock on the door, go inside, sit down...then negotiate a ticket buying deal.  
  We saw a lot of trudgers today, heads down, a heaviness about them, cold and wet, how can that be pleasurable?  The hot meal by the log fire and the shower and warm bed in a hotel at the end of each trudging day sounds very nice, but the trudging itself, nahhh.  What you could do instead is, drive a vehicle, when you get to your accommodation that evening, run around the car park for a few minutes, get some air and a bit of a chill about you, get a bit breathless, work up a sweat, then pop in to the hotel, a wee dram, a hot meal by the log fire, hot shower, warm bed.  Much better.  We prefer the motorised trudging, especially the type afforded by the reassurance of a Range Rover.  
  On the scenic route home The Husband was swayed by a road-sign stating 'not suitable for caravans', off we went up a single track road, found ourselves on and climbing up, no other than, feckin heck, the famous Ben Lawers.  Regular readers will know my funny Ben Lawers's worth the re-telling.  Several years back The Husband and I were driving through this area, he was relatively new to The Highlands and the Scottish lingo.  Seems he'd been taking in his surroundings and wondering.  Lawers village, the Ben Lawers Hotel, Ben Lawers Street, Lawers Community Hall, Lawers this and Ben Lawers that.  He announced, I'll need to Google this Ben Lawers, he must be really important as everything's named after him.  I laughed, a lot, then explained a BEN is a mountain, anyways, our Ben Lawers story is a funny tale, makes me laugh every time.  You'll understand, it was rather nice when we found ourselves taking the RR up Ben, we went elbow-deep in Ben...and then...The Husband pissed on Ben.  A bit inappropriate that.  I did get photographic evidence too, which is in probably even more seriously inappropriate.  Anyways, the exciting bit is, up there on top of Ben there's a dam.  Very similar to the one we didn't see back at Cruachan, so that was nice.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Limitless.  T'was entertaining enough, but I think a tad too simplistically tied up at the end.   















 There's a load of stars on The Star Swag Blog.  
 Yes, a load of stars on The Star Swag Blog, but not so many on CH5.  I'm preparing this blog post while watching the Celeb BB final, having accidently stumbled across it with an unfortunate press of a remote control button.  That went past quick, this 2011 Celebrity BB thingy.  I've occasionally been aware of a bit of it here and there, the boy and girl band competition action, I admit I saw that and found it mildly entertaining.   Seems just a couple of nights ago there was a load of them still in there, whoever they all were, though I did recognise the Jedward lady-boys and the Katona woman.  Who is this Paddy of which they speak?  They not only speak of him, they're screaming for him.  He don't look up to much to me.  What?  What is he saying?  FFS!  This is ridiculous, 'I'm me' he keeps saying, me?  WHO are YOU?  I'm not a fan of your work.  I have absolutely no clue what the feck is going on, I'm out of this BB loop, which is probably a good thing really.  












 Over on The Star Swag Blog there's a couple stripy little numbers.  
 One day it's your birthday, the next, your sitting in a dentist chair.  When I was a child The Parents ensured I attended the dentist exactly as advised by the NHS system, I was in the chair on a very regular basis.  I'm assuming back in the 60s/70s children in the UK attended at least 6 monthly, whatever it was, I was there, I have very good, loving parents who brought me up right and proper.   In childhood I went to a dentist in Lanark for all my inspection, filling and drilling needs.  I also required orthodontist type input, but all the treatment was done by the same dentist guy.  Mr Hutton, he'll be well retired by now.  Retired or dead.  Today's appointment went fine.
  In The Philipines the Bunawan town mayor Edwin Elorde says they intend to turn this one-ton croc into a tourist attraction.  The so-called 'eco-park' doesn't even exist yet, but he says they'll build it around the crocodile.  So far they've captured, tied up, strapped down, pushed a huge tube down it's throat and pumped gallons of water into it's stomach.  I'm not convinced they know what they're doing.  I'd imagine this creature would jump to it's death, given this choice of living.















 Colour block that frock on The Star Swag Blog.
 With the ten year anniversary of 9/11 in a few days, there's a lot of coverage of the events on the TV and in magazines.  I can't stand it.  I'm an emotional wreck and very tearful because of the menopause and this stuff is so unbearably painful, I can't imagine how terrible it is for them that lost their nearest and dearest, I didn't personally know any of the victims, and it's breaking my heart.  The story of the son in one of the planes that crashed into the towers, phoning his Dad to say goodbye and I love you, and telling him, don't worry Dad, it'll be over fast.  Meaning he, his wife and their two year old daughter would die immediately and not in prolonged agony.  Oh my, how does anyone live with that pain?  Have to not watch the 9/11 stuff.  The footage of people jumping from the towers, how bad must it have been in there that to jump from many floors up was preferable?  Terrible.
  On a lighter note, it's my birthday, I'm even closer to being nearly 50, which is one of my favourite sayings, I'm nearly 50 you know.  Right, you know the concept of Moonpig, cards you personalise to make them really special, individual and appropriate, a Moonpig card makes the recipient feel really loved.  As The Husband is in The Land Of Hurra For Deg Som Fyller Ditt år! and because I'm his one and only special ikkle darlingo sweetienuts, I got Moonpigged, awe, lovely.  But what I want to know is, who the feck is Sally?
  The Mum visited and The Boy and I had chocolate fudge cake.  I'm not saying what The Husband is giving me, because he doesn't know yet and I want to keep it hush hush till I see him.  That's how we roll here, I find what I want, he finances it, I obtain it then give it to him just seconds before he gives it back to me to open and portray the very picture of surprise and delight.  It works better this way, we tried it the other, more traditional way, but I was never all that very surprised or delighted.  Here's a very upbeat happy cheerful Starry Towers Sunflower, planted by a garden bird from one of their feeders.  Sweet.














 There's some lovely nail stuff on The Star Swag Blog.  
 My well-radical Hysterectomy plus Bilateral Oophectomy and consequent plunge into deepest darkest Menopause is ten weeks old today.  It's a real slow process.  My experience of it anyway, I'm finding it a slow recovery, slow but steady.  The difference from day 1 post-op to now is absolutely amazing to me.  In the beginning I was reeling from the physical and psychological scarring, it's quite a dunt you know.  However, in about the last week or so I've started to feel an improvement, my body seems to be returning to normal.  Right up till about one week ago my lower abdomen area was so hard and really sticky-outy, making wearing anything even slightly restrictive/tight very uncomfortable.  It felt so bad I've had to have bare legs all Summer.  Thank goodness I had a Summer op.
  Quite often I've felt, ironically, pregnant.  Not just pregnant, but ironically pregnant.  This bump was alien, not part of me, and it comes with a massive amount of loss.  All the things that I've lost.  The physical bits and pieces they took away, the hormones-no-more, my fertile youthfulness, my babies that will never be (there are some good points then).    The tummy is still tender to the touch and the immediate area around the stitch line is numb.  I don't know for sure what's the worst thing, numb or mild lingering tenderness?  Probably the numb, it's so strange, gently run a nail over the numb bit, and nothing.  So unnatural it's really unnerving.  I find I have to immediately scratch another bit of skin near-by, a bit that has nerve endings in full-on working condition.  This some-how makes things feel better, much better, puts my mind at rest, a little bit.  One major problem that hasn't got any better is constipation.  I went to see a lady GP last Friday, out of necessity due to the sick-line situation.  She advised I take Senna, on a daily basis.  She says the bowel-experts advice it's way better to take the Senna than to risk damaging your internals with the straining.  I was right glad to hear this because, the straining really was pretty sore, it didn't feel right at all. 
  The Boy dropped by this afternoon, to pick up some footie clothing, on route to his weekly 5-a-side game with his mates.  On his way back out I suggested he should take a bottle of water out the fridge.  He'd surely need a bottle of water, off to play football and all, he said nahhh, he'd be OK, he was in a hurry, I really, get a bottle of water, out the fridge, seriously...THE FRIDGE!  NOW!!!  He did what his mother told him, he could tell it was important.  Then he experienced our Birds Eye Bear, and I swear I witnessed him actually shudder, he finds the Bird's Eye Bear unnerving.  I find that funny.  We'll be eating fish fingers till Xmas, but he's worth it.

































 Foldable pumps on The Star Swag Blog.
 A couple of weeks ago I mentioned The Husband was thinking of a car change.  I didn't elaborate because, well, to be just one step up from total brutal honesty, The Husband was kinda, like erm, wrong.  I know, I know, I thought that wasn't possible too.  
 There's the Range Rover, I heart the Range Rover, so does The Husband, no argument there.  The RR is our extremely reliable workhorse of a vehicle.  For Winter weather and other such bad road conditions, we both agree, it's great.  I recall the Top Gear episode when Jeremy Clarkson drove it down a river in some far flung, I think it was Deepest Africa.  He drove an RR over all terrains, it got right exciting, so it did.  His conclusion was 'the world's most unreliable car turns out to be the world's most reliable car.'  We don't have an issue with our RR.  Our problem was with the fun car, the Z4.  See, he wanted to swap our pretty baby for this fat-arsed Mercedes Coupe type car, apparently it has a massive huge wonderful engine type thing going on, and I saw for myself how luxurious it was indoors, all wood and leather and electronics, but it has a huge fat arse.  It's got a sun-roof window thing, it has these side windows, when the windows are's one big long side open middle bit between front seat and back seat windows...I weren't impressed.  It didn't have a soft top, it weren't a convertible.  It was big, did I say 'big'?  It was more than big, it was huge, fat, massive, a glut of car, not sleek.  Common, it looked like loads of other cars on the roads.  Bottom didn't look like the Bat-Mobile, an essential quality for me.  The Husband was annoyed at me.  I called him 'impulsive', he agreed he is, he likes being impulsive and tried to be that...but I got emotional, I huffed and later, alone together, I cried.  I wanted to keep the Z4.  It was actually painful for me to imagine being Z4-less.  I couldn't face life without.  
  He told me the Mercedes had such a fantastically smooth and comfortable connection with the road, whatever, worryingly, when it got parked with one front wheel right up on top the in the car noticed, not The Husband who was doing the test-driving, not the garage guy accompanying us, and certainly not me.  That's how wonderfully smooth and comfortable this car was, which is great and all, but, seems to me, this car could well run a person over till they are dead, and no-one in the car would even notice.  I've heard of cases on the news like this, suggesting a driver run over a person and didn't know it, I found that incredulous, I'd go as far as to say, that prior to this test-drive, I poo-pooed that nonsense.  However, I'd say now it is very possible.  The dead person would have to be lying in the road waiting for a passing Mercedes though, because I think we'd still notice if the fat-arsed Mercedes struck them down first before running them over.  He argued that vehicles, engines, mechanical stuff, motorbikes, cars, was his thing.  He said that he never knew a car decision should be based on 'looks'.  He said 'looks' like it was a bad thing.  He reminded me I don't drive.  I was so very upset, I love this man, we are so good together, he's by a long chalk the best of my three husbands, but...seriously...NO!!!  Anyways, what I wanted we had already found, I wanted...gorgeous, the status quo...a Z4.  What he wanted...change...a bigger engine thing in a fancy big heavy lux thing.  I wasn't looking to change, though having the concept of 'no-Z4' suggested...I'd be willing to change to a Corvette, The Lemon Popsicle we enjoyed in Las Vegas was the trigger that caused me to encourage The Husband to buy a Z4 on our return to Scotland, in the first place.  It got bad, and I was left quite traumatised.  The Husband dealt with the situation better, cos evidently, he moved on quickly enough.  I was still smarting and hurting, worried bout the future, I was scared.  Anyways, I admit I was probably wrong to get all pouty and tearful (in my defence I am surgically-menopausal, which is the most severe kind of menopausal), BUT...however, the final result turns out to be for the best for both of us.  The only way I could ever possibly part with our beautiful silver for another gorgeous Z4.  The Husband has picked an M Series Imola Red Z4.  I don't know the details of the brag-worthy engine stuff, all I know's Bat-Mobile out-standing gorgeous, and he's well pleased with it.  The one other thing I know is it has 4 exhausts compared to the silver one's solo exhaust.  I'm happy.  
  My regular readers know I had the privilege of enjoying the friendship of my Octogenarian Friend Tom, general good guy, wise-old-man and Shetland Sheep Aficionado for the last few years of his long and interesting life.  Tom rewarded my friendship by naming a sheep after me.  The Dad became good friends with Tom too, bonding over the Shetland Sheep.  With Tom's passing we were all left deeply saddened and grieving, and my sheep, Rench Marilyn, would be sold.  Rench Marilyn is now 3 years old and a mother.  Her baby,  Rench Marilyn II was born on the 1st April 2010, both would go to Lanark Market.  Sad, but such is life in the world of farming and animal husbandry.  Lanark Market on the 18th August 2011, the sheep sale was on, but first Rench Marilyn II won a trophy for 'Best Wool On The Hoof'.  Then the sale was really on, and The Dad bought the Marilyns.  Both of them, mother and daughter.  Sentimental reasons he said, 'he named her after you' he said.  Isn't he wonderful.  Yes he is.  I lurve The Dad.
  The Mum and I went with The Dad the other day to visit the Marilyns and the rest of the sheep he's been taking care of while their owners were on holiday.  It's quite surprising how forward sheep are when you've got a packet of digestive biscuits in your hand.  They flocked to me.  I was butted, stood and jumped on, I was chased and I was nibbled.  And I was nuzzled affectionately, they're so very sweet.  I was mostly laughing, but I was verging on hysteria a few times, especially when one of the little rams was trying to eat my necklace.  They're an adorable breed these Shetlands.















 Unless you actually one of my family you probably wouldn't have noticed I wasn't in Scotland for 9 days there.  The Husband took me on an E-Trip in the Z4.  We drove down to Harwich and boarded the Dana Sirena ferry to Esbjerg in Denmark, a four hour drive up Denmark and a second boat to take us over to Norway.  And a week in The Hummeren Hotel on the waterfront at Tanager near Stavanger.  I flew back on Tuesday, Edinburgh via Amsterdam.  I wasn't looking forward to the lone trip home, all that having to focus, right place at the right time, don't miss a plane.  But, fortune smiled on me there too, and a knight in shining armour type swooped from out of nowhere, treated me to the Business Class Lounge with wine and nibbles then ensured I was in the right place with perfect timing.  I didn't have to focus and I still got on the right planes, success.  The story is on The Continental Tripping 2011 Norway Journal and more photies will be added to The Norway Gallery when I get the time.






 Right, here's something to get really annoyed about.  According to The Daily Record a paedophile is suing over having to share his Scottish prison cell will cigarette smokers.  As a recent giver-upperer, 9 weeks and counting, thank you for asking, I can empathise with both sides of this issue.  In fact, I can see another side and I'm particularly well placed to appreciate the intricacies of all three.  
  This paedophile, is 63 year old Mahmood Qadri, currently receiving free bed and board from Scottish tax payers.  He claims being forced to share a cell with cigarette smoke has infringed his human rights and has caused him “significant and prolonged physical and mental distress”.  He doesn't even deserve to breath full stop.  Is Jack MaFeckinConnell too shit-feart to go to the prisons and tell the scary bad people that they couldn't have a fag in their rooms? 
  Now the third view on this issue, a larger-picture view.  Lets look at the hospital setting.  I won't talk of all hospital wards, obviously many type of ward should rightfully have a complete smoking ban.  But what of the mentally ill?  What of people with mental health issues who are taken from their own homes and admitted to hospital against their will.  Due to illness, at their most vulnerable, with their human rights already infringed, they are also told they can't smoke, not indoors anyway.  If a patient wants to smoke they have to go outdoors, and depending on their mental state at the time, but regardless of the weather conditions, often a nurse will have to escort the patient.  Yet criminals get to smoke in a public building setting.  For example, a 30 year old man who raped 3 women, a 54 yr old man who robbed two shops at gun-point and a 23 yr old who knocked an 88 year old demented lady to the pavement as he made off with her handbag, they get to smoke indoors, in their own cells, laying around on their beds, relaxing with a cup of coffee and watching the TV.  
  The little old 88 year old demented woman who got pushed to the ground as the lad made off with her pension, she never really got over that episode, even after her fractured wrist had healed, her son says she was always fearful after the terrible time she was assaulted and robbed.  Her memory deficits rapidly worsened, she was forgetting to eat, cigarette burns were evident on her clothing, she was phoning her kids multiple times throughout the night and she refused to leave the house, even for doctor appointments because she insisted a bad man was waiting to harm her.  She became convinced that she could see a bad man outside, watching her house, and was soon phoning her son and daughter with rambling tales of a man who was talking to her, demanding that she give him money.  Of course her family were worried sick and in regular communication with hospital and community health care staff throughout their mother's rapid decline.  And then comes the inevitable, the joint decision, joint, that is, between family and care team, the old lady wants none of it.  They decide Mum has to go into hospital to be properly assessed.  Mum's argumentative and can be aggressive, a section of the Mental Health Act strips the old lady of a couple of her basic human rights.   She has no say in what roof is over her head and if she wants to smoke it'll be at staff convenience and outside, all weathers.  And when I say staff convenience, they do have a lot of other things to do and have to prioritise, obviously they can't take every smoker outside every time a smoker wishes to smoke.  It can lead to disgruntled smokers and harangued nurses.
  Long story short, the old lady says feck off on a regular basis and spends the rest of her life in an NHS challenging behaviour unit.  Despite it now being 'home' and against her will, it's the same smoking ban, same issues, same outside in the rain, snow, high winds, whether you're 88 and on you're last legs or not.  Who's better off? the lad who robbed her or  the old lady?  The bad guy of course.  I'm arguing for the freedom of choice, in long-term care situations and prisons, a smoking room option.  
  he can smoke, she can't
  [The Dementia scenario and criminal cases, though typical, are fabricated and not based on any particular individuals I know though I did make the cartoon.]








 The Husband and I went to see Richard Herrings' 2011 show, What Is Love, Anyway?  On at The Cow Barn in Bistro Square, Edinburgh at 9.50pm till the 28th August.  Just a couple opportunities left at the Edinburgh Festival.  As is his usual, Richard is working very hard, with two shows most days, his Love evening show and an afternoon chat/interview show.  Same with the podcasts, two a day, a podcast of the afternoon show, I've listened to one so far, and a short 'warming up' which I haven't had a chance to listen to yet.  All the info and the links are on Mr Herring's website.  
  Both The Husband and I had a good time and found much humour, warmth and joy in What Is Love, Anyway?  The stuff bout his Granny, though I'd heard him tell the basics in casual chat with Andrew Collins on their Collings And Herrin podcasts, was expertly honed and delivered.  And the stuff bout dating Julia Sawalha was satisfactorily interesting and funny.  I have to tell you too, when deciding, to do or not to do, the Sirloin Seat option at £5 a seat extra, do it!  Worth it for the looks on the people's faces at the front of the queue that have stood in the rain for about half an hour.  With a matter of minutes to curtain up, just walk up to the front and you Sirloin Seat ticket holders will be shown to your seats by a member of staff, the best seats in the room, AND you get a cushion for under your bum.





Requiem For A Dream DVD


Dick DVD


Chapter 27 DVD

 Biba bargain on The Star Swag Blog.  
 First I got my Slankets, then I found my Shmangle, a nice blue one.  I'm trying to figure out what it means, Sh/mangle, or Sh/man/gle?  In the Sl(eeve)(b)anket stylee.  Can't even work out where the SH comes from, never mind trying to get my head round the MANGLE bit.  Thing is you see, I've lost my sunbathing-slash-picnic rug, and when I say 'lost' I mean, it's been stolen.  The one with the waterproof backing for when the grass is a bit damp.  It's now being kept in a vehicle for when The Husband wants to lie on the ground in relation to mechanics and vehicles.  I weren't very happy bout it either.  To make up for this loss I've found this fantastic replacement which is two things in one.  It can be used as a rug with a waterproof backing for when the grass is damp, AND it can be worn, it's got a hood. The Shmangle Festival Blanket is a large, lightweight, multi-purpose, hooded blanket with a waterproof outer layer and a cosy fleece lining that packs away into a small drawstring bag.  The multi-use Shmangle can be worn or used as a groundsheet for sitting on damp grass.  You can shelter under it from the rain, wear to keep warm around a camp fire or use it at night as an extra cover over a sleeping bag.  That won't be happening.  It can be easily folded away into its drawstring bag and carried like a small backpack or just slung over your shoulder.  It measures 140cm x 170cm and packs down to 38cm x 25cm x 15cm in the bag.  Weights 900g and is available in a choice of four outer colours.  The inner side is multi-coloured striped fleece.  A major plus point is it's machine washable.  I got mine from FunkyLeisure.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I tried to watch Requiem For A Dream.  The junky movie of the Hubert Selby Jr novel.  That was hard work, I gave up after about 20mins.  I read the book a couple decades ago, but the film, too druggy, nothing happening, not for the first 20 mins anyway.  Too depressing.  Even though there was Jared Leto.
  I watched Dick.  A Kirsten Dunst and Michelle Williams comedy parodying Richard Nixon's Watergate.  That was OK, there was a bit of Will Ferrell.  
  I watched Chapter 27.  A bit like watching Titanic, (I'm assuming, though I've never watched Titanic), I knew the ending of this movie before I started watching, but  it was OK, and for a Jared Leto movie, a lot easier to watch than Requiem For A Dream.  There was a bit of Lindsay Lohan too, I'm not saying that's a good thing, just stating a fact.  





Youth In Revolt DVD


Roger Dodger DVD

 Saving the planet one swag at a time, on The Star Swag Blog. 
 At last I have Slankets.  I've liked the sound of a Slanket since first I heard of them.  A cosy warm blanket, with sleeves, ideal for times you just want to wrap up and get cosy on the sofa.  I opted for this animal print trio, the zebra, the leopard and, well, erm, obviously the other one has to be the black panther.  I don't wear them the way they advertise that they should be worn.  In all the demo pics they show the Slanket being put on front-ways.  I wear it back-ways, so my bum gets cosy covered too.  Many options in colour, kids and adult size, travel size, double size, it's all there.  Some of them, including these three are a bargain half price, at £14.99 each at FindMeAGift.  Orders over £30 are free delivery, and until Wednesday 17th August, enter SUMMER10 at the checkout for a 10% discount.  My Slankets arrived with a special offer of a 10% discount off my next order.  I don't think I need any more Slankets, but I might have to find someone-else a gift. 
 Slanket animal prints
  And here's a lovely poppy from The Starry Towers Estate, just one, and there's been many of them over this Summer.  I'll be gathering and spreading the seeds in a wee while.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Youth In Revolt.  Geek movie no one would watch with me.  It's very funny, Michael Cera is as usual a fabulous geek with perfect comic timing.  In his rebellious alter-ego mode he's cool, smooth.  He's a wee sweetheart.  The story is outrageous but strangely believable.  Also there's Ray Liotta and Steve Buscemi.
  I watched Roger Dodger.  More lonely geek movie, this time with Jesse Eisenberg.  A cutting painful tale of one man's battle on the single's scene.  It's apparently in the 'humour' section, but I didn't find it funny, it's a good movie, I enjoyed.  But I found it sad, poignant and emotional.  And there was Isabella Rossellini, have always adored this woman. 








 Crochet chic on The Star Swag Blog
 The Sister-In-Law was living back in Germany for a wee while there, with the idea that The Brother would be selling up here and moving over to join her at a later time.  I wanted them to stay in Scotland.  Anyways, their plans have all changed and she's coming back.  Yeaaaahhhhh!  That's good.  And she got her old teaching job back, must be a great teacher everyone loves.  I reminded her she'll have to return her farewell gifts, a bottle of good whiskey and a sizable sum of leaving-cash.  
  The Husband is back from The Land Of Gas and Gravlaks, commuting back and forth on a weekly basis.  I think he's got cars on his mind, we could be test driving.  Meanwhile here's something we didn't expect...Breaking News!  Riots Hit Scotland.





Planet Of The Apes DVD 1968


Planet Of The Apes DVD 2001

 I was up The Centre with The Parents this morning, still couldn't find any rioting.  But I did get my new ToyWatch strap shortened at Timpsons in fair exchange for six of my Scottish pounds.  It's over on The Star Swag Blog.
 There's some improvement on the anti-Scotchland front, the BBC News service has stopped referring to the 'UK Riots' and changed the tagline to 'England Riots', at last.  CNN and SKY News are still calling it UK.  How much would you have to like Haribo to loot them out of Poundland?  You'd have to be really exceptionally chavy to do this.  I'd have made off with the M & Ms.
  Nancy Sinatra follows me, yes, that Nancy Sinatra, the one who sang These Boots Are Made For Walking, Frank's daughter.  I know how this one happened.  A while ago I followed her, then she followed me back, then a while later I unfollowed her, but cos she's in the thousands, she hasn't noticed.  Also the Daily Record is following me.  I'm learning the workings of Twitter.
  Huge reduction in England's rioting tonight, is it raining?  Maybe they're just tired.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Planet Of The Apes.  Both the 1968 and the 2001 versions.  I'm preparing for the 2011 version.  I enjoyed my evening on monkey watch duty.  Damn you, damn you all to Hell! (1968).  Damn them, damn them all to Hell! (2001).  I'll be on damn-to-Hell watch duty on the 2011, they've got to include a version it somewhere, out of respect.














 There's the cutest bit of swag on The Star Swag Blog
 How crap is it when you have to return early from holiday because of your job?  I'm sorry, I'd totally refuse.  But, I s'pose, my job doesn't involve the same gravitas of a government post.  This situation is a bit more serious, given that it involves a country out of control, that country being England.  However consistent the efforts of the BBC and SKY TV, this is not a 'UK RIOTS' situation.  It's an ENGLAND RIOT situation.  Anyone in Wales rioting?  One 16 year old in Scotland mentions the idea on The Facebook, gets arrested and charged with trying to incite public disorder.  It's horrible, but it's all going down, down there, in England.  One 16 year old boy in Scotland on The Facebook says, hey lets start a riot in Glasgow, and people report him to the police.  He's been charged, and that's that as far as we're concerned.  We won't be doing the riots of August 2011.
  I'm on high alert up here, and can vouch, I'm keeping an eye on the streets.  All I saw on the streets today was the usual through traffic in Sunny D, and also on my daily Radical Hysterectomy Post-Op Recovery Walk...I got talking to a woman about a bush.
  This rioting situation down there is absolutely terrible.  So many sickening scenes.  One of the most telling, one of the saddest tales and somehow, most personal, is of a young disorientated, concussed, injured boy, according to The Twitter this young man is called Ashraf Haziq.  In hospital tonight with a broken jaw.  His spilled blood on the pavement.  If I could've been there with a taser.  They're cruel, displaying horrific disrespect, lack of empathy and sociopathic tendencies.  What begins as hopeful, it initially looks like they're going to his assistance...quickly and sickeningly dissolves into a cruel pack of psychos.  Like cowardly hyenas.  Come on England, restore your law and order.
















 There's a bag or two on The Star Swag Blog.
 Happy Birthday to The Mum.  Much to the annoyance of The Mum, it's that day of the year again.  I'm getting to the age I understand what she's feeling bout this birthday/ageing thing.
 Am I happy I don't live in London.  It's frightening what's happening in certain areas of the capital city.  These crazy mindless criminal thugs.  Wouldn't you be dragging your teenager off the street right now?  So how come there's so many of them robbing shops and setting fire to buildings?  My teenager was rummaging around in the bottom drawer of the freezer, looting himself a Flake Ice Cream Cone, as I'm glued to SKY News.  I commented on the shocking situation in London, he says, 'I support the rioters'.  I retort, 'but they're a bunch of thugs'.  He shoots back, 'you'd be the same if your drug dealer got shot'.  The humour is already out there, as usual.
  I texted The Husband's Cousin's wife, Margaret, as they live in Greenwich.  Worried that they might be having to live the sharp edge of this London riot nonsense.  Margaret texts back...we're in the Alps.  All right for some.
  Anyways, here's a nice picture of a bee on a Globe Thistle from The Starry Towers estate.




 On The Star Swag Blog you'll find the result of my second trip to Uniqlo.
  I went to see a GP on Friday there (5th August).  Tomorrow is 6 weeks post-radical-hysterectomy.  I'm not even allowed to hoover for 6 more weeks.  I'm still wearing the anti-embolism stockings as per my Consultants instructions.  They ain't pretty, they aint even comfortable, BUT, they are necessary.  I'm going to stop wearing them tomorrow.
  The Husband and I went a-visiting this weekend.  We were invited to a BBQ at The Brother and Sis-In-Law's place.  We had a lovely day.  Unfortunately it started to rain, so the food got taken in to the kitchen and finished in the oven.  We were sitting outside under a very impressive awning, then went indoors for a few hours of cosy living room time.  We giggled, a lot.




 Colour-popping wedges over on The Star Swag Blog.
  Let's get the self-congrats out the way.  Today marks the 6 week anniversary of my Ciggie Quitting, congratuwelldone to me.  Seriously, that's it, I'm a non-smoker.  
  Still seriously into my health kick, what with the fag-stopping and the Dukan Diet, I've found a route around Sunny D that takes exactly 20 minutes at a brisk pace.  You go down to the east end of Main Street, turn left, round the cul de sac, retrace your steps back along Main Street, till you reach and slip into the crescent.  Round the crescent and take the back road, follow to the western end of the village.  Back onto Main Street and walk back down to Starry Towers, 20 minutes, exactly.  Excellent.  I'm getting much more oh so healthy, and yet still in the early stages of radical Hysterectomy surgery recovery, my tummy hurts to the touch.  Even when walking, sometimes it hurts with each step, especially so when stepping down stairs for some reason.  And there's the more intense throbbing stabbing pains that occur sometimes just out of the blue.  GP visit tomorrow for another sick line.
  My mobile phone ringtone has been Amy Winehouse singing Rehab for years now, well, since 2006 when it was released.  Every time the mobile rings I hear her most famous song.  Reminds me she's gone and how much I'll miss all the music she could've but won't make now.  
















 I've been to LearnPro, the NHS eLearning website.  Two reasons, an email informed me my last years online educational input was out of date requiring the annual effort, and...I've got a lot of time on my hands.  Over the last two days...I've done LearnPro in extremis.  I searched for every possible appropriate module, and even winged it on the Blood Transfusion Module 1 'Safe Transfusion Practice'.  I will never transfuse anyone (remember I'm a nurse of the Mental Health persuasion...NHS I beg of you, do not trust us with blood transfusion), but probably good if I know if some nurse is ever transfusing me badly.  I LearnPro'd so much, when I get round to printing the evidence, I'm expecting the certificate to run to 3 pages...maybe 4, could it even stretch to 5?  Oh wait a minute, The Husband tells me he recently made my laptop talk to the printer in the study, lets test this out.  He's right, my laptop does talk to the printer now, which is very good.  I gave it a try and initially nothing happened, but after changing three of the five ink cartridges, t'was all systems go.
  Disappointed my certificate is only 3 pages long however, hmmm, maybe I'll need to search for more than the 30 courses, comprised of 67 individual assessments, that I've completed so far.
  Shamefaced I have to admit, it caused me to do summit silly today.  I was trimming the lawn edges at Starry Towers, on my knees, with scissors, and...innocent whistling and rolling of eyes...I cut through my earphone cable.  I was engrossed in my task, and the listening of Richard Bacon's 5Live podcast, the one with Sally Morgan guesting and talking shite, as them 'medium' people do, and, rats!  Over to Amazon for more Sennheisers.  The CX 400 II Precision Noise Isolating Ear-canal Phones with Integrated Volume Control are my earphones of choice, bargain price on Amazon, RRP £59.99, only £18.49 plus free delivery from Prime Electronics.
  On Twitter I learned that Sooty has physically assaulted the millionaire  Paul Daniels by smacking him with a pizza.  The magician was taken to a hospital A&E department and treated for suspected head injuries and a black eye.  Sooty apologised. 





Easy A DVD


Dogma DVD




 Over on The Star Swag Blog there's some luverly stuff.
 Another lb down this morning, that's 4lbs in less than a week, and I ain't been hungry once.  Dr Dukan seems to have got his science right.  Yesterday I ate so much ham, chicken, quark and virtually fat free fromage frais and a couple of eggs, quite frankly I didn't feel much like eating after all that.
 Food Of The Week is Muller Light Yoghurt.  Tastes so good it satisfies the sweet cravings.  When I want chocolate or cake I eat Muller Light.  The Dukan allows only the vanilla and the toffee as there's no fruit in them.
 Product Of The Week here at Starry Towers is Lee Stafford Poker Straight Dehumidifier Spray.  It works a treat, does what it says on the tin and all that.  Comes in 200mls for the dressing table and 50mls for travelling.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).   I watched Easy A.  Was good enough.  Resulted in me buying Joan Jett and the Blackhearts Greatest Hits on mp3 download from Amazon.  Was the song Bad Reputation, performed by The Dollyrots in the movie, but originally by Joan and her Jetts.
  I watched Dogma.  My favourite Kevin Smith movie, it's got Affleck and Damon, my favourite movie with them in too, and Alan Rickman.  In honour of Kevin Smith's 41st birthday.





One False Move DVD


Bad Education DVD


And Soon The Darkness DVD







 There's more American Apparel leather pouches on The Star Swag Blog.
 Invalid News : feels like not much is happening at present, but as part of my short series of occasional infomercials on the after-effects of a total hysterectomy and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy, I feel it's absolutely necessary that I issue an update.  I'm up to 5 weeks of rest-n-recuperation following, least you forget, my radical hysterectomy.  I have a GP appointment booked to go get the next sick line.  A hospital doctor wrote the first sick line, for 6 weeks.  That was a good thing, gave me one less thing to worry about at the time.  I don't know how it is for other woman, but for me, when I woke up after the op, my world was already turned upside down.
 I got through the first 48 hours, under the influence of some drugs, I can't deny.  Nurses were asking me to judge my pain level on a scale of 0 to 10, so they could fill in a SEWS chart.  I was giving them a number but explaining that, surprisingly, the most troubling of my pains wasn't in my abdomen, it was in my back.  Then I recalled, they took me down from the ward to the theatre in my bed, but just prior to going in to the anaesthetist, in the corridor, they slid me over onto a trolley.  The middle section of this trolley was raised, quite severely, I remember saying in surprise at the discomfort in my spine...oh no, this is going to hurt me back.  Lying on that for at least an hour is going to feck your back up, but as long as the surgeon finds it easier to operate on your abdomen when it's pushed up in his face, that's ok then.  Now, 5 weeks on, the back pain has settled, and lots of other things have changed.  I've previously talked of constipation, pain and bleeding.  Crying got a brief mention, along with bruising and fatigue.  I'm considering putting up a photograph of the bruising, I think the pics were taken maybe 5 days post-op.  The bruising was horrendous, but the photies aren't exactly flattering.
  The Not To Do List becomes a more serious problem as time goes on because advice says don't, but you start to feel like you can, but you still shouldn't.  The other thing is the tummy thing.  They took stuff away so I was expecting if anything, a little dip rather than a massive lump, but what I got was the massive lump.  There's swelling and it's hard swelling, with this strange unnatural sensation about it.  This is finally easing, getting smaller and softer, but still sticky out.  The bleeding seems to have really totally stopped, a few days ago.  
  Constipation is still a big issue, but this is complicated by the Dukan.  I just purchased Dr D's oat bran and his Digestive Aid Fruit in fruit fibre and full of the aperient goodness of figs, tamarind and dates.  I will report how that works out.  I'm still finding it impossible to push.  I can't push bowel or bladder wise, hurts too much.  I have to try to relax to allow things to fall out, let gravity do it's best, which quite frankly, isn't good enough.  Too much information?  Sorry.
  With all this ample me-time, I'm doing a daily walk and I've just started giving the Dukan Diet a go, and can I just say, I now crave and I'm lovin' virtually fat free vanilla flavoured Muller Light yoghurt.  On the Dukan, yoghurt starts to feel like your spoiling yourself, it's a treat.  I'll tell more of my Dukan experience once I reach impressive weight-loss, which I fully expect will happen, and soon, 3lbs so far.  
  The Husband and I were in Morrisons the other day.  Two best buys to report.  The Halco Air Cooler Mini Fan, batteries included, only £2, was The Husband's £2 too, so a real bargain.  Available in a choice of 4 colours, I got the blue, and it works really well.  Then, I was after an electronic pepper grinder mill because the non-electronic grinder we have is doing my head in.  It's not the grinding, that's easy.  It's cos our main pepper grinder has a tight fitting lid,  and I struggle to open the lid to sprinkle the pepper.  So.  Made my way over to the kitchen bits department, and there it was.  A chrome/silver metal & clear perspex Cole & Mason electronic pepper grinder.  It was on it's on, it didn't have a price label.  I took it to the tills.  The Morrisons till lady asked me if I'd noticed the price.  I told her honestly that there hadn't been one that I could see.  She proved to have little tolerance for sussing out prices, seconds later she put it through for one of my Scottish pounds.  Thank you Morrisons till lady.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched One False Move.  Held up well considering it's age.  Made in 1992 starring Billy Bob, he plays an evil bastard most times, great actor. 
  The Husband and I watched Bad Education.  The latest in our endeavour to watch all the films of the wonderful Spanish writer/director Pedro Almodóvar.  This is another of his masterpieces, though The Husband wasn't totally won over, which I reckon could possibly be because of the major gay element.  It's all Catholic priest choir boy sexual abuse, transgender and homosexuality.
  The Boy and I watched And Soon The Darkness.  The 2010 American remake of the 70's British original.  Though there was some OTT smuck acting at times, for what it was, it was a good version of it's genre.  Had both of us on tenterhooks a few times. 





The American DVD

















 Stargazer products on The Star Swag Blog
 Religious Zealot News : Today The Husband returned to work and a very somber office in Stavanger, Norway.  An entire nation is mourning.  Norwegian Christian Fundamentalist terrorist Anders Behring Breivik is charged with 76 murders.  He placed a bomb, then personally put a bullet in as many people as possible.  The majority of the people he killed were young, teenagers, unarmed and innocent.  He is a pathetic coward who requires weapons and kills children.  Same as all terrorists.  Many men who do this type of mass murder tend to commit suicide at the end, hence evading capture and punishment.  This man didn't, indicating an obvious self love, grandiose delusional ideology and I'm guessing he's looking forward to his future in jail or psychiatric institution, the attention and, in his way of it, progressing his cause.  Obviously this man is mentally ill and personality disordered.  Fact that he's religious is hardly surprising given that he's psychotic, one has to be delusional to be religious, goes without saying, even though I just said it.  Under the pseudonum of Andrew Berwick, this guy wrote a 1516-page manifesto he titled "2083 - A European Declaration of Independence".
  The Husband and I were out for a drive up north over the weekend and chanced upon The Gloagburn Farm Coffee House near Tibbermore in Perthshire, for lunch.  Very nice.  We both opted for The Gloagburn Farmhouse Seasonal Salad of chicken, egg and a mixed salad dressed with Summer Harvest Dressing and bread and butter.  I asked for my dressing to be on the side, and this was provided with no fuss, in a tiny little jug, cute.  Now I wish I'd nicked the jug.
  On the way into The Gloagburn Coffee Shop I stopped to buy some iron garden ornaments.  By the time I'd picked and purchased my little iron chicks and a second set for The Mum, The Husband was disappeared.  I had a little wander around, no sign of him, he had to be out in the conservatory restaurant area already.  A waitress enquired, 'can I help?', I told her I'd lost The Husband.  She took me through to the conservatory area and indicating over there, asked, 'is that him?'  Yes it was.  I was wondering, is it that obvious?  Do I look like I'm married to The Husband, have we started to look like each other?  Turns out 3 different members of the waiting staff had approached The Husband to ask if he was ready to order, and he'd told them he was waiting cos he'd lost The Wife.  We don't look like each other yet, but we do behave similarly.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The American.  Always a pleasure to look at Mr Clooney, and we were vaguely aware of what it was all about, but really...hmmm, bit going no place.  Loads of bits that didn't add up. 





  RIP Amy  14/09/1983 - 23/07/2011 





 My heart goes out to the people of Norway.  The Husband just returned from there this evening, he was lucky enough to have been in Stavanger, he'd caught his flight and been on his way home before he became aware of the developing situation in Oslo.  He has many friends and work colleagues in Norway, and we're both so very sad at today's terrible events.  




 There's a trip to Uniqlo on The Star Swag Blog
 Johnnie Marbles, anarchist, comedian and idiot diverts the seriousness of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee questioning of the Murdochs with a shaving foam faux-custard-pie-in-the-face.  Wendi Murdoch, the younger (third) wife of Rupert Murdoch reacts like something off Jeremy Kyle.
  angry? NO kiddin!
  The Brother, first time on his new 1000cc, at Knockhill, in the rain, 130 miles an hour, on one wheel.









 We had The Brother over for dinner and the sun came out just in time for eating al fresco.  The Boy was even tempted to join us, for Raclette followed by fresh strawberries and grapes with vanilla ice cream and double cream.  The Brother and The Husband were up at Knockhill for the motorbike racing version of a footie kick-about today.  Boys and their nice new souped-up toys plus their mutual highly competitive spirits.  Both of them on their new race 1000's, The Brother's Kawasaki ZX10 and The Husband's Yamaha R1.  Who would triumph in this friendly bit of fun?  Awaiting data-analysis results at time of going to blog.  
  The time has come for me to require a Kindle, and a Kindle I have acquired.  It's proper name is the Kindle 3G Wireless Reading Device, Free 3G + Wi-Fi, 3G Works Globally, Graphite, 6" Display with New E Ink Pearl Technology.  Amongst all the great features, the best has got to be the text to speech, this thing reads to me, like an audio book, but much cheaper, yippeee!  This neat gadget comes with it's own needs, the first and most important one being stylish aesthetically pleasing protection.  This came in the form of a lovely blue leather protective case.  





Adjustment Bureau DVD










 There's new nail polish on The Star Swag Blog.
 Weather News :  it's been a wonderful week of sun and warm, lots of warm, even hot a few times.  Lovely for the recuperating recently radically hysterectomied invalid.   Till yesterday that is, yesterday was all thunder, lightening and a down pouring of rain.
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Adjustment Bureau.  It pains me to report, but report I will...I wasn't too keen, neither was The Husband.  It was almost enough to put me right off Matt Damon.  I used to think I'd have a Damon OR an Affleck, but increasingly over time, and most definitely after this movie, I'd ONLY have an Affleck.  Either Ben or Casey, but mostly Ben.  Back to the movie.  Turns out it's not the thriller I was expecting, but a bit of romantic nonsense.  The Trilby Gang have an annoying air of what they say goes, end of, no arguments and no point audience members trying to feel involved, they're making it up as they go along.  And another thing, the DVD cover isn't true to the movie, he should be jacketless with a hat, and she never wears that dress, shoes or the necklace.  AND another thing, Emily Blunt's accent sounds entirely fabricated, Matt Damon looks like a wax work and Terence Stamp's like cardboard.










 A little bit of Missoni inspired style on The Star Swag Blog.
 £161m of The Lottery cash goes to Mr and Mrs Weir in Largs, I am so bloody envious.
 The Parents have been over the last couple days checking I'm OK and helping out, cos The Husband had to go to The Land Of All Things Norse.  I was telling The Mum about one of my all time favourite YouTube clips.  Team Buffalo take a bit of time getting organised, springing into action is not their forte, but when they finally get their shit together, they rock.  Team Buffalo in The Battle at Kruger.
  I'm not a number.  Yes you are, you're number 7, Harper Seven Beckham.  The pressure on celebs to name their children differently, must be terrible for the poor dears.  Posh and David got the brothers to name this one.  Allowing children to name things is ok, I recall The Boy the first time he was encouraged to name a toy, a green mouse from Old Amsterdam.  He named it Green.  More recently he was privileged in being awarded the honour to name my two big Rowan trees...Zeus and Erik.  Allowing children to name pets is a big step, a deep breath, OK we can go with Snowy/Fluffy.  Allowing children to name other children...your asking for bother.  Of course, there's way worse than Harper Seven.  There's even another Seven, Seven Sirius and his sisters Puma Sabti and Mars Merkaba.  Then there's Audio Science Clayton, and little Tu Morrow, see what they done there?  See the Attention Seeking Strange Names list here.  





Run Lola Run DVD






 There's a gorgeous tan tote on The Star Swag Blog.
 My favourite author, that lovely man Douglas Lindsay, is releasing a new short story on a daily, episode by episode basis.  Government Of The Living Dead is available on his website barney-thomson.  Mr Lindsay gives so much for free, go buy his books, Amazon have them all, on paper and for the Kindle, on their Douglas Lindsay page.  The Kindle versions are selling for only 86p or one of my Scottish pounds.  This can't be right, he's practically giving it away.
  Yesterday The Husband and I went a little bit North, and a bigger bit West, on one of our fav drives, to Stronachlachar on the banks of Loch Katrine.  The Pier Cafe there has a new extension which we found very impressive.  The food was great and the staff THE friendliest we've met for a long time.  After we'd eaten, and I was loitering on the veranda taking photies, I got chatting to the lady who'd cooked our lunch.  She was an older lady, lovely woman, had a cataract op last week, it went well.  
  I've been eating a lot of melty cheese this last week or so, Brie, Raclette and Gruyere.  I've eaten Brie and Cranbury 3 times in 3 different Scottish cafes, this was the best.  The Brie toastie at Mona's Of Muckhart was an untoasted sandwich (shhh...I reckon she had a hangover), the Brie toastie at The Glen Cafe was good, BUT, just not as melty as the perfection achieved by The Pier Cafe.  Here's The Husband quietly contemplating the life and times of Rob Roy as he gazes at beautiful Loch Katrine from the new extension, splendid, even on a cloudy day. 
  As part of my short series of occasional infomercials on the after-effects of a total hysterectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy, today I will be discussing bleeding.  This post-op bleeding can last up to 6 weeks.  I'm in the early days of post-op week 3 and of course, the bleeding is ongoing.  I read today that a total hysterectomy plus salpi-ooph is also called a 'radical' hysterectomy.  I will be referring to my operation as Radical from now on.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers)The Husband and I watched  Run Lola Run.  The 1989 German movie.  Lola doesn't half run, she runs and she runs, then she runs a whole load more, quite exhausting watching her.





Transsiberian DVD


All About My Mother DVD












 There's a new Summer frock on The Star Swag Blog, and it's a bargain.
 The Brother had a day at Starry Towers today, and joined The Husband and I for a trip to B&Q and Dobbies.  A parasol, a granite parasol base and seat cushions and a table for Patio 2 were bagged at B&Q.  Then on to Dobbies for a few finishing touches for dinner and to show The Brother the balsamic vinegar and olive oil bar.  Every time I'm in the Sunny D Dobbies I pretend it's my first time and diligently taste test most of the Balsamic and oil options.  Late afternoon the new Raclette got it's first use out on Patio 2 under the new parasol, and was greatly enjoyed by all, a lovely day.
 Goodbye News of the World, though I never knew you at all.  Goodbye to the self proclaimed 'World's Greatest Newspaper'.  Was it?  The World's Greatest Newspaper?  Definitely not.  I s'pose it was the 'World's  Greatest Newspaper' that ran from '1843 to 2011', because there isn't another that ran from 1843 to 2011, maybe that's what they mean.  I've never bought a News Of The World in my life, till today, I'll put it away to sell on eBay in 20 or 30 years, but 7.5 million people regularly purchased this rag.  The public get what the public want, or in this case, what 7.5 million of the public wanted.  Sleaze, naming and shaming, phone hacking and alleged payments to police officers.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Transsiberian. Woody Harrleson and Ben Kingsley.  Was OK.  I'm trying these days to take a leaf from Kevin Smith's book and not criticise in my movie reviews.  So I'll whisper this was a little bit boring.
  The Husband and I watched All About My Mother.  Another intricate and interesting emotion full tale of human nature from our favourite Spaniard, Pedro Almodovar and a bunch of great acting.





The Tourist DVD

 This picture of me relaxing on the swing seat would have anyone thinking this hysterectomy business is a walk in the park.  This picture is very misleading.  Along with the pain, disability etc etc etc, another major issue is constipation.  A combination of narcotics, three days with no food, reduced physical activity and abdominal surgery had resulted in a bowel that was going nowhere...very very slowly.  When things did eventually move, the result was massive, painful and took forever.   Don't tell anyone, but The Husband had to take a stick to it to make it go away.  Then it was no go again for more days, I lost track.  Anyways, I took to the Lactulose, before The Mum came to the rescue.  Now I'm medication free on porridge and stewed fruit.
  The Mum's Stewed Fruit 
  a big pan with no lid
8 medium sized eating apple
3 Conference pears
8 small pieces stem ginger
8 dates
1 cup cold water 
1 peel, chop and slice eating apples and pears
2 finely chop the ginger and dates
3 put all the ingredients in the big pan with no lid and bring to the boil
4 turn the heat right down and simmer for 15 mins stirring occasionally
 leave to cool
  Will keep in the fridge for up to one week.  
  The Husband and I took a drive out to The Borders this afternoon, a favourite route along the A708.  Past The Grey Mare's Tail, then stopping at The Glen Cafe on the banks of The Loch o' the Lowes, next door to the much larger St Marys Loch, approx half way between Moffat and Selkirk.  Lunch for me was a Brie and Cranberry toastie with side salad and coleslaw, while The Husband tucked into a large all-day breakfast.  With a Coke for him and a diet Coke for me...£12.50, very reasonably priced and a friendly family run business.  The Glen Cafe is a popular eatery as it looks out on the water and there's lots of parking available.  This road is a favourite with bikers too, so there's usually a few shiny bikes worth looking at in the car park (says The Husband).
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Tourist.  Frothy nonsense with a couple of too obvious clues which give the game away really early on, but for all that, it's a fun watch.  The Jolie woman looks more beautiful and healthier than usual.  Very Sophia Loren stroke Jessica Rabbit.  And there was Johnny Depp with his E-Ciggie, 'smoking' on a non-smoking train carriage and in a Venice restaurant.  Making E-Fags cool. 





Talk To Her DVD




 Over on The Star Swag Blog there's the Leather Pouch.
 This is, erm, day 10 post-op.  I've been reducing the Paracetamol and stopped taking it yesterday evening.  Took Tramadol last night in the hope of getting a full nights sleep, but it didn't work, so I won't bother with them again either.  It's strange, but today is seems the pain and discomfort is the same without the Paracetamol as with it.  I'm managing short walks with The Husband to the Sunny D village shop, and today is the first day that I don't feel over-whelming fatigue.  I'm still bleeding slightly and having some horrible sweating.  My abdominal wound is healing well and tidy. 
 Today marks the two week anniversary of me stopping smoking.  What I am doing is Johnny Depp in The Tourist.  I've got a new dummy, a Halo nicotine-free e-ciggie.  I've got the white, the silver and the black, for whatever mood takes me. 
  The Husband and I took a trip in the Z4 today, post Hysterectomy I didn't fancy getting in and out of the Z4 till today.  We drove over the Forth Bridge and up to Knockhill where The Husband had a word with a couple of the Knockhill guys.  He and The Brother have a track day coming up.  Then we headed perilously close to T in the Park to the village of Pool of Muckhart.  At Pool of Muckhart we dropped into Mona's of Muckhart.  Mona's has gifts, plants, cards, sweets, jams and home baking etc for sale, indoor and outdoor seating, and a full menu of hot and cold meals, snacks and beverages.  It's comfortable, clean and welcoming.  The food is very nice, but I have to mention our experience.  Could be out of their ordinary, maybe a one-off coincidence, maybe someone on duty had a hang-over, but I heard one man saying as they paid their bill, we asked for brown you gave us white.  When it came to my French Brie with cranberry sauce and sliced apple on wholemeal bread, served with a delicious side salad, I'd asked for it to be toasted, it arrived untoasted.  All I'm saying is, one woman looked a bit bleary. 
  Mona's of Muckhart
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Talk To Her.  The next in our Almodovar spree.  Another intricate and interesting Spanish tale with several eyebrow-raising twists.





127 Hours DVD








 Colour blocking on The Star Swag Blog.
 I'm back, post-op, still alive.  I went to hospital last Monday (27/06/11) and before I knew it I was in knee length socks, a backless gown and then I was down in theatre being cut, bruised and parted from my uterus, tubes, ovaries and cervix.  I should be feeling great, after all, I'm MRSA negative, my bloods are within normal levels, urine NAD, chest clear AND I've given up cigarettes and the nicotine replacement therapy.  The hysterectomy was Monday afternoon, they starved me from Sunday evening till Wednesday afternoon, sent me home Thursday, stitch out Saturday. It's been a painful week.  I'm really swollen and bruised, so bruised that every nurse and doc that looked kinda recoiled slightly and said summit along the lines of, phew that's a lot of bruising.  And I had funny spot bruising all up my front thighs that none of them can explain, I think they must've sat a tray of instruments there.
  Anyways, it's all done now, and a week later, it's not great.  I'm bruised, sore, tired, tearful and finding it a bit tricky to not do things I'm not s'posed to do, not easy cos on the To Do list is nothing.  Meanwhile the Not To Do list has lifting, bending down and everything else.  The Husband is at hand taking care of me.  As a bi-product of the op, I gave up the ciggies.  I was thinking I'd go cold turkey on the day of the op, but at my pre-op appointment a nice doctor lady advised that every day pre-op without the fags would be a bonus, so I gave up the day after she told me this.  Day 1 of no smoking was Thursday 23/06/11, I started chewing nicotine gum instead, then gave up the gum on Sunday 26/06/11.  Them Smoking Cessation nurses got me and told me to stop taking nicotine into my body at 10pm the night prior to the op.  Basically, I just did what I was told, for a change, no fussin, no arguing.  Last bit of nicotine gum got spat out at 10pm as per instructions and the morphine, disability and hospital confinement got me through the cold turkey. 
  Last month we were treated to a Raclette meal by The Husband's cousin & wife in London, and I loved it.  T'other day at our local Dobbies garden centre we found Raclette cheese.  Back at Starry Towers I ordered up a Severin Raclette Party Grill for 6 people at Mekassa for the low low price of £37.99 with free delivery. It includes 6 non stick coated mini pans for under the grill, the top can be used as a BBQ, a powerful 850W heating element, enamelled steel housing, variable thermostat and pilot light and low generation of smoke due to the water filled grill tray.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched 127 Hours.  Very good, and that's canyoning added to the list of things I should try to avoid at all costs.
  The Husband and I watched UP.  Also brings to mind an activity worth steering clear off, ie flying to an inhospitable foreign land with your house tied to party balloons, but the movie is great fun, simultaneously silly and serious. 







 Feeling squeamish here at Starry Towers.  It's going under the knife tomorrow.  I'm officially fasting now and no more nicotine till I'm out the other side of the anaesthetic and feeling like chewing gum.  Just in case it all horribly goes wrong, thank you all for everything, goodbye dear friends, goodbye, think of me kindly, I tried damn hard to do only good things, when I did bad, it was probably not all my fault. Goodbye, I love you all.  If it goes well, speak soon and someone pour me a Pernod.
  Speaking of nicotine, I gave up the ciggies on Thursday (23/06/11), I'm on very occasional Nicotine Gum chewing and playing with my new E-Cigarette.  On that subject, I'm away to buy some nicotine-free cartridges and a Slanket.  





Paul DVD









 The Dad is showing Rench Tom at The Royal Highland Show, in memory of The Old Octogenarian Friend.  The results are in with Rench Tom taking a fourth in his class.  Well done The Dad and Rench Tom.
 The day is fast approaching, The Op is sooner than I'd like it to be.  I'm coming over all squeamish and a little bit glum.  Fasting overnight, checking in late morning, on the table early afternoon then four nights in hospital, what's not to look forward to?  Sheesh, I can think of oh, maybe approximately 5386 other places I'd rather be, and that's just off the top of my head.  Anyways, the condemned woman has spent her last couple days of freedom with a womb, gardening, mowing the lawn, up a ladder, bending over, carrying heavy things and tidying out cupboards.  No-one else is going to get down on their knees with a pair of scissors and trim my lawn edges.  No-one else is going to fold and stack the towels the way I like them.  And now I've got to go to work on my last two days with a womb.  Last minute contact from the hospital means the off duty stands as is.  With more pre-warning I could've asked for some time off to panic, clean and hysterically rearrange and sort.  But I'll be finishing work 8.30pm, one last sleep, then the big snooze 'n' lose.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers). The Husband and I watched Paul. Very good and an excellent piece of animation work. 













 Where's the sun?  I've got the hat, now all I need is the weather.  See the hat on The Star Swag Blog
 The unthinkable has happened, disaster, what to do?  My 160GB iPod is full.  No seriously, what do I do?  Apple doesn't make an iPod with a larger load of GBs.  Apple claims a 160GB holds approximately 40,000 songs, I'm disputing this figure.  The obvious answer is to remove stuff, which I've just done, but it goes against my completist OCD nature.  What if one day when I'm not in Starry Towers I wish to hear Loretta Lynn sing Harper Valley PTA?  Or Ice Queen by Within Temptation?  Really, Ice Queen by Within Temptation, never heard of them.  Just had a wee listen and deleted it, don't know how it came to be on there.  I'm guessing a movie soundtrack?










 A couple short items from Rise on The Star Swag Blog.
 Happy Fathers Day to The Dad.  He was over in the Sunny D direction today, tending to Rench Tom in preparation for the little ram's appearance in the show ring of the Royal Highland Show next weekend.  The Dad dropped in to see me and got his Fathers Day card (with sheep on) and his gift, a little toy lorry.  The Dad is a retired lorry driver and this toy truck has his name on the side.  Yes I'm sure this item is intended for little boys, but as I know full well, men of all ages have a boy-like charm and sense of fun.  His reaction to this unexpected gift brought joy to my heart.
  Black-Flag Racing was formed in 2008 and won the Endurance Racing Senior 600 TAG championship of that year.  I was present at many of the races and that night of glory as they picked up the silverware at the Milton Hilton back in February 2009.  Photographic evidence of the racing and the Milton Hilton dinner dance awards ceremony are on The Bike Gallery.
  After the major triumph of 2008 they had a good long look at themselves, and pondered what the future held.  Was it time to start being sensible, to grow up?  It's an expensive business careering round a racetrack at every opportunity, and it's not entirely without risk to life and limb.  Should they admit they had a good time, but now in this time of austerity measures, global financial hardship, other major demands on their wallets, like for instance, major DIY home improvement jobs that need done ASAP, could it be time to retire from the track?  Time to say thanks for the memories, we had fun, but it's time, time to move on in adult-responsible-mode?  Hell no!  They upgraded to 1000cc bikes instead.  I wasn't surprised.  Black-Flag Racing were down enjoying a boys long weekend playing with their favourite toys.  After a couple days of track playtime at Snetterton, they were out today for the big finale race, the 3 hour endurance race with a Le Mans start.  First time out on their new 1000s, they came in eighth position.  Well done you guys.




















 Tights on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Husband's away at Snetterton with BlackFlag Racing, The Great Dodski and The Husband are on the track with the background support of Aberdoom friend Mr B.  I mention this because while he's away I tend to take the opportunity to keep Starry Towers spick and span.  All the little jobs that can't be done with The Husband around because he willingly leaves stuff lying around, which I can't cope with.  I stop fully functioning, I retreat.  I try my hardest not to allow my OCD to impinge on normal family life, but anything out of place makes me feel, lets just call it...uncomfortable.  When the mess is away I can go OCD crazy and all the little jobs get done on top of the overall highest level of tidy excellence.  And it was in the midst of this OCD tidy tweaking that I discovered 2kg of Cadburys chocolate.  You read correctly.  2kg of Cadburys milk chocolate in the form of x2 1kg giant bars.  I now remember I bought and put them away for Xmas.  Worst thing would've been if the chocolate went out of date before I rediscovered it, that would've been a crying shameful waste.  Sorry got distracted there, but it was by a substantial quantity of chocolate, back to the racing.
  The Snetterton racing will be televised, on Motors TV channel on July 14th, that's quite exciting, The Husband likes to be on TV.  We all remember when the Sunny D Post Office got robbed, the major Scottish News camera crew arrived and he was 'innocently' up the road to purchase crisps before I even noticed he'd put his coffee down and stopped talking.  Result...the people of Scotland got The Husband on the 6 o'clock news.
  Back on 02/05/11 I told of my Starry Towers Lawn Project.  The lawn was in a sorry state, more moss than grass, and it weren't pretty.  It was all my own fault for not feeding the grass, it hadn't occurred to me, but starving grass gets weak, allowing weeds and the worst, the moss, to go crazy till what your left with is what you can only refer to as 'a lawn' if you laugh and roll your eyes at the same time.  It was time to get serious.  I purchased a big bag of EverGreen 4-in-1 Complete Lawn Food, Weed and Moss Killer and a load of Miracle-Gro Patch Magic.  Voilà.  I've got the lushest, healthiest, freshest, greenist green in Sunny D.  These products work, though I have to qualify that by adding that I can only vouch for the OCD on-your-knees-perfection approach, and that takes hours and hours over many days to achieve.
















 New shoes on The Star Swag Blog.
 I'm listening to Rob Lowe's unabridged book on my iPod, Stories I Only Tell My Friends, which I found at BookDepository for £14.71 with free delivery, then ripped and converted to mp3 files, and it's great.  Seriously folks, this man tells good stories he previously only told his friends.  Some of them are truly fascinating.  His personal life events, highlights and lowlights are compiled into a chronological timeline and told in equal measures of entertaining and self-effacing honesty.  He does impressions of the people he quotes, the stand out one for me being his Christopher Walken.  From a very young age Rob some how or other met famous people.  He employs a narrative trick of describing a famous person encounter, before revealing who the famous name is at the end of the tale.  It comes over well, we're encouraged to experience his experience the way he did, before that person became famous, and/or through the eyes of a young Rob.  Name-dropping was never before so nicely done.
  from left : John Heard, Rob Lowe, Roberta Maxwell, Kate Burton, Amy Irving, Stephen, and Christopher Walken





Changing Lanes DVD


The Magdalene Sisters DVD


Broken Embraces DVD



























 Starry Towers 8 : Grey Squirrels 0.
 I buy the Sunday Times but only for the magazines, I pass the newspaper sections on to The Parents, then spend the following week devouring the three magazines, reading them in the shower.  Some deny it's even possible to read in the shower, let me tell you, it's not only extremely do-able, but it's also one of my most favourite me-time activities.  Anyway, a recent Relative Values article featured Alice Temperley and her sister Matilda.  Temperley designed the emerald green gown Pippa wore to the evening reception party.  Alice Temperley is quoted in this article thus..."...just before the royal wedding I really felt I needed to get away and have an adventure.  So I joined Matilda in Ethiopia, where she was working (working is stretching it...her sister is a photographer)...we stayed with the Mursi tribe, who attach testicles to their heads before wedding ceremonies.  I asked one of the women to take out her lip plate and I engraved William and Catherine on it with a nail.  I know they love Africa, so I've just sent it to them as a wedding present.  It's a piece of history they'll really appreciate."  No they won't.  It'll go in the bin, or Harry'll bring it out as an ashtray at parties if they're crass and thick. What part of that story makes the Temperley designer sickest?  I'm struggling.  Is it that she is portraying her expensive Into Africa trip as some sort of humane mission, while in reality the Mursi tribe are now a popular tourist attraction mostly because of the lip plates.  Tourists pay to take photographs of these girls and women with their mutilated faces.  Whatever the historic and cultural origin of this nasty bit of female branding, which not only involves the cutting and stretching of the lower lip, but also the removal of teeth, there's a strong suspicion today that they continue to do it for the tourist-buck.  It's like coming back from Australia with a couple of big chunks of The Great Barrier Reef in your suitcase.  Cue the 'my friend went to Africa and all I got was a lousy labret' T-shirts.  The silly woman doesn't understand she should be guilt-tripping over her exploitation.  She purchased the lip plate off a person's face and took a nail to it...engraved the names William and Kate and sent it to them.  As a wedding gift.  She also named her young son 'Fox'.  Stupid people with too much money are prone to visit far flung places and return home smug, thinking they just experienced the real deal, ignorant of the fact they got ripped off, exploited others and played their part in destroying the very culture they think they just experienced.  TourismConcern is trying their best to get the message across, and have a page about the lip-plate Mursi.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Changing Lanes.  Gripping.  If your most excited by gripping, this is a slow burner, but when it gets you it gets you, it gets you in heaps, by the balls or the brain or the whatever other bit of your body you get most gripped.  Ben Affleck is fantastic (as most always) and Samuel L Jackson turns out, as usual to be the righteous man.  Takes his character a while to get there, but you always know he will be in the end.  What does Affleck do in the end?  Watch the movie and find out.  The Husband commented the only thing missing for him were subtitles.  A good tale, well told.  But I have a hankering that they shouldn't have gone for the obvious, but now out-dated, stereotypical race card, this story would've been better if they'd done it with two men of the same race and not the rich privileged white guy verses the poor downtrodden black guy.  In a time when the USA has a black president we're all aware that colour is no barrier to personal progress. 
  The Husband and I watched The Magdalene Sisters.  A Peter Mullan movie set in 1960s Ireland, depicting Catholic institutional abuse.  I hate Catholicism.  This film will upset you, I've been thinking about it vividly since.  They are still the largest paedophile ring in the world, ever.  This movie tells the tale of 3 teenage girls who were told, get thee to a nunnery.  They got 'sent away' into a life of slavery and abuse of all kinds for innocently shaming their Catholic families and communities.  The last of the Irish Magdalene Laundries was closed in 1996.  1996!  Wikipedia tells the insanely disgusting story here. 
  The Husband and I watched Broken Embraces.  A Pedro Almodovar movie.  Contains many of the Almodovar favourite things...Penelope Cruz, a film being made within a film, an intricate narrative, family, simple primal desires, passion, sex and Spain.  We liked it for all of that and the feeling of cosy familiarity we now have with his work, it's like dipping into a favourite book of short stories now.  And the subtitles of course, we do like a reader.  





Butterfly On A Wheel DVD






 Remember back on 30/05/11 I blogged that The Dad had returned home victorious, having bagged all the rosettes along the way to being proclaimed Champion Shetland Sheep at the Fife Show with Rench Tom?  If perchance you don't remember, scroll down this page to said blog entry why don't you.  But the short version is The Dad took the one sheep that remains as a show sheep in the memory of my much missed Octogenarian Friend, to the Fife Show and came home the winner.  I mused if my Octogenarian Friend had somehow known and waited till now to call one of his sheep after himself.  Up visiting The Parents on Friday I'm full of questions.  The Dad tells me Rench Tom wasn't so named last year, last year Rench Tom was just a nameless ram lamb, though he was a 'prize-winning' nameless ram lamb.  This fast growing young boy has since been named in memory of the Octogenarian Friend by The Arbuckles, who have taken guardianship since the Octogenarian Friend died.  And I was right that the ram lamb the Octogenarian Friend won with last year is this same now tup hogg The Dad took into the ring.  What a difference a year makes in the sheep world, look at them horns.
  More Shetland Sheep news, The Dad is fast becoming a famous name in the agricultural show rings of Scotland.  Last week at the Central and West Fife Show he went along to help The Arbuckles with their own bred sheep.  He was asked to take Fennel, a coloured gimmer into the show ring, she won her class, then Champion coloured Shetland and went even further, to the overall reserve breed champion.  Oh how far The Dad has come since coming home with his solitary Novice Young Handler rosette last Summer.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Butterfly On A Wheel.  Way too much vertigo-inducing camera angels for me personally, I felt quite nauseous a good few times, but from the safety of my own sofa that's a thrilling sensation.  I didn't work it out, quite a good twist and twist some more movie.  















 On the hunt for big T-shirts for my looming 2011 hospital admission, check out what I've found so far on The Star Swag Blog.
 I went to my online banking site and cancelled the direct debits to our previous landline non-provider Talk Talk and, for good measure, our previous broadband provider Orange.  And why not?  What can they do?  Talk Talk made me crazy mad this last 6 weeks, they deserve a bit of inconvenience back at them.  For the last 6 weeks I was paying for, at best, a reduced severely inferior service and at worst, a non existent service.  They didn't care.  Well, it's my turn to not give them an iota of concern for their troubles.  They can track me down and try to get their message across, I'll probably adopt a foreign accent and claim I no comprehend.  I'll call screen if they phone and ignore.  I'll repeat back at them everything they say in letter or are telling me there is problem?  Could take 6 months or more before I finally understand what they are telling me.
  The boys here are sick.  That's The Husband and The Boy.  I on the other hand have managed to avoid catching their germs, despite living with the two of them breathing near me.  They're both moaning and groaning about coughs, aches, pains and sweating, it looks to me to be the cold.  They still have an appetite for food, so that's a good thing.  They probably have Man Flu.  Of course I might not be so flippant if I actually succumb to the constant threat that their germs are to me, then I'll have a Woman Cold...and I'll probably go wash the windows, mow the lawn, that kind of thing.  Hahaha, I'm only (half) joking, I love them boys, even when they're ill. 





Solitary Man


 A bit of bathroom bling on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Husband's back safe and well from his Englander 3-race-track bike-fest.  He had a load of fun an' all.  He brought home a load of new photies of him looking good on the Yamaha R1.  
  And, what I've been waiting for...he opened the SKY router parcel and plugged stuff in, we have www service courtesy of SKY, and it works.  Yep, it's a The Husband job that, opening stuff, plugging stuff in and switching stuff on.  He saved us from internet starvation.  I couldn't have done that, I'm just a little lady with no skills in the opening, plugging in and password setting.  Yes, it's that easy.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Solitary Man.  Good.

















 Three cheers for Atlantic Electric and Gas.  Once a year they give me money.  Two one-off payments equal to my monthly direct debits for electricity and gas.  That's £220 in all.  It's the only time I wish my fuel direct debits were higher.
 I read with interest the interview with screenwriter and movie producer Jane Goldman in last week's Sunday Times Culture magazine.  She is quoted as saying "Andrew [Sachs] gave consent.  They apologised to him immediately and said it shouldn't go out, but he said, 'It's fine, tone down some of the swearing, but put it out'.  Jane is the wife of Jonathan Ross.  This confirms what I heard back at the time when the British media hysteria frenzy outrageously called for Ross and Brand to be booted off the BBC, while they, the media, as Jane points out, were the ones who gave the Sach's grand-daughter's name, showed photographs of her and raked over her past.  No-one knew who she was from the phone call.  Hypocrisy and lies, damn lies.  The impact on me personally was that my free BBC Wossy podcast supply stopped, he made great podcasts too.  
  No www connection as I'm writing this, so I'm guessing SKY have taken over.  I'm forbidden from setting up the new SKY's a The Husband's job...obviously.  But The Husband is AWOL on his 4-day/3-race-track trip to England with his new R1.  A day each at Olton Park, Snetterton and Cadwell Park, and a day's worth of travelling.










 Neighbour Wars.  There I was sitting in the front garden, and when I say sitting in the front garden, down on my knees or my bum, in the dirt, amongst the flowers.  Getting in and out means careful foot placement from stepping stone to stepping stone, balancing and body-swerving the taller plants.  My iPod ear-bud cable and cardigan get caught the taller plants, the roses in particular...them thorns you know.  In short, it's a bit of a trial and I only do it when necessary.  I don't want the inconvenience and I don't want to damage the flowers.  Then it starts...the wee boy grandson of the NOWG (the Neighbour Over the Wall Guy) is kicking his lightweight plastic football about and inevitably it's going to come over the wall, it always does.
  First time it comes over I acknowledge the wee boy, down my trowel, get up from my kneeling position and step out of the garden...very carefully.  I hand it back and request that the boy be more careful and not have me doing this again today.  I told him it's not easy for me to do this ball retrieval service, I'm busy and don't wish to be troubled any further.  He agreed he wouldn't, he's 4 yrs old.  He's cute and pretty, but he's more careless than I'd like.  I was thinking of The Parent's method...a Doberman, ball would come over, the dog would simply stand on the ball with a paw then bite and burst it, those children learned, they are capable of not putting balls over walls when they really put their minds to it.  However this one hasn't had a burst ball handed back.  So I was back in position, hard at gardening tidy duties and the ball came back over.  He called out to me...I ignored him.  I kept on gardening pretending I couldn't hear.  I had an iPod ear-buds in, it was feasible that I really couldn't hear him, the little shite.  I assumed Granddad (NOWG) would come out to sort it because of the noise the child was making.  And he did...and I ignored him too.
  Later I pretend to notice NOWG, just his head and shoulders visible over the wall, holding the grandson up.  I mimicked someone just becoming aware of someone else trying to catch their attention.  Then the ahhhh moment...the ball is over?  I made a big deal of downing tools, standing up, wiping the dirt from my knees, staged a complicated stepping stone trip out of the garden, de-snagging my cardigan and ear-bud cable a few times. He was a total prick.  He spoke to me with a massive sense of his own entitlement and a rude course tone of voice.  He drew my attention to the fact the ball was back over, requesting I give it back, as I'm doing that he asks me, "did he ask you already?"  I asked what?  "Did he ask you already?"  The grandson had a face on him like his favourite football just got burst by a Doberman.  Did he ask me already?  Yes and I gave it back already.  "Did he ask you just now?"  He asked me the last time I gave it back.  "I thought you didnae hear him cos you've got your things in" he says pointing to an ear.  I remained pleasant and told him...yeah I have, got my things in.  I was all faux-confused sweetness and light, eh?  and ahh, and sorry what?  His face was like thunder, he never said please and he never said thank you.  Ignorant bastard.  
  This is the same NOWG who first off told us we were monoblocking a half metre of Starry Towers ground that actually belongs to him (on our side of the wall).  We told him, prove it and sue us.  Then it's his trees that are playing havoc with our phone line, and most recently, he told The Husband that our big side gates which The Husband had fixed to the adjoining wall, a wall that he regards as his, are damaging his wall.  Which they aren't.  That fault line in the cement between the bricks has been there for as long as I can recall, which is probably 1990.  The Husband immediately sorted out the gate/wall problem by detaching our gates from said wall and building an independently standing gate.  He must be pissed off bout that and now he's got nothing to moan about apart from me innocently listening to my iPod, ignoring him and not returning the ball as fast as he'd like.  I tell you what...tomorrow...I'll have my ear-buds in and I'll be ignoring him and his football-over-the-wall-is-big-fun fluffy blonde-haired blue-eyed greetin' faced grandson again.  I might have to get a Doberman.



























 The Dad has been making me proud, and if The Octogenarian Friend Tom were still around he'd be smiling with the contented look of a man who knows a thing or two about all things Shetland Sheep.  When The Octogenarian Friend died at the end of last year his prize-winning Shetland flock went mostly to some other place, a farmer friend who would tend them until market time is right for the selling of this prize-winning Shetland sheep gene pool.  But one youngster was too special to be passed along with no care for posthumous glory and he is named Rench Tom.  Rench Tom went locally, to the foster care of The Arbuckles.  The Dad has been visiting the Arbuckles to tend young Tom in preparation for this summer's agricultural shows.  His first outing was at the Fife Show earlier this month.  The Dad went to the show with this one sheep, and came away with the Shetland Champion rosette, five rosettes in total and a bit of silverware, the Wine Byre Merchants Quaich for Champion Shetland.  Rench Tom is now a tup hogg, a tup is a male, a hogg is a young sheep that has finished weening, and a lamb is still weening.  The other category before sheep become known as a fully grown 'ewe' or 'ram' is 'shearling'.  A shearling has been sheared once. Sheep are not sheared in their first year so a shearling really describes a two-year-old sheep.  By my calculations, last years lambs will now be this years hoggs, before progressing to next years shearlings.  After I hurt my brain recalling all that The Octogenarian Friend ever taught me bout sheep, I checked back to my photies of the East Fife Show 2010, and came up with this picture of Tom showing his male lamb.  I'm guessing this must be Rench Tom, he's awfy sweet, look at that little face.
  The Mum complains bitterly about road maintenance in her local area around Braehead (small village near Forth in Lanarkshire).  Every winter it's more potholes.  For the record, they've currently sorted them all out again.  But this hole in China takes the hole in the road biscuit.  That's a lorry down there.  





Let Me In DVD






 T'was blowing a gale here at Starry Towers in The Great Storm of 2011 (ie Monday there, the 23rd).  This catastrophic weather disaster brought out the best in my community spirit, so when the NARG's (the Neighbour Across the Road Guy) bins went flying up the street, landing on their sides in the middle of the road, I sprang-ish into action.  Not immediately you understand, but after I watched a fellow Sunny D resident walk right past them on his way to the village shop.  He was a retired looking, but fit-enough-for-the-job looking gentleman.  That pissed me off.  Went all du du du daaaahhhh!  Could've done a back-flip off the nearest wall, or ran to the nearest phone box or to the bat mobile or a ...I just stuck my pants over my tights and headed out there.  Later I was called upon a second time, to assist the old lady through the wall neighbour...lets just call her Carol.  She was struggling to lift and retrieve not only her own brown and black bins, but them of her upstairs neighbour and the two lots in the building next to her, four lots of two colours.  Du du du daaaahhhh!  From nowhere, Bin Girl was there again.  
  Turned out that The Great Storm of 2011 was the best thing to hit Starry Towers since The Mildly Warm Two Days of Summer 2009, because the landline issue worsened.  The gale force winds finally brought the fortnight's worth of phone line and internet connection issues to a head.  Long story....I've recently been driven, out of desperation, to phone Talk Talk.  But I knew how that was going to go, I've had previous experience with this situation, back in 2009, same thing exactly.  In the end, I was right.  So this time I told them, I told them three times.  I begged that they would believe me, stop treating me like an idiot and, just listen.  They don't listen.  What they do do, and they do it so very well, they follow procedure, to the letter.  And the procedure is, you the customer, gets ignored.  
  This time round, I phoned them twice, tried to, I actually did explain, got ignored, and I put the phone down.  I was so angry, I couldn't see the process through to the inevitable disappointing frustrating end with it's accompanying threats of financial cost/extra charges, for a service I thought I was already paying for with monthly direct debits but not actually receiving.  Only to be told there isn't a fault on the line, and I'm shouting.  But there is a fault on the line, I'm experiencing a fault on the line, just like the last time.   As expected, the best they'd offer was an engineer to check out the in-house system, that would be in 3 days time, and if they found a problem indoors then it would cost (at the least) a £50 call-out charge.  If I was right and no fault was found then they would arrange a BT engineer to climb the pole.  If I make them send out the BT pole-climber and was found to be wrong, that would cost a charge of £100.
  I phoned a third time end of last week.  They told me again there wasn't a fault on the line.  I managed to stay calm and agreed, enough to get to the end of their procedures.  I agreed to them sending an internal engineer to visit Starry Towers, that wouldn't happen till the following Thursday.  But then came The Great Storm of 2011.  On that day I got on the mobile and called them up again.  I told them to test the line now.   And, at last, their diagnostic tests proved me right.  They need to improve their diagnostic tests.  I've been giving more accurate results for the past fortnight.  And procedure says I can now have a BT up the pole engineer with no financial charge threat to me the paying customer.  We cancelled the previously arranged in-door useless guy, and I went to work yesterday and today.  So I've got no idea if the BT guy has been up the pole or not.  Tonight the www works well and the phone line isn't noisy and cutting off, though it's not quite right yet, there's a faint ringing in the background behind the dialing tone.  The Husband has arranged for SKY to take over and I've since found out that SKY took over the land-line and broadband at midnight last night.  But I can't imagine how SKY could make these things work unless a man has went up a pole.  
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Let Me In.  The American remake of the Swedish Let The Right One In, and starring my favourite if-I-had-a-daughter-I'd-want-this-one Chloe Grace Moretz (Kick Ass).  It's very good, an intense and twisted tale of manipulation, abuse, love and sadness, and every which way that ineffectual parents and society can fail children.  Having watched Let The Right One In, I reluctantly admit it's just not as good as the original, sorry Hit Girl.  The original would always win out, purely by being the original, that shouldn't deter anyone who loves the original from watching this version, it's very very good, just slightly different.












 Twitter was abuzz with the name and shame of the married unknown footballer who allegedly had an extra-marital with Imogen Thomas and took out an expensive super-injunction to protect his privacy and prevent everyone else from knowing that Imogen claims he's been having a sexual relationship with her.  Click on the The Twitter pic below for a selection of tweets as the news was being discussed on The Twitter.  The Twitter users were doing a massive 'I'm Spartacus'.   I checked it out on The Twitter after seeing a TV news report that couldn't tell the viewers who he is, even though everyone online knew already.  I wondered who I knew that wouldn't know already and might be interested to know.  So I phoned The Mum and she was interested.  The Mum was taken aback...'aww it isn't', I said, 'it is'.  She was disappointed in him.  
  Unknown Footballer
  Today Scottish newspaper The Sunday Herald published a photo of the footballer with a black strip over his eyes.  These English super-injunctions don't apply up here.




















 I have a Sunny D Post Office Silver Haired Fox story to tell...regular readers will recall last time he threw me slightly asking if I could purchase him a crossbow on eBay.  Today, I dropped in to pick up a parcel.  The Silver Haired Fox was out of his cage and looking a tad dangerous.  How can I describe this...he was free from the constraints of the usual PO Hannibal Lector secure-glass-fronted Post Office counter.  It's always a tad unnerving when he's on the main shop floor.  He told me the parcel I was collecting was big, he told me it was way too big for me to collect, that I was way too small to pick up this parcel.  He went on about the size, on and on, I told him if he was telling me the truth I'd get The Boy to pick it up later, but that I thought he was kidding me.  The Sunny D shop woman thought he was joking too, given his tongue in cheek carry on.  He then cuddled me, that's happened before, but...this time...he also kissed me.  I'm a lot shorter than him, I kept my head down so the kiss landed somewhere on the left side of my forehead.  I'm stood there in my parka, being hugged, with my head strategically held down.  The woman at the main shop counter, we call her Hello-Darlin cos she says it a lot in her Cockney accent, was telling him to just give me the parcel. 
  The Boy had a girlfriend but it's all off now.  I'd put 2 + 2 together and knew there was a g/f long before he'd admit it.  First off I found one of her bracelets in his room, he denied it, she's just a pal he says.  Second I saw her chat profile open on his computer screen, she's just a pal he told me again.  He chose to tell me he had a g/f when I was in London.  Unfortunately, the ONE rule I'd laid down before I left him in charge of Starry Towers was no strangers in Starry Towers.  So I'm in London and now he's being 'honest' in his way of it.  He phoned me in London to tell me he wasn't going to do it behind my back, could he please invite his g/f into Starry Towers in my absence.  So the answer was no.  My Mum AKA his Granny went over in my absence and ensured my rules were adhered to.  I wasn't being horrid, I was trying to teach him I mean what I say and if he'd been honest and adult about it from the start it would've been better for him in the long run.  If he thought for a minute that I might be his main concern, he'd forgot that his Mum's Mum is much the same as his Mum, only about 10 times as strict.  When I asked him today why he was single, he told me she turned out to be a bit of a 'weirdo'. 





The Social Network DVD


Catfish DVD





 Day 2 of allergy summer.  Day 1, yesterday at work, was worse.  My left eye, sore and weeping all day and the resulting damage to the skin from being constantly wet and rubbed, though I was trying very hard not to touch.  There was also a noticeable increase in nasal congestion and nose-blowing.  Today at Starry Towers, even though I spent time in the middle of a flowering garden all afternoon, the symptoms were less troublesome and with regular application of Vaseline to the skin around my left eye, that situation is much better too.  I've since tried the Vaseline on my fake-tan allergy leg situation too...and I swear Vaseline is proving more beneficial than hydrocortisone cream there.  I've been taking my one-a-day antihistamine tablets for a while.  I thought I'd started taking them in good time, couple months ago, in March, as advised by Nurse V, she said start in Spring.  Note To 2012...start the one-a-day antihistamine tablets in February.
 I tried Garnier Ambre Solaire No-streaks Bronzer self-tan velvety gel for fair skin.  I'm allergic to it, but it's so good otherwise.  Put on a latex glove and apply in a circular motion.  Ease of application factor is high, non-streaky is high, natural colour is great, and it's very long lasting.  It's a bit sticky-tacky for a while after application, but that's no biggy considering how it gets the other important bits so right.  If I wasn't allergic I'd be telling you it's the best ever. 
  Nurse shopping.  The Parents bought me my first fob watch, marking the occasion of me starting my nurse training in 1983.  For the intervening years it's been fine to wear a wrist watch.  But now, it's time to get back to fob watches, it's a hand hygiene hospital acquired/associated infection (HAI) super bug issue.  I need a modern hygienic fob watch.  My new blue soft and bendy silicone fob watch boasts a removable quartz watch face, so the silicone fob can be washed and it won't scratch a patient when I have to be up close and personal.  I Googled around and found the best price, £9.95, at NurseWatch.  I also got a bumper pack of 9 syringe shaped pens, with a blue fluid fill and black ink, £8.95 for the pack.  I had one of these very same pens when I was a student nurse.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched The Social Network.  Surprisingly good. I'd read it's good, but was secretly dreading it. I'm pleased to report they have made a very good movie, and Jesse Eisenberg is one of my top-most favourite actors of his generation.  Essentially, 2 hours of really boring nerdy computer argument, and somehow or other, they make it exciting.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Catfish.  There's two basic ideas on Catfish, it's being touted as a documentary, others believe it's fake, a pseudo-documentary.  I think it's a pseudo.  I reckon the woman behind the mystery was acting.  They all looked like they were acting rather than living a reality.  It's all very pseudo-doc and not very doc.  The mystery woman is Angela Wesselman-Pierce and there is a website displaying and selling her paintings, but having watched the movie I don't believe it's real.  I think it's a very clever and intriguing storyline/sales campaign.





I Love You Phillip Morris DVD































 Dresses and a gypsy top, yes really, on The Star Swag Blog
 I did my voting duty, and I voted thrice.  And when I say thrice, I mean there were three issues to vote on, not that I managed to vote in triplicate in an illegal dodgy way.  I think it went like this...Vote #1 - candidate for local MP, Vote #2 for local council candidate and Vote #3 was for a change in the voting system.  I think that was what they were all for anyway.  
 Our internet connection is driving me crazy enough to punch someone in the face.  It's the 2010 problem returned.  The phone line is crackling and sometimes cuts off and the internet has slowed way down.  I can't download all my podcasts because I either loose connection or they time-out.   The Husband was onto it at the first sign of trouble, and had me phoning and demanding a MAC code from my broadband people, Orange, or whatever they're called these days.  I've been with them since they were called Freeserve.  After a verbal sparring match they told me they'd email the MAC code (it has arrived at time of writing).  I found it wouldn't be possible to phone Talk Talk for a few hours, because they were experiencing problems, their website was down and the faults phone number was telling me to phone back later.  Later...a Talk Talk person called me the wrong name.  You see Talk Talk hold this delusional belief that my surname is a combination of the first letter of my first name, M, and the last five letters the Husband #1 surname.  I explained again what my surname is, but told her that's not the issue.  She wanted to pass me to the Name-Changing department.  They've passed me to them several times before at my request, and I've sent a letter, but I'm still being called some bastardisation of my Marilyn initial and my ex-husband's surname, but never mind, I told her to call me whatever she wanted, just get me to the place where we can agree to send a BT engineer out.  She passed me, and after having to bear a terribly crackly soundtrack of crap music that was so painful I had to hold the phone an arms length away from my ear, I got to the faults department, and he made me start jumping through the hoops.  I told him I know what the problem is and I wanted a BT engineer ASAP, but he told me there are procedures.  I wanted to punch him.  Even when you tell them you'll pay £100 for the BT engineer call-out charge if you're proved wrong, they just won't let you skip past the hoops.  During this part of the phone call I was asked to describe the main socket.  I passed the phone to The Husband as I headed back out to continue with my stress-free gardening.
  It's the east-side neighbours' trees.  They're massive fully grown and the ones that aren't Lelanae are lovely trees, and that's good, the garden birds at Starry Towers love those trees for nesting and food.  However, downside is our BT phone line starts at the top of a phone pole which sits amongst the topmost twigs and branches of the third tree away from Starry Towers.  From there it runs through the branches and twigs of another two of the east-side neighbours trees before getting to Starry Towers.  The last time this happened the BT engineer who eventually came out after I went through 'procedures', fixed it, just like that.  So I went straight to BT, though I don't have any business with them the phone lines belong to them, and it was one of them that sorted it last time.  Last time it was some local phone engineer, a breath of fresh air after all the foreign accented people in countries on the other side of the world and automated messages and press 1, press 3, transferring you to our such and such department, do this, do that.  What a relief when eventually, the man who can actually fix it is there fixing it, I even made him a cup of coffee.  Once SKY kicks in, if the physical phone line/tree problems persist, they better sort it out.
  There's been a neighbour change.  The Goth Teacher first-floor-through-the-wall has gone.  Just like that, she never said.  I've been told by her replacement, an opportunity to work abroad came up and she took it.  Which sounds totally Goth Teacher, she was forever spending 6 weeks in Thailand, Goa, Australia.  The new neighbours are a single woman and her 20 year old son.  They seem very nice, and quiet, no noisy mad parties, fingers crossed.
  I have big news on the genetic cancer front.  Every two years a bowel specialist sticks a camera up my arse.  Last time, which was the 2nd time, they found a polyp that presumably wasn't there 2 years before, and removed it.  That was extremely painful but also strangely, a good thing.  Sore, but I am still very glad they did it.  The other aspect of this genetic cancer research thing is every year the Gynae folks are slightly less invasive, they only stick a needle in a vein for the cancer-markers blood test, CT-scan my lower abdomen (internally too) and, the worst bit...they pass a medical instrument through my cervix, snip a bit of uterus lining and test that for cancer cells.  That cervix/womb invasion is a bit painful, but hey ho, I remind near as horrendous as a sedation-free colonoscopy.
  Today I was invited to meet with a Gynae doctor, just a couple months after my last Gynae screening.  I had no idea why.  This lovely man told me how apart from the PAP Smear Test,  which I get routinely every 3 years as part of the national screening program for cervical cancer, the testing they are currently able to offer me, are all cancer-finding tests.  The Smear Test finds pre-cancerous cells and is a great tool, but the latest health & science falls way short of that for the uterus and ovary type cancers.  Then he explained he was offering me the choice to reduce the Gynae cancer risks big time.  I can reduce the risk of cervix and uterus cancers by 100%, and the ovarian cancers by 97%.  He offered me a Total Hysterectomy with bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy.  I knew my answer immediately.  I'm scared and dreading it, and sad, and I want to run away and not think about it, let alone face it, but I knew my answer right away.  Of course I should have a hysterectomy, along with removal of the tubes and ovaries.  It's either that or he'll be offering me the same operation plus chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy in years to come once cancer sets in.
  In the last year I've had a lot of disruption to my previously extremely regular menstrual cycle, so I'm aware that my menopause is upon me, this seems to have been a trigger for the Gynae folks to bring it on.  Might as well get it done with one operation, by the time I leave the theatre I will definitely be menopausal because there will be no ovaries/tubes/womb/cervix/hormones.  And most important...cancer can't happen in the lining of a womb that got chucked out, same goes for a cervix that got binned.  Ovarian cancer will still be possible, though greatly reduced, because of primary peritoneal cancer, which acts just like ovarian cancer and is treated similarly. Peritoneal cancer may result from ovarian cells that migrated to the peritoneal area during each menstrual cycle before ovaries were removed.  These cells can become cancerous later on.  Alternatively, since the peritoneum and ovaries arise from the same tissues during embryonic development, it's possible that cancer could arise from the cells of the peritoneum.  But still, I like them odds.  I'm just shitting myself.  It's a major operation, with total knock-you-out anesthesia, an invasive surgical cut to the body...with resulting biggish wound and risk of HAI (Healthcare Associated Infection), and a lot of recovery least 3 months off work, longer depending on the work you do, and nursing is heavy work.
  The Boy News : my little cherub has a g/f.  And he's involved...and I have a new scary worry, obvious to all young men's mothers, I don't have to spell it out here.  Discussing it with work of them said if The Boy was dating her sexually active teenage step-daughter and I asked about the contraception method employed by her sexually active step-daughter, she said she'd slap me.  I think she's being emotionally unreasonable.  Just because my child is the this CSA, DNA testing and Jeremy Kyle day and age, I'm allowed to be just as concerned for my boy child who's life could be just as badly ruined by an unwanted pregnancy.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched I Love You Phillip Morris.  It's so good, The Husband really liked it, then had to get over himself for liking a gay movie with lots of gay kissing.  I liked Jim Carrey, but I totally adored Ewan McGregor.  Ewan McGregor got back from the manly activity of motorbiking over extreme terrain in hostile countries and doing manly stuff, then he kissed a guy, and he really looked like he was lovin it.  What a great actor he's turned out to be.  I only detected his Scottish accent once.  When he first meets Jim Carrey it slips in, for a few seconds, at the end of a sentence.  Great movie and Ewan McGregor's best bit of acting ever, and that includes his bit of Trainspotting.





The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets' Nest DVD










 Happy Birthday to The Husband.  I treated him to a track day at Knockhill and he got Moonpigged with a nod to our recent London trip.  
 The Husband was out of bed and away in a hire van, heading over to pick up The Brother, on route to the track, before I'd even got out of bed to get ready to go to work.  The Husband and The Brother spent the day on their race bikes at Knockhill.  The Husband reported back that this was the best track day ever.  And he said awesome a lot.  His first time out on his new Yamaha R1.  He's only raced on R6's before, but word has it this year will be the year of the return of 2008 endurance champions BlackFlag Racing, on R1s.  
  Religious Zealot News : I'm more than happy that Osama Bin Laden is dead.  My first thought was, jeeez now the Muslim extremist lot will go crazy, but know what?  They're already crazy, and they'll do what they'll do anyway.  Whether Bin Laden lived or died, these guys want me dead, I'd rather the USA publicly bitch-slapped them than not.  But if one more person asks me if I've heard Bin Laden's dead...I heard the news at 6 this morning.  Last person to ask me was The Boy coming in about 10pm...'have you hea'...YES!
  Garden Emergency - I've got practically no grass.  It's my own doing of course, I've treated the Starry Towers Lawn with EverGreen  Complete Lawn Food, Weed and Moss Killer.  I got a big bag, 360 sq m + 10% extra free for £20.  Currently all evidence is that this product is brilliant at killing, the lawn is now mostly black patches of deadness with some scrappy bare patches of withered.   I'm just waiting now to see the feed benefits at a later date, fingers crossed an' all that.  The lawn had went practically all to moss and that was annoying me.  I now realise years of my grass-inaction have probably led to lawn starvation, the grass gets weak and the moss and weeds go crazy.  Next good weather day I'm off work I'll be out there on my knees with my new little hand rake, ripping out the dead stuff.  Then it'll be time to bring out the Miracle-Gro Patch Magic.  I will provide the photographic evidence. 
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest.  I loved the first when she had a dragon tattoo, and part 2 when she played with fire, that maintained the excitement and intrigue.  Kicking the hornets' nest, though alright, did tend to come across as an hour and a half of tying up loose ends and making sure the truth will out and offer up a happy ever after, or rather, as much happy as a damaged young spiky hard-nut from a Scandinavian country can be expected to muster. 




 The best time to visit London?  Not this week.  So The Husband and I went last weekend.  When I finished work after a half day shift on the Friday we headed down in The Z4.  With ever improving weather as we headed southwards, top down, music blasting, it was a pleasure.  
  We stayed Friday night at the luxury Menzies Welcombe Hotel Spa & Golf Club somewhere in the Engerland countryside near Stratford-upon-Avon.  Standing in 157 acres of beautiful grounds, with formal and informal gardens, a couple water features...the fountain and a pond with ducks...this mansion house was commissioned in 1866 by Mark Philips, a wealthy Manchester Cotton Manufacturer, High Sherrif and Member of Parliament.  It was built by Thomas Newby in a Neo Jacobean style to designs by architect Henry Clutton.  
  History lesson over, it's an extremely pleasant place to eat and sleep.  A bit fancy with it's male-only restaurant dress code, seems it didn't matter what I was wearing.  The receptionist lady told us if The Husband didn't want to change into a shirt for dinner there were hot and cold meals available in the oak paneled lounge till 10pm.  The oak paneled lounge also offers the option of patio dining over-looking the impressive gardens.  We dropped the luggage off in the room and headed to the lounge, where another member of staff told us no.  We asked politely if we could dine in the lounge, she said no, only in the restaurant.  We asked her if we could order meals in the lounge and eat on the patio over-looking the impressive and very beautiful gardens and water features, she told us no.  We asked if we could go out onto the patio from the lounge, she, only through the restaurant.  We told her the receptionist told us we could, she told us no, only in the restaurant. Exasperated we turned to the now available bar steward and asked of him the same basic question, would it be possible in the lounge, to order food and have it served on the patio, he smiled yes.  I turned to the no-woman and told her triumphantly...the man from behind the bar, he says yes.  I'm still puzzling over why she casually answered all our enquiries in the negative and can only conclude she must not understand English, beyond the words 'food' and 'restaurant', which feels uncomfortably condescending for me to think, or maybe she doesn't actually work there.
  Saturday morning we were off again, top down, and to the tunes of Katy Perry and Lady GaGa, with a little Amy Winehouse, White Stripes and Plan B, we arrived at our Blackheath destination in London.  We were there to visit The Husband's cousin Norman and his wife Margaret.  Retired teachers and the first members of The Husband's family I've met so far.  It's complicated on The Husband's family side of things what with all of them living in either England or Holland.  When Margaret showed me, in good teacher style, maps of London to help me understand where I was, I immediately recognised, I was to the south of the Eastenders Thames loop.  I'm very familiar with the Eastenders Thames loop.
  With introductions and a look around the local area over, that first evening we took advantage of the obvious.  There was a big top on Black Heath, the circus had come to town, right out front of The Retired Teacher Cousin's house.  We went to Zippos Circus, the horse-power version, with the unexpected animal rights protestors at the gate.  I thought the Animal Welfare Act 2006 had sorted out circus-related cruelty to animals.  But then there was the recent Anne the elephant shock horror story.  Horses and budgies are the only animals in this circus, so I was genuinely surprised to see the two protesting women.  They're really needing to re-think their protesting strategy.  They weren't there a couple hours earlier when we dropped by to purchase our tickets.  If they could've swayed us, it certainly wouldn't have been after we'd parted with the ticket money.  And anyway, they ought to visit budgie-owners up and down the country and demand the caged birds be returned to Budgie Land immediately, and maybe the Big Fat Gypsy Wedding gang and take a look at how they treat their horses.  Because from what I saw on that TV show, they don't treat their horses with anywhere near as much regard and care.  But then again, some of their women folk and girl children don't get any sort of respect either.
  Zippos has a famous Ring Master, The World's Greatest Living Ring Master no less.  Mr Norman Barrett MBE, he of 60 years plus Ring Master experience and his renowned World Famous Budgie act.  He's also been an unsuspecting subject of Michael Aspel's 'big red book' for 'This Is Your Life' in 1990.  Ring Master Barrett MBE, AKA Living Legend Barrett, does have an air about him.  His face is vaguely familiar, his voice too, and his manner with the paying public was adorable.  In the interval he came around and finding The Husband trying to spin a plate he spent some time with us, giving an demonstration and tutorial on how to spin a plate and then he asked us...are you enjoying it, are you having a good time?  My heart went out to this septuagenarian gent, for him and the fading popularity of his lifetime's dedication.  I'm a little in love with Ring Master Barrett MBE.  On the subject of spinning plates...I can do it...sometimes, and I'm the best of all of our circus visiting party of 4.  Ring Master Barrett MBE told us, place the plate lip edge on the stick,  allow the plate to start circling naturally atop the stick, then get faster, it's all in the wrist action.  I managed it a few times back at The London Cousin's town house and as soon as we got back to Starry Towers I tried again.  I've been able to pass the spinning plate to a finger tip and back to the stick and also, to throw it up from the stick and catch it again on the stick.  It's my new party trick.  Oh yes Mr Barrett, I headed your words, and with just a little more practice I'll have the option of leaving the world of nursing stress behind and I'll be running away to join the circus.
  A major feature of the circus was the multi-tasking, especially amongst the younger females.  One minute they might be a popcorn vendor, the next they're swinging on a trapeze (no safety net) or dancing around  doing ta-daaa in way of introducing the next act.  The animal horse-power comes from the world’s most famous equestrian presenter Yasmine Smart, grand-daughter of the legendary Billy Smart.  Yasmine performs with her five year old Andalusian stallion Diamond, Hercules, the smallest horse in the UK and her four stunning Palominos, the Palominos look like caricature images of beautiful Swedish blondes.  But the absolute highlight of the circus has to be the non-equine horse-power.  WOW!  the Brazilian Lucius Team and their ‘Globe of Death.  Three motorbikes are ridden at high speed inside a steel cage, along with a show girl who stands smiling as bikes race at 70 mph past her head.  The bikers are in leathers and helmets, she's in a skimpy showgirl outfit.  And The Husband had a candy floss, even after I'd nibbled on a few strands at it's edges and he crammed massive big compressed chunks in his mouth, the majority of it went in a bin, candy floss is a seriously sugar guilty pleasure only to be experienced twice (at very most) in a life-time.
  After the circus, back at The London Cousin's house I had my first Raclette.  The Swiss dish of potatoes with melted cheese, served with sliced meats and pickles.  Given that The London Cousin's wife also provided fresh fruit salads for sweet each time and a traditional Easter roast leg of lamb, home-made roast potatoes, broccoli, carrot batons, gravy and mint sauce for Easter dinner the next evening...when they come to visit Starry Towers...I suspect they're going to maybe be just perhaps, a little disappointed. 
  On Easter Sunday The Cousins showed us the historical Greenwich highlights before leaving us to take a Thames clipper boat trip up to Tower Bridge.  This was at my request because I wanted to visit the Tower of London.  In Greenwich we had a look at Indigo Jones' Queens House, Christopher Wren's Greenwich Hospital buildings (Old Royal Naval College) and a wander in The Painted Hall with it's interior design courtesy of James Thornhill.  
  The Cousin bid us check out the Pearly Queen.  The old dear wearing an outrageous ostrich-feather hat, more Pearly Queen-Mother than Queen.  The Pearly experience came with a Pearly King and a Pearly taxi cab.  Good on them, they were collecting for Great Ormond Street Hospital...allegedly.
  The Tower of London is worth visiting, though absolutely full of foreigners, some of them torn-faced individuals, and they don't all do queues well, I got bumped out the way in the queue for the jewels.  A man just took it upon himself to get nearer the front of the queue, walked right past me before I knew what was happening.  I wasn't happy bout that and took a step out to that side, immediately his female companion followed and pushed me aside rushing forward to join him.  I called out...ach!  dinnae dae that!  I thought the Scottish vernacular and accent would maybe serve me well in the circumstances.  They didn't even look back, so I've no idea what nationality to be most pissed off at.
  The Crown Jewel thing.  You see the queue outside the Waterloo Barracks, you reckon, ach, we're here now, it doesn't look too bad.  You join the queue, in our experience we got to the front of the queue in 5-10 minutes.  You enter the building, then you see you're still queuing.  They wind you round this room like you're in a Post Office.  You get to the front of that queue, step into the next room, expecting the jewels, and they do it to you again.  You eventually get to the jewel room, I think it was about 45 minutes, but by this time I'd lost the will to care.  One of the rooms they wind you round is extremely hot and stuffy, lacking in air conditioning, you will have to fan yourself and if you have any sort of chronic medical condition you'll most likely have to phone yourself an ambulance.  You hurry past the glass exhibit cases with capes and what not, seeking 'The Crown Jewels'.  So you rush to the main event, and suddenly you're on a conveyor belt.  Then we were in the presence of the Koh-i-Noor, one of the largest cut diamonds in the world (105.6 carats), pilfered from India, and some crowns.  It travels at quite a pace, no time to take in the main could if you wished get off the other end and go stand on a platform above the Crown Jewels and take a longer look...but by that time, really...who cares,  you're mostly just wanting to get out of there ASAP, and we did.  I've seen them.
  I had a much longer look at the Ravens, I dallied over the Ravens, I worried about them too.  The animal rights protestors target Zippos Circus, with it's two domesticated breeds, but they are totally absent at the Tower and the wild breed being abused there.  If the Ravens leave The Tower the monarchy will fall...allegedly.  There's no danger the Ravens will take off.  A load of them are in a cage, and the three we watched out on a lawn area spent their time walking.  Hmmm, that was well suspect.  I told The Husband, them birds can't fly, they've done something to them, clipped their wings most likely.  The Husband said I was wrong, the Ravens stay because they're being fed and treated well.  Hmmm.  I asked a warden guy, he wasn't too happy at me.  I'd turned to The Husband and asked, they are Ravens aren't they?  He told me they were Jackdaws.  So I said to the Tower warden guy...about your Jackdaws, if they leave then the monarchy will fall, but they can't leave the Tower, their wings are clipped?  The warden said...Jackdaws, Jackdaws???!  He rolled his eyes and turned away, he weren't pleased.  I said, that was The Husband's fault, they're Ravens aren't they?  He agreed.  I had to put the question again, he was being evasive.  The wings are clipped, so the Ravens can't leave the Tower.  He said...if the monarchy falls that would be bad, I'd be out of a job, it wouldn't be good for the country and you'd have no-where to visit lassie.  That's patently fake news, there's millions of better places available.  He'd took to mimicking a Scottish accent by the end of his speech. 
  Inappropriate and offensive, but I wanted just one question answered and didn't wish to get into a discussion about his anti-Scottishness, or my belief that the monarchy is a waste of tax payers money we can no longer afford, nor that the oft repeated Royalist argument that the Royal family bring the tourist revenue in is a fallacy, the tourists would still come for the history.  The tourists don't go home with selfies with Royals, they go home with mementoes of their visits to the historic buildings.  So anyways, I did what I do well, I stuck to my point and annoyed him further.  The Ravens...wings clipped, yes or no?  He said no.  In disbelief I pushed the issue, ach come on, you've done something to them, birds don't walk when they can fly.  He turned away from making eye contact with me, looked shifty and embarrassed and mumbled...the flight feathers are removed.  'Wings clipped', 'flight feathers removed'...same difference.
  Loads of photies from our London trip still to sort out, they'll be on The UK Gallery page once I get it done.  And by the way, the Invisible Zinc Jet Set Tan spray...I'm allergic, the hunt goes on.





SAW The Final Chapter DVD












 There's a few little purchases on The Star Swag Blog, well, it's been ages since I shopped, I'm such an austerity measures fan.  Really, I deliberately didn't shop for a fortnight.
 I tried my new fake tan product for the first time today.  As regular readers will know I'm a sensitive soul on many levels.  One of my most sensitive areas is my skin, I have allergies and immune system issues.  One of the most bothersome ones has been the allergic reaction I developed approximately a decade ago to fake tanning products.  I'd used them for a good long while with no problems, then one day, red itchy rash on my legs.  As the tan faded and I treated the rash with moisturisers and mild cortisone creams all would be fine for a while.  But as time went on I noticed the worst effected patches on my lower legs would also flare up when no fake tan was being used, in times of stress they'd kick in of their own accord.  As you'd imagine I wasn't exactly happy bout this turn of events and self-diagnosed yet another immune/allergy disorder.  But in an ever increasing desperation to be a stranger to peally-whally milk bottle white legs in yer typical Scottish Summer I'd research fake tan products over the years, always hoping for one that was different.  And I think I've found it.  Aussie brand Invisible Zinc has replaced the usual chemical DHA active ingredient with Erythrulose, a vegetable derivative that, they promise 'won't dry the skin'.  Couple weeks ago I tested first on the soft sensitive inner forearm/wrist problem, so I did a full leg job.  I'm reporting here more than 24 hours after the leg application and all is well.  Tan on my legs and no rash or itch.  Only problem is a bit of streaking on my right shin, but I can get better at applying as I go on.  Hurrahhh!  I can fake tan again.
  I wasn't so clever with the new NHS uniform.  I'd read online reports of the new national uniform causing rashes, and I read the bit paper my uniforms came with advising a couple washes before wear.  But I was too ironing-shy to bother with that, if you wash it, you've got to iron it, and obviously I'm now one of the rashy nurses.  First day of wearing the nape of my neck started getting bumpy and itchy, after three more days wear the rash is now all down my back.  That'll learn me for being so silly.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched SAW The Final Chapter.  We're both big SAW fans, it's been a great franchise while it lasted.  And even though they say this is the last...of course, they could start up again anytime, they made sure of that.





Buried DVD







 I've had a religious experience, I've found Jesus, on eBay.  Red Hot Comics in Glasgow are Scotland's leading comic shop and they've got an eBay shop.  I've got me a Buddy Christ to keep me from temptation and watch over me.  He's happy, he's scrappy, he's the son of god.  With a cheeky wink and a big thumbs up, he makes me feel all is well.  This is the View Askew 5" personal portable saviour inaction figure of Buddy Christ from Kevin Smith's movie Dogma.  One of my favourite movies of all time.  Need to try and find an Allah inaction figure now, they're not so easy to track down.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched Buried.  A movie that makes you want to talk, not one for the cinema.  Just as well I watched it with The Boy and not The Husband, The Husband doesn't permit talking during movies, we talked all the way through, you couldn't not talk.  It's a man in a box with a mobile phone and a Zippo.  All the way through we were urging him to do the One Inch Punch like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill: Vol. 2.













 The new NHS Scotland uniform has at long last reached me personally.  The nation-wide phasing-in began in November 2009 and the complete changeover across all boards is expected to be done by 2012.  For a while now I've watched as growing numbers of colleagues around me got the new stuff, till on a typical day everyone had the new blues and I'd be the sole whitey in the bunch.  My new ones arrived today.  I was so enthused I immediately changed my tunic.  I didn't bother changing trousers, cos to be honest, the new trews are near-on the same shade as the old, no-one would notice, and the old style are slightly more flattering.  The new trousers, across the board are the same shade of really dark blue, and have an extremely unflattering baggy cut.  I'm chuffed to bits to announce my optimistic ordering of the 'small short' top and 'extra small' bottoms, fit. 
  The Scottish parliament says of the new uniform, "the pride on the inside is now shown on the outside".  Previously I wore a totally white tunic, now I have a much more attractive blue, and of the three blues that the various members of a nursing team wear, it is my favourite.  Nursing Assistants have a pale and charge nurses a dark blue.  The one best thing about the new uniform is that it's national, it won't matter which hospital you visit, it'll be the same all across Scotland.  I do recall when The Dad was ill in a different Scottish health board back in the 80's, when I was but a student nurse, I visited him to see the Charge Nurse in the same grey uniform domestics wore in my health board.  Apart from the nation-wide colours, the new tunics have 3 other basic differences from the old.  One change for the better, but two for the worse.  The fabric is lighter, good, however the handy breast pocket is missing.  I used the breast pocket for pens, scissors, pen-torch, stuff  with a handy pocket clip.  The stuff I need immediately at hand, the stuff that handily slips in and out of breast pockets.  I know it's going to take ages, probably at least a year, before my natural instinct, formed from 28 years of reaching to a breast pocket for pen/scissors/torch to stop.  But I accept that's a reasonable ask.  Breast pockets are, research says, dangerous.  You reach over the top of a patient you could conceivably scratch or gouge an eye out, probably.  Though in 28 years I never have.  I tend to not press my breasts on people's faces.  Well, not at work anyway.
  The zip front is gone and the new tunic is an over-the-head style.  Fine if your putting it on clean and fresh at the start of a shift.  But what if you just got body fluids sprayed across your top?  What if your covered in blood/shit/vomit?  Would you like to pull that up and over your head?  Zipping down and stepping out is a far better option.  Why did they not think of that?  In really bad cases of body fluid contamination I predict some staff will have to be cut from their tunics, but not me, it's doubtful I'll ever find myself that soaked in gore.
  Musa Kusa (snigger) is off to to Doha to attend tomorrow's first formal meeting of the Libya Contact Group.  A British Foreign Office spokesman said Musa Kusa (titter) was a "free individual who can travel to and from the UK as he wishes".  Really?  So predictable, so predictable even I predicted it, the UK government claimed he wouldn't get special treatment, no immunity from prosecution for his almighty crimes against humanity.  Days later, despite the Lockerbie lot wanting him and apparently getting him for questioning, and the Irish really wanting him for questioning re he goes back in the general direction from whence he came.  He probably found he didn't like it here after all.  Anyone seriously think he'll come back anytime soon?























 I re-found Edwyn Collins last night.  In the '80s I was an Orange Juice fan, the first album I ever bought was their You Can't Hide Your Love Forever, with the dolphins.  This was the first and last...the only if you like...vinyl album I ever bought.  Before moving on to cassettes to play in my shiny new Sony Walkman, bought with my first wage as a student nurse (so must've been Sept/Oct 1983).  It was blue and the latest gadget at the time.  Then it was all about CDs and I got a the Sony Discman ESP D-240.  Still got them, both in full working order and perfect condition.  But that's nothing, I've still got my 1970s Grundig Party-Boy 'Pocket' (if you've got big pockets) Radio The Parents gave me when I was but a child.  Still functioning and it would be perfect if The Boy hadn't broke the top most tip section of the aerial off in a wanton act of vandalism when he was a toddler, circa 1995.  I've also still got my only vinyl purchase.  The only other vinyl I have is the 1991 The Divinyls I Touch Myself 7" single (B side...Follow Through), but that was a gift from some boyfriend because he had it and I wanted it.  Years later I bought the Edwyn Collins CD Gorgeous George, for the song A Girl Like You, and I'm ashamed, retrospectively, to admit that's the extent of my collection.  When I saw him on Twitter it all came flooding back, the '80s and train trips, Lanark to Glasgow and back again.  Doing a Business Management degree with L.O.V.E Love in my head.  In my head because I didn't have a gadget to listen to back then.  A few years later with Friend L we saw Orange Juice live in Edinburgh.
  So last night I checked my iPod and realised I didn't have You Can't Hide Your Love Forever in mp3 format.  I rectified the problem online.  This is another landmark in my music life, my first mp3 album download.  Of course, with my OCD an' all, I much prefer to buy the CD and rip my own, but I couldn't find the CD version at a reasonable price.  Full of the joys of reminiscing my much younger times gone by, I went to the Edwyn Collins website.  He's got a fantastically good looking and massively welcoming, user-friendly website.  I tweeted Edwyn Collins saying @EdwynCollins You Can't Hide Your Love Forever was the first album I ever bought. L.O.V.E. Love is beautiful, thank you...M x.  His reply (below) a tad hard on himself, and me...he's talking about one of my all time favourite songs.












 Bin News : deep breath...ok, here we go...this week...though the blue bin (paper, card etc) was placed correctly at the kerbside on the evening prior to the usual emptying timetable day, the Bin People decided not to touch it, just didn't see their way to emptying it.  The Husband suspects this was due to it being only approx 1/6 full.  It seems the Bin People don't understand the way things are at Starry Towers.  I must have the bins emptied as per schedule, if the bins aren't emptied I go into a bit of a panic.  The answer to this feeling of unease and all being not quite I emptied the blue bin contents into the black bin (general mixed waste), which is due to be emptied next Monday morning.  It's got nought to do with recycling, it's all to do with my OCD.  Problem solved and panic averted.
  Closer magazine printed a horrendous photo-shoot recently.  David Van Day and his wife Sue Moxley.  That naked bum is one naked bum no-one needs to see, but I suffered, and she puts a brave face on it as any good ex-model and beauty expert would do, so you can too.  He lifts that leg a couple inches higher and we'd be staring at a brown eye butthole.  She looks, maybe a little inconvenienced, but she looks good.  Him...not so.  Where's an air-brush artist when you need one?  Such unattractive pictures, what was he thinking?  Apart from trying to re-launch a music career, though I take umbrage at the idea he's had a previous music career, does Dollar really count?  Really?  The next thing I thought after the shock of turning a Closer page and tasting a little bit of sick in my mouth, was about Sue Moxley.
  DVD previously bored on I'm A Celeb 2008, then while dating Sue he dumped her live on Ch 5 before getting back together and engaged the next day.  How very predictable desperate attention-deficit.  Sue Moxley and Dave VD now perform as singing duo Rich and Famous.  He must be Rich cos her make-up range was called Famous.  Having said that, their behaviour would indicate he's not all that rich and she's not very famous. Rich and Famous have released a song called Rich and Famous and are the new faces of an organic Botox cream, despite his plastic surgery history.
  The Boy is unwell, really no well, he spent the evening laying around on the sofa, moaning.  I have to say, his temperature is pretty impressive, no need for a thermometer, he's burning up.  When he came to me announcing he was feeling shite and a bit hot, I could tell just looking at him all flushed and face tripping him.  My hand to his forehead, ouch, hot.  Sore throat and hyperthermia, rigor, loss of appetite, aching muscles, lethargy, poor wee sole.  I dosed him up with Paracetamol for the temperature control and an Aspirin gargle for the sore throat, then saw him off to his bed.  I got him two bottles of cold water out the fridge, a frozen ice pack and a blanket for when his duvet is too much.  He requested a 'spit basin', so he can lie in his bed and spit, his throat must be tasting pretty disgusting.  I'm thinking maybe tonsillitis because he mentioned a burst thing happened on the roof of his mouth earlier and I have a long and busy history of tonsillitis myself, it only stopped after I had my tonsils removed in the 90s.  We'll see what the morra brings for him, but one things certain, he will be at his work come Friday.  I've been up and down stairs checking on him all evening and he's still alive.  Years back before The Boy was born, I made his father go to work with Glandular Fever.  Of course we didn't know he had Glandular Fever at the time, I'm not a total bitch.  Six months after his lengthy acute spell of trying to take sickies, which I denied him, he went to his GP.  He was concerned at his inexplicable weight loss and swollen lymph nodes, he actually suspected he had cancer.  The GP did blood tests and informed him, "you've had Glandular Fever...approximately 6 months ago".  Oh well, it was probably his own fault, I wouldn't have dismissed his illness at the time if he hadn't already given me the impression that he was keen on blagging sickies.  No sickies on my watch.












 Religious Zealot News.  Religion is bad.  Obviously.  When you weigh up the positives and negatives, religion is probably the baddest thing ever.  I have no god, no religion, and I'm a better person for it.  I watched the Louis Theroux documentary about the no-FUNdaMENTAL Baptist Christian Phelps family cult in the USA.  Banned from the UK in 2009, it's all about the child abuse and inciting hatred with The Westboro Church.  The child abuse is the brain washing of innocent children, it's horrible to see these little people regurgitating this hate in the name of a human delusion.  The hours and hours of their childhoods spent standing in all weathers holding signs.  The anti-Jew video they showed Louis was so stupidly childishly horrendously offensive and designed to effect him personally, him being Jewish, he retained his cool, the consummate professional.
  Their main objectives seem to be hating and protesting, gays and funerals being favourites.  They attribute all their hatred to their god, sticking 'GOD' at the start of their hate statements, GOD HATES FAGS, GOD HATES FAG ENABLERS, GOD HATES AMERICA, GOD HATES ISRAEL, GOD HATES JEWS, GOD HATES YOU etc.  And the classic thanking their god signs, THANK GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS, THANK GOD FOR BREAST CANCER, can these people be anymore offensive?  They even THANK GOD FOR OIL SPILLS.  They're pretty crazy with this, their god hates just about everything and is responsible for the rest...whatever suits them at the time.  They attribute geology, weather and atmospheric changes as their god's work against the sinners, and hence they rejoice at human death by tsunami and earthquake.  Oh yeah, and Obama is The Beast, the Anti-Christ.  They seem to want everyone else in the world that isn't them to feck off and burn in hell.  Good to see their website is currently down amid speculation of hacking by Anonymous.  There's much speculation and counter speculation amid conspiracy theory and counter conspiracy theory one knows who done it, just glad some clever sod did.  There is, at time of going to blog,  a explaining why god hates ciggies, all good clean www fun at the expense of the bible bashing crazies. 
  More Religious Zealot News.  I watched My Brother The Islamist, a documentary by tree surgeon-turned-filmmaker Robb Leech attempting to understand why his stepbrother Rich, and so many other seemingly ordinary young white UK men convert to Islam.  I'd point to the fact that they don't convert to Islam, if they did it would be acceptable as their personal choice from the range of recognised world faiths available to their spiritual minds to choose from.  These particular young people aren't thinking peace and love or they'd all turn Buddhist, go on retreat and we'd all smile.  These people have a cult like need to belong, if they lived anywhere close to Kansas they'd be over talking to old man Phelps.  These sad individuals convert under radical Muslim groups like Islam4UK (now banned under Britain's anti-terror laws).  They want Sharia law, where women would be stoned to death for relationship misdemeanours.  Most of the women I know, me included, would be dead by stoning or alive in a burka if we lived under Sharia law.  My message to Rich and all his intolerant homophobic women-hating brothers, if you don't like it here, look out your passport, buy a ticket to a Muslim country and live there.  You won't have to look at all you hate so much, and us infidels could get on with our choices, to live, be happy and be kind to others without fear of terrorism.  Robb was particularly offended when Rich explained the only way he would ever again make physical contact with Robb now is with his arse-wiping left hand, his dirty hand.  Robb, this is probably the least of your worries mate, it can only get worse.  I'm a feminist and an atheist, all of this offends my intelligence and common sense as much as my emotions.
  "As an atheist, having a christian threaten me with hell is like having a hippy threaten to punch me in my aura."  Josh Thomas, Australian comedian.





22 Bullets DVD












 Happy Birthday Mr Walken, 68 today, and still my favourite man on the big screen.
 There's a newly opened Dobbies garden centre just outside Sunny D.  This has a farm food hall selling local (allegedly) produce, a butcher and a bakery, The Deli Cafe, a restaurant, freezer foods with each prepared meal portion bearing the name of the person who cooked it, gifts, a children's department, toys and games, pet care, aquatics and chickens.  And my personal favourite feature, the olive oil bar with free samples and breads to dip.  Once I get started on that there's practically no dragging me away.  Strangely enough, they also sell plants and garden stuff.  It's absolutely massive, and apparently, in the men's loos there's flower shaped urinals.  Now that I know this, I will of course, be sending The Husband in to obtain photographic evidence.
  Massive car park with a load of hand waving parking/security type attendants outside, and they can be a bit Little Hitler with their instructions on where you should park.  That's annoying, it's like being at Ingliston, this way mate, go that way, and this way, this way, and this way...and park right...there.  We'll park where we want to park not where we're told to park, thank you very much.  We're at a bloody garden centre.  The Husband put a window down and told the guy he wouldn't be following orders, we parked where The Husband wanted to park.  Then in the shop for stepping stones, blue pansies for the hanging baskets and a Steiff Lumpi Labrador Puppy.  We had a laugh with the lady on the till, there's free gift wrapping for Mother's Day gifts, and this puppy was a Mother's Day gift, so she wrapped it for free, quite badly, but she wrapped it.  Was all clear with little white spots cellophane, and a huge choice of coloured bows.  She tried to make the bow ribbons do the curly thing, failed, several times, we told her just to cut them short and forget any idea of curls.  We bid her a fond farewell saying 'see you later', she said, 'yeah if I'm still working here'.  I do like a warm friendly human shop assistant.  We also got cupcakes, 4 of, a special Mum's Day one saying 'Star Mum' and other starry decorated ones, then visited The Parents with gifts.
  Former Libyan Foreign Minister Musa Kusa (snigger) has too silly a name, I can't take the man seriously at all.  Listening to TV news articles about him they repeat the name so often I'm just concentrating on hearing his name.  I'm not very pleased he's here mind, seeking asylum, and the Westminster government claiming he won't get special treatment, no immunity from prosecution for his almighty crimes against humanity.  Yeah well, we'll see how that works out.  Rats leaving a sinking ship are still rats.
  The Husband's back from his annual motorbike racing week in France and he's got new toys.  A tiny HD video cam and a movie editing computer programme.  The Husband's first major movie is available on YouTube, spot the clever editing.  That's him doing 140 mph at le circuit Val De Vienne.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched 22 Bullets.  Starring Jean Reno, a little bit obvious, I saw all the twists coming, but we like Monsieur Reno very much, so it's an enjoyable movie.  And that wee boy, what a great actor for one so young.








 There's a watch on The Star Swag Blog.
 Sunny D has a new feature, local council installed, on the corner at the west entrance to the village.  The edge of the grass at the decorative raised flower-bed garden feature, just before you pass the decorative-signage, gets churned up by vehicles mounting the kerb.  I know I've seen that occasionally, but I didn't realise it was such a major problem.  Today we spotted this bunch of decorative posts that have appeared to put a stop to this.














 I buy a Midi...didn't think I'd ever do that.  It's on The Star Swag Blog
 Last weekend the employee lady at The Sunny D shop was so kind and thoughtful, she kept the free-with-some-Sunday-paper Spandau Ballet CD and gave it to me.  I went in to pick up my Sunday Times, with about half an hour before the shop was due to close it's usual half day, she lifted my paper up from under the counter and drew the free CD from between it's pages and supplements.  Asking me if I'd took me a few seconds to very sweet.  Of course I said yes.  I don't even particularly like Spandau Ballet, and Simon Le Bon always looked too chunky, but for her to think of me and do this for me...I'm truly moved by her kindness.  Erm...I just got my New Romantic bands mixed up didn't I...t'was Tony Hadley, I never liked him, or maybe it's a Duran Duran CD.  Who cares, that's not important.
  I was recently reminded of an evening from the '90s I'd long forgot.  Me and a then-boyfriend were having an evening in a local drinking facility.  We was quietly minding our business when a group of local and vocal teenagers came in and made big noise about how they thought we were Liam Gallagher and Patsy Kensit.  I'm pretty sure they knew we weren't (actually 100% certain they totally knew), but they loved that we looked a bit like.  Nice teenagers.
  I'm having an elongated period of personal crises which has me thinking back even more than my usual way-too-morbid mulling and thinking, and quite frankly, I'm way too sad.  It's been highlighted for me today because I was foolish enough to get talking to a man of the cloth, and didn't get away for an hour and a half.  I enjoyed speaking to him, but equally, it was terribly hard work.  Just by it's very nature, any conversation with a man of the cloth will do that to me.  I found him forgiving, accepting, warm, caring and intelligent.  We discussed matters of spirituality, how he got to this point and what's made me me.  He told me he recognised my situation, death anxiety.  I know fine well that I'm anxious about death, it's surely a common condition.  He told me I'd feel better just having had this conversation with him.  Strangely he was right about that, he seems to have given me some sort of 'comfort'...a smidgeon of.  I'm not about to find a god, but he understood, that's just him being caring and intelligent, nothing to do with religion.  He offered his services if I want to talk to him again...probably not.
  I  should've known, it's the meaning of life thing.  I know I'm scared of dying and death, but I haven't ever spoke to anyone at length about it.  It's not something anyone wants to talk about usually, bring it up in conversation, you'll be pacified as soon as, if you persist, you'll be told enough now, lets talk about summit else.  When I try to decide if I should do something about it, I'm always flummoxed as to what exactly.  Tell a GP?  I tried that a few weeks ago, told one of the GPs who visit my ward, as a fellow professional...and it turns out she's struggling just as much as me.  She's so scared of death and can't fathom out the point of life either.  I occasionally consider telling a GP who's actually responsible for my health care, but I think they'd just prescribe me antidepressants.  Prozac Nation and all that.  But I'm not at all keen on mood meds unless it's life-threatening, and by 'life-threatening', I mean the degree of psychotic depression that merits ECT.
  The Brother is married to a lovely German, bad bit is they're in the middle of moving to Germany. They're upping sticks, selling house and cars, The Sis-in-law already left her job and is working in Germany, she's finding a house and plans are The Brother will be out there sometime this summer.  I know, I know, it's just an hours flight away, it just seems...sad.  The Husband likes spending time with The Brother, they both do motorbikes, we'll both miss him.  And don't suggest...but you'll have family in Germany you can visit and get free accommodation...cos we already had that offer from The German in-laws and their holiday home.  And we've got a house in Holland just over the German border and we can actually travel to any part of Europe anytime we bloody well wish...soooooooo, there's no benefit I can see.  I simply wont be appeased.  AND looking ahead...when our parents need a bit help...the wee shite wont be around to attend as required.
  In my job I've seen loads of old folks with kids that live abroad...I cant help but feel them kids should be around and not miles away.  But The Sis-in-law is returning to live close to her parents, so should be commended for that.  Darn.  My Octogenarian Friend was always dropping in and treated me like a daughter...because...his real daughters live miles away.  I was his regular hospital visitor, me and The Dad or me and The Husband were there every day till the daughters got here and started their 24/7 death bed vigil, then I had to stand back. 
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched The Loved Ones.  Australian slash horror with a bit of humour and finesse.  Says a lot about me that the only bit that made me go OMG! was when a person was crawling on a hard road surface, having to use elbows because of broken bones and other such serious injuries, it was the skin on the hard road thing, that must've hurt.





Splice DVD









 Tiring of my usual messages delivery service I tried Sainsburys.  They offer one hour delivery slots instead of 2 hours the others provide, there's no delivery charge for all orders over £100 booked for delivery on Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday, they give Nectar points and £10 discount vouchers if they make a mistake.  The delivery guy gave me the New Customer talk and booklet of info.  I'm impressed.  He was very good at his job with a professional and friendly manner, explained everything and delivered the groceries right to the Starry Towers kitchen instead of the doorstep.  The last point in his New Customer Talk was that the driver has to be permitted to take the Z4 out for a drive.
 I hate unruly tangled iPod cable, so I bought a Nite Ize Curvyman.  The cable tidy that came with my most recent earphone purchase doesn't work well.  The cable's always unrolling itself off it and it's heavy enough to put enough weight on dragging an earphone to fall out my ear every now and again.  How very annoying.  The Curvyman functions much better, it's light, the cable stays where you put it and the little clip thing is great for helping take any drag off and hence the earpiece stays in your ear when the clip is clipped on a clothing neckline or suchlike.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Splice.  On my ownsome because I couldn't persuade The Husband or The Boy to watch it with me.  Not my typical kind of movie, but Rotten Tomatoes said it was alright, the critics gave it 74%.  Worst bit...Adrien Brody's character having sex with the creature, there was absolutely no reason for any intelligent scientist who is punching way above his weight with his fellow intelligent scientist and attractive girlfriend to be doing that.





Mean Girls DVD


Heathers DVD


Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! DVD


The Lovely Bones DVD

 Get The Label swag on The Star Swag Blog.
 Local People News.  The snow was gone the next day, all that shoveling wasn't actually technically required.  The old-lady-next-door-neighbour phoned me the next day to thank us for clearing her path though.  So that's good, she's alive, and as well as can be expected.  Turns out she was sick and laying on her recliner chair.  She was aware we were out there doing her path, but she felt so poorly she couldn't get off the chair.  She was feeling much better the next day, as the snow was melting away with every passing minute, so that's good.  I saved her phone number off the caller identity screen this time, so if I'm worried bout her again I can give her a call.  Now I think I maybe should have broke into her house in case she was dying, I need to step up my Neighbour Watch.
 In other Local People News, I've been back to the Post Office and faced the Silver Haired Fox with the news that I wouldn't be purchasing a crossbow for him on eBay.  I explained there are none on eBay and that my assumption is this will be because as lethal weapons they have to be purchased all legal and above board, probably registered to the buyers name and address.  He agreed.  Anyways that's that put to bed, he then tells me he's got a friend looking for a set of skies for I the only one thinking James Bond here?  Skies, crossbow, what next?  Post Office pen with hidden poison dart and camera in his Post Office badge?
 The Husband came home, watched a couple movies with me, sorted out his race bikes, collected his swag, picked up the Goody Bag I'd lovingly made up for him, full of 'just add boiling water' snack pots and cup soups, chocolate, Dr Pepper, crisps, muesli and 8 kitchen rolls, hired a van, booked a ferry and was off to le circuit Val De Vienne in The Land of The Guillotine and bagettes to go round and round in circles.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down! That was OK.
  I watched Mean Girls.  Because I never have before, nothing more to say.
  I watched Heathers.  Because it's years since I did before, wasn't much of a movie experience really.
  The Husband and I watched The Lovely Bones.  Bit of a mistake on my part, I hadn't realised this is a ghost story aimed at teenage girls.  The performance of Susan Sarandon made it worthwhile though, despite there being no good reason for her apart from making the movie a load better than it was without a drunk granny.





Frontiers DVD









 A wristlet clutch on The Star Swag Blog.
 The Boy didn't get to work today due to extreme Winter weather conditions.  The snow came down heavy on the Wine & Whine night, but  disappeared causing no travel issues the next day.  It returned today causing the 243 bus to go AWOL.  I phoned the Traveline Scotland helpline...twice.  They said it was running, but may be delayed.  The Boy went for the 11.00 version.  He stood for over an hour, waiting for the 11.00, then the 12.00.  No joy.  I squared it with his work, let them know how hard he'd tried to get there.  I was clearing snow off the Starry Towers monoblock while he was bus-waiting.  He went back indoors, absolutely freezing, for a hot shower, then a bowl of hot soup.  Then he and I cleared the old-lady-next-door-neighbour's path.  No sign of the old one, she wasn't sitting by the window as usual.  The Boy told me to knock the door, but I didn't want to make her feel she had to thank us.  I just wanted to do a favour on the QT.  The Boy shoveled the snow and I sprinkled the salt after him.  My worry was if she tried to leave her house today she might slip and fall.  But now I'm more worried she's dead indoors.  There's been no sign of her all day, maybe I should have chapped the door.
  Yesterday at work I smelt Vosene.  From distant memory I think Vosene has a strong smell, a distinctive medicated tarry smell, and I did, I could smell it.  I'm going to buy a bottle so I can practice smelling (amnosia).
  Lord Hutton says I should give up the benefits of a public service worker pension, and revise my ideas on retirement age too.  Lord Hutton...go feck yourself.  You think we go into Mental Health Nursing for the wages?  We go into it because we want to help others, we stay for the pension/retirement age benefits.  I recall about 1989, the Westminster government of the time facilitated and promoted private pension companies to approach nurses, a load of us were swayed by their advice and left the NHS pension scheme.  But some years later the government had to admit they got it wrong and had to allow us to return to the NHS pension.  If Lord Hutton gets his way...that'll be me screwed again.  Can I sue them for changing the boundaries?  Making false promises?  We have a contract, an agreement, I'll knock my pan out for them, in return they'll pay my wage, give me the pension we agreed on and let it all stop when I'm 55.  I've got my heart set on retiring at age 55, I couldn't do a day more, seriously.  At age 55 I'll have 36 years in the NHS, 3 years training and 33 as a trained nurse, and as things stand at this time, as I have MHO status, every year after 20 years counts as two years.  I've only got 7 and a half years to go.  Hutton better no move they goalposts.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched Frontiers.  One of them horror movies that goes to the extremes of crazy torturing, murdering, slicing and dicing behaviour.  Set in France, so expect subtitles.  It's a well made example of the genre.  Says more about me and The Boy that the scene we found most scary and disturbing is the attempted escape via a tight enclosed tunnel in deep underground rock, barely large enough to squeeze through, that's terrifying. 





The Other Guys DVD


Beneath Hill 60 DVD


Ricky Gervais Live IV Science DVD


An Idiot Abroad DVD


 Perfume and nail polish on The Star Swag Blog
 To finish the day on a high...The Best Friend did one of our Wine & Whine nights.  Haven't done this since last Autumn, mostly down to my Winter depression.  Last week in email I told The Best Friend to come on over to my place and I mentally booked The Starry Towers sitting room, without notifying The Boy.  I didn't tell him, mostly because I didn't know I had any reason to.  The Boy had pre-booked (in his head) for the Barcelona v Arsenal Champions League last 16 game at the Nou Camp.  The outcome of this problematic double-booking was The Best Friend and I got there first and refused to go away.  The Boy joined us for the match.  If anything, his presence and the football added to our usual type evening.  He put up with our talking and we grew accustomed to ignoring the gasps, tuts, yays and sweary word outbursts from his corner of the sofa.
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched The Other Guys.  I love Will Ferrell, this is funny thanks to Will Ferrell.  It's no Ron Burgandy, but I liked it for all his bits, there is where the humour lies, everyone  The Boy spotted a load of continuity goof type mistakes.  He rewound and showed me frame by frame the one after the accounting office blows up, Ferrell is rolling around on the ground next to Wahlberg, Ferrell's  wooden pistol starts off in his holster, then it's on the ground, then it's back in the holster.  There were so many continuity mistakes I suspect they did it all deliberately.
 The Husband and I watched Beneath Hill 60.  Very good.
 The Husband and I watched Ricky Gervaise Live Science.  Always funny.
 The Husband and I watched some of Karl Pilkington - An Idiot Abroad.  It's ok, has it's moments.






















 Art Deco nail varnish over on The Star Swag Blog.
While chairing a disciplinary panel hearing, where a care worker was sacked after a 9 year old child accused the carer of rape, Glasgow Labour, now ex-councillor, William O’Rourke asked a particularly telling question.  Here's my question...what non-paedo could for even one second suspect that a 9 year old child could understand what it means to want to be raped?  A child who lacks affection may want to be loved, of course they do, it's a basic human need, but they don't even yet understand human emotion beyond wanting to be cared for, to be special and have another human want to care for them and provide for them and their wellbeing, because they are children who lack the ability to consent.
 This old Labour man asked an investigating police officer if the child 'wanted it to happen'.  Yes Mr O'Rourke, if you're a firm fan of the popular paedophile delusion that children want it, are asking for it, contrive to obtain it (the little minxes) and enjoy it, "it" being what they don't understand because they're only 9.  Young children lack capacity, are incapable of knowing what's best for them, of what's likely to break their tiny little bodies and immature mental coping mechanisms and therefore would be best avoided.












 I've just bought my third set of Sennheiser ear-canal phones and this may be a mistake.  My previous two Sennheiser ear-canal phones have broke at the jack plug connection bit.  The cable feels rubbery to the touch, it feels like it should do well in the non-tangle category, but if I don't wrap the cable it comes out my pocket or handbag totally tangled.  When I broke my second set, I swore to myself I'd stop wrapping them and sent The Husband up to the local ear-phone shop for a replacement set.  It was an emergency, happened mid-podcast while I was out gardening.  And I panicked, I was scared, I rely on my podcasts to get me to sleep, to get me through breaks at work, to tell me what's happening in the world, they are my security blankie.  I'll have to search for better earphones and keep a back-up set, this will be my last Sennheiser set.
  Sennheiser ear-canal phones
  I visited the Sunny D Post Office and left having agreed to do The Silver Haired Fox (the PO guy) a favour, out of politeness and surprise.  It wasn't till this evening that I had time to consider his request.  I requested that he return a parcel to New Look for me, he obliged, then he requested I seek out and purchase an item for him on eBay.  He tells me he's not good at www shopping, and I believe that from everything else he's ever said in general chit chat about his computer and online usage, and he knows fine well that I'm an expert in said field.  I was taken aback that he asked me to shop for him for anything ever, so I knew immediately, snap-decision-reaction, gut instinct an' all, that I wouldn't be doing it, even as I was chatting, asking for more detail, being all sociable and friendly, I was thinking, aye right.  I immediately thought this was a strange request situation to find myself in, for two reasons, and now, 3 reasons.
  My concerns :
  1...I'd have to trust that he'd pay me for the purchase once I'd obtained it for him (though I think he would but I don't know for sure)
  2...I know nothing about the thing he wanted me to buy and he didn't give me enough information to make me feel in anyway knowledgeable enough about it that I'd feel sure enough I'd be bidding on the right type, and now...since I had a look on eBay this evening...
  3...I see a lack of the item on eBay.  There's plenty of the toy version, and accessories for, but none of the real adult version.
  The Silver Haired Fox asked me to buy him something on eBay, strange...and something he'd know I'd know nothing about, stranger than strange...and even after I asked some questions, it was obvious I still knew nothing, strangest of strange.  What's wrong with this man?  He asked me to buy for him is a crossbow.  A paper trail with my name on a lethal weapon purchase.  I'm entirely uncomfortable about the arrangement.  I don't even like deadly weapons.  The Silver Haired Fox is rather freaking me out.
  lethal weapon





The Secret In Their Eyes DVD


Despicable Me DVD









 The weather took a turn for the better midweek, enticing The Husband and I to get up North and test the Z4 on her first day out with her new wheels.  The Highlands are still there and the wheels stayed on, always a bonus. 
 On the way back down we had lunch at the Stirling branch of Dobbies.  The Husband had a huge hunger on.  When we arrived, 5 minutes after 3pm, the hot dinner type food was on display, the shepherd's pie really whetted his appetite, but the shop girl said they'd stopped serving the dinners at 3.  Five minutes ago.  He asked what they'd be doing with the food, they'd be throwing it away.  A big tray of shepherd's pie, maybe two portions missing, and the other dinner stuff.  Even if they'd turned the heating system off to the containers at 3pm, it would still be safely edible, but the answer was no.  The Husband did ask me if I thought it was reason for complaint, and for complaint, read...causing a scene.  They're very very lucky I didn't fancy fish and chips, that's all I'm saying.  Their saving grace was the woman on the till, she said if it'd been her serving, she'd have sold him shepherd's pie.  The Brie and Cranberry Panini was very nice, The Husband had Cheese and Onion Toasties.
  Andy Scott's Kelpies are due to arrive at The Falkirk Wheel in 2012.  In the meantime there are the scaled down versions, we spotted the tops of the wee ones off the M9 again.  T'internet tells us they're at lock 2 of a canal just outside Grangemouth.  But even Eddie Izzard on the sat nav can't figure out how to get to them.  So, determined to get to the bottom of this conundrum I looked into visiting The Falkirk Wheel and planned on asking the Falkirk Wheel people how to get to the baby Kelpies.  And hence, we did The Falkirk Wheel, what can I say, it IS impressive, as a feat of engineering.  It is after all "the World's first and only rotating boat lift".  Doing The Falkirk Wheel is a massive non-event unless you love engineering.  But once I learned that prior to The Falkirk Wheel, moving your boat from there to there, between The Forth & Clyde Canal and The Union Canal, would've taken a day.  Due to having to displace so much water it took a whole day.  And now with modern engineering ingenuity it takes only 4 minutes to move your boat the same actual 35 metre height.  Now I'm really impressed and view the Falkirk Wheel with admiration and I can actually see the beauty.  They do stretch out the experience as much as they can, to justify their claims of "a great day out". 
  When your actually getting on a boat and waiting for launch time, which when we purchased the tickets, we were told was NOW, we'd just made it by minutes.  Then you wait another 10 minutes while they let the stragglers get on, then Eddie and Mike take their sweet time busying themselves looking important with their life jackets on and Eddie spins out his commentary speech with his dry Glasgow humour (jokes as funny as they could possibly be given the situation, and he has adopted a certain Frankie Boyle delivery style, so all credit to him).  Then being lifted up, then sailing over the aqueduct to reach a wide enough bit to turn the boat around, then sail back across and go back down again, they spin it out to an hour of tourist trip experience.  Thing is, that might all look a wee bit awe-inspiring from the ground, but just a wee bit, because the boat disappears behind the metal sides holding the water and boat, all you see is the cogs and gears turning, and it's all very big and metal and slowly does it.  Being on the boat all you get is a slight feeling of movement as the horizon shifts and the windows of the boat are all grime and rain stained, so not even good photo opportunities from up there, apart from the little bit of open space without window up front, and Eddie tells you you're only aloud to take a turn at sticking your camera out.  They should look at improving photo opportunities along the ride.  When the boat gets to the top Eddie and Mike are out on a platform which looks perfectly safe to me, but the public aren't allowed.
  So back to Andy Scott's Kelpie Heads, the 35 metre ones are planned to be the centrepiece of the Falkirk Helix project and will be the biggest horse sculpture in the world.  The mini versions are sitting at the entrance to The Falkirk Wheel Visitor Centre.  When I asked The Falkirk Wheel people where they are, a man told me...out the door there.  We were a bit amazed they'd moved them from aside the M9 to The Wheel overnight.  Wasn't till I Googled more in-depth when we got back home that I discovered there's two sets, and we're none the wiser as to how to get to the ones by the M9. 
  Movie watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Secret In Their Eyes.  Great Argentinean twisty turny thriller, lots of secrets in lots of eyes, very good, highly recommended by The Husband and I.
  The Husband and I watched Despicable Me.  It's not a common event, me buying an animation DVD, the last one that turned my head was The Incredibles.  Despicable Me lives up to the hype, funny and fantastic, we lurved.





Boiler Room DVD


A Serious Man DVD


Volver DVD







 I'm not working this week and The Husband's at home, but it's February and it's the wet and cold weather obviously.  There's New Look shopping on The Star Swag Blog, I have to find something to help me through this difficult time of year.
 The Husband's been preparing his bikes for his annual pre-race-season track week meet in the South of France next month.  I know it sounds like I should be gagging to accompany him on this trip to the South of France, but I've been before.  It rained, it was cold, cold enough that it snowed and all there is to do is watch motorbikes go round and round.  And the only female I had to keep company with was The Scummy Weegie who believed in all things alternative therapy.  She was hard work, she had issues.  She told me if I thought of the colour pink I could safely leave my handbag unattended and no one would steal it or pilfer my purse.  Maybe that works for her and her handbags, but it certainly won't work for my quality handbags.  She told me when her old Granny died a Robin came in her window, and that was her Granny visiting.  She told me a lot of stuff I found hard to stomach, and I didn't even get a free crystal or an Indian Head Massage, not even a promise of distance Reiki, she was all talk and added to the misery of a racetrack February. 
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Boiler Room. Good. I enjoyed the Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel bits especially. 
 The Husband and I watched A Serious Man.  Wasn't all that good, not so much black humour, more boring, bleak and unbelievable.  The down-trodden husband was in need of a right good slap to shake him out of his chicken hearted acceptance of being bullied by everyone he knows.  You can't help but feel sorry for him, but who would really put up with all that?  He put up with a load of shite, then it ended, most unsatisfactory.
  The Husband and I watched Volver.  With Penélope Cruz, the 2006 Spanish film by director Pedro Almodóvar.  We both really enjoyed it, she really is captivating, she shines, the story is great and the rest of the mainly female cast did a fantastic job too.  I've been reading about the work of Pedro Almodóvar and figure we should try more of his movies.











 The Starry Towers Guttering Project is complete, all the details and the photies are on the Starry Towers page, The Husband's done a right good job.
 When The Husband first told me our wedding would be recorded on DVD I was scared, having never been filmed before, and me so camera shy.  Then The Husband told me he'd be putting it on YouTube, I told him an emphatic no.  But he just did, then I got used to the idea and gradually got to liking it being out there.  When we'd had about 50 hits on YouTube I was amazed, and I started telling everyone I spoke to how to check it out, we're over 1000 now.  Here's a link...Las-Vegas-Wedding-With-Elvis-on-YouTube.





Fifty Dead Men Walking DVD


The Town DVD


Up In The Air DVD

 There's a new cardigan and two blue dresses on The Star Swag Blog, little February treats from me to me.
 Happy St Valentine's Day.  We're spending the day with a fair and equal division of labour here at Starry Towers.  The Husband is atop 6 metre scaffolding and I got the ironing done.  I tried the scaffolding, got two thirds up.  I wasn't keen.  It was cold, wet, a little dirty and very very high.  I agreed to do the ironing instead.
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Fifty Dead Men Walking.  Based on the life of double agent Martin McGartland in Belfast, Northern Ireland, late 1980s.  Recruited by the British (and for British, read English) police to spy on the IRA, and recruited by the IRA to fight for the cause.  It's an educational movie.  Thugs on both sides.  Having watched this movie I say...give Northern Ireland back to the Irish, it's their country and I seriously dislike religion and the ugly dirty manipulating British powers that be and their greed, both historic and current.
 The Husband and I watched The Town.  A fantastic heist/lurve story movie, all the actors do a great job, it looks good, it's exciting and almost totally believable.
 I watched Up In The Air.  Bit slow, but always a pleasure to look at George Clooney in a suit.





From Paris With Love DVD


The Killer Inside Me DVD







 The Boy has his induction days and Shift #1 is under his white catering hat.  He came home, pulling a package of new uniforms from his backpack, then the clunky white safety shoes, not a good look and destined to never be worn.  Describing how scooping peas onto plates for an entire hospital's worth of people can become a tad tedious, he then proclaimed he'll be putting special effort into pursuing an apprenticeship.
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched From Paris With Love.  A whole heap of liberties taken, plot holes and nonsensical twists in abundance.  Though it was highly enjoyable watching Mr Travolta happily piling on the over-acting ham-factor, enjoying himself to the max.  Loved the nod to Pulp Fiction with his Royale with cheese habit, everything was OTT in the extreme.  But hey, it's Friday night, it hit the relaxing entertainment button spot on.  I predict a sequel, from Rome With Love?  From Berlin?  From Edinburgh?
 The Husband and I watched The Killer Inside Me.  Casey Affleck is high on my list of favourite actors after just 3 movies, loved him in The Assassination Of JJ By The Coward RF, Gone Baby Gone and now as an out and out mentally ill psychopathic sadist killer living a lie in good guy costume till it all goes out of control in a spiral of madness.  He does depths of the human condition really well, acting and directing.  What a guy.





Crazy Heart DVD


An Education DVD

 There's a lot of weather about this week.  Hailstones yesterday, rain, sleet and a biting freezing wind.  Woke today to a sprinkling of snow which was persuaded to leave by the sleet and rain that filled the rest of the day.  The sleet and rain was joined by an angry wind, and it's still raging out there.  Gale force at 34 with gusts of 50 to 60 miles per hour.  Combine that with the guttering situation (ie lack of) at Starry Towers and there's a lot of house noises tonight.  Water running off the roof is pouring onto monoblock and puddling on the areas of garden soil with poorer drainage.  The Starry Towers gardens will cope, a bit of rain is no stranger round here.
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Crazy Heart. it's ok.
 I watched An Education.  An absolutely beautiful film to look upon and was entertaining enough.  Though I think Lynn Barber is a moaner and feel sorry for her parents.





Bottle Rocket DVD


The Squid and the Whale DVD


The Wolfman DVD


 There be summit gorgeous on The Star Swag Blog.
 Religious Zealot News.  Them Taliban bastards have been at it again, killing in the name of their non-existent god.  The brutal uncut version on LiveLeak will make your stomach churn.  Siddqa is put in a waist-high hole that obviously appears to be where she will be buried, then stoned to death.  It's an ugly scene with dozens of men enthusiastically lobbing rocks and stones till she is collapsed and bleeding, her burka soaked in blood, she is barely alive, then she is shot by an AK-47-totting Taliban fighter.  They bring the young man, Khayyam next and he is blindfolded then stoned to death.  Apparently that's what you get for being adulterous young lovers.  It's extremely distressing to watch, I can't start to imagine the terror and pain of the young couple.  Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid defended this atrocious double murder in a telephone interview he said: "Anyone who knows about Islam knows that stoning is in the Koran, and that it is Islamic law.  There are people who call it inhuman - but in doing so they insult the Prophet. They want to bring foreign thinking to this country."  Wicked, evil mad men.
  At Port Lympne Wild Animal Park in Kent Ambam, a 21 year old critically endangered Western Lowland Gorilla born in captivity, walks upright a lot.  He has a sister and a half-sister who do it too, and his father did it before them.  The specialists are guessing it's to gain height advantage with the aim of getting food before the others, and maybe to keep the front feet dry in wet conditions, in a kind of yee-uch, don't want to get my hands dirty type way.  It's a delightful thing to watch.
  I've done what I never thought I would.  I signed up to Twitter because of this feeling of missing out, or being the last one in the know.  I'm @StarryTowers, am following 27 and being followed by 4.  My favourite author Douglas Lindsay is tweeting a Barney Thomson novel in 140-or-less character tweet-sized bites.  "Home of the 10 Second - 10 a.m. Barney Thomson Novel".  Today his 10am tweet was "That morning, Barney again found himself in trouble for making the observation that women don't understand the short back & sides law.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Bottle Rocket.  My second time.  This is the charming directional debut of Wes Anderson starring the Owen brothers Luke and Owen and James Caan.  Absurd and smiley rather than laugh out loud funny, a quiet little cult movie.
  I watched The Squid and the Whale.  A Jesse Eisenberg movie I knew I'd never be able to convince The Husband or The Boy to watch with me.  Amazing amount of top notch acting that made me squirm.  Being the mother of The Boy, who has a similar type father as the father played by Jeff Daniels in this movie, just a wee bit too close to the bone.  Glad I watched it without The Boy.  Joint custody is extremely difficult for even intelligent caring adults to navigate, and far far worse for children to cope with.
  I watched The Wolfman.  It's really boring.  I thought it would be better due to Benicio and Anthony Hopkins.  And there was Hugo Weaving, I last saw him in PROOF the other night and thought he was acting his Australian socks off just as well as Russell in that one.  I guess werewolves are just too clichéd and silly for me these days.





Superhero Movie DVD














 The weather took a little lift and on Blue Monday I was out brushing up the patios.  The Starry Towers estate has been badly effected by winter 2010/11 so far.  The guttering collapsed and brought down, not only solid roan-shaped ice but also a load of filthy stuff.  Stuff that only very old guttering can produce, it's black, filthy and sticky.  So I brushed it all up then The Husband took the pressure washer to the mono-blocking, and it's all looking clean and tidy out there, that gives me a sense of contentment.  The front door step is in pieces but at least the muck is gone.
 Bin News : at long last the black bins have been emptied, it's been a while, I'm guessing 4, maybe 5 weeks.  There's no obvious system to how the refuse-collectors approached the bin situation here this winter.  For instance one week, it should've been the black bins (unrecyclable mixed waste), the black bin situation was already serious at that time, but they emptied the blues (paper and certain plastics) instead.  Last week the Starry Towers brown bin (garden waste) was the only one emptied on Main Street.  No-one else had put brown out.  They stop emptying brown way too early in Autumn and don't start a regular fortnightly service again till well into the next Spring, but they do a one-off after Xmas to take away all them real dead Christmas trees.  I seem to have been the only one in The Village that remembered the one-off tree removal service.  Though my brown bin was full of garden waste and it's empty now and that gives me an OCD way out of proportion sense of achievement.
  The Boy and I went bowling on the Wii, he won, but only just.  We got a Nintendo Wii Console with Wii Fit Plus and Balance Board and Motion Plus Controller for Xmas.  I tried a bit of hoola-hooping and a little of the step classes.  A problem so far is getting my brain round following the on screen instructions while co-ordinating my hand to eye button pressing, in a timely fashion.  But the main problem is the Wii told me my age seems to be 75!  Me and the Wii have a bit of reconciling to do, most of it needs to come from the Wii, an apology would be a good start.
  The festive/weather troubles that paralysed the UK during December 2010 led to a delay in delivery, which led to me emailing an enquiry, which led to a reply email saying seems the Wii was lost in transit, and they'd refund.  I didn't ask for a refund, just an estimate of delivery date.  Next day the Wii arrived.  Along with the Wii came a Radio Control 1:14 Scale Full Function Licensed Scale Model Range Rover Sport HSE in Racing Red.  A surprise pressie for The Husband, just like the real thing, only a bit smaller.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Boy and I watched Superhero Movie.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that the same gags that made me laugh in the late 80's and early '90s can make me happy again now.  A load of the humour was derived from repeating stuff from the Naked Gun and Airplane movies, and I loved it.  It's difficult to beat the originals, they was the best.  But I was well happy to have these 2008 redoings, same jokes, different story-line, with a super-hero instead of policeman.  And my beloved Leslie Neilson, his screen presence was enough to make me 100% satisfied.





The Girl Who Played With Fire DVD






 One of The Old Friend's daughters came over this afternoon with her partner and gave The Husband a thank you gift.  A special bottle of single malt whiskey, the 44.47 strawberries dangling over straw.  Was really thoughtful, unexpected and a lovely gift.  The Single Malt Whisky Society claims "The nose seemed to promise sweetness; toffee, fudge, butterscotch, milk chocolate, Demerara and banana fritters in syrup. It also had buttered toast and an earthy fruitiness, like summer strawberries dangling over straw. The palate, not quite so ultra-sweet; offered cinder toffee, green bananas, liquorice allsorts, polished wood and a chilli pepper heat that numbed and tingled. The reduced nose took a spin towards woody spice (Victory V’s, clove, nutmeg) before returning to caramel sauce and chocolate.  The reduced palate was now sweet and spicy, with clove rock and sherry flavours."  I'm almost certain they're right, but I'll never know for sure.
  The Husband and I tried out the Livingston branch of the New York Italian restaurant and bar Frankie & Benny's.  The Mushroom Alfredo Crostini starter is delicious, the New York Chicken could be chicken from anywhere and the Brownies and Ice Cream was OK, but not as huge or as tasty as the Beefeater version.  The restaurant atmosphere however was massively better than the Livingston Beefeater, there were two birthday cakes delivered to tables while we were there on a Wednesday evening, it was busy and nicely noisy.  Loads of customer chatter and a classic 50s soundtrack, The Husband in particular really enjoyed the music.  The two waitresses we dealt with were good at their jobs and really friendly, and strangely both Australian.  I told The Husband it was an Australian accent I was hearing, he claimed English.  I had to ask...I was right, licks finger and gestures a figure 1 in the air.
  I became a Bank of Scotland customer in 1983 when I started as a student nurse, a couple of major banks came to the college and made it easy for us to sign up.  I went with the BoS because it didn't have the word Royal in the name.  So when The Boy needs a bank account he and I headed up to the Bank of Scotland.  We went to the business branch just outside the Livingston shopping centre because it's usually much quieter than the main branch inside the centre.  I was a bit concerned they wouldn't deal with the opening of a boy's account and redirect us to the main branch in Almondvale Centre, but, no...good customer service again.  They phoned up the main branch and a young man called Derren ran over in his shirt sleeves and did the business.  A pleasant surprise.
  And the thumbs down goes to IKEA.  We recently went for the DVD shelves, when we got down to the warehousey bit, I'd written down the numbers of the things we wanted to buy, and we headed over to pick them off the shelves.  That's when we saw they'd temporarily closed off the isle we needed because I was told there was a fork-lift in the adjoining isle.  The fork-lift guy looked like he'd nodded off and as I watched more and more IKEA employees came over and joined in the employee mass-chatting session.  They were all jolly jolly jolly together, enjoying their wee break.  I asked what they were waiting on and was told they couldn't start till the duty manager was present.  He eventually arrived, the fork-lift moved for about 10 seconds and the isle was reopened.  I told them..."it would be better for the customers if you all arrived then closed off the isle".  We got to the food bit at the end, I placed our order, received the food and paid.  To add injury to insult, over at the drinks machine, water came out the Cola Light spout, I went and told the assistants, and one of them said, yeah, it's not working.  I got my £1 back.  No-one mentioned there was Pepsi Max in a cold drinks machine in the foyer, I only saw it on my way out after I'd eaten with no fluids.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Girl Who Played With Fire.  Much anticipated by me, more of the same but different, and I love it.  Was very surprised to have to consider the idea that Sweden was or is involved in any sort of international spying activity though.
  The Husband and I watched PROOF.  From what I can make out, this is Russell Crowe's third movie after Blood Oath and The Crossing.  Awww, isn't he sweet, acting his little Australian socks off.  There's tons of suspense, I was expecting something along the lines of a fatal stabbing, but the outcome is on the face of it a happy one. I think if the housekeeper was a real person with that amount of stalker love-madness she's not going to just move on, at the very least the dog would end up on the cooker.





Frozen DVD


Brooklyn's Finest DVD


Scott Pilgrim vs. The World DVD








 The Husband, The Dad and I attended the funeral of my Old Friend Tom.  Was two weeks ago he died, but factors like the festive season and people travelling led to the timing.  His daughters had arranged nice things to make the funeral as pleasant as possible, celebrating Tom's life.  The Order Of Service had two photos of Tom looking all...alive.  At the tea after the cremation they had made a collage of photos, from Tom approx age 2, right up to Tom age 85.  A daughter made a speech at the church, she done well, it was a brave and touching thing to do, and she mentioned a load of the stories he'd told me.  She thanked all his friends, then said there were some special people.  Amongst these, The Dad, for helping Tom.  And me, just for being there.  I know they made it all as nice as possible, I just wanted to scream.  Which is probably ridiculous, but how are you s'posed to behave when a friend dies.  I've never lost a friend before, not so finally, the others I've lost, weren't so much lost, as given away.  Friends who once were friends and you go your separate ways.  Tom was a friend beyond quibbles and fall-outs and moving-on and growing-up.  He was a life-long type friend, who I only had for 4 years.  He had so much more to tell me.  One of the photos on the collage was Tom and The Queen, he never mentioned he'd met The Queen,  What else had he still to tell me, if cancer hadn't ripped him away?
 The Old Friend Tom obituary
 The good news is, The Boy got a job.  He hasn't started work yet, but he's had the confirmation phone call, and HR will be in touch.  Most excellent, catering assistant in the NHS.  The hours and stuff is crap, but as a first job, it gets him out of bed.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Frozen.  A bit too am-glam, a wee bit too stylised by Hollywood and I was a disappointed that two of three were dealt the same end, but hey-ho, was good enough for a bit could-really-happen-horror, though when we go back to Glen Coe to do the chairlift, which we will one day when it's not so cold, I'll be glad Scotland only has Badgers and Deer.
  The Husband and I watched Brooklyn's Finest.  By Antoine Fuqua, the same director as Training Day, I preferred Training Day.  Ethan Hawke is particularly good but Richard Gere looks like he's sleeping.





Black Death DVD













 There's wonderful new boots on The Star Swag Blog.  This is the bargain of 2011 already, and it's only January.
 Religious Zealot News.  Jack Straw has mentioned the unmentionable.  There are some Muslim men in the UK who are grooming young vulnerable white girls with the aim of sexually abusing them.  This is true and there are also white men doing the same, the fact that some Muslims are doing the same thing can't be ignored because everyone's scared to be seen as racist.  The vulnerable girls are the ones who should be foremost in every caring person's mind, and anything that can be done to protect the girls has to be done.  Last week, it also emerged that 50 out of 56 men convicted in English courts of on-street grooming of girls were Muslims, the majority of whom were from the British Pakistani community.  Most of the victims in the 17 separate cases, which spanned 13 years, were white.  Mr Straw isn't on his own, he has the support of Mohammed Shafiq, director of the Muslim youth group the Ramadhan Foundation.  Mr Shafig is quoted as agreeing "I first raised this two or three years ago and I got a lot of stick within the community from people who said I was doing the work of the BNP and stigmatising them."  Well done Mr Straw and Mr Shafig.  Of course the zealots on both sides will go crazy with this and use it to rile the idiots within their communities.  I hate religion, any sensible person should.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers)The Husband and I watched Black Death.  Totally coincidently and nothing to do with the above.  Nothing like a dose of bubonic plague to get the natives all crazy and...dead.  As usual, the women and the intelligent were the first to suffer at the hands of the religious.  Was an enjoyable and entertaining take on the history of the time, a story well told. 





Katalin Varga DVD


The Disappearance of Alice Creed DVD















 The DVD collection grows all the time, 1050 at the last count, which was today.  I catalogue my DVD collection with DVD Profiler from Invelos and highly recommend it to all in need of a computer program to catalogue their DVD collection, so I know I've got 1050 without having to count them.  The walk-in-media-cupboard was running out of shelf space again so it was down to IKEA for some DVD shelves.  A couple of their BESTA range with the addition of extra shelves did the job perfectly, making best use of the little bit of wall space still available in the walk-in-media-cupboard.
 IKEA BESTA DVD shelving at Starry Towers
 Derren Brown, illusionist, mentalist, painter, writer, and skeptic, amazed us yet again.  Isn't he just astoundingly brilliant at what he does.  We watched his Enigma show, the TV version of his 2009/2010 tour.  I watch knowing full well what he does is totally human, tricky and clever, but I still don't know how he does it.  I try to remember that he knows the outcome way before the show starts and that everything he does up till the big reveal is the smoke and mirrors that sucks us in, but I just can't figure it out.  I can spot him when he's got his tongue in cheek, toying with us, like when he pretended to have never heard of McFly, he's almost winking at us, cos we know he knows, I said to The Husband, 'aye right, I bet he's got a McFly guitarist backstage or something', I didn't expect the spectacular McFly video at the end though.  How does he do it?  Hopefully we'll never know.  I like 'magic' and apparently psychic acts  when it's performed by a proclaimed skeptic, all done with suggestion, psychology, misdirection and showmanship, or, erm, something.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers)The Husband and I watched Katalin Varga.  The story of a woman raped a decade previously, her husband has discovered the truth.  Apparently with nothing to lose, she sets of with her young son to reek revenge on her rapist and his side-kick.  Set in the Carpathian Mountains of Romania, the movie is beautiful with a tantalising storyline.  My only issue is I couldn't believe that a survivor and devoted mother like Katalin is would suddenly go all out with this nothing to lose attitude which would endanger her son's present and future, she didn't have nothing to lose.
  The Husband and I watched The Disappearance of Alice Creed.  It's a British thriller, all twisty turny, and a good few of them eyebrow-raising unexpected, with a satisfying ending.  In the first 5 minutes the bad guys are down their local Homebase buying the stuff they need, so fastidiously planned is this shopping list I expected the checkout girl to pass it all through the till then announce a 10% discount on the Kidnap Kit.





He Was A Quiet Man DVD








 New pillows, the Dunlopillo Serenity Deluxe Pillows.  Expensive yes, but the best pillows I've ever laid my head on, and if the sales-pitch is right it'll be at least a decade before we feel the need to replace them.  I'm usually a two pillows girl, needing the bottom one to pull up against my shoulder and the top one I have at an angle coming down to support my head.  But I only need one Dunlopillo Serenity Deluxe.  I've slept on it for 3 nights now, what a difference.  On other pillows my ear hurts or I have to create a little hollow under my ear in to take the pressure off, with this the ear is comfortable and there's none of that faffing about.
  Here's the science - a luxury latex pillow that offers shallow gentle support for the head and neck.  The Husband wasn't too chuffed at the latex, convinced latex pillows make his head sweat, BUT, not in this case, it's made of Talalay, the world's most luxurious latex and is constructed in tiny inter-connecting air cells providing a built-in ventilation system which means the pillow stays cool and fresh throughout the night.  Unlike memory foam, latex has instant bounce back, a natural rubber polymer that returns to shape time after time providing unrivalled comfort and support.  This pillow is incredibly resilient, offering excellent durability and comes complete with a soft washable cotton and polyester cover.  I've had three comfortable nights on this pillow, falling asleep fast, uninterrupted sleep, and my neck has been pain free.  I can't wait for the mattress, dreaming of the rest of my musculoskeletal aches and pains disappearing too.  That's the pillow advert done.
  I'm having a load of niggling pains in my musculoskeletal system and I've been promising myself a great mattress for years.  The new mattress is a Series 700 Sleep To Live with it's Cushion Cloud Construction, from Bensons For Beds.  I was up our local branch testing their wares the other day.  Testing for a new mattress takes a lot of time, and you have to get comfortable.  I kicked off my boots, slipped off my coat, faux fur trapper hat and scarf and carefully placed my handbag down.  With customer relaxation and personal security  in mind a nice salesman took my stuff and put it all behind the counter, then I was free to move around unhindered.  I was on every bed in the store, on my back, on my side, on my other side.  Each and every one of them felt better than what was back at Starry Towers, how to decide, I was flummoxed.  So the salesman invited me to be analysed, I accepted...he was a very nice salesman.  For comfort, health and adequate sleep the aim is to keep your spine straight, so I must be of light and curvy build, because I needed the softest mattress.  And how soft, how very very soft.  At some stage during this sales process I realised why all the sales staff, at one time or another said to me, we wish everyone would test them out like you're doing, go for it, try this one, and this one, what bout this one, knock yourself out...because, once tried, the little matter of price was the furthest thing from my mind.  I stopped thinking money, I just wanted the best most comfortable.  So I paid a good few hunner of my Scottish pounds and got the one I found most comfortable.
  The Sleep To Live body/bed analysing machine had me lying on this latex covered single mattress, while a female voice spoke to me all about beds and sleep and relaxing and health matters related to said same aspects of live, a computer programme determined what softness/hardness of mattress would suit me best.  I was the softest, the tan colour on the print out.  The Husband dropped by at this time on one of his three visits during my mattress shopping, (it was a lengthy process like I said, and he was only barely managing to tolerate the salesman let alone the time spent).  He was cajoled into answering questions about his weight/height etc, though he wasn't happy bout it all and I filled in the bits he wouldn't tell.  And he point-blankly refused to get on the mattress machine, with only rough guesses to go on the machine said he needed the next step up hardness of mattress, the green.  He was at the lower end of the green and I was near the top end of the tan, so rather than get the mattress in two different hardness halves I opted for green on both sides.  To be honest the tan is so soft, though it felt the best for 5 minutes, perhaps it would get to feel like drowning in cushions and clouds when I got it home and lay on it for longer.  And the green felt just as comfortable when I tested it, less soft, less enveloping, less like it was sucking me in forever.  The salesman showed me other brands of mattress that were of similar type to the Sleep To Live the machine told me I need.  I got it down to two mattresses, the S2L and a Silent Night, with a price difference of £200.  He didn't pressure me, just suggested I go by which one I found most comfortable, truly ask myself what I like best...I was on both of them many times, but I couldn't argue with what my body was telling me, I went with the more expensive of the two.
  vertical zoning makes all the difference
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband The Husband and I watched He Was A Quiet Man.  Christopher Slater was a quiet man, quiet, paranoid, psychotic, lonely, alienated, unloved, socially awkward, unlikeable and a bit ugly.  So no wonder it went the way it went, thought you don't know the way it went till the end.  A strange one but a good one.





The White Ribbon DVD



 At this time of the year The Husband needs to go to work.  He gets the worst case of cabin fever.  When he's not breaking things he's mumping and moaning.  He reads a bit, watches Top Gear, does some ebaying then haunts the front window looking for swag men, griping bout having nothing to do.  In Scotland, it's cold and miserable, but I went out.  Topped up the bird-feed, moved a bit of guttering when the retreating snow and ice finally gave it up and brushed up half the front door step.  Because we had nothing to do all day we spent the evening at our local Beefeater for a non-spectacular three course meal.  Though the rich chocolate fudge brownie served warm, topped with ice cream and drizzled with warm chocolate fudge flavour sauce concoction was none too shabby.
 Gerry Rafferty RIP.  Now I'll be humming Stuck In The Middle With You for a while.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers)The Husband and I watched White Ribbon.  A fantastically crafted and acted, thought-provoking film which will leave you horrified at the parenting techniques of the time.  Many questions are raised, very few answers are given, much thinking about living in Europe in the 1930/40s.  The scene with the young boy Rudolf asking his big sister Anna about death really moved me.  I'm 40 summit and still can't believe that's the way it has to be, for everyone, no-one escapes it, not even me.  The emotions on the wee boy's face as he takes this information in...that's just how I feel about it.  





Valhalla Rising DVD


The Ghost DVD





 There's a little bit of bling on The Star Swag Blog.
 Destruction Man, AKA The Husband, I just can't leave him on his own for a minute.  On one day last week while I was at work, he managed to totally destroy three major items...that I know of, there may be more.
 # 1 - he was keen to wash a car but the garden hose is frozen, it's Winter, it's Scotland.  He decides to defreeze the hose.  I s'pose I should be grateful he didn't set fire to the garden shed with a blow torch.  I don't know what he did do, but he replaced the hose with a new one by the time I was home from work.
 # 2 - he lost his good glasses then found his glasses.  He'd only run them over with a Range Rover.
 # 3 - he's in big trouble.  He shrunk his Xmas jumper.  The family Xmas jumper tradition is that The Husband gets a NEXT Xmas woolly from The Parents every year.  This year he decided to put it in the washing machine.  I'm in charge of the washing machine, so he should never have been near it in the first place.  He's got an itsy-bitsy munchkin jersey and we'll be heading to NEXT to replace it as soon as the January Sales frenzy dies down.
  glasses after Destruction Man's been at work
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I tried to watch Valhalla Rising.  Bloody hell, we switched it off just after the grey mist descended on the Viking boat taking them to The Holy Land. 
  The Husband and I watched The Ghost.  By Roman Polanski, it's a bit silly and not near as good as I'd expected.  The acting was a bit poor, I wasn't feeling the tension and wasn't particularly impressed by the big reveal.  






 Happy wonderful and fascinating 2011!
 Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Ricky Gervais Live IV...Science.  Gervais excellent as usual.  Mostly about mongs, Subo and fat.
 The Husband and I watched Beneath Hill 60.  WW1 history with Australian miners, very good.