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  The Boy gave me two sets of Star Napkin Rings for Xmas.  Solid and good quality with a chrome finish, fromm OliveBranchGifts.  Each star is 6cm across, sold in sets of four at £9.99 per set in a presentation box.  They're very pretty, very sophisticated and compliment my silver napkins perfectly.  Couldn't be any more perfect for Starry Towers, no idea how The Boy found them..
  These are exactly right for family Starry Towers dinners at our big solid oak dining table.  There was a big family dinner today and the first outing for the Star Napkin Rings.
  Star Napkin Ring
    As The Mum was in hospital over Xmas we had to reschedule our Xmas dinner.  Today was the day and we all had such a good time.  The Mum, The Dad, The Husband, The Boy, The Brother, The Sis-in-Law and me.  I was cooking, The Husband was on clearing-up duties, we both done real good and everyone had a great time. 
    The table prior to dinner.  
    before anyone arrived
    all is quiet, no one's arrived yet
    The Bro and Sis-in-Law provided the sweet course options, so a big thank you to them for the delicious cheesecake, tart, flan and profiteroles.  As is my usual I provided a Starry Towers menu, this year it contained a special message to The Mum...bottom page 2.
    The Starry Towers 2012 Festive Menu
    The Husband and I watched Matador.  Another movie from our favouriteeSpanish director PedroSpanish director Pedro Almodóvar.  A young Antonio Banderas and a lot of other Spanish actors I.  A young Antonio Banderas and a lot of other Spanish actors I recogniseefrom other Pedrofrom other Pedro Almodóvaamovies.  You have to suspend believe to enjoy anmovies.  You have to suspend believe to enjoy an Almodóvaafilm.  He only does the abnormal, the wild, the crazy, the flukes, the deviants, the introverts, the extroverts, the exhibitionists, extraordinary people on extraordinary days, or maybe this is ordinary Spanish people on a normal day? film.  He only does the abnormal, the wild, the crazy, the flukes, the deviants, the introverts, the extroverts, the exhibitionists, extraordinary people on extraordinary days, or maybe this is ordinary Spanish people on a normal day?  The Husband thinks it's the Spanish norm, give or take.  It's a little bit obvious where this one is going from quite early on, but hey, it's crazy and highly entertaining.





Black Swan







  Catch up with the latest Starry Towers project story and pictures on The Starry Towers Blog.
  The best news is The Mum News, The Mum's back home from hospital.  I can't express how desperate I felt when she became ill.  I was frightened like a little girl, afraid I was loosing my best friend.  I love you The Mum.  She got through it and is so much better, I'm relieved and proud of her strength and fortitude in equal amounts.  You are amazing The Mum.
  Part of The Dad's Xmas pressie was a little package of business cards I made at Zazzle using a Photoshopped image of Ivydene Marcus, the first true Ivydene Flock born lamb.  I used a particularly good photograph of Ivydene Marcus, one I took when he was three days old.  After eradicating the background I Photoshopped the image to look like an oil painting, it's really very good.  I've removed The Dad's name and contact details from the image here, you'll just have to imagine them on the front view...bottom left...Arial
    Ivydene Flock
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Black Swan.  It's really rather surprisingly good, beautifully made and very open to interpretation.  Psychotic episode, the fragile ballet dancer is hallucinating throughout, and no wonder, but I reckon she really did stab herself before the last act of her Swan Lake performance.  The Husband thinks that was her hallucinating too, but, open to interpretation throughout, I have to agree with him, she might not have, she could be hallucinating that too (aside...I think she really did stab herself).











  A few months ago a CompareTheMarket TV advertisement has The Husband announcing "I want one of them".  The lucky man received all six for his Xmas, and a valuable lesson in being careful what you wish for.  Photies come via my Canon EOS M, much reduced for the www, taken in poor light without the flash, prior to finding out how to work new camera is impressive.
  The Starry Towers Meerkats
    Starry Towers Sergei
    Starry Towers Maiya
    Starry Towers Bogdan
    Starry Towers Yakov
    Starry Towers Vassily
    Starry Towers Aleksandr





The Bourne Legacy







  There's a bit of leather so awesomely amazing and strikingly beautiful in design and quality over on The Star Swag Blog, that the blue is for me and the red for The Mum.
  On here there's my other Christmas pressie, The awesomely amazing and strikingly beautiful in design and quality Canon EOS M, in the classy black.  Also available in white and red, the black choice is the right choice.
  I looked at a few of the similar cameras from other manufacturers, but when the decision had to be made, I'm brand loyal.  I love my Canons, I'm sticking with my Canons.  This is Canon's long awaited compact system camera with interchangeable lenses and a massive 18MPs.  It has the same 18MP CMOS sensor and DIGIC 5 processor as the Canon 650D, an SLR camera, meaning exceptionally high quality photies.  The EOS M Twin Kit comes with the two new EF-M lenses; the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM and the EF-M 22mm f/2.0 STM, and a flashgun.  I got mine at ProCameraShop for the bargain price of £588.99, the RRP is £859.99.
    I know precious little about the functioning of high spec cameras, but the guys at Techradar do, so read all about it here.  Now I've got to read the instruction manual and teach myself all about making the most beautiful photies ever.
    Canon EOS M body
    Canon EOS M with EFS 55-250mm lense
    Canon EOS M flash
    Canon EOS M
    inside the big lense
    It's been a different type of Xmas with The Mum in hospital and every one worried sick.  Good news is she's recovering very well, every day sees improvements and she's a very determined lady, she'll be back home soon, getting back to normal, then, and only then, will we, The Family, get together at Starry Towers and sit down to Christmas dinner.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Bourne Legacy.  Good movie, we both enjoyed, exciting action bits, convoluted espionage bits.  I state now for the record, I like Jeremy Renner, I totally loved him in The Hurt Locker.  I'm just sad to say that Jeremy Renner is no Matt Damon, or maybe what's wrong is Aaron Cross is no Jason Bourne.  And I wasn't keen on the changes to the basic story, I never saw Jason Bourne taking medicines to keep up his physical and mental strength.  It's just not as good as the first three Bourne movies.





The Dark Knight Rises
















  Still here, which is a good thing and not unexpected, the Oreo told me all would be well.  And this not the end of the world thing allows me to express my great pleasure in wishing Happy Golden Anniversary to The Mum and Dad.  50 years married, aren't they wonderful, without these two people doing what they did, there'd be no me, no Starry Towers, no The Boy, no lots of things.  Love changes everything.  Thank you Climie Fisher, it is a fact..
  50th Anniversary card
  Maybe the Moonpig Anniversary card explains why I made a slight Freudian slip with the Xmas card I made immediately after the anniversary card.  Click on the Xmas card image to spot the not-deliberate-but-pleasingly-appropriate typo.  I don't do Xmas cards, except in exceptional parent circumstances.
  Mum & Dad Xmas Moonpig
    All was lovely, parents Moonpigged to the nth degree with cards, chocolate covered coffee beans and roses, then The Mum goes and gets ill.  You get better immediately please The Mum.
    Product Of The Week (remember I have as many products per week as I wish) is the Visualise 5 drawer Alpine Tallboy.  This is the high gloss white version.  Very lovely excellent build and quality made in the UK.  Delivered fully assembled, NOT flat pack build your own, real furniture.  H111.1 x W38.3 x D41cm and perfect for that spot behind the door between the front ground floor hall and the back ground floor hall.
    I got mine from Variete for a very reasonable price, £209, which is about £100 less than the RRP £303.  It seems to have went up in price there so if I needed another I'd Google it again.
    Visualise Alpine Tallboy
    Moviewatch (no spoilers).  I watched The Dark Knight Rises.  Good enough, not as exciting as the last one, or maybe it was me.  And I really did struggle to make out some of the mumbling.
    I watched Ted.  For what is basically a rom-com, the high levels of rudity does crank up the enjoyment factor a lot, very well made.  And there's a couple minutes of one of my favourite podcasters, Ralph Garman plays the young John Bennet's Dad.  Mark Wahlberg, that's what you'll look like when your a wee bit older.







The Big Picture








  We know the Mayans didn't have supernatural prediction skills, because no one has supernatural prediction skills.  If Mayans were that talented they'd still be around today, but they're not, they merely ran out of calendar before the Spanish made sure the world ran out of Mayans.  My favourite funnies from on the www are this Oreo cookie joke and the weather forecast, click on the images below.
  the Oreo knows
  the weather this week
  One of my favourite podcasts is by American actor, stand up comedian, satirist, and writer Ben Gleib, called Last Week On Earth.  Seems appropriate to mention now, in this last week on Earth, that I, @StarryTowers on The Twitter, am a lifelong member of The Braintrust.  I've been awarded this accolade due to being mentioned on his podcast 4 far.  I got awarded at the third time, but since then I got another mention.  Prior to recording his pods Ben asks a question on The Twitter, #TwitterAnswers, he then uses the best ones on the podcast.
    lifelong #Braintrust
    My mention episodes...
    #28 May 29th 2012 - question was something to do with a bad financial decision, I tweeted him about that poncho I bought
    #32 June 26th 2012 - question was about believing in zombies, werewolves and vampires, I said I don't believe in any of them, that they're just stories because science tells me so
    #55 November 25th 2012 - scary storm stories were requested, I told of my caravan holiday in the Isle of Whithorn as a youngster
    #57 December 5th - I explained that the biggest insult I ever receive is being asked if I'm English when I visit foreign countries.
    Listen to Last Week On Earth, very funny stuff from Sid The Sloth's brother Marshall in Ice Age : Continental Drift and a regular on the Chelsey Lately show.
    Last Week On Earth
    Product Of this Last Week On Earth is the Wedo Metal Rolling Kick Stool, mine is in the blue.  This is the answer to having to pull a ladder out the shed every time I need to be taller.  It lives in the Boiler Cupboard but can be brought out for any and all high things.  This is a German-made safety step stool made of powdered coated steel with non slip rubber mats, it  can be kicked around on it's castors, castors which retract when it's stepped on.  43cm on the castors, dropping to 40cm when you stand on it.  RRP is £68.99 but it can be found on Amazon for much less.  I've secretly wanted one of these for most of my adult life.
    Wedo Rolling Kick Stool
    The Christmas decorations are up at Starry Towers.  I've worked absolute wonders with white tinsel and blinking blue fairy lights.  My faithful old Santa is joined by the Starry Towers Festive Puffin, in non-festive times of the year he's the Starry Towers Puffin, but he likes to join in at Christmas.  And on Xmas Day the Starry Towers Big In Norway Munkey will be wearing his party hat.
    Xmas trees are so 2011
    Starry Towers Festive Puffiin and Santa on the mantel
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Brave, most excellent Pixar movie.
    The Husband and I watched The Big Picture.  It's a French reader telling a long tale of a man finding the right life for him, triggered by a most unfortunate incident and ending in an untold and unknown future.  Interesting and well acted.





The Girl Next Door


Whiteout DVD










  Fantastic Zara drop waist dress on The Star Swag Blog.
  I've been a bit sick, in an emergency, blue-light ambulance status situation.  No-one was more surprised about all this than me.  On Saturday I went to work and managed a few hours before paramedics took me away.
  The previous couple of weeks I'd been hard at it with the decorating at Starry Towers.  There's been a lot of painting.  Remember do, I have anosmia, the lack of a sense of smell means I can't know when things are stinky.  If paint fumes have been around I haven't noticed them, in much the same way I was oblivious to the dangers of re-grouting.  On my own at Starry Towers last Friday I put the finishing touches to my re-grouting using stuff called LTP Grout And Tile Protector.  Fantastic product, don't get me wrong, it appears to be doing a stunning job of protecting my grout and tiles big-time.  The ground floor loo slash shower-room is looking totally shiny white brand new, bring your shades.
  When I finished, about 8.30pm, I immediately felt seriously ill.  Dizzy, suddenly drowsy and tired, trembling like the DTs, shivery, cold, had a headache, acute pain all along the length of my spine, I was in bed and asleep within half an hour of putting the spray can down.  Walking upstairs was an effort I struggled with, then fell into bed in full clothing, UGG boots and thick cardigan included.  I'd usually have to remove all this clothing almost immediately due to the menopause heat thing, but I slept all night like that, chilled through.
  When I woke next morning with the alarm clock at first I was surprised I was still alive, then I noted that I wasn't feeling quite so bad.  The acute symptoms of impending death were gone so I went to work, but as the morning progressed I was finding it difficult to breath due to a tightness in my chest.  It felt like a chest infection.  Mid morning I went over to the general nurses on the other ward hoping one of them could put a stethoscope to my lungs.  They suggested NHS24, so I phoned.  Result was a blue-light ambulance due to the chest tightness/pain.  Our NHS is wonderful.
    The Husband had just arrived back at Starry Towers from Norway, and while I was waiting on the ambulance he'd phoned me.  When he heard the story he drove over with the tin of Grout stuff that had nearly killed me the night before.  A few minutes later the ambulance arrived.  After checking me over, The Husband and I were on our way to the hospital, blue light again.  The paramedic was great, treating me first with aspirin and GTN for a suspected heart attack, just in case.  No difference, apart from a heavy headache, paramedic tells me, that'll be the GTN, and the no difference to the chest is a good thing, probably not my heart.
    I strongly suspected a chest infection, due to previous experience, but he'd put a stethoscope to them lungs and they sounded clear.  At A&E the doctor gave a second opinion, them lungs were still clear.  My blood O2 saturation levels were, at 92%, well down on my post-giving-up-smoking normal levels of 100%, and my BP was low.  The doctor looked like she was in primary 7 at the school, but she seemed to know what she was doing, checking the stethoscope result with blood tests and a chest x-ray.  When she came back in the cubicle it was to ask how I was feeling now.  I told her, if anything, worse, she said that made a lot of sense, the blood results showed an increased white blood cell count and the x-ray concurred...chest infection.  She gave me a box of antibiotics and The Husband took me home to my bed.
    It's taken a while and a second course of antibiotics, but I'm starting to feel better now.  And the Grout And Tile Protector, seems I was a bit careless on that, clearly marked on the tin is this...
    All the indications are I shouldn't have been breathing in the presence of these fumes in an enclosed space.  The loo slash shower-room is an internal room with no windows, the small Xpelair fan probably wasn't helping much, if at all.  Earlier in the day I'd test applied to a small inconspicuous area then got on with wiping down the rest of the walls and doing the silicone stuff prior to completing the near-fatal fumes protector spray job.  By end of job I'd used a full tin of the stuff.  I was spraying the stuff in the shower cubicle with that door closed, all of the time the room door was in it's favoured closed over position.  This was accidental solvent abuse.  As they say, you live and learn, I'm probably just lucky, still live.
    Glad to hear the Gary McKinnon news, all charges dropped.  His Mum must be so relieved, ten long years of fighting for her son.  And a cheeky wee "pardon" request, and why not.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Girl Next Door.  Intrigued that it's based on a true story, and going by what Wikipedia has to say about the brutal torture and murder of 16 year old Sylvia Likens in 1965, it's not all that far from the truth.  Knowing that the movie is a based-on-true-story makes for brutal watching, and the involvement of all the other children and youths makes it even more unnerving.  What that poor girl endured was horrific, Google it.
    Sylvia Likens
    I watched Whiteout, for about 10 minutes, chronic boredom set in, had to switch it off.  Was a bit like the fugue of being lost in a whiteout, without the freezing temperatures.
    I watched Brothers.  Good movie, one brother in the army, horrendous situation in Afghanistan, other brother bit of a slacker and ex jail bird.  Complications.  Never really certain where the story will go till the end, and it's maybe just a bit too happy ever after, but it's excellent, and there's Jake Gyllenhaal.












  The Woolly Sheep family by The Mum got bigger again, when The White Sheep of the family arrived.
  white sheep with her sheep family by The Mum
    Product Of The Week has been my favourite pen for many a year.  I get mine from CultPens.  There's always free postage on a purchase of £10 and over, and right now there's a 10% discount on all purchases, enter XMAS2012 at the checkout.  As well as the 10% discount you will also receive a free OHTO Smile Clipper Paperclip with every order, cute.  Available to buy too, 40p each.
    OHTO Smile Clipper
    My favourite pens are the Zebra Expandz, all telescopic ballpoints, small and neat, pulling the barrel ends expands them to full size and automatically extends the pen tip.  The normal (available in 10 colours but not shown here) and the stripe measure 10.3cm when closed, and expand out to 13.3 cm.  The new Brights are 97mm closed and 130mm at full length with a slimmer barrel.  The mini is just 8.4cm long when closed, expanding to 10.8cm, with an upper barrel diameter of 8mm, and a lower barrel diameter of around 6.5mm.  The writing tip appears immediately the pens start to be expanded so they can be used at any length.  They all arrive with a fine black ink cartridges and in classy gift boxes.  My favourite is the Zebra Expandz Stripe Ballpoint Pen, a Zebra-pattern striped design in gloss finish with a choice of white or pink.  £4.90.
    Zebra Expandz Stripe Ballpoint Pen in white
    The newest Zebra is the Telescopic Brights Compact Ballpoint Pen, I've got the light blue, but they're available in 6 colours.  These are smartly finished with polished lacquer top barrel; ridged matt silver lower barrel and polished chrome cap, nose and pocket clip.  £4.49.
    Zebra Telescopic Brights Compact Ballpoint Pen in light blue
    Zebra Mini Expandz Ballpoint Pen available in six barrel colours, my favourites are the black with it's matt finish, and the silver, which like the rest in this range, has a polished lacquer finish.  £4.90.
    Zebra Mini Expandz Ballpoint Pen in black and silver
    Zebra make the best mechanical pencils too.  The Cadoozles novelty mechanical pencils are styled to look like traditional hexagonal wood-case pencils, only 130mm in length, complete with metal ferrule and eraser tip.  Feed or retract the lead by pressing the eraser.  I've got the 10 pack mix and the Funky animal prints.
    Zebra Cadoozles mechanical pencils 10 pack mix
    Cadoozles Funky





Avengers Assemble




  My cherished Luggage Tag by FLUFF just got backup...on The Star Swag Blog.
  More Lego, the red Lego display case arrived and my other minifigures took up residence, including the Toy Story figures, look at them aliens, they're so very cute. 
  Lego minifigures in the red display case
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Avengers Assemble.  Not being any sort of comic book expert I wasn't entirely sure about the one in black, Hawkeye you say, never heard of him.  And the doctor one, couldn't figure out what he'd pull out of his doctor's bag, I understood when he turned green, The Hulk.  But the girl, still don't know who she is.  OK, I Googled it, the Black Widow, she and Hawkeye are two of the world's top assassins.





The Dictator














  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's Lego.
  Here, there's more Lego.  I know I'm a few decades past the time of one's usual Lego life, but you can't take this away from me, I'm a born again Legoist.  This started when, having just repainted the back of the house I was looking for a new key rack for the back of the house keys.  I had the idea of Lego keychains, then thought of a Lego baseplate as the key rack.  Genius.
  No More Nails the baseplate (baseplate size and colour is your choice) onto the wall and click your keychains on and off as required.  You can colour code your keys, if you want to, I do.  AND, if you have a couple of keys that naturally belong together, they can be clicked together at the keychains.  The red block is clicked onto another red block in this photie.  Genius.  So retro, so cool.
  Lego key rack
    I found my Lego Brick Keychains on Amazon and eBay.  Browsing around for Lego keychains and a baseplate on them websites threw up all this other Lego and my Lego world expanded.  Lego Minifigures are so cute.
    This is my first Lego Display Case, I went with the blue option.  It's already chock full of fabulous minifigures with a few too many in my collection now, I've ordered my second one in the red.
    Lego minifigures in the blue display case
    From  the left, top row...nurse (me), Halliburton guy (The Husband when he's on an oil rig), Scottish piper, groom (The Husband), bride (me), Elvis (in our Las Vegas wedding), a Viking, Stig.  Bottom row...Freddie Mercury, Cowgirl with starry hat, Dracula, skeleton, Statue of Liberty, Spock, Batman and Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean.  My favourite custom figures (Elvis, Freddie Mercury, Dracula, Spock) are from Penzora, they've got a BOGOF and free postage right now, offer expires 31st December.  I customised a couple myself.  I put blonde hair on the nurse, glasses face on the groom and the motorbike guy below, and I built The Halliburton guy from all separate parts.  This is my Lego racer biker guy on a racing motorbike (The Husband).
    Lego motorbike and racer guy
    The woolly ewe and the woolly ram got their baby woolly lamb as requested, was super-quick, thank you The Mum, these are just so sweet.
    Woolly Sheep family by The Mum
    I've been doing precious little other than grouting, grouting and Lego shopping, obviously.  Turns out I'm brilliant at grouting, who knew?  Lego shopping came more naturally than breathing.  Grouting is labour intensive.  This is the downstairs loo slash shower room, needing a grouting freshen up after approx a decade and a half.  I'm hoping the re-grouting job will be done and dusted, washed down and polished, by end of day tomorrow.  I'll put the story on The Starry Towers Blog ASAP.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers)I watched The Dictator this evening.  The movie that inspired the only good bit of this year's red carpet Oscars footage, when Sacha Baron Cohen, dressed as The Dictator, spilled an urn of ashes over TV host Ryan Seacrest.  I love the idea that all the citizens that were dictated to death where actually saved and escaped to the USA by a resistance executioner.  Why can't more of the world's dictatorships come up with this simple idea?






  There's a lovely Office shoe on The Star Swag Blog with bows on.
  Starry Towers  26 : 0  Mice
  I've passed my dead mouse quarter century...impressive.  Do remember, only one of them was a Starry Towers indoor kill, the rest went bye bye outdoors on the estate, we're not like infested or anything so unsavoury.  Prevention is better than cure every time.  My mouse defense is a highly efficient attack in the garden.
    This month I've mostly been doing decorating.  Some photies on The Starry Towers Blog, but I'm not finished yet.
    The Mum made me a woolly sheep, as reported on the previous blog post.  I took her woolly ewe and upped the stakes, a woolly ram seemed appropriate.  The woolly ram is here at Starry Towers already, it's like, no sooner said than done.  I'm now requesting a baby sheep, this pair need a little lamb.
    woolly couple by The Mum
    In other sheep news...I'm in the November issue of Shetland Breed.  Page 27 of the Shetland Sheep magazine has a photie of me in my Shetland Sheep finest hour.  The day I won my, actually earned, Young and Novice Handler rosettes, and was per chance in the ring with Rench Iolanthe when she was declared the Borders Shepherds Show 2012 champion at Yetholm.
    my sheep triumph in the Shetland Breed
    In other other sheep news in the Shetland Breed November 2012 issue, on page 12 there's a "some other winners" mention, heavy on The Dad.
    The Dad gets massive mention on page 12
    Then there's the sad news of the death of Robina, the wife of our old friend Tom.   Tom became, first my friend, then a dear family friend.  The Dad entered the world of Shetland Sheep through meeting and liking Tom.  The Dad stepped up to help Tom in his last years, so Tom could continue breeding and showing his sheep right up till the end.  After Tom's death The Dad went to auction and bought some of Tom's Rench Shetland sheep.
    Now The Dad is a registered shepherd with his own Ivydene flock.  Presently he's showing some Rench sheep he bought from Tom's estate and his own bred sheep, and doing phenomenally well, even if I do say so myself.  I always said The Dad would've been a great farmer if he'd been born in a time and place that gave him that opportunity.  He has that time now, and for that I thank Tom.  Tom loved Robina.  I miss you old friend.
    Robina and Tom
    On this St Andrews Day I'm a lot annoyed at the recent news that Grampian Fire & Rescue Service (GFRS) bosses removed the Saltire from two new fire engines, they say this was to make the two Saltire vehicles all matchy matchy with the rest of the fleet.  Word on the street is they did it because they received two complaints that the Saltire, on their fire engines, caused offence.  And why could our national flag ever be offensive to anyone, in actual Scotland?  It could, at a push, just maybe, be seen as some sort of allegiance with the SNP by people who are too stupid to know better.  Allegedly two people were offended, for the slow of math, that's one complaint per vehicle, one per Saltire. 
    The Scottish ePublisher Blasted Heath competition results have been published.  I came 3rd, how can this be so?  Thank you to everyone who voted for me, your votes are very muchly appreciated.  When I entered the competition I wasn't aware they would announce a final three then put it to a public-voting, or as I like to call it...a who's-got-the-most-online-friends popularity contest.  Anyways, when my consolation prize arrives, an actual paper book, Hard Bite, starring Sid the bloody Assassin Monkey, I'll burn it (I won't really).  AND another thing by the way, I don't even need their Kindle Paperwhite first prize.  The Husband had already replaced my Kindle Keyboard 3G with a Kindle Fire, thank you very much The Husband.  Stick it up ye Blasted Heathens, and you too Sid.
    The Husband gifted me with an amazing Kindle upgrade, but he got gifts too.  These Silver Star Cufflinks and Stainless Steel Personalised Collar Stiffeners will be a reminder of me, on his wrists and neck, the two most commonly slashed sites of the suicidal.  Every time he wears a smart shirt...I'll be there.
    The cufflinks and stiffeners from the Highland Blue collection at Scottish company Highland Angel, available online from NotOnTheHighStreet.
    Star Cufflinks
    our collar stiffeners
    Not content with shiny shirty trinkets from me, The Husband bought a new Subaru.  Set me off again, with a couple verses of his signature tune, Ullo John, gotta new motor?  When your name's John and you change cars often, that's your song, fact.
    Subaru XV 2.0 Lux Lineatronic





Safe House














  Update on the current Blasted Heath competition I told you bout...13/11/12 blog entry below.  Being naturally enthusiastic, enjoying a bit of Paint Shopping and wishing for Blasted Heath to have a successful competition, I entered 8 times...see 13/11/12 below.
  I wasn't entirely sure how it would play out, I thought most likely they'd simply announce the winner some day soon after the entry closing date.  Thereafter I was watching on The Twitter and The Facebook and to a lesser extent, the email, but no word was forthcoming.  I imagined the Blasted Heath guys were away on holiday.  What I I wasn't expecting was the announcement of the Final 3 and the opening up to a public voting.  Happily I'm in the Final 3.  I got in with my Monkey Stig.
  Vote for Monkey Stig on the Blasted Heath voting page.  The public voting ends on Wednesday 21st November, we'll know the winner very soon.  Prehensile fingers crossed.
  Monkey Stig
    This is a woolly sheep by The Mum.
    sheep by The Mum
    my new sheep toy by The Mum
    cute wee face
    sheep's bum
    Religious Zealot News.  As if we need reminding of The Taliban's cuntyness, against all odds, Malala Yousafzai is still alive...this is the brave face of one little girl taking on The Taliban.  The crime against her has got a lot to do with religion.  That of the Muslim extremist bastards using their imaginary friend in the sky to excuse their disgusting crimes against humankind, and in particular, the female kind.  Malala's recovery is no miracle, she owes her life to the skill of the NHS doctors and nurses.  She was nearly dead because of religion and saved because of science.  The saving bit, the 'miracle' bit, has nothing to do with some irrational supernatural god belief, nor some good luck.  I just hope she really is as intelligent as she seems to be, I'll give her a few more years to realise the truth and become an atheist.  If so, then I will truly admire her intelligence as well as her bravery.
    I got a real fright a few days ago when a letter arrived at Starry Towers addressed to The Boy.  The Boy gets a letter here and there, but this one was stamped on the outside indicating it came from Livingston Sheriff Court.  I spent approximately 15 seconds being so scared, that I spent the next 15 seconds ripping it open.  I reckoned it was my right, does this me make a bad person?  I admit now, I was wrong to doubt him so.  I know he's a very good person.  Probably a better person than me.  I ripped it open...jury service.  Hahaha, the UK judicial service thinks The Boy is ready for jury duty.  The Boy came home from work, I explained how I was so worried about a thing that I had to do a thing.  He was perplexed, and pushed me to give a fuller explanation of the bad thing I was apologising for.  When he found out what the letter was, fortunately for me, he was so interested and pissed of at the jury duty that he forgot to be annoyed at my letter opening indiscretion.  He asked me what it would involve for him.  I could tell him about the two times I got the letter.  One time it took me to Edinburgh High Court, the other, Linlithgow Sherriff Court.  My name never got called up for actual jury duty, I was lucky.  I described how it was, and advised him, all you can do is your duty as expected.  Attend if you're called up, listen carefully, then if you have to go through with it, apply your knowledge and experience to make a decision.  He looked at me incredulously..."but I'm an idiot".
    The Husband and I went to visit The Bro and Sis-In-Law at the weekend.  Lovely dinner and chat, and a kitten attacking my fox tail.  The Bro & wife have three cats, but the black brother cats are shy, anytime we went there before and still, they always make themselves scarce.  But Bonnie, the little grey female The Bro rescued back in July, she's much braver and sociable.  And very pretty.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Safe House starring Ryan Reynolds.  I've got a history of getting the Ryans mixed up in my head, the Gosling and the Reynolds, especially around the time of Buried.  On reflection Gosling is the better actor, and deserving of my previous Ryan devotion on this blog (see below).  Safe House is full-on-all-action, just a little boring.  Thing is, it takes too long for the viewer to work out what side you're on.  Obviously once the Ryan turns up you know you will go Ryan, it just takes a little longer to realise you can go Denzel Washington too.










  Starry Towers  24 : 0  Mice
  The Boiler Cupboard DIY shelving is on The Starry Towers Blog.
  I got my Flu Jab on the grounds that I'm a nurse and we don't want to pass it on to patients or our NHS colleagues, but really...I personally don't want to suffer with flu.  Happy to have a free pass.  If you're in a position to get the Flu Vaccine you really should say yes please.
  Religious Zealot News.  I'm furious that radical cleric Abu Qatada gets to stay due to a "legal point" while we pay for him.  The Home Office is ineffectual.
    I'm awfy embarrassed to admit the girls and I at work attempted to do Gangnam Style, heavy on the attempted.  Happily mobile phones are banned on NHS hospital wards.  Gangnam Style looks quite complicated.  I asked The Boy if he did it in clubs, he had to admit he had done, I cajoled him till he demonstrated...and he was rubbish at it.  I don't feel so bad bout my poor effort now.
    My favourite ebook publisher, Blasted Heath, have just held a competition to win a Kindle Paperwhite.  A character from Hard Bite by Anonymous-9, one of the books they publish, is a trained assassin monkey called Sid.  Sid works for Dean Drayhart who was left paraplegic same time as he lost his family in a hit and run car incident.  The competition was to put Sid into a picture to show what Sid's been getting up to when he's not not helping Dean Drayhart take out hit-and-run drivers.  I entered the competition 8 times.
    The competition closed several days ago on the 9th November.  At time of going to blog, no winner has been announced.  This might be proving difficult for the boys at Blasted Heath.  Obviously I've won hands down, but regular readers will know I won a previous Blasted Heath competition on 25th November 2011.  I can't help it if I'm Blasted Heath's most talented fan/follower.  The Kindle Paperwhite has my name all over it.
    Chav Sid
    Monkey Stig
    FREEDOM! Sid
    Killer Sid Tarantino style
    Sid In Space
    Free Monkey Riot
    Sphinx Sid

















  The best opaque tights ever are on The Star Swag Blog.
  America, you done real good and I thank you for the NOT Romney thing.  Obama has portrayed himself as a sensible, calm, intelligent person for the last 4 years.  Romney is ape-shit crazy.  Thank you USA, we can all sleep a little more peacefully in our beds at night.
  Product Of The Week is the new Starry Towers sofa throw.  A 200x240cm Faux Mink Fur Throw in black.  I got mine from Bedding Online at Amazon.  Extremely low-priced at only £11.99 with £3.94 P&P, £15.94 in total.  Very just-big-enough, very soft and snugly, very inexpensive, can't complain.  The cushions are all Matalan.
  Starry Towers new sofa throw
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Transit this evening, for want of something better to do.  It's OK, but a bit rubbish.









  The Starry Towers Hot Cupboard Project is on The Starry Towers Blog.
  Happy Celebration of the Failed Catholic Gunpowder Plot of 1605!  Poor Guido Fawkes, caught with the explosives, what are you doing?  Erm, would you believe I was looking for a toilet and couldn't find my way back out, then I tripped over this gunpowder and I was thinking I could make some fireworks for King James, he'd like that.  Sentenced to hang he jumped from the scaffold without the rope round his neck, and broke his own neck.  Depending how you view this, we're celebrating burning Catholics or the fact that Westminster didn't' get blown up...nothing to celebrate then.
    All the men in 1605 London looked remarkably similar, that hat/beard combo bang on trend.
    the plotters plotting
    AMERICA! see tomorrow..don't do anything stupid. I think we all know what I mean.





The Descendants






  The Starry Towers New Combi Boiler Project is on The Starry Towers Blog.
  Starry Towers  21 : 0  Mice
  That's a lot of vermin, local cat population ought to be ashamed at their ineptitude.Come on neighbourhood cats, over-fed fat lazy pussies, all you're good for is shitting in my garden, little crap-bags of smelliness.  Remember Mary Bale...that's all I'm saying.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Descendants.  George Clooney puts in a great performance along with everyone else in this movie, apart from the woman on the bed.  The make-up people did a good job on her, but to be fair, her role doesn't demand an awful lot after her initial brief moving about scene.  The melancholic tale is told with humour and plenty quirky.  I laughed loud and long several times, it's funny and emotional.  It's real, heart-breakingly real, well done George, with your belly, flip-flops and all.








  Bring on the snow, my Snow Boots are on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers  20 :  0  Mice
  Happy Halloween, I did my Halloween bit by dressing up in my scary-psycho-nurse outfit for the ward party at the weekend, but no-one took a photo.  The bloody-apron-hat combo got a second outing this year when The Sis-In-Law wore it to school to entertain the kids.  Here she is working the scary-psycho-school-nurse look to perfection.
    scary psycho school nurse
    The Rocky Horror Show arrived today.  The Friend C and I are going in March 2013.  This 40th anniversary tour starring Rhydian Roberts, Roxanne Pallett, Oliver Thornton and Ben Forster.  The Rocky Horror Show was first performed on June 19, 1973 at the Royal Court Theatre, London.  Following the show's huge success, the film adaptation that we all know and love so well was released in 1974.  After repeat screenings throughout the decades, the movie has gone on to become the longest-running theatrical release in film history.
    Rocky Horror 40th Anniversary Tour
    I'm a staunch Skeptic with a K.  I get so annoyed, angry even, at all the paranormal nonsense.  Fills me with some pleasure to find that two psychics partook of a little testing recently. The result...well, who could have predicted this would happen?  Oh yeah, most people could, with our special psychic powers.  The article from Goldsmiths University of London is here.


















  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's an Office discount code I used to have me a lovely starry bargain bag.
  The Husband came home for a minute at the weekend there, just long enough to swap cars, he brought the Mercedes back to Starry Towers then drove the Z4 to Trondheim in Norway.  Here's the Z4 in the Norwegian snow and the Mercedes in the Scottish rain.  He also moved and plumbed in the washing machine after the Starry Towers Combi Boiler Project. 
  the Z4 in snowy Trondheim today
    the Mercedes in rainy Scotland
    I was at the funeral of cousin Douglas today, with The Parents, The Bro and The Sis-In-Law.  I received a very warm reception on a most difficult day.  Douglas's Mum & Dad were so brave, burying the second of their three sons.  They lost Stuart when he was only 18, now Douglas at 45.  Their surviving son Keith, his wife Amanda and their young son Fraser, are there for them now.

















  Starry Towers  19 : 0  Mice
  Bit different this mouse kill, it was in Starry Towers, actually in the house, in the livingroom, beside the fireplace, right next to where I sit using the laptop.  Shudder.  Workmen took over Starry Towers for a couple of days last week doing the combi boiler thing.  I noticed the risks, I commented on the risks.  They had floorboards up and made new holes in walls and floors, I watched and shivered.
  I went to work the day after the Starry Towers Combi Boiler Project was completed, when I got in that evening I walked into the livingroom.  As I swung my beautiful big black leather studded tote bag down onto the sofa I caught site of the dreaded movement of what could only be a mouse.  Just a flash of dark colour, too big to be a spider, moving like a mouse moves.  I stopped dead in my tracks, keeping my eye on where it had disappeared behind a blanket box by the fireplace.  Then watched in amazement as the little bugger came back out from behind the box and sat between it and the fireplace.
    Long story short...I left the room closing the door behind me, got a mousetrap, baited it with best organic low carb peanut butter then quietly entered and placed the trap where the mouse was last seen.  I left the room closing the door again and got stuff done in other areas of Starry Towers.  After 5 minutes I was really annoyed at being kept out of my livingroom by a vermin.  I braced myself for a dead one, but was thinking I couldn't be that lucky, not yet, it'd only been 5 minutes, surely I'd have to just go to bed early and leave it overnight.  But no, the mouse was dead.  That peanut butter is overwhelmingly enticing to a rodent.  I went online and bought another 8 of Intruder The Better Mousetraps, £4.50 for a pack of two from McNeillDIY
    And for all of their great mousetrap qualities Product Of The Week is Intruder The Better Mousetrap.  Seriously, it's the only mousetrap.  It's fatal all the time with it's 30% more force than conventional traps, I've never had a slightly injured, seriously injured or moribund mouse.  It's totally non-mouse-touch, you only have to touch the side away from the death.  The mouse end where the death happens can remain free of human contact, just press to set, then squeeze to eject on the other end.  The mouse is usually head first into the death side so you don't even have to look at it's ickle dead face.  I take a supermarket plastic carrier bag to the death, looking on my kill as little as possible, I pick up the non-death end, over the bag, and squeeze, the deceased drops into the bag, I tie up the handles and toss it in the outdoor bin.  Genius.





In Darkness




Dark Shadows
















  Starry Towers 18  :  0  Mice
  SKY Broadband at Starry Towers.  Right, here's the story.  SKY stopped working ages ago, I'd lost count of the days it was broken, but a rough guess is ten days.  I switched the router on at the wall, no www.  Luckily we have a satellite, but The Son isn't permitted on the satellite, The Son left home.
  The Husband phoned to register our complaint, comes off the phone having been told it's already been registered as a fault and engineers will be in attendance within two hours.  Nothing happened.  The day The Husband went back to work I got on the phone to SKY, they arranged an engineer to call at the next convenient to me day.  I'm not saying I'm more effectual, but well, you judge.  I'm beginning to believe The Husband was in no rush to have it fixed, leaving me son-less for a while longer.  Naughty The Husband.  The day before the Openreach engineer was planned, I get in from work...adopting a somewhat devil-may-care attitude, I gave it yet another try.  Switched the router connects to the www, someone must've fixed something somewhere.  Is it just me, or does Openreach sound so like it's a mental health care in the community project?  This was a proper conundrum, and caused me a bit of tired and anxious worry.  Not sure what to do for best...I did nothing and slept on it.  The next morning I phoned SKY and reported my findings.  SKY was proper lovely about it, saying that given the connection had been down for so long, even though it was now inexplicably working it would be best to have the engineer check it out.
  Throughout our conversations SKY never once threatened me with having to pay for any of this engineer stuff.  With our previous provider (TalkTalk) every time we contacted them with the tree issue we'd be warned that the cost of the engineer call out would be charged to us, at least £99 if I remember correctly, if the fault was in Starry Towers rather than caused by the tree issue outdoors.  So this lack of financial threat was a breath of fresh air, confidence inspiring.
    So the Openreach BT engineer arrives, and turns out, he's lovely, and his wife is a nurse.  As soon as he gets out his van he's incredulous, shocked at the neighbours trees.  This BT guy hates trees, and Grey Squirrels, I like this man.  I tell him the history of the Starry Towers phone line problems, heavy on the neighbour trees issue, but admit this latest problem isn't the same as all the other annual Neighbour Trees Phone Line Tree Damage.  The engineer reckons the problem must've been some sort of "card" issue (I think he said "card"), and it's already sorted at the exchange, but still, he takes a look at the equipment indoors at Starry Towers.  He replaces our main switch box thingy, standardising it, or summit.  Then recommends and makes it happen, the SKY router gets moved out of the dining room to the main socket thingy in the study.  He also suggests the main phone base unit joins it, I protest, The Husband agrees with BT, I say, aye awrite boys, move the phone then.  Before he takes his leave, Robert tells how the tree situation is so very wrong, that the telephone pole should be along the street away from the trees, it's madness that BT just keep repairing the tree damage every year instead of moving the pole and solving the problem once and for all, he is so right.  Job done, Robert made his mark on Starry Towers, in a a good way.
    I've had my third Colonoscopy.  Due to the family cancer gene the scope sees my colon every two years.  On previous occasions, on the advice and encouragement of The Mum, I've endured this procedure sedation-free, why does my Mother hate me so much?  It's a very sore thing, the camera up the length of the large intestine while fully and anxiously alert.  There's four sharp turns up there, and the scope isn't all THAT flexible or microscopic.  This time round I'd been feeling kinda chicken-hearted, I'm more squeamish bout a lot of things as I get older, so I'd arranged for The Husband to stay to take me to the hospital and to be with me overnight incase I decided to go with the sedation so I was free to decide right up to the last minute.  But first, there's the joy of bowel prep.  The day before the fasting day there's the low fibre diet day, you know whatever you eat this day will be out the system much quicker than nature intended and lengthen your toilet visits during the shitting stage, so best to keep it to a minimum really.
    The day before the procedure is serious bowel prep day, fasting and shitting, keeping on fasting and shitting some more, and more and more, it's a very long day.  No food, clear liquids only, by the time I get to the colonoscopy I haven't eaten for more than 36 hours.  The medication side of things is two doses of medication taken on the day before, one in the morning, one in the afternoon.  Vile sickly sweet yucky stuff, sachets of powder to be dissolved in a litre of water.  Swallowing it is nearly, not quite, but nearly, as bad as the resulting toilet time.
    All in a very good life-saving cause though, I'm really rather glad to be scoped, I didn't endure a Total Hysterectomy to go and die prematurely of bowel cancer.  So anyways I'm at the hospital and the admitting nurse explains that after a hysterectomy there can be internal tissue adhesions that can make a colonoscopy "slightly more uncomfortable".  Feckin slightly more feckin uncomfortable?  Let me make this clear, a sedation-free colonoscopy is not uncomfortable, it's agony, prolonged agony, 30 to 60 minutes of brow-sweat-bead-popping, teeth-clenching, oh-ya-bastard-exclamating pain-terror.  I think the hysterectomy experience has put me off the brave-wee-soldier stance I used to take on these matters.  I'm not brave anymore.
    I go Conscious Sedation.  This is a combination of moderate sedation and analgesia "producing depression of consciousness during which patients respond purposefully to verbal commands, either alone or accompanied by light tactile stimulation.  No interventions are required to maintain a patent airway, and spontaneous ventilation is adequate.  Cardiovascular function is usually maintained."
    I'm walking through to the theatre wearing a theatre gown and UGGs, but then, I went there in only starry jim-jam bottoms, a bra, a T shirt and UGGs, so not much to remove.  I'm greeted by a male nurse who admires my UGGs.  Then there's the Consultant doctor guy, he is just extraordinarily lovely.  I'm telling him how I usually go sedation-free and that I'm scared of the sedation, of loosing control, but becoming equally afraid of the pain, he's telling me I won't lose control.  That I'll be fully conscious, some chat throughout, some nod off to sleep, and nearly everyone forgets everything.  He told me how gentle and careful he'd be, the male nurse pipes up unexpectedly, "that'll be a first".  The Consultant responds, "awww, we'll be nice to this one, she's lovely".  They were a great reassuring double team, just the right balance of professional, sweet and funny.  Three cheers for Conscious Sedation, they did this to me (see below) and I don't remember a thing.
    With the sedation comes a list of things to be avoided, that day and the next day.  Includes not being alone overnight, avoiding alcohol, driving, cycling, using any machinery or electrical equipment including irons, cookers and kettles, no baths or showers, no caring for young children, no signing legal documents and no going to work, which is just as well cos at work I sign legal documents all day long.  This combined with being told I should not go to work while doing bowel the future I'm going to have to be less of a martyr and take better care of myself.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched In Darkness.  We do like a bit of Nazi/Jew history, it's a good story, moving and all, but the film has it's faults.  The Husband is a stickler for his war history, the actors should've been skinnier.
    The Husband and I watched Moneyball.  Actually very entertaining, despite what sounds like a boring sport story, it's captivating.
    The Husband and I watched Dark Shadows.  The Husband loved it, I thought it was a movie children would enjoy more than I would.  There were a few lines made me smile, but too childish all in all.







  Massive shock to the family and very sad to tell, my cousin Dougie Bryce has died unexpectedly, aged only 45.  Our thoughts are with Auntie Lilian and Uncle Andrew, Dougie's brother Keith, and Keith's wife Amanda, and young son Fraser.  This photograph was taken by a friend of Dougies' this Summer.  It's been years since I'd seen him, but this photo shows he grew up to be a handsome man with strong Bryce features, and the messages on The Facebook tell that his many friends thought very highly of him, he made his mark, he's going to be greatly missed by many.  RIP Dougie, from The Braehead Bryces, Rae & Wull, Marilyn and Derek x
    20/11/66 - 18/10/12







In Time







  Starry Towers  11  :  0  Squirrelss
  I've finally got round to adding the Starry Towers New Front Door Project (job done in June) to The Starry Towers Blog page.  I've been inspired to get my finger out because the Starry Towers New Combi Boiler Project is imminent.
  After spending Saturday at the Yetholm Shepherds' Show, enjoying a great day out with The Dad and his closest Shetland Sheep friends, I gift wrapped a packet of Aero chocolate biscuits.  Strange thing to just do, I know, but I had my reasons.  On Saturday, it had been mentioned that Alex was suffering from chocolate biscuit rationing, at the hands and control of his wife Margaret.  The same Margaret I love to go Brandy O'Clock with.
  I thought Alex would appreciate the chocolate of the Aero biscuits and the humour of a gift wrapped pressie all out of the blue and unexpected.  By all accounts I was right, they had a laugh with it.
  They also have a dog named Help.  Anyone with a dog they called Help, has to have a good sense of humour.  I enjoyed this very much, a dog called Help.  It would never even have occurred to me to call a dog Help.  Had me thinking about other alarm-raising words you could name a dog then experience out of the ordinary situations when shouting for your pet to return in the park.  Fire would be a good one, or Rape.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I tried to watch, Coriolanus, unwatchable.  I managed 5 minutes.
    I watched In Time.  This is OK, it's better than just OK, and is imminently more attractive than Coriolanus, I watched the entire movie.  It's a great premise, just felt a bit shallow.  The acting could've been better and the basic ideas could have been used to tell a deeper, more human tale.  Shortly after getting a hang of the film, it became too obvious where they were going with this, and it just felt a bit of a let down, too light, too sci-rom.





21 Jump Street






























  I've got my AW12 military jacket, see it on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Dad and I were at the Yetholm Border Shepherd's Show on Saturday.  A great success, I got rosettes.  Full story and photies on The Shetland Sheep Gallery
  my Young Handler & Young Novice rosettes
  Starry Towers 10  :  0  Squirrels
  Product Of The Week is the Matalan Pack Of Two Star Print Serving Platters.  These porcelain dishes are big on quality, pure white, solid, no dings or other such faults to be found.  Size wise, the larger is 26cm, the smaller 19.2cm wide.  The set of two is priced at extremely reasonable £6.  Microwave and dishwasher safe.
  Matalan Pack Of 2 Star Serving Platters
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched 21 Jump Street, not good enough.  I'm always hoping for stuff as funny as Airplane, problem is, there's no modern day version of Lesley Neilson.














  There's a must-have clutch on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 18  :  0  Mice
  Today Starry Towers took the www and went all satellite on it's ass.  We're online via a satellite, which is really WOW!  A very fast connection, my podcast downloads are over as fast as they begin, they download at the same moment as I click "save".  Also, British Gas came round and talked replacement boilers.  The deal's all done and give it a couple weeks, Starry Towers will be one more step towards completion.  I'm so excited.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Rampart with Woody Harrelson acting his little LAPD issue socks off.  He's a bad man in the wrong job with his life spiralling out of control.  It's quite a slow movie, I found it just a tad too depressing, and kinda boring with it's continued samey sameness.  The Husband liked it a lot, he's right bout one thing, Woody was fantastic.
  The Husband and I watched Shame.  Best movie I've watched for a while, a great movie.  Michael Fassbender was truly wonderful in his role, as was Carey Mulligan in the sister role.  Before I watched Shame I didn't realise the seriousness of sex addiction and would be inclined to laugh it off as an excuse for someone having a lot of sex and enjoying it.  But Brandon wasn't having any sort of fun, he was hurting himself and destroying his life.  Highly recommended, I can't explain how good it is...see this movie soon.





Angels' Share









  There are certain things one must endevour to try really hard not to say, but sometimes it works out humerously perfect.  I recently briefly came in contact with a person I know a bit.  In previous contacts she tends to just not speak to me.  Then on the street in Sunny D she totally blanked me, I knew it was her, she pretended it wasn't me.  I feel awkward around her, anyway,  I didn't mean to be nasty, but I opened my mouth and said what I saw.  I greeted her with the suggestion that I thought she was pregnant, turns out, no, just fat, ooops.  Then I said how I'd seen her in Sunny D.  She made like no, can't recall that, denying all knowledge.  Then I was saying, I know it was you, you've got a lovely dog right?  She said she did used to have a dog but had to get rid of the dog.  All I could say was...jeeez, how much worse could this be?  Trust me to say whatever it is that's going to be the wrong thing, I've called you fat and reminded you how much you miss the dog, I'll go away now.  I went away.
  I'm playing catch-up listening to a load of Merseyside Skeptics podcasts on all things quackary (link in The Lobby).  On the subject of homeopathy I love this.  When people Google "how does homeopathy work" this is right there at the top, howdoeshomeopathywork, try it.
    how does Homeopathy work?
    Starry Towers  9  :  0  Squirrels
    It's that Squirrel time of year again.  If only our visitors were the beautiful indigenous Reds, the reception would be entirely different.  Red Squirrels would be welcomed and fed on almonds and walnuts and any other nuts they requested.  I'd remove the Squirrel Bafflers from the bird feeders.  We only get the grey version.  Last week plant pots on Patio 2 and 3 were dug up with compost thrown around the monoblock.  Couple days later I see a youngish looking smallish Grey Squirrel ignoring the baffler and simply swinging under, eating peanuts intended for the birds.  They come over here (just over 100 years ago) bringing their pox disease and being ugly, tough and aggressive and just horrid to our delicate little sweetheart Reds.
    Squirrels red v grey
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Angels' Share, extra points for correct grammar.   A funny and feel good movie.  I also felt a touch sadness at the hopeless gritty violent bits.  There's decent folks caught in bad situations, brought up wrong, never given opportunities to better themselves, then sometimes someone good encourages a person to see the bigger picture and get the hell out of shitsville.  This is the heart-warming tale of a bad boy with intelligence and sensitivity caught up in a shit-storm of doom and gloom, destined to fail, but dragged back from the precipice of death-by-unnatural-causes, then getting tricky with his previously unknown innate olfactory and gustation abilities and coming good.  We both loved this movie, but I loved it just a wee bit more than The Husband.







A Dangerous Method


The Cabin In The Woods






















  Frocky fabulousness in pleather over on The Star Swag Blog.
  Sheep News
  Sheep News:  they're green.  Not The Dad's Ivydene sheep, but the previously red ones that graze on the local West Lothian Pyramids Business Park fake hills, right next to the M8.  On the way past the other day most of them were hiding, this is the best pic I could get.
  green sheep
  The Husband and I were in the city again last weekend, to visit what's fast becoming our favourite night out...Saturday night at Edinburgh's The Stand comedy club.  We took a taxi to town, got there just a little after doors opening at 7pm.  We'd have preferred to be at the front of the queue for doors opening, but Edinburgh's still all fecked up with road works because of some inexplicable notion, plucked outta nowhere by the Scottish branch of the Labour party, that we need trams in Scotland's capital city.  This tram nonsense started in 2008, four years later it's still non-functional and way over-budget, and it's something I'll never use.  We got there about a half hour later than we'd have preferred, but it all worked out rather well.  This is how it seems to go in The Stand, the people who arrive very early-doors choose a table, but not the front row.  No one with any sense actually wants the front row.  Get there between 7 & 7.30 you should be fine to get a table that isn't in the danger zone.
  The Stand on York Place Edinburgh
  You've got two hours before the actual show starts, time for chatting, dinner and drinks.  This time I had the veggie haggis stack with Drambuie gravy and oatcakes, it's delicious, amazing.  It's so good I wish I could have it every evening at home.  It's my favourite dinner right now.
    As we're doing drinks-food-chat we watch people commit to the front row.  There's some stand-out people, and we wonder who and why, but I tell The Husband, our questions will be answered because the comedians will ask and then we'll know.  One large human sets us wondering man or woman?  The dreadlocks, the uber-wide jaw, the androgynous baggy shirt/jacket/jeans combo teamed with a decidedly woman junk-jewelry statement necklace but also, a very man-bag looking shoulder bag and too-slim-for-a-man pointy-toed boots.  We struggled to distinguish the size of the Adam's apple in the low lighting.  Sexual identity quandary for the onlookers...and also for a comedian later on.  The Husband said transgender man to woman, I said woman.  I knew because no transgender man to woman dresses in baggy androgynous clothing, they do overtly lady clothes.  Then there's a couple of old ladies, in the same party.  One little old lady is particularly little, and very old.  I worry at her fragility and seemingly pissed state.  I watch her, she sits slumped, barely holding her head up, legs akimbo and eating, what looks to be digestive biscuits, under the table, between her knees.  She's a concern for any Care Of The Elderly nurse.   The compere also notices the auld yins and makes a couple of very funny jokes about Fifty Shades Of Grey at the front tables.  He also worries bout the frail one and her lack of response when he directly speaks to her.  In the first break the auld yin goes off to the toilet.  Then we watch several other members of the party follow her to the toilet.  We can tell there's a bit of a to-do.  Then we see the oldie being taken out and there's empty seats on the front row when the compere comes back on for part 2.   Word has got back to the dressing room, the auld yin had fallen down the stairs on her way to the toilets.  We're reassured to hear from other members of her party that she's alright, pissed as a fart by 9pm, but still alive.  They are very steep stairs btw.
    bang bang
    The compere for the night is Perth stand-up Joe Heenan, he's funny, works the crowd well. 
    Joe Heenan
    Without doubt the first act on stage has the hardest job, the crowd are yet to warm up, the non-septuagenarians are mostly sober, they're slightly less relaxed than 6 pints later.  Elaine Malcolmson does surprisingly well for first on.  Her quiet style and delivery is suited to a quiet room so maybe first on is all part of her shtick.  She's doesn't like Christine Bleakley.
    Elaine Malcolmson
    Next up is Darren Connell, I wasn't so keen.  He went with his car/Mum punchline too many times.  I was astonished when he attempted to amp up his disappointing set with what he said was going to be impersonations...a Morrisons plastic carrier bag over his face and revealing his fat belly.  It wasn't funny.
    Darren Connel
    Next up is Brendan Riley, talented and funny, he does well, ramping up the audience reaction, taking us from a tad disappointed, up a good few notches to at least 7 our of 10.  Brendan is the one who makes the gender-error and twice refers to the big lady as he and him.  If looks could kill there would no longer be a Brendan Riley on the UK comedy circuit.
    Brendan Riley
    And top of the bill, last up is Dan Nightingale.  Very funny, his style is furiously fast, tricky to keep up with the laughs coming every 10 seconds when he's on one.
    Dan Nightingale
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Chronicle, very entertaining and great on the Starry Towers 60 inch.  
    The Husband and I watched A Dangerous Method, he liked it for the skelppit arse of Keira Knightley, I hated it for the gurney-faced stickey-out-chinny poor-standard over-acting and crap Russian accent of Keira Knightley.  And of course it led to an argument about damaged people and their quirky sexualities.  The Husband thinks you can gain sexual pleasure from physical abuse without necessarily being abused in some way as a child.  He and I disagree on the psychology of abuse and fecked up people, and sex industry workers.  
    I watched The Cabin in The Woods and was disappointed.  I had been hoping for a freakin' fantastic psychological thriller version of the kids go into the woods and all die genre.  I got a great DVD cover but the promises of "One of the most Breathlessly Entertaining movies you'll see this year!" and "Groundbreaking and insanely enjoyable… A game changer", nahhh.  
    I watched Goon.  Again, not all that good even though the DVD cover had three 4 star reviews.  On closer inspection the 4 stars came from lads mags, Nuts, Loaded and Zoo.





The Ides Of March




  Because I always need to know the way home this is Product Of The Week..
  Wherever I am in the world as long as I know the direction to look to Starry Towers, to Scotland, then I'm content.  I've got a couple little compass-i, but when I saw this one...
  This is my Personalised Compass from Highland Angel.  A metal 54mm diameter and 20mm high fully accurately functioning compass which can be engraved with your choice of words.  There's a handy little mirror inside, though The Husband tells me this isn't for the checking of the makeup.
  They accidently sent me a heavy silver star shaped paperweight engraved with my choice of words.  When I informed them of the error they sent the compass as I had ordered and instructed me to keep the paperweight, no use to them with my name all over  it.
    Starry Towers compass
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Ides Of March. What has Ryan Gosling taught us in this political thriller in which he stars with George Clooney?  Two things I took from this movie.  1...while running the USA "you can start wars, ruin the budget, take bribes.  But you can't f**k the interns" and 2...Ryan Gosling's eyes are so uneven one side of his face suits the other side of George Clooney's face better than the other side of his own face.





Rabbit Hole


Reservation Road









  Desert Island Discs is celebrating their 70th anniversary this year.  This remarkably long-running BBC show has been on the radio since 1942.  The BBC have recently added a huge number of their Desert Island Discs podcasts to the online archive.  A true treasure trove for podcast listeners, there's a new link in The Lobby.
  Was pottering on the estate for me today.  Lawn mowing and patio de-mossing.  The mouse traps got re-baited with finest organic peanut butter and moved to a dark unseen corner.   Eric, one of the large potted Rowan trees, was moved to a more sheltered spot in an intricate three-way-move on Patio 2, because it got blown over yesterday.
  I took some photies of my new Ivy wall out front.  There's a bare wall that needs some greenery so I scraped out sand, pressed in compost and transplanted Ivy cuttings to the tiny space between monoblock floor and brick wall.  Will be good to have early photies to compare once the wall is totally Ivy-ied up.
  new Ivy wall
    Day 3 of the wasp sting, and despite daily anti-histamine tablets and regular application of 1% Hydrocortisone Bite and Sting Relief Cream it's still mildly stinging in an bit itchy way, the surrounding area is red and the underlying tissue is swollen and hard.  That wasp bastard hurt me.
    wasp sting day 3
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Rabbit Hole, putting the moving into movie, terribly sad.  
    I watched Reservation Road, another dead young son, another killer driver, but this was terribly bad.


















  Drop-waist dress on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Brother and Sis-in-law have a new cat I told you bout on 18th July below.  When he was busy digging up an unexploded WWI bomb The Brother was also rescuing feral cats.  Back on the 18th July post I only had photies of the bomb.  At that time the kitten's future hung in the balance.  Would The Boys take to her?  Would she have to go, take the walk of shame to the cat rescue people to be claimed by some other feline-friendly-people or get too old and end her days unclaimed?  Would she be murdered by two big black male cats?  It's with great feline fluffiness that I can now report...the found kitten is named Bonnie and now lives with the humans and her two big brothers Freddy and Gixer, The Boys, they said yeah, she can stay.  Bonnie's Mum got rescued at the same time, she's now living at a farm local to The Parents up Braehead way.
    Bonnie at lunch with her big brothers Freddie & Gixer
    On the Starry Towers estate today with the sun shining, a little bit of pruning, a smidgeon of seed gathering.  The wasps were angry bout this, they found me extremely attractive today.  I'm usually the calmest person around buzzy creatures because they usually leave the calm people alone.  Not today, wasps were going mental around me.  I tried to ignore them but seriously, I was under attack, they just wouldn't cease and desist.  I knew I was going to get stung, and I did, on my left thigh.  The sting made me shriek out loud, then the dull pain followed.  It's a sore thing a wasp sting, it hurts, and for the first 15 mins or so it just gets more painful.  I went running indoors, thinking, is it water or vinegar for a wasp sting?  One is the bee remedy, the other the wasp.  I poured the only vinegar I could find on it, Dobbies Strawberry Balsamic Vinegar, no discernible difference, still stinging.  I stuck my leg under the cold water tap, still sore.
    I killed this wasp
    I went to the www, Googling "wasp sting treatment".  While I was there I opened a drawer in the Starry Towers solid oak coffee table in front of me, a tube of Hydrocortisone 1% Bite and Sting Relief Cream was right there, so I applied the treatment and swallowed a Cetrazine antihistamine tablet, though I couldn't remember if I'd already done that today.  I might have had a double doze, if I did I didn't notice any sort of overdose effects as the day progressed.
    A little later The Dad was visiting and another wasp went for me in a crazed fashion.  I Googled and discovered crazy wasps is a sign of Autumn's arrival, they really do go crazy in Autumn due to...the wasp parenting job is done, they celebrate by gorging on ripe and fermenting fruit (ie they get drunk) and the wasp nest is getting hot and overcrowded.  They're either drunk or hungover and majorly pissed off at this time of year, so it's official, this is Autumn.
    There's a new link in The Lobby, the Merseyside Skeptics Podcast.  I started listening today and enjoyed #1 & #2, got a lot of catching up to do.  Highly recommended. 
    Earlier this week The Friend C and I went to the cinema to see star-crowded Lawless.  It's a good movie, but a really sad story.  Just not the kind of film I'd usually make the effort to see in the cinema.  I see a lot of movies on DVD on the Starry Towers 60" Sharp Aquos HD TV.  The cinema experience, though the screen is larger, it looked non-HD, and I ate too much popcorn.




  My lovely personalised Starry bedding on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Husband and I had a good weekend there, The Stand Comedy Club birthday night out on the Saturday and a drive in the Z4 on the Sunday.  We went down to Engerland, taking the coastal route on the East side.  Close to the Starry favourite East coast village of St Abbs we found a new favourite, Lower Burnmouth.  Then drove on down to Berwick On Tweed.
    Photies below...the Z4 parked up with lovely pastel shade Lower Burnmouth seafront houses, limpets at Lower Burnmouth and the Berwick On Tweed Lifeboat Station.  The Husband played on the beach below the lifeboat station when he was a young teenager, spending his school holidays with his Berwick On Tweed school friend.  He was telling me the story as we stood on the pier at Berwick On Tweed, it was a sharing caring moment.  He was a young 14 year old boy on that very beach, same time, I was an even younger 4 year old child in Braehead.  If you'd asked him then...he'd have probably said...ridiculous notion, if you'd asked me, I'd have probably said, MUMMY!  But there we were, together on the pier, I moved towards him, lovingly, then pretended to push him off the pier.  Ha!
    the Z4 at Lower Burnmouth
    limpit shells
    Berwick On Tweed Lifeboat Station















  Rok Chix rings on The Star Swag Blog.
  Andy Murray we love you so very much, Scotland is going to bed proud tonight.
    The Husband came home for the weekend with birthday duties at the top of his To Do list.  My birthday night out was The Stand Comedy Club at 5 York Place in Edinburgh.  Starry Towers does quite a bit of live comedy.  Till now, it's all been low-risk, on-the-telly-regularly big names..Frank Skinner, Eddie Izzard, Simon Amstell, Rhod Gilbert, Alan Davies, Bill Bailey, Mark Watson.  And Richard Herring...even though you make a big joke bout just wanting to get on the telly Mr Herring, you do occasionally get on the telly.  Established comedians who've built up a fan-base, capable of filling reasonable to stadium sized venues, them that hecklers don't dare, events where as a member of the audience, you don't expect and don't get trouble.  I've been on the very front row seats at Frank Skinner and Rhod Gilbert, and second row at Alan Davies..there was absolutely no..YOU MADAM, WHAT'S YOUR NAME? audience participation expections.
    For my 49th we went to The Stand in Edinburgh.  It's a small, intimate, more harum-scarum hecklers-included comedy club.  A small table-height stage has approx  6 or 7 tiny tables arranged right up against the stage with two fur-clad stools per table.  Behind that there's a sprinkling of more of the same little tables, but as they spread out, each table has two stools on the stage-side and two tiny chairs on the far-side.  On one side of the room there are some rows of chairs without tables and standing room in the bar.  We knew if we wanted a seat we'd have to be there early, there was no way we were going to stand for a 2 hour show.  Doors were opening at 7pm with the show starting at 9pm.  We decided we'd be there for doors opening, get a good table and have dinner before the show.  This was a good decision.  We picked our table, in the row behind the front row.  In this sort of intimacy you know you don't sit at the front most tables unless you're ready to take on public humiliation.  I learnt tonight that you're not safe on the next row of tables either.
    I had the Chicken Fajita Wrap with salad, salsa and crème fraiche, which was the correct level of tingly spicy.  The Husband had the Haggis Neeps and Tattie Stack with Drambuie gravy served with oatcakes and a paper "candle" making it look like a birthday cake.  It's absolutely lovely, tasty delicious, and so more-ish The Husband had it twice.  I left quite a bit of my chicken in favour of stealing bits of the haggis neeps and tatties.  The haggis is available in classic and vegetarian.  All the dishes on the menu are priced at £6 or £7 and the drinks are pub prices not club prices.
    The compere was Ayrshire's Billy Kirkwood, engaging, likes his audience participation, gets the crowd as loud as possible, let's wreck the place!  Speaks to individual audience members.  Everyone on the front row gets asked name, from where, occupation? with funny responses from Mr Kirkwood and further questioning.  He doesn't stick to the front row though, he goes anywhere on the tables, I was fretting every time he was on stage, but he stuck to them on the other side of the room, phew!
    Billy Kirkwood
    First up was Phil Differ, on Googling him he's been doing stand-up since 2005, but he's been a comedy writer for decades.  Providing the jokes for such as Naked Radio, A Kick up the Eighties, Spitting Image, Not the Nine O'clock News and Scotch And Wry.  He also wrote stand-up comedy material for Robbie Coltrane and Craig Ferguson.
    Phil Differ
    Next on stage was John Gillick.  He suffered from heckler-abuse from some young ned in a base-ball cap up the back of the rows of chairs.  The ned had been saying "Billy Connelly", though a bit quieter, since the only Billy Connelly looking comedian (it's the hair obviously), Billy Kirkwood was first on stage, but no one took him up on it till Mr Gillick.  I'm glad he did, because I'm out for a good night, I don't want a drunk idiot spoiling it for me and everyone else.  These stand-ups have put a lot of work and balls into getting up there, something the mad hatter back there couldn't do.  It turned ugly, Mr Gillick really got pissed off, I liked when he asked the room, do we want to hear that? and everyone cheered in support of the comedian.  He was rattled though, I noted a slight stutter in his voice thereafter, he lost the composure, the confidence, stuff that every stand-up needs in bucket-loads.  I felt sorry for him, and winced at how angry he got.  Shame the heckler didn't get removed there and then, but it wasn't till after the next break he and his pals were gone.
    John Gillick
    Next up was Sam Harland from Hull, a little bluer, a big bit funnier, "...two miles into the abduction" sticks in my memory, along with "it's not going to eat itself".   We laughed a lot.
    Sam Harland
    Then we had international headliner Canadian comedian Pete Johansson, we laughed a lot, and the UK needs Police Bears, that's all I'm saying.
    Pete Johansson
    All the comedians were good, but Pete Johansson and Sam Harland were really great and Billy Kirkwood is quite an attractive hairy guy as well as being well funny.  I highly recommend The Stand in Edinburgh for a wonderful night out.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Headhunters at the weekend.  Great Jo Nesbø movie, the first off many, we love Jo Nesbø.







  Mirrored stars on The Star Swag Blog.
  Happy Birthday to me, I'm nearly 50 you know.  That catchphrase of mine just got really real, I really am nearly 50 now.  Next birthday I'll be half a century old.  I don't feel like I imagined being just one-off the half century feels like.  Apart from physical aches and pains, general wear and tear, including the soul of my left foot at the heel (I didn't even know you could have pain there), my nurse's back, and the left shoulder and neck ache, I'm as fit as a fiddle.  Birthday pressies from The Husband and The Parents will be on The Star Swag Blog soon.
    The post mortem on Heather McKay revealed that she had taken her own life.  Just 500 yards away from the house on Craiglaw she'd stayed the previous night.  I have little understanding of distances, but apparently one yard equals 3 foot. 
    I read this in the Scotsman today..."West Lothian councillor Janet Campbell, who represents Sunny D...said 'The community is reeling. To my knowledge, nothing like this has happened here before."  Oh contraire, the woods surrounding Sunny D bear a dark burden of death.  This is the fourth body found in the area in the time I've lived here.  First one was a woman who'd lain undiscovered for a long time.  She was found during a search of the Bangour Village Hospital grounds when I was a student nurse.  The male nurses and police were looking for a missing patient.  Second was a Bangour Village Hospital patient who doused himself in fuelthen set himself alight.  His body  was found by a dog walker, as most unnatural cause deaths are.  I'm happy to not have dogs to walk in the Sunny D woods.  Third, and particularly disturbing to me because my own son was a 12 year old schoolboy at the time, was poor wee 11 year old schoolboy Rory Blackhall found in the North Woods in August 2005.  He'd failed to show up at school that day, nobody told his parents.  Then it was too late.  Simon Peter Harris hung himself before the police got him.
    I'm being tormented by calls from this international call centre number...044123456789.  It's troubling me so much I've stopped rushing to pick up the phone when it rings.  If I'm busy and/or a distance off from a Starry Towers phone handset I ignore it and carry on doing what I'm doing.  I Googled 044123456789 this evening and found it's an international call centre cold calling.  When I pick up they don't have enough operatives to deal with my answering the call and I get 8 seconds of silence then the call clicks off.  I've been caught out too many times, so I went to the TPS (Telephone Preference Service), the free opt out service enabling a UK citizen to record their preferences on the official register and not receive unsolicited sales/marketing phone calls.  To find I'm already registered.  So that doesn't work.  Full of righteous indignation I went to Ofcom and complained, time will tell if that makes any difference.
















  Fantastic tassel on The Star Swag Blog.
  Weather remains good at Starry Towers, so I pottered around the estate today, in denim shorts, vest top and RayBans, listening to an audiobook on the iPod.
  The Starry Towers Buddleia bushes are thriving, attracting butterflies and various other buzzy flying insect type creatures, which is exactly why I have Buddleias.  My old original Buddleia is the purple, it's massive, and though I cut it too far back a couple years ago, it's recovered, and this Summer it's really come back on top form.
  I was wanting a lilac Buddleia,  Last Summer while I was doing my daily walks around Sunny D, following the prescribed advice of increasing exercise after the Total Hysterectomy, 5 mins, 10, 15, 20, 30 mins, I spoke to a woman with a lilac Buddleia in her garden.  I asked her nicely if I could, she said, knock yourself out, take as much as you want.  I took cuttings.  Two of them have been successful and this Summer they're both about 35 inches tall with one single bloom each.  I recently went back to the woman with the lilac Buddleia and gave her a big box of Malteesers and a thank you card.
    Buddleia purpleBuddleia lilac






  Starry Towers  17  :  0  Micee
  I spotted a yellow Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue  helicopter in the skies, buzzing around Sunny D.  I assumed it was involved in the search for missing local woman Heather McKay.  A little later news came, a woman's body had been found today at around 1.30pm in the dense woodlands immediately south of Sunny D, between the adjacent A89 and the M8.  Just over there, not far at all.  I've been unable to stop thinking and worrying about Heather McKay.  The story touched my heart.  So very sad. 











  The hunt for a black snakeskin blazer is over on The Star Swag Blog, though I'm not saying it's totally "over", it's just good for now.
  I'm on two weeks annual leave starting today, not that I reckon I'll be going anywhere.  I'm thinking I'll just be staying at Starry Towers and getting stuff done.  Stuff done today was taking down and packing away the patio umbrella.  It's been on my mind for a wee while to put it away while there's still enough good weather, making sure it's nice and dry.  It's that typically Scottish late Summer early Winter time of year.  You just never know when the last sunny warm dry day or the first of hard frost or snow days will be.  Harshly unpredictable the Scottish weather.  Last couple of weeks we've had rain, thunder, lightning, a bit chilly, sunny, warm, hot.  I'm pre-empting the back end of the year's worst at the Starry Towers estate.   I also mowed the lawn, you just never know, every sunny day has to be treated as possibly the last for a long time.
    It's time to start harvesting seeds from the garden.  Today was Poppy Day, I saved a load of them into an envelope.  Tomorrow my main task is researching and deciding on the Starry Towers replacement boiler.  We were ready to take that home improvement on when we started the two apartments into one big house project.  We knew we needed a new boiler that could take on the increased capacity, it just didn't seem like anything with a necessary urgent time-frame.  That changed when we were told earlier this year that our Stelrad Group Ideal Mexico gas boiler could no longer be protected by the heating system insurance policy I've paid like forever.  The Starry Towers gas boiler was old when I first moved in, January 1990.  Oh how we it was wasn't, not yet, it was 9 years too early to be doing that, but still...we from worries of boilers breaking down.  They won't touch it now.  They say it's got asbestos, NOW it's got asbestos, they never mentioned that anytime in the last 22 years.  Since I've been in residence they've mended it twice and serviced it annually.  But that security is all gone now.  We need a replacement boiler, more and more urgently as Winter's on the way.
    Starry Towers old boiler with asbestos








  Product Of The Week is from Blomus, makers of my favourite stainless steel magnetic memo boards.  This is the Blomus perforated 40cm x 80cm, BL66760, £68.04.  Perforated for the little hooks BL68309, £7.64 for a pack of 5.  I'm going to use this horizontally in my walk in wardrobe, the hooks are for hanging jewellery.  There's going to be silver chains and glitzy rings, lots of shiny, and I've got ideas about what the magnets will be, star shaped and mirrored.  I can just picture it, all blingy gorgeousness and cute.  Now I just need my new walk-in-wardrobe-dressing-room to be up and running.  I don't want to put it in the current too small walk in wardrobe to just have to take it down later, holes in the wall would need filled, I need it to be in the right place right from the start.  I got mine at Aquazuro.
    the boardthe hooks













  Missing local woman, 51 year old Heather McKay, was last seen at a friend's house in Sunny D at 7.30am on Friday 24th August.  Her family are understandably worried sick.  Watch out for her, and read the details here.
  Heather McKay missing since 24th August
    We didn't make it to see Richard Herring on Saturday night, difference of opinion kept The Husband and I indoors.  Less said, soonest mended and all that.  I'm so sorry Richard, really would've loved to see your Talking Cock.
    On Sunday The Husband and I did make it to Edinburgh to soak in the Festival atmosphere and take in a couple shows.  Taxi to the High Street Festival Box Office to pick up our pre-ordered tics.  Impressively modern technology saw me swiping my credit card and a machine pumped out our tickets, even the out-of-date Richard Herring ones we didn't get to use, I could've cried.  We had a quick bite at self-proclaimed Edinburgh's oldest gastro pub, The Doric Tavern on Market Street.  The bistro and wine bar are up a flight of stairs, above the kinda grotty 17th century pub.  The wine bar doesn't look like a wine bar, it looks like a grotty pub.  The bistro is small and basic, two window tables were free, but reserved, fine, but galling.  One of them remained empty throughout our visit.  We didn't have a lot of time so ordered the soup of the day, a couple of the haggis starter and a side dish of bread.  The soup was an over-salty vegetable that was left untouched apart for a tongue dip from both of us.  The haggis was delicious and the bread was chips.  The waiter guy forgot it should've been bread.  We were running to a very tight schedule so we told him...forget it already, we'll keep the hand-cut, so-called "Fancy Chips" rather than wait for them to be replaced with bread.  The chips were on the burnt soggy side, must've been the truffle oil drizzle, but the haggis balls made up for the rest.
    Our first event was The Edinburgh Dungeons, right across the street from The Doric.  We'd never been before, we weren't quite sure what level of either awesome or shite to expect.  This is an interactive 80 min subterranean history tour with the Edinburgh branch of Over-Actors-Anon.  No cameras allowed, so check out the tour guide below for a totally intentionally hazy rough idea of what it looks like down there.
    Edinburgh Dungeons tour
    The only photographs you're going home with are on sale at the end, if you're prepared to pay at least the same as the entrance fee again.  I've seen so many of these deals, you buy your tickets, you walk in...and you're hijacked into participating in a ridiculous photo-op...and they charge you for it!  However, this decapitation pic, for some strange reason...I kinda like it and can only thank The Husband for his insistence on purchasing the photos The Dungeons forced on us in that marketing way.
    a dream come true in the Dungeons
    The interactive involves "actors" putting visitors through embarrassing in-the-spotlight scenarios, which as long as it's The Husband and not me that's the star of the show, then it's fun.  On our tour of approx 30 paying customers, The Husband was the very first to be picked on.  In the 17th century Judgement Of Sinners he was put in the dock.  Charged with some non-historical but totally topical, Festival-related debauchery.  It was all innuendo.  Charged with performing male homosexual prostitution acts up the closes of Edinburgh City.  He got caught out lying in the dock, shit scared of being found to be English I suspect, so when the judge asked if he was from "here" he said yes, then on further questioning he had to admit not Edinburgh.  He was sentenced to wear his male prostitute outfit, which was a skimpy tiger-stripe hat/scarf/gloves item, and a sign round his neck proclaiming "Get It Here", and nothing else.  They didn't demand he take his clothes off though.
    The tour was fun, a bit cheesy, a bit rough round the edges, the boat ride hardly qualifies as a "ride" and The Cave Of Sawney Bean was pushing the Edinburgh connection given that the Bean family lived (aledgedly) in Ayrshire.  I did enjoy the Extremis Drop Ride To Doom, thankfully they dropped us without the threatened hangman's noose round our necks.  Next best thing is The Labyrinth Of Lost Souls, a particularly effective maze of mirrors.  This is the worst photograph of me that I'll ever put out there for people to see.  It was dark in there, adding to the scary, if only I'd remembered that it was highly likely a camera would flash as soon as I felt the woosh of air and my arse leave the seat.
    us on the way down
    My hair looks totally different when forced upside down, and my chin looks horrendous when I'm scared and moving at a lot of mph.  I'm gripping on for dear life.  It's like what them super-hand-blow-dryers in public toilets do to the aging back-of-the-hands skin.  The most gruesome feature of the entire Edinburgh Dungeons tour is a photograph of me.
    Moving on swiftly...I'd rather been hoping the tour would include the real subterranean streets of Edinburgh.  The Dungeon has a fake (it's all fake stone walls down there) Mary King's Close, now I want to see The Real Mary King's Close.  Then it was into the gift shop and The Husband purchases six gothic wine goblets, the girl announces he's awarded with a hefty discount and a free Dungeons teddy bear.  When she says free teddy bear and I see her turn around and bringing this soft fluff fabric black bear down to the counter.  I hear myself say "awww" which quickly morphs into "awww-yeeeeuuu" when I see him.  We took him home, with his missing ear, missing eye, stitched up mouth, scars and blood stains.  Seriously wish The Husband would learn to leave a gift shop without tat.
    gothic wine gobletsDungeons teddy bear
    After The Dungeons we walk down to The Mound, past the unimpressive Paralympic logo, not at all instantly recognisable like the Olympic rings.  I had to get home and Google it to discover what it is.  That's Edinburgh Castle in the background, obviously.
    Paralympics Logo in Edinburgh
    We're on our way to The Assembly Rooms on George Street via The Mound.  The High Street and The Mound are busy with street entertainers and Festival fun seekers.  On The Mound we pass market stalls selling all things Celtic, polished stones, cheap jewellery, more tat, a couple ice-cream's all going a shite car-boot Sunday market.  In The Mound's favour there is also an Asian-3-man-strong skipping troop and a fire-juggler.  We enjoy a couple drinks on George Street before Return Of The Lumberjacks.  I'd picked this show for it's Dave Best Joke Of The Festival 2012, which was awarded to Canadian Stewart Francis.  His winning joke was..."You know who really gives kids a bad name? Posh and Becks".  He was the shows compeer, new to me, a total one-liner supremo, it truly is the way they tell them.  Return Of The Lumberjacks is a three man Canadian show, so I was surprised to see friend of Rhod Gilbert and very Welsh man, Lloyd Langford.  Welsh hilarity, even though I'd already heard his camel stuff on the Richard Herring Edinburgh Fringe Podcast, or as the cool kids are calling it, RHEFP.  The other Canadians... Craig Campbell - very funny, Glenn Wool - a wee bit funny.
    After The Lumberjacks we did dinner at Mexican restaurant Chiquitos round the corner on Frederick Street.  Tasty chicken with melted cheese Quesadilla followed by Golden Nugget Cheesecake - chocolate and smashed honeycomb cheesecake topped with chocolate coated golden nuggets, I'd go back any day/night of the week.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Contagion, which was quite good, better than I expected.  What I'd heard, that all the big stars die at the beginning, isn't actually true.  I only recall Gwyneth Paltrow dropping quickly, and all credit to her, she did "seizure" really well.














  Douglas Lindsay News...We Are The Hanged Man, the very much anticipated new novel by my favourite ever author, Mr Douglas Lindsay is available for The Kindle from The Amazon at the special launch price of only 99p.  99p...hardly credible really, I don't know how these writer people make a living unless they hit the popularity of such drivel as 50 Shades of Shagging.
  buy We Are The Hanged Man
    Product Of The Week is Clinique Pore Refining Perfector.  
    As a woman of a certain age I have a pore, one pore on my nose that's haunting me.  When I look really up closely and personally in a magnifying mirror there's this pore, larger than a pore should be.  I sought advice and product.  This Clinique Pore Refining Solutions has great reviews on the Boots website and I can vouch for it now too.  Clinique claim this will make you look smooth and virtually flawless with pores that appear more than 50% smaller - instantly.  Natural-looking matte finish lasts up to 8 hours.  Resists sweat and humidity.  Available in two skin tone shades, and the Invisible Bright for subtle brightening, this is for all skin types.  I picked the Invisible Light.  Smooth on the tiniest dot of the cream and it melts on the tip of my nose, disappearing that pore and mattifying in one quick rub on.  It totally works.  The pore is filled in like Polyfilla.  Just apply your usual foundation over the top and you're done, perfection.  15mls is £18 from Boots.
    Clinique Pore Refining Perfector
    The Boy is home safe and sound from The Greece, I've done his washing and he says it's great to be home, he missed his bed, and when pushed, he missed his Mum too.





True Romance







  The Boy is still on holiday in Greece.  I've been worried sick, so is his Granny.  I worry bout my Mum worrying, she worries bout me worrying and we both worry bout him.  But I got told today from a work colleague with more inside info than me, that The Boy and his mates are regretting going for a fortnight, couple days ago they were wishing they could go home, a fortnight was too long.  I found this surprisingly comforting.  I'm imagining that they've long ago run out of money, clean clothes, girls, interest.  He gets home tomorrow, thankfully.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched True Romance again, in memory of director Tony Scott RIP.  This is my favourite movie of all time.  Written by Tarantino, starring Christopher Walken, my favourite actor of all time.  My favourite movie scene of all time ever, Walken and Hopper in the trailer trash caravan, my favourite movie quote of all time, "I haven't killed anybody since 1984".  Christian Slater, the Arquette woman, Brad Pitt is briefly a barely recognisable stoner.  I put the "I haven't killed anybody since 1984" quote on an over-sized Tee for sleeping in when I was in hospital last year.  A nurse was making conversation with me..."so you're a nurse" says she..yep I am, says I and we talk more, about where we've worked and when we trained (me 1983 - 1986).  She points to my Tee quote..."what does that mean, you haven't killed anyone since 1984?"  No silly, not me, it was Mr Walken.  Ahh says she, I thought it would've been when you were a student. *raises eyebrows*













  A piece of silver Starry jewelry on The Star Swag Blog that is just sooo me.
  Product Of The Week, (I can have as many products of the week in one week as I want to - it's Marilyn's World) is the Trixie Pet Food Bin.  I got two of the 25kg size to solve my wild bird food peanuts problem.  I purchased 25kg of peanuts which came in a sack, a big sack.  I was wary of storing them in the sack.  If I put it in the shed mice would no doubt eat through the sack, but I couldn't keep this sack in Starry Towers, that would be unsightly and fall over all the time, spilling peanuts.  I needed a tub of sorts, then I found these storage bags.  Made from tough, tear-resistant, wipe-clean flexible material it folds down to fit the volume of the food in it.  The adjustable strap allows it to be hung up or carried if you're a weight-lifting heifer or slid along the floor if you're a more delicate creature.  Metal rings at the top and bottom of each sack provide stability.  The 25kg size is 41cm diameter and 42cm tall when full.  I got mine, one for the nuts and one for the seed mix, from Zooplus for £11.90 each, there's an automatic 10% discount for first time customers.




























  The best ever all round base and high shine top coat polish over on The Star Swag Blog.
  Product Of The Week is this set of earphones for my iPod.  These are the Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones in the black option, only £8.49 on Amazon.  The Creative EP-630 in-ear earphones have rubber earbuds giving an enhanced listening experience with MP3 audio.  They're specially designed to meet the needs of users on the go.  I'm usually snuggled up in bed or a comfy chair, but I do walk sometimes, or I'm pottering on the Starry Towers estate, deadheading, seeding, weeding and feeding or tidying up the fallen leaves.  The rubber earbuds block external sounds and enhance the bass impact of compressed audio tracks, giving users on the move access to a new, more exciting sound stage.  They're lightweight and comfortable, and I'll have to take their word for this bit, they feature oxygen-free copper cable to ensure maximum audio delivery across a wide frequency range, plus Neodymium magnet transducers for improved clarity from high-end to low.  All I know is they sound damn good and are much cheaper than my usual Senheisers.  I've worked my way through at least four of the Senheisers, but they constantly break at the internal wires.  The first couple pairs I put down to my own blame, I'd wrapped them too tightly round the iPod or then my Curvyman cable tidy when I moved on to using it in a bid to care better for my cables.  This last set went at the connector, I've had to spend the last couple days with the sound breaking up, footering the cable about then selotaping it into position when I got it just right, but the least bit of movement and it'd be off again.  But lets put the Senheiser past behind me, these Creative earphones are superb with their basses graves, and under a tenner.
    Creative EP-630 Noise Isolating Earphones
















  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's three seriously good bargain buys.
  I really do love August in Scotland.  This evening The Friend C and I enjoyed Rhod Gilbert, thanks to August in Scotland.  The Edinburgh and the Edinburgh Fringe festivals are a world class opportunity for every Scottish person, and it happens every year, where else in the world?  Nowhere else in the universe, and it's on the Starry Towers doorstep, we are so lucky.  This is Mr Gilberts' current The Man With The Flaming Battenberg Tattoo at Venue150 on Morrison Street in Edinburgh.  Hilarious stuff.
    The Friend C and I met up in Bathgate and took the train alighting at Haymarket.  I had a rough idea where we were going, I'd been there at the weekend after all.  Small problem, as you come out of the Haymarket train station there's a load of roadwork type barriers erected (damn over-due over-budget trams, why not a tube line instead?).  I slightly lost my bearings, I had an idea in my head and on the Google Map that Venue 150 on Morrison Street is equidistant west and south from the interjection of Shandwick Place and Lothian Road...this is correct by the way.
    Due to the disorientating erections we were half way up Dalry Road before I admitted that my plan, which was to walk along from the train station till we saw Morrison Street, was failing, we passed the crossroads with Caledonian Road and Orwell Terrace.  This only took minutes though, it's not like I made us do a city tour or something.  I admitted how my vague thoughts weren't working out so well and decided we should ask a friendly looking young man eating some sort of pastry, probably a sausage roll or a Cornish pasty.  He didn't have a clue, probably a tourist.
    The Friend C starts showing off with her iPhone, Googles us a map, as we're focusing in on the details, figuring it out for ourselves, a wee drunk man dressed as a jakey and clutching his can of Special Brew prop sidles up to us and tries to chat me up.  He pretends he really wants to give us directions, but he was really trying to chat me up.
    We were in the middle of sussing out we had to go back down Dalry Road but had to kinda thank him, because we're polite.  We shook him off then only minutes later another wee drunk man dressed convincingly as a tramp, this could be the first man's twin, he flashes me his bestest face and tells me he knows me, how are YOU doing?  when was the last time I saw you he asks.  We keep walking while being inherently congenial, mumbling between ourselves but not so he'd hear, aye right, must've been ten years back, lovely to see you, hope all's well with you too, have a lovely evening, feck off.
    I swear I have absolutely no previous experience of such seriously inappropriate come-ons, I was flummoxed, Friend C was equally surprised.  I wasn't doing anything to attract this hobo attention overload.  Perhaps they were actors in a particularly convincing free-fringe interactive street play???  I hope.
    Once back at Haymarket station, there it bloody well was, Morrison Street was obvious.  A short walk along and the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is right there.  You can see from this map how easy it would be to head off in the wrong (the blue) direction if you were to come out the train station to be faced with confusing roadwork obstacles and be chatting too much to concentrate. I'm no homing pidgeon, no inbuilt compass, I acknowledge this and carry a real compass sometimes, just so I know where Scotland is when I travel abroad, I find it a comfort to know where home is, I don't know what Friend C's excuse is.
    we went the blue road, should've been the red
    Also the EICC is about the same distance along Morrison Street from Haymarket train station (the red) as the point along Dalry Road when I told Friend C that I strongly suspected we should stop chatting and concentrate on finding the venue, because right about now I should be seeing Morrison Street but wasn't.  I was at the EICC just a few days back, I can advice, I know the drill.  You visit the bar (two drinks = a tenner, I mention this because both The Husband and the Friend C commented on it, I don't know but I'm guessing this means that's on the expensive side for Scotland).  I was keeping an eye on the queuing, the moment someone started it, we joined them.  Right at the front, and go for the escalator side.  This is the best way usually, unless you inadvertently get stuck behind a woman with a walking stick and her partner.  This nuisance couple arrived at the front of the queue to claim their early-entry free pass just seconds before the rest of us ordinary people queuing for near on an hour were allowed up.  Consequently we non-disabled, non-demanding, accepting of our place in society, we people at the front of the queue were rather unsympathetic to her hobble.
    This lady got ahead on the disabled ticket then blocked the way.  One of the original four who were rightfully in front of us, this man gets pissed off and suggests the walking stick woman stands aside, let the rest of us pass, what with our fully-functioning legs, we want to get the front row seats we deserve.  The cripple woman is holding us up, the people who queued on the staircase side are flooding ahead.  The Friend C and I have done all we can to get front row seats and now this allegedly-disabled person is sticking her crutch in our wheel.  The hero of the hour guy nudges her gently, but only after asking her nicely for 3 flights, the cripple lady squawks at security people, excuse me!  She's complaining bout the guy.  We get to the open-plan space at the top of the escalator eventually and zip past her as she's mouthing off at the bouncers.  Due to my recent visit to the EICC I know exactly where to go, the Friend C is following on my tail as I make for front centre, and that's exactly what we get, we're contently satisfied.  I'm happy to report that the man the walking stick woman was trying to get evicted...he and his friend were also on the front row, though off on the left column.  We never see limpy woman again, I like to think she got evicted.
    Mr Gilbert was seriously on form and hot.  We laughed and we laughed in our big comfy seats, we saw the band of his pants and a glimpse of his abs up his Tee when he raised his arms.  He was even better than I expected.  Highlight of the Festival 2012 for me so far, the bar is high, Mr  Herring's got a lot to beat.






  Sheep News
  Over to The Shetland Sheep Gallery for the latest on The Dad's sheep.
  Stars on The Star Swag Blog.
    I got a pile of petition cards from The Silver Haired Fox at the Sunny D Post Office the other day, took them to work and got them all completed, people were very keen to put their names to the Save The Post Offices cause.  If you're not able to pick up a card, you can sign the petition at  I don't know bout you, but I really need my Sunny D village Post Office, I do my bit for their business, returning online purchases.
    Thankfully, jeeez, it's been freaking me out all fortnight, this is them switching the gas guzzling London petal Torch slash Cauldron thing off.
    It'll go back on when the Paralympics start.  When that hefty bill hits the London Olympic door mat there's going to be some frantic scrambling down the back of Sebastian Coe's sofa cushions.  The Husband and I watched the closing ceremony this evening.  I annoyed him a lot with my occasional remarks.  He seemed to hear it as a running commentary.  In my defense, I was only making humorous comments and taking the piss.  But, it didn't go down well with the more patriotic The Husband.  Long story short, it wasn't nearly as good as the opening ceremony, but I doubt anyone expected it to beat that.  Here's my thoughts, which I tried desperately to keep in my own head, in no particular chronological order...
    the newspaper print...why? to remind us of the recent phone-hacking scandal Leveson enquiry?
    Her Maj can't be bothered, she must have seen the set-list, she sends Harry, and strangely, his sister-in-law sits by his side
    Only Fools and Horses Del Boy and Rodney dressed as Batman and Robin appear in their Robin Reliant car, was it the real Jason and Lyndhurst?  I thought Jason was dead already
    there's people with sweeping brushes, I'm guessing this is symbolic of the clean up after last year's London riots, but I could be wrong
    Emeli Sande?  who is she, some Britain's Got X-Factor runner-up?
    I've got no time for Tinie Tempah, Taio Cruz or Jesse J (with or without her total-body-vajazzle)
    Kaiser Chiefs, good, but disappointed they didn't give us I Predict A Riot
    David Bowie, would've been great if he'd appeared instead of this montage with the queen of the supermodels Kate Moss and some others, including Naomi Campbell and that Cole one who used to not be a size 0...the gold will probably go to Campbell after Moss fails her drugs test later...alrighty...moving on
    Take That with the ridiculous dancey Orange person, I'd been hoping we'd get to the end with no Gary feckin Barlow, instead we got no Robbie Williams
    much as I'm fond of Russell Brand, he didn't belong in an Olympics ceremony miming to Charlie Choc and Beatles songs
    the giant inflatable octopus controlled by Fat Boy Slim...why?
    George Michael...I could've just about put up with Freedom...but they let him sing another song, I didn't even recognise the second one (turns out the unrecognisable song is his new single)
    Ed Sheeran, limp and boring, near the end of his bit I realised it was so bad, because, I don't like Pink Floyd or Genesis either
    Muse...that Matt Bellemy person is so seriously up his own arse, and absolutely over the top at impersonating a real a rock star
    Elbow, why?
    Queen, hurrahhhhh!  But no We Are The Champions, boooo
    Annie Lennox was well good
    Beady Eye, the Gallagher brothers just couldn't get over it and appear as Oasis to sing Wonderwall?  Disappointed at their continued pettiness
    Spice Girls, I was inexplicably pleased to see them, even though they came in gripping for dear life to their zimmer frames on top of taxi cabs.  Was Gerry's waistline slightly smaller than Victoria's?  I think so, extraordinary.
     Eric Idle, because we're a bunch of eccentrics, right? Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life, summing up the closing ceremony, and life without the Olympics, life's a piece of shit. 
    I thought the commentators could've done a better job, many times I was wondering who I was looking at, and no-one explained.  I've got nothing to compare the London 2012 Closing Ceremony to, I don't usually watch this kind of thing, maybe it was great, but I don't think so, here's the complete set list.
    Saturday midday and the minibus picks me up at the Starry Towers door, this is my first outing with work colleagues for decades.  I think I went to maybe two evenings when I was a student nurse in the '80s.  Oh yeah, and there was a Christmas dinner night out as a staff nurse in the late '80s, there was karaoke, a terrible band and atrocious dancing.  It's just not something I fancied doing.  But I really enjoyed our trip to The Flotterstone Inn with the "girls" to witness the marriage of Mary and Pat.  An outdoor ceremony conducted under the trees by a minister woman from the church that welcomes all, the Unitarian Church of St Marks based in Edinburgh.
    The ceremony involved candle lighting with flames of passion, holding of hands that will be the hands that will hold and comfort and, too much information, created a picture in my head I didn't necessarily need in my head, and the drinking of wine.  Both the sweet white and the bitter red wines.  Symbolic of the pleasurable lovely pleasant side of coupledom and then the times when people are being arseholes and the other one has to be forgiving, drink of the bitter and smile while fighting the urge to puke.  The meal was a buffet which I chose to eat al fresco, then there was a piece of wedding cake, actually made by another of the work colleagues, Val, it was a nice bit of cake, apart from the horrible marzipan, not a fan of marzipan.  Here's me in my Warehouse silver frock and Kurt Geiger Pointed Toe Mules with the girls, lovely.
    After the wedding, The Husband and I headed into Edinburgh to see Alan Davies, back doing stand-up after more than 10 years with his Life Is Pain tour at Venue 150.  He was a few minutes late on stage due to watching a Mo race, well, you would wouldn't you.  We got seats at the inner end of row two, could practically look right up his nostrils.  There was to be no photies once he was on stage, so here's the empty stage, his set-less set.  He was very funny and we had a good night out, I love August in Scotland. 
    Life Is Pain set-less set














  Ankle boots you say?  Ankle boots with studs, silver trims, tassels, zips and a heel you can walk in? You've come to the right fashion blog, sorted on The Star Swag Blog.
  It was Happy Birthday to The Mum a couple days ago.  As is the norm around these Starry Towers parts, The Mum got Moonpigged.  She was so happy with her large sized Leo (her pet Pomeranian dog) card she's probably going to frame it.
    Glorious weather recently at Starry Towers, and most probably for a lot of the rest of the country.  I've had fantastic full-on Summer on all my days off this week, that was Tuesday, Wednesday and today, my half-day Friday.  This is one of them really good days that roll around here and there.  I mean, a seriously great day.  It started out with me going to work, but once the back of the morning was broken, a bunch of us nurses had a great breakfast, in anticipation and celebration of one of our number getting married in the morning.  Our Mary was to be wed the next day.
    Some of the girls made with the food as I was setting the table and someone else did a sterling job of keeping Mary talking, out of the kitchen and away from the dining table.  I'd taken in a silver table cloth, champagne flutes, non-alcohol Bucks Fizz, silver napkins and my bride and groom cake topper as a table centre piece.  I'd got these great personalised ribbon napkin rings too, an impressive touch.
    I was working till 1.30, then spent the most wonderful afternoon and evening all to myself, doing pretty much nothing much of anything at all.  I sunbathed, listened to an audiobook, Bill Bryson's Notes From A Big Country, and played Solitaire simultaneously on my iPod.  I painted my nails with my new Nails Inc Sprinkles, the pink/blue/silver one.  I ate green olives on cocktail sticks and poured myself a big glass of cold white wine and felt decadent and gloriously corrupted, immoral and self-indulgent
    Two weeks of these 'Lympics, I've had way too much already, and the gas bill must be horrendous.  Yes Sir Chris Hoy became Scotland's greatest ever Olympian with his 6 gold medals, congratuwelldone Sir Hoy.  I'd be doing him a disservice to not mention, he is technically the UK's greatest ever Olympian also.  He has won more gold medals than any Englander, I think this London 2012 Olympics has been a good one for Team Ecosse.  Take this picture and double it.  Or maybe by now, he could be up to 7, or 8, just triple it to be on the safe side.
    ...and double it





A Home At The End Of The World





  Sparkles on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Boy and his inconveniently obsolete passport, the most worrisome absence of an available Glasgow Passport Office appointment, completing the application form and being scared it wasn't done right, the trip to Liverpool...that all turned out well in the end.  Massively big phew! 
  The Boy and his Dad, husband #1 (chronologically...not in order of gold, silver, bronze), set off for Liverpool at 7am.  Met me out front Starry Towers as I was waiting on my lift to work.  I headed off reluctantly to a particularly difficult day, they drove off southward.  I thought about The Boy all day long, only giving in to my fretting finally, at about 5pm I phoned his mobile.  Triumph, he held in his hand a brand new biometric chipped electronic UK passport.  He shall go to the Greece.  With his mates, for two weeks of teenage high jinks, O M bloody G, my worries have only just begun.
    But, as I told a workmate today, herself worried about a nephew about to go to London on one of them botched G4 security Olympic jobs, it's not Afghanistan, it could be a hellava lot worse for us and both of our feckless lads.
    The Olympics eh, day 10, just about had enough now.  I admit, the opening ceremony was great and I've enjoyed a few bits and pieces here and there, and I'm particularly extremely happy for Team Ecosse.  From the top...Andy Murray taking home a gold and a silver.  I saw a lot of the gold medal winning game against Fedderererrrr, I was at work or I definitely would have sat down and watched every Andy move.  Mr Murray was a joy to behold, just lovely.  Congratubloodywelldone Andy.
    Next, Chris Hoy and his 5th Olympic gold, this time in the 2012 cycling Team Sprint.  Well done Sir Hoy.  And the rest, Heather Stanning, Gold, Rowing, Coxless Pair; Timothy Baillie, Gold, Canoeing Slalom, C-2 team; Katherine Grainger, Gold, Rowing, Double Sculls;  David Florence, Silver, Canoeing Slalom, C-2 team; Michael Jamieson, Silver, Swimming, 200m Breaststroke; Daniel Purvis, Bronze, Gymnastics, Team All-round and Scott Brash, Gold, Equestrian, Team Jumping.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched A Home At The End Of The World.  A movie on a TV ch.  I prefer a pre-planned movie-date DVD experience usually, but this one sucked me in.  This one has Colin Farrell.  Based on a 1990 novel of the same name by Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Hours, Michael Cunningham.  I don't know what it was that made this so especially attractive, with Colin Farrell.  But I became engrossed, with Colin Farrell.  A moving story of two childhood friends, from the '60s to '80's, and a complex emotional love triangle, with Colin Farrell.  Life and death, love, happiness and sadness, with Colin Farrell.  Beats me, it's a tearjerker, could have been boring and schmaltzy, but it grabbed me, with Colin Farrell.










  Sprinkles on The Star Swag Blog.
  Something sluggish annoying me, the Starry Towers Estate mouse traps are currently killing more slugs than mice.  Huge fat mottled ugly disgusting slimy creatures, at the steady rate of one a night.  These slugs seem to be able to eat the peanut butter bait while they die.  That's a horrible image, munching away at one end as the life's draining out of them from a slow-mo fatal injury.  Or mice are getting clever, they sit and wait till a slug triggers the trap then amble over to chow down.  It's nearly enough to make me put away the death traps.  But not quite, I think maybe I should sprinkle slug killer pellets around the mouse trap area and put an end to the problem.  I'll report how that goes.
    Product of the Week.  Norwegian artesian VOSS Still water.  The VOSS people say "you're probably struck at first by the bottle's unique design, but don't let its beauty distract you from looking deeper".  Sorry, but I did go with my natural instinct on first seeing the bottles, they are gorgeous, I'd already made up my mind, I don't give one diddley squat how the water tastes.  I don't actually remember what it tastes like, but it's water basically, VOSS is cool solely because of the beautiful iconic cylindrical bottles, designed by Neil Kraft.  And I'm not the only shallow water one, friend C was all excited when she saw them and put in a request, I got her two.  There's a lot of nonsense-speak spoke around VOSS water.  For instance the website says..."though Norway is a small country, its pristine environment produces some of the best spring and artesian water sources on Earth, and most Norwegians see it as a national benefit to live off this pure tasting drinking water. Ole and Christopher knew instinctively that bottling pure Norwegian artesian water would be a big hit with discerning consumers around the world."  OK  And says..."VOSS Artesian Water is amongst the purest waters in the world. Taken from a virgin aquifer shielded for centuries under ice and rock in the untouched wilderness of central Norway".  OK.  It's the bottles.
    My favourite writer guy, Douglas Lindsay at has a brand new novel, We Are The Hanged Man, to be published on 24th August.  I'm brimful of annnn-tiiiiiiis-i-pay-tion waiting for this.  If August 2012 wasn't panning out to be one of the top three best months of this year for stuff to do, I'd be wishing the 24th would come tomorrow.  But August is busy here at Starry Towers thanks to Edinburgh.  Still, they could've published on the 1st.  I'm just dying to read it.
    The rest of August is comedy all the way.  The friend C and I are going to see Rhod Gilbert and his The Man with the Flaming Battenberg Tattoo.
    The Husband and I have tickets for the Alan Davies Life Is Pain tour.  YES!  THE Alan Davies that I dreamt about, twice, and woke up the next mornings a little bit in real actual love with.  I know it's the fault of the iPod and sleeping with the Mr Davies Arsenal football podcast voice in my ear, but it feels so real.  I'm #excited, I may swoon, I might go all stalker crazy-shit on his ass, at this stage, we can't possibly know how it'll pan out.
    And, a late addition to the stack of tickets gathering on the fireplace mantel here at Starry Towers, we have the Richard Herring Talking Cock 2 : The Second Coming tour.  It's only right we do this one, I'm an OCD-type completest after all.  A couple years ago we went to see Mr Herring and his Hitler Moustache tour, last year we saw him doing What Is Love? Anyway.  We absolutely have to do his Talking Cock.
    Talking Cock
    WARNING...I told you bout my new tanning Product Of The Week (see below), the Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan Make Up in light matte.  I said I intended to try the medium matte as the light was a little too very very light.  I also said it was OK to apply with the bare hands...well it is, but I've since tried the medium matte.  I approached in exactly the same manner as my light matte experience, and I now have roasting burnt looking palms.  DO NOT apply the medium without gloves on.  This is a great product, the colour is great, natural looking and I've no allergic reaction, but my hands...I washed immediately after, to no avail.  I can only hope it wears off before I have to go out in public again.








  There's shrunken boyfriends on The Star Swag Blog.  Men folks beware...that's what happens to you if you cross me.
  The Boy caused a bit of a panic at Starry Towers, little matter of foreign holiday and an out-of-date passport.  YES!  He'd went and booked a Greek holiday with his mates and didn't think to check he could actually go.  He was showing us his holiday wardrobe when I quipped about checking his passport, oh how we laughed.  Not thinking seriously that there'd be a problem...there was a bloody big problem.
    A phone call to the passport people and The Boy has an appointment in Liverpool on the day before he flies, the only option available.  His father has rearranged work commitments and will provide the transport.  For the additional hefty sum of £129.50, not to mention the fuel, The Boy will be in Greece this Summer.  Imagine if I hadn't made the joke, he could've arrived at the airport and come straight home a big girl.  Wouldn't have done his street cred any good either, that's the kind of event that can identify a person for the rest of their lives.
    Product Of The Week is my miracle leg browner, Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan Make Up in light matte.  As I recently blogged, I've given up on fake tans with their dastardly DHA and their evil Erythrulose.  They all cause a horrendous skin reaction, I'll never fake tan ever ever again, we're through, over, finished.  Soon as I got it I patch tested on a shin and this Rimmel Instant Tan was fine, no red, no itch, no fiery blotches, and hence no broken skin and bruises from me scratching.  Couple days later I took the plunge and applied all over to both legs, now hours and hours, no problems.  The colour, a very light tan, is even and dries quickly.  Sticky for a short while, but once dry, not sticky, with no transference to my clothes.  My legs feel soft, silky and moisturised, their usual state without the allergy reaction of fake tan.
    I've found Rimmel Sun Shimmer (in light matte anyway) should be applied with the hands, the mitt just soaks it all up, with no product being applied to the legs.  It goes on smoothly by hand, no problem.  I went no-gloves as it's easy to wash from the hands immediately you're finished.  And go matte, unless you want to look like you escaped from the clutches of Oddjob.  One little thing, I think I'll be trying the medium, the lightest shade is very light, barely noticeable really.
    It's difficult to find inclusive ingredients lists for cosmetic products online, it's all very secretive and duplicitous.  Prior to purchasing this Rimmel product from Boots online I was hunting for the ingredients to make sure I wasn't going to get some sneaky DHA.  Then I had a brainwave, the supermarkets tend to list ingredients better than other websites.  It worked, Tesco online gave this product breakdown, reassuring me there'd be none of them bad stuffs.  Aqua / Water / EAU,Propylene Glycol, Triethanolamine, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, BHT, Caprylyl Glycol, Carbomer, Citronellol, Coumarin, EDTA, Geraniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Polysorbate 20, Tal, ,Phenoxyethanol, Parfum/Fragrance, Acid Red 27 (CI 16185), FD&C Blue N°1 (CI 42090), FD&C Red N°4 (CI 14700A), FD&C Yellow N°5 (CI 19140)





















  The Husband and I watched The Olympic Opening Ceremony live, in HD.  The one fact I learned was that Danny Boyle isn't Scottish.  I just assumed, what with Shallow Grave and Trainspotting.  How the feck is he NOT Scottish?  I'm shocked.  Despite his non-Scottishness, he done a fantastic spectacular job.
  Queen Elizabeth II declares The 2012 London Olympics...boring.  She could barely stay engaged till the end.  How disinterested did the old yin look as Team GB made their appearance?  We'd endured all 7,836 national teams trouping in to the stadium, with cameras recording how proud and excited the respective heads of state were, taking to their feet, smiling, applauding, waving hands, arms, flags.  Team GB arrives at the very bitter end.  Chris Hoy and that wee tanned boy who dives, them and the others came in, the camera zoomed in to the English Royal Box...and there she was...checking her manicure.  I can't criticise without acknowledging she did well for a 186 yr old, having parachuted into the stadium earlier with Daniel Craig.  Her husband, a 205 yr old Greek dude, made of much less noble stuff, he actually fell asleep 30 minutes into the evening.  In his favour, he is in recovery, just a few weeks after nearly dying from double pneumonia and treble bronchitis having been forced to stand in the rain looking at boats for 58 hours non-stop.
    The Husband hadn't managed to hide his disappointment when I got home from my 13hr NHS shift and announced we'd be watching the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.  However he regained his composure and quickly acknowledged this was a great idea.  He loved it all.  Me too, right up till they let that plastic-faced Beatle ruin my night.  For me, Elton John would've done a better job, and I don't even like Elton John.  OK, maybe not Elton John, maybe the Rolling Stones, shame Freddie Mercury isn't available.  There must be someone better than the warbling melty-faced McCartney.  It was like when you've had a great night out, then they put a really crap song on at the end, switch the normal lights on and bar staff are collecting the glasses, to make people get their jackets from the cloakroom and go home.  Danny Boyle's ceremony was wonderful, apart from maybe too much Dizzee Rascal, and the Beatle thing.  We were kinda expecting some little shit thing to go wrong, or for terrorist extremists to kill innocent people, but well happy that the bad stuff didn't happen.












  Over on The Star Swag Blog I've found mint clutch options, for that Summer wedding.
  Happy Birthday The Boy, 19 years old today, I can't get my head round it.  The Boy got Moonpigged and a load of cash money.











  There's UGG sheepskin boots on The Star swag Blog.
  This is The Fake-Self-Sunless Tan Post.  Regular readers will know I have very sensitive skin, a touch of eczema occasionally and I have allergies which effect me with hay fever and year-round rhinitis, as well as my skin.  Then there's the vitiligo (patches of skin with no pigment) and the anosmia (loss of sense of smell, which I reckon might be connected).  My immune system troubles me and it's all a huge inconvenience to say the least.
  I'm blogging the news...I can't fake my tan anymore.  I've been trying for years, I finally give up.  I used to be able to use any old fake tan product, before I developed an allergy to them all.  From what I've researched, the probable culprit ingredient is the Dihydroxyacetone (DHA).  Before learning about these so called "natural ingredients" I tried Lavera which claimed to be "completely chemical and toxin free" and "100% natural".  It also claims to be "cruelty-free", not in my book, it's all a big fat cruel lie, hurt me a lot.
    Having learnt bout the DHA I purchased a sunless tanning product with another main active ingredient, hoping the DHA content would be less.  I thought I'd found the answer to my problem.  I suffered the same allergic reaction to Invisible Zinc Jet Set Tan.  After that I researched some more and discovered this Erythrulose is very similar to the original bad boy.  The most recent NOT-wonder-sunless-tan product I just tried promised "safe for sensitive skin" with it's tanning agent, Vegetan.  St Tropez Naturals claim this is a "100% naturally derived active ingredient", yeah it is, if by 100% naturally derived active ingredient, they mean, in the same way arsenic is a naturally derived poison.
    I Googled loads of hours on this problem and found many people asking the same questions I was, no-one was getting answers.  I found that many manufacturers are reluctant to give full and honest information online too.  Hence making it more confusing and difficult to work out what might be causing my problem and probably leading to people, like me, purchasing products that will prove to be unsuitable, a waste of money and a pain in the skin.
    Or maybe my problem lies with a preservative or some other chemical that is common to them all, who knows.  A daily anti-histamine tablet from early Spring to Autumn, though it probably helps with the hay fever, it doesn't do anything for the skin thing.
    None of the ordinary sunless-tanners are safe for me.  Then in my quest for artificially brown legs I tried supposedly safer products sold on their promises of "natural" and "sensitive"...Lavera, Invisible Zinc and St Tropez Naturals.  If you have a history of allergy to sunless-tanning products, if you're searching for a " natural" product that will be kind and gentle to your sensitive skin...just stop wasting your time, effort, money and skin integrity.  There isn't one.
    I've been driven crazy, I've paid enough.  Not just money, I've itched, scratched raw and bruised my skin for the last time.  One particularly bad area of skin on my left shin became infected by a fungus, I know this because a very long term recurring problem went away after a couple days treatment with an antifungal steroid preparation.  I'm going make-up for legs.  The instant, very temporary colour, apply on the day and remove next time you shower, or if it rains, whatever happens first.  I'll report my findings.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Stop-Loss this evening, great film, depicting the mental and physical trauma experienced by young men at war, Americans in Iraq on this occasion.  Great performances from some cool, good-looking actors. 




  Pumps, not my usual footwear, but I've found fabulous ones I love, get on over to The Star Swag Blog to check them out.


















  There's beautiful mint green on The Star Swag Blog.
  I was telling The Boy his Uncle Derek has a new kitten, he expressed little interest, then I told him, and a bomb, he found a WW1 bomb, that sparked a reaction.  Asking for more details, then he said...we need to talk about Uncle Derek more often.
  I was born with a higher than normal risk of developing particular cancers, cancer of the female obstetric bits and of the bowel.  The experts strongly advised me to accept a free hysterectomy on the NHS, so it must be serious.  The colonoscopy every two years is six months late at this time so I had to go see the GP.  She's going to write to the bowel people.  I don't like having a camera inserted anywhere, but if it's serious enough to have a hysterectomy, its serious enough to keep an eye up my arse, and I'll have peace of mind.  The GP checked through relevant letters on the system, had a little chuckle over this...I've had two colonoscopies so far, both without sedation.  The doctor who performed the first, had written in his letter..."against my advice, but on her Mother's advice, she insisted on proceeding without sedation.  She did rather well."
    "Rather well"?  I was fantastic.  True, I may have dug my nails into a theatre assistant nurse guy's hand as the sweat beads popped out on my forehead, and I think I told all present just how sore it was on a frequent basis, but I exercised self-control and didn't swear or scream, I was well-behaved.  It was agony, I was verging on panic, but I survived.  I survived so well, I went and did it again two years later, that time was worse.
    The surgeon guy was right, it was all The Mum's idea.  The Mum was speaking from experience.  She strongly suggested that anyone who accepted the sedation was weak and ridiculous.  She promoted the benefits over the disadvantages.  The benefits are the body not having to cope with injected drugs, that you can leave immediately it's over and you don't have to be supervised overnight.  The disadvantages it HURTS! and the body produces it's own drugs (adrenalin, endorphins) and it HURTS!  She told me, and I quote, the procedure is merely "uncomfortable", not painful.  Hmmm
    Anyways, time is a great healer and numbs the pain memory (slightly), and next time, I went and did it again, ooops.  It was slightly less traumatic, until the surgeon guy announced that on the way back out he had to stop and take out a polyp that hadn't been there the previous time.  To do this he had to insert a huge amount of air, back out in the recovery area that air was stuck up there for a while.  The pain from this trapped wind caused me to have a panic attack.  I'd never had one of them before, the pain was so excruciating I started to think he may have accidently punctured my bowel, I kinda freaked out and started believing that amount of sore must mean I was dying.
    Recovery staff started looking for a paper bag for me to breath into, someone was phoning the surgeon, but he'd left the building and wasn't answering his mobile.  They wanted him to prescribe pain-relief.  One man's golf or restaurant booking (whatever he was off doing with the rest of his day) resulted in a patient, in a hospital, surrounded by qualified health-care professionals not getting the analgesics she needed, inexplicably.  All the other colonoscopy victims who'd had sedation, they'd all come round and left, I was still on the trolley, breathing shallow and fast, in agony.  Eventually the air in the wrong place moved a bit, this helped me calm down a little, a bit later, in fits and starts, it was all out, phew.  I didn't care if it was noisy, and it was.  I recall, just seconds after the last fart, I was sitting up on the trolley, swinging my legs over the side and off to get dressed, a changed person, back to normal, apologising to the staff who were having to stay late dealing with me. 
    Two and a half years after that one, and I want to do it all again.




  Rocking the metallic trend over on The Star Swag Blog.
  The gardens of The Starry Towers estate are flourishing.  I hesitate to suggest it's actually Summer here, one good day does not a season make, but it's been sunny today.  In general we're having milder temperatures, and a lot of rain, perfect growing conditions.
    Today was gorgeous, hot and sunny, allowing me on a day off to get out there and potter to my hearts content.  Was then I spotted my luck's in, we have a lucky Four Leafed Clover plant.  It's suffered a lot of slug and snail dinner damage so I sprinkled slug killer pellets round it.  This is Oxalis tetraphylla, or the Iron Cross plant.  Lucky Four Leaf Clover purists...they do exist...insist this isn't a Lucky Four Leafed Clover, they call it a False Shamrock.  But if it looks like a Lucky Four Leafed Clover and acts like a Lucky Four Leafed Clover, then it's a Lucky Four Leafed Clover, it'll do.
    Oxalis Deppei...good enough for me
    I picked this un-nibbled leaf, it's currently starting the being preserved for all time process between the pages of a thick heavy book, under the weight of The Starry Towers fireside chrome log holder.
    I planted one of these plants, but I didn't plant it where it is now.  I thought the original plant was dead and gone, missing in action.  Today's plant was found a good four meters away, was it a seed from that plant?  Or, is it the original Xmas 2009 tubour?  The original 2009 tubour was planted in a pot and never happened, nothing.  I put it down to a cheap foolish mistake and forgot bout it.  At some point in time I'll have emptied that pot out in the place I find this plant now.  It's a mystery, we'll never know, either which way, it's lucky.







Captain America












  Over to The Star Swag Blog for sweet little lace shorts.
  Should Be Breaking News : The Brother unearths WWI bomb, Navy Bomb Disposal Unit attend and dispose!  The Brother forgets to mention it in dispatches, but remembers to tell The Parents that he's got a new kitten!  Sorry I don't have a photie of the new kitten yet, but here's the WWI bomb.
  This is like the most exciting news to come from the Carluke branch of The Starry Towers Family for some considerable time.  The Bro digs dirt for a living.  He does it in a highly skilled way from the comfort of his big machine and gets well paid for his troubles.  He was moving earth when he spotted this suspect metal object.  The police were informed then the Navy Bomb Disposal guys came over for a shifty and dispose.  This is a WWI bomb which would've been dumped by a German Zepplin trying to target Edinburgh or ship-building Clydeside back in the day.  Happily The Bro is alive and well, he tells me this bomb deactivated due to being in the dirt for so long, the detonator has effectively, dissolved away.  The Navy Bomb guys washed the explosives out and took the casing away.  Shame that, because The Mum would've loved to put it in her Braehead garden, using it as a planter for Bluebells or Pansies.  The Bro let the Bomb Squad take The Mum's new planter, I wouldn't have, that's all I'm saying.
    The Husband came home with this cute wee 8GB Memory Stick for me. 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Thor.  All Norse gods and a magic weapon that returns to the hand, a boomerang hammer.
    The Husband and I watched Captain America.  All super-hero, super-power, god-like, a Norway connection and a magic returns to the hand, boomerang type shield.  Marvel Comics stuck to a well-beaten path, over and over again.  I particularly liked the Stark Industries Iron Man connections from Howard Stark in Captain America to our beloved Tony Stark in the Iron Man films.  Both Thor and Captain America make a stab at humour too, Thor wins hands down.  Overall..both movies were enjoyable and a good time was had by us, though Captain America was slightly less entertaining than Thor, and maybe just a tad too long.  





  There's trinkets and shoes over on The Star Swag Blog.
  Sheep News
  My visit to The Royal Highland Show is on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
  And The Norway 2012 Journal #3 is up.
    Bloody woe is me, I've been having computer problems so massive, a weaker woman would've given up, well, at least two days ago.  First my laptop was behaving badly, screwing with memory sticks, external hard drives and such like.  First I noticed was when my trusty Kingston memory stick where I stored my website started telling me I couldn't access it.  I had to download MarilynsWorld from off the server.  I bought a new memory stick, an iBoutique, and very soon it went the same tits up way.  I strongly suspected a problem on my laptop was killing my sticks.
    I spent a lot of time trying to trouble-shoot and sort the laptop, unsuccessfully.  Then The Husband got himself a new laptop and donated his Sony Vaio to me.  The Vaio is different, not what I'm used to.  Everything's tiny, a difference in screen resolution alien to me.  When I opened Expressions Web to work on my website it was all changed.  It's given me a slightly better understanding of screen resolutions and website size, it's all more complicated than I was previously aware.  Whatever size screen and whatever browser you use I can only hope MarilynsWorld looks right to you.  I'm working very hard on improving my website to be compatible with all, but there's still a long way to go, I haven't quite got my head round it all yet.





The Way Back





















  I'm back from The Arctic Circle, I don't know what's going on...and that's what I've been telling everyone at work this week.  I was away from the middle of last week, got back on Monday, worked FOUR long shifts then off the weekend.  The Husband's been home over the weekend too, so we were out yesterday and came home with a new 60" TV.  A supersize Sharp Aquos.  We've had HD for a while, but on our previous 47" Toshiba it didn't look as real as this.  This is stunning with breathtaking depth, bright natural colours and razor sharp clarity.  Watching a movie is like watching the documentary of the making of the movie.  I really am there, and Angelina Jolie is here, in the room.
  Scottish Andy Murray was at Starry Towers today, I kept trying to return his balls.  I was thinking at least the media and Englanders will stop calling him British now, every cloud.  Then he stops being dour and goes and makes an emotional, charming and articulate speech, damn...winning hearts and minds...he'll be called British forever now.  Most exciting game of tennis I've ever watched, not that I've watched many mind you.
  Scottish Andy Murray Wimbledon 2012 on the Starry Towers Sharp 60"
    There will be an Arctic Circle Journal to tell the full amazing story, when I get the time to do it, but one little exclusive hint of what's to come...I saw a large creature, a Moose?  a Reindeer?  an Elk?
    Starry Towers 16 : 0 Mice
    I got home from the deep north to find a dead mouse in the Starry Towers Mouse Trap Station.  The most disgusting thing, nearly ever didn't have a head.  There was traces of watery blood, all the peanut butter was gone, and a headless mouse torso.  We all know what this means...death by trap, but I wasn't quick enough to cleanly dispose of the dead body.  His family members, friends and neighbours...or at least one of them closest to him, ate his head off.  Gross.  I wouldn't mind so much if it weren't for the fact it was me had to dispose of the headless corpse, get up close's all away in the bin, in it's Tesco carrier coffin bag.
    I was at The Royal Highland Show this year, just haven't had time to blog it, I'll get that on The Shetland Sheep page when I get a chance.
    Here's something worrying me, I got a tax return cheque, two hunner pounds.  You'd be thinking I'd be pleased, and of course, a bit of me is.  The other, bigger bit of me is disturbed.  The letter says they randomly checked my tax and realised I'd paid too much, good, well kind of...the worrying thing is it's the tax year 2006 - 2007.  What about the other near-on 30 years I've worked, is anyone checking them I wonder?  I could've been cheated out of thousands.  I'm not entirely sure how this tax thing works, but it seems a tad slipshod and slapdash to me, bunch of reckless Erics playing fast and loose with my earnings.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Way Back.  I got it in my head that it was called The Long Way Back.  Interesting, up to a point, but you'll be surprised at just how long the way back is.
    The Husband and I watched Balibo.  True story political thriller starring the hero East Timor, with bad guys Indonesia and innocent Australian journalists.





Troll Hunter




  There's a pair of heels from my new favourite shoe people on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers  15  :  0  Mice
  There's a story behind this Mice News.  After watching the Sherlock movie the other night, I went out to the Starry Towers estate, taking the warm Summer evening air.  I strolled down the path and felt like lifting the slate tile off the mouse trap station.  I was thinking, perhaps the fresh dollops of low-carb, no-added sugar, Whole Earth peanut butter, the good stuff I'd recharged the mouse traps with earlier that day, would prove to be so very delicious perhaps a mouse would be tempted in day-light.
  There was a mouse, just sitting there, thinking about eating the peanut butter, looking up at me like it wasn't expecting me.  I made a hasty retreat, not liking the closeness to a live mouse, sitting there looking at me, not knowing what it'd do next, might go for me.  I saw it run off a few minutes later.  Next, or a very close relative, was in the trap, not looking up at me.  The next morning there was another, the lure of the peanut butter.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Troll Hunter.  Ridiculous, do not, I repeat, DO NOT watch it.  Trolls do not exist, and if they did, they should be more interesting than these ones.





Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows







  Bestest dress ever on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 13 : 0  Mice (the extermination goes on)
  The Husband and I were away to Southport over the weekend on family doings, his side of the family.  On Friday we booked in to The Ramada Plaza, then come evening time we met up with The Husband's Cousin and wife and went for dinner at Auberge Brasserie on Seabank Road in the town centre.  This restaurant was chosen with me and my low carbs in mind.  We just reckoned it was more likely than the other suggestion, an Italian restaurant, to have options that might be suitable for me.  And so it did.
  I had the starter of Garlic sautéed Portobello mushroom, toasted brioche, poached egg, I just didn't eat the toasted brioche.  For a main I went with the Salmon fillet, roasted cherry tomato compote, crushed potato, prawn and crème fraiche sauce.  On request they swapped the potato for a rocket and parmesan salad.  This dish was absolutely delicious, the salmon cooked to tasty perfection, with the tomato adding just the right amount of zingy sauce.  Carbs-free means I'm not even tempted to indulge in a sweet.  Of course, with a no carbs diet I can't share in the wine, I have to stick to Vodka and Diet Coke.  This is a great diet.  Next morning at the Ramada I have bacon, egg, mushrooms and tomato for breakfast
    There's a lot of bunting and St George Cross flags in England.  A Jubilee, football and a load of Olympics, busy year for them down there.  Wonder when they'll take the decorations down.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Sherlock Holmes A Game Of Shadows this evening.  We're already fans of the Guy Ritchie Holmes, and this one didn't disappoint, wonderful movie.




  There's a pair of shorts on The Star Swag Blog that are a tribute to my no-carb tiny derriere.
  I've had a disaster.  The purple 32GB Kingston memory stick I store my website on broke down while I was moving photies from my Canon memory card to the Kingston via the laptop.  It simply stopped working, I even lost some of the new photies I was moving.  It's a bit ridiculous that this can even happen.
    Losing my website was a temporary problem, MarilynsWorld is stored online after all, just a matter of downloading it off the www.  But tragedy...precious photies have been lost.  My pictures of Hell and Monk Island in Norway, Hadrian's Wall, the Roman Fort, Corbridge, Langley Castle...all gone.  I'm so relieved I'd already sorted out my photies from the West & Central Fife Agricultural Show, if I'd lost the pictures of The Dad and his Shetlands I'd have done something irresponsible, like maybe throw a cushion against a wall.
    I emailed Kingston, to be advised to go to see a man about data retrieval, thanks for that Kingston, I'd already worked that out for myself.  A couple of phone call enquiries and I'd been told it wasn't likely to be successful and got a lowest quote of £50 and a high end rough estimate of "at least £99".  They're only photies, not solid gold trinkets.  I was onto Amazon in two minutes flat and have a new iBoutiquee64GB Elite USB Flash Drive.  The first person to mention 'backing up' will be off my Xmas card list, the Xmas card list I don't actually have, granted, but my fantasy Xmas card list, you're off it person who mentions 'backing up'.





  There's a couple of fine knit vests on The Star Swag Blog.
  Diamond Jubilee done, thankfully.  That was chronic, all that pomp and ceremony and Royals, too many boats, atrocious singing and terrible jokes.  And a sex offender on the Royal Barge, he's the one in the silly hat perving on the lady in red, (hmmm that's not very helpful), he's the one with a ridiculous piece of facial hair, yeah, that one.  I was expecting something terrible to interrupt proceedings so I did watch a bit of each televised event, just in case.  The worst that did happen was Cliff Richard, and that the old Greek guy ended up in hospital, hardly a surprise after standing in the rain for hours.  And did you see the Royal College of Music Chamber Choir looking like they just got pulled out of The Thames?
    At long last I've completed The Northumberland Journal, sorry it's taken so long, just more recent stuff happened and I concentrated on them things, and Northumberland lost out on priority.  But it's here now, on The Northumberland Journal.
    I'm annoyed.  I ordered Spanx online from Jules B.  I ordered the smallest size before anyone gets the wrong idea about my shrinking slimline self, I just thought I'd try them for under bodycon tight dresses.  I tried them on over knickers and tights, for hygiene purposes and don't like them.  I didn't feel any special sucking in feeling from the double-layer compression which they advertise as a "tummy tamer".  I paid for the return and handed The Silver Haired Fox my knickers at the Sunny D PO.  I didn't tell him it was pants, got to think of his health and wellbeing.  Next thing I know the Jules B people email me to tell me their pants are non-returnable, for hygiene reasons, and they send them back to me in a bizarre game of Pass The Pants.  I've got a pair of small (size A) black Spanx Undie-Tectable Pants looking to pass them on to anyone who'll give me some of my £28.99 in exchange.





Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol


The Grey


We Need To Talk About Kevin






  Sheep News
  The Husband and I were off to The Central & West Fife Agricultural Society Annual Show today to watch The Dad in competition.  Full story and the photies available on The Shetland Sheep Gallery.
  The Dad and Rench Iolanthe the Champion Shetland at The Central & West Fife Agricultural Show 2012
  There's a new favourite podcast on The Starry Towers iPod with loads of archived episodes to catch up on.  I've started listening to the most recent one as it's released and playing catch up with the older ones after that.  A feature of American comedian Ben Gleib's Last Week On Earth comedy/political/news/guest interview podcast is that prior to recording each one he poses a question on The Twitter to his followers, then uses a few of the answering tweets on the podcast.  This week he asked for any bad financial decisions we'd made.  I took a chance and responded.  I knew he was having Tony Clifton and his Cliftonettes that week, so I posted something bout parting with some of my Scottish pounds for a dodgy poncho.  I figured a fashion item might appeal to the Cliftonettes, and I was right, the first one he read out, from @StarryTowers.
    He's very funny, topical and gets into some interesting and entertaining conversations with some great guests.  The Ben Gleib podcast, Last Week On Earth, there's a link in the lobby.

Diet News  :  going well, weight 8st 10lbs.  That's nearly a whole stone off, what a difference, I feel all energised and fit again, and my mood seems better.  Most of my clothes are fitting me again, I had denim shorts on the last couple of sunny days.  I can even look at my Hysterectomy scar without feeling depressed.  The bulgy bit that used to hang over it is much flatter.  This low carb thing is relatively easy, my latest favourite is homemade egg mayonnaise made with free range eggs and full fat Hellmann's.  I use fresh crisp leafs of Iceberg lettuce as wraps to give it more of a meal feel and add a bit of crunch, delicious.

    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Ghost Protocol.  Even though I'm not a big Cruise fan I do love a bit of Mission Impossible.  This one includes that very World's Tallest Burj Khalifa Tower in Dubai, the tall places make my heart skip a beat and my stomach do that flippy thing.  It's a bit crumby at bits, but overall I loved it, doo, doo, duu duu, doo, doo, duu duu, doo doo etc etc etc.
    The Husband and I watched The Grey with Liam Neeson.  The CGI alpha wolf is terrible, you'd think they could make a more convincing pretend wolf, this one looked like a werewolf, fully transformed.  A huge hulking black slathering creature playing mind games with the airplane crash survivors.  Still, it's not a bad movie, just not very good.  The CGI alpha wolf is terrible, you'd think they could make a more convincing pretend wolf, this one looked like a werewolf, fully transformed.  A huge hulking black slathering creature playing mind games with the airplane crash survivors.  Still, it's not a bad movie, just not very good.
    I watched We Need To Talk About Kevin, problem there was they didn't talk enough about Kevin, and it all got a bit out of hand in his teens.  A beautifully made movie and extremely well acted, just a tad boring with it's flashback scenes (though they are very necessary), worse is the mother's complete hopelessness and self-pitying, wallowing, resenting, staring, saying nothing.  A perpetual bereft state of grey, and that's not good for anyone.  I know she's had a hard time, but hard times aren't all that interesting to watch for an hour and a half approximately.





Poolhall Junkies




























  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's a lovely Summer blazer.
  Sheep News

The Dad's done well again at the weekend.  At The Lesmahagow Annual Show he walked away with four 2nds and two 3rds.  Detailed results are as follows :

Ivydene Marcus - Tup Lamb
Ivydene Marilyn - Ewe Lamb
Rench Dandy - Shearling Ram
Rench Marilyn, Rench Dandy & Rench Iolanthe - Group Of Three
Rench Marilyn - Ewe
Rench Iolanthe - Gimmer
  Was the Sis-In-Law's birthday recently, Happy Birthday to you Sis-In-Law.  She got Moonpigged, with a cat card and a bottle of malt, it was one of them, "saw this and thought of you" occasions.
  The Sis-In-Law's birthday whisky with age discretely blurred
    Happy Birthday Sis-In-Law
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Poolhall Junkies.  For the Walken.  A bunch of cute boys, this time hustling and playing pool, with very much a Swingers style and vibe.  I liked it.




  I've cracked it, this carb thing works.  I'm under 9 stone, only just, but this is a milestone, this morning I'm 8st 12lbs.  Goodbye 9st, and I swear...never again. I've lost 10lbs in total, very quickly, the only way that works for me.  If weight loss takes too long I get bored and depressed with the lack of effect for all my hard self-denial, and I give in.  If it happens fast, love it, this is the way to go.  Loads of my lovely clothes are fitting me again, but I'm thinking another half stone.  I want to be back down to my youthful trim weight.  Below 8 and 1/2 would be just perfect, and not an unreasonable goal for my 5 foot 2 and a bit inch height.  I spent most of my adult life between 8 and 8.5.

My BMI is currently 22.7, most excellently healthy.  Prior to this diet it was 24.9, OMG I was nearly fat.  I'd have to go down to 7 stone 2lbs to be underweight for my height so I'm safe to carry on for another while.  After the hysterectomy, the giving up on the smoking, the age (I'm nearly 50 you know) and the everything else, I thought I'd never get this weight shifted.  If you want to check out you're own BMI, this World Cancer Research Fund UK website is great with both metric and imperial calculators.

    what BMI results mean

I was out in the front garden this afternoon, in the first Scottish blazing sunshine of 2012 when a man across the street beckoned me over to talk to him.  I vaguely knew I should know him, I knew it was from Bangour, even though he's a lot older now.  This was an old retired, even though he's a lot older now.  This was an old retired Bangour Village Hospital nurse who seemed to know of me but only because he knew I'd lived in Sunny D for many a year, and he didn't know my name.  I think he probably used to know it, back in the day, but he appeared a tad confused to me, so when he seemed to have never heard of my name when I told him "Marilyn", I wasn't all that surprised.  He told me his name, I remembered it from years ago in Bangour.  He told me he's 63, he looks a lot older.  He told me he's always had this impression of me as aloof.  He told me lots of other things a man shouldn't be telling me on the street, like that he remembers the female nurses in Bangour in their white uniform dresses, and that he and his male colleagues used to play a guessing game of which ones were wearing knickers and which ones were going commando, and how this game got them all a bit hot under the collar of their white coats.  He told me, joking and laughing to himself all the time, that he only uses the www to watch porn, that his wife won't give him a cuddle, that his memory is failing him and he hopes it isn't Dementia.  I rather think it is.  Strange man.






Pepi, Luci, Bom


Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown
































On a KLM plane to Amsterdam I was reading my Kindle.  I thought I'd switched it off at the seatbelt light and "prepare for landing" time.  When I got settled on the second flight, Amsterdam to Trondheim, bloody Kindle was wonky.  My gadget had apparently remained switched on and somehow two planes hadn't fallen out of the sky and didn't have to land on a mountain.  All the same, I really wanted to go on reading this book I was into, "Kill Your Friends" by John Niven, but couldn't.

  Once back home after my weekend in Trondheim, more of which later, I started looking round Amazon's help stuff.  The advice of sliding and holding the on/off switch for an elongated 30 seconds then leaving it untouched and expecting it to magically unfreeze and work perfectly...didn't work, and it didn't work over and over again.  Sometimes it appeared to work, the screen would un-freeze, but only briefly, I would get the home page, even be able to scroll down to the book, but no further.  Clicking on the book would go no further, frozen again.  Quite by accidental good fortune I discovered Amazon's "Call Me Now" feature, they do hide it well.  But I stumbled upon it and used it.  Enter your phone number and they really call you, immediately in my case.  This American guy suggested a few repair methods, but as soon as he heard that my laptop wasn't recognsing The Kindle he told me I was getting a new one.  The Kindle comes with a one year warranty you see, and luckily mine was just over a month within it.  The Amazon guy arranged a new one, all I have to do is return the old one when I received the new.
  True to his word, two days later a new fully functioning Kindle is here at Starry Towers.  I wish I could give detailed instructions to find the "Call Me Now" button, but it was a fleeting moment and however hard I try I can't find it again.
  On my return to Starry Towers I nicked round to the visit the END (Elder Next Door), no answer.  During my weekend absence she'd been admitted to hospital.   Not a good Neighbourhood Health Watch result, but inevitable I think.
  I was on airplanes because The Husband was on call at the weekend, so I took the tickets and went to him.  My decision was based on an urge to get out and do summit different, backed up by the low-carb diet weight loss, all of 8lbs now, some clothes fitting me again, I I s'pose I felt a little vain and a need to get out in the real world to enjoy the benefits.  We had a great weekend, which I will report on in a Norway Journal as soon as I get the time to get it done.
  A little taster...we went to Hell and back, on the highway to Hell, and Hell really does freeze over, several times every year.  What fun to have a town called Hell.  I spent a good part of the visit looking for a hand-basket, searching the town from top to bottom for angels and bells, and comparing the town's level of fury (not a lot) to that of your typical scorned woman (a lot).  The main landmark of Hell is the train station.  There's a Gods-Expedition sign on one of the train station buildings.  "God" is Norwegian for "goods", so this is some sort of train station goods department building.  This is me about to go to Hell, on God's work.
    going to Hell, on a mission from God
    Sheep News

While I was cavorting around the continent The Dad went to business.  His first Agricultural Show of 2012, and his first show with his own bred sheep to show.  At the Fife Show he came home with rosettes galore.  Three seconds and three thirds, not half bad for a first time.  Detailed results are as follows :

Ivydene Marcus - Tup Lamb
Ivydene Marilyn - Ewe Lamb
Rench Iolanthe - Gimmer
Rench Dandy - Shearling Ram
Rench Marilyn - Ewe
Rench Marilyn, Rench Dandy & Rench Iolanthe - Group Of Three
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Pepi, Luci, Bon.  Unwatchable.
    The Husband and I watched Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown.  A little better, and we didn't recognise Antonio Banderos playing a geeky young guy.  Both these movies are by our favourite Spanish director, Pedro Almodóvar.





Midnight Cowboy






  Starry Towers 12 : 0 Mice
  I'm on Neighbourhood Health Watch.  I can't remember what I call this neighbour on here, she's the old lady next door, I'm trying to come up with a set of letters, keep it simple...Elder Next Door (END).
  I was working the usual Saturday/Sunday and Monday, with Monday being my half-day finish, that's when I went round to visit END with the intention of fulfilling my promise of helping her suss out how to browse the www-land and fix up her with email.  That's when I learnt END got ill on Sunday evening.  She's still ill and in need of caring sharing neighbourly folks.  END has a dedicated cleaner/friend, a woman who used to be our neighbour but moved to another street in Sunny D a few years ago.  At END's recent birthday drinks, The C/F and I were the only guests.  The C/F is spending all her time looking after END since END got ill, the stress and lone-responsibility was starting to tell something awful on The C/F.  I've joined in to share the load.  Where's the family when they're really needed?

There was frequent visits, the third GP visit, providing Scotch Broth, bringing chocolate, Googling the local social work carer assessment department's contact details, and this evening when END told me she wished to buy a thank you pressie for The C/F, I told her better that I pick the last of the red tulips and some blue bells from the Starry Towers estate and put a bouquet together for END to give to The C/F.  The C/F came round looking healthier tonight with the flowers in her hand, much happier than she was at the start of this Neighbourhoodd Health Watch episode.

    The BFF was round a few nights ago for our usual Wine And Whine time, though was Vodka for me, the carbs thing rules out wine.  When the BFF heard we had Eddie Izzard tickets, she was so enthusiastic she got some of her own.  It's an Aberdoom Izzard Force Majeure night out for us and the Husbands next year, absofuckinlument I'm excited.

Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Midnight Cowboy again, for the first time in a way long time.  Fantastic movie from 1969.  I noticed the rich chick he gets with at the druggy hippy party has a silver ring very much like my Designer Style Ball Charm ring.  Fashion and it's what goes around comes around.












  Diet News  :  I've went all low-carb.  This is going well, 6lbs down, I eat a lot of healthy stuff that tastes good and I'm not hungry.  This is not your typical Atkins diet, I'm adhering to the low-carb chemistry but not the fat content.  Fish (white and oily), prawns, crab, chicken, eggs, cheddar cheese, mushrooms, onions and a smidgeon of full fat mayo.  There's a load of vegetables that are acceptable, I've just to get my head round which and how much of each is OK.  All in all, I can eat up to 20g net carbs a day, 12 - 15g from the veg.  Of course, I don't like them all, off the long list I'm thinking chives, iceberg and romaine lettuce, radish, alfalfa sprouts, spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, a bit of cucumber are my likes, to be added to my onions and mushrooms.
    Here's my new healthy nutritious snack, itsu's Crispy Seaweed Thins.  Only 0.9g carbs and 32 cals in the 12 slice packet, and as an added attraction, you eat these and you will look like the bikini clad skinnies on the pack...FACT.  Each pack has a small sachet of silica gel, do NOT eat this.  Available from the Metcalfe's Food Co, 18 packs for £19.80 and free delivery.
    itsu crispy seaweed thins



There's been a car change at Starry Towers.  Out goes the Range Rover, in comes a Mercedes-Benz CL500 in obsidian black with beige nappaaleather interior.  And it's got a TV, and that's about all I need to know about it.  That and that The Husband's really happy with his new driving experience.leather interior.  And it's got a TV, and that's about all I need to know about it.  That and that The Husband's really happy with his new driving experience.  As long as my precious Z4 stays in the Starry Towers range of vehicles, all is well.

    The Starry Towers Mercedes-Benz CL500








Biker friends have had a baby and The Husband got on the www and made this Bikeshite babygro, interesting choice, and in the black option.  The Dad is an accomplished dragster racer and mechanic, the Mum is an enthusiastic biker devotee too.  She's a sweet soul, a touch bike-crazy, I've witnessed this girl voluntarily offer herself up to perform marshal duties in all sorts of crap weather at racetracks, thus enabling The Husband's endurance racing to go ahead, totally dedicated to her man's mechanical and bike racing interests.  I haven't, and will never go to such lengths for anyone, she's a hero wife.

    Bikeshite Babygro
    News Flash : seriously incompetent nurses are removed, or 'struck off' if you like, from The Register.  I worked with this chap.

The Husband's swag delivery failed and the postman took it, not to our local Sunny D village PO, but all the way to the larger local town parcel place.  Annoying.  The Husband has the obvious stuff, like passport and driving licenses away with him in The Land Of The World's Largest Test Facility For Carbon Capture And Storage (CCS), so The Dad took a motorbike club card with a photo on and a bank letter with name and address on.  I wondered if this would be accepted as proof of identity.  The Dad said if they wouldn't accept them, he'd take them all out with a Sheep Multi Dose Drench Gun, jump the counter and make off with not only The Husband's parcel but several others while he's at it, might as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.  The Dad got the parcel, wasn't required to resort to the gun.

    The Starry Towers Coalman delivered coal today.  I'm sure this coalman sold us our last lot, but it was a long time ago so they probably forgot the details.  I showed him to the coal bunker, he was a tad surprised, exclaiming, "I didn't expect that", I said wisely, "no one expects the Spanish Inquisition".  He looked at me, I'm assuming he hasn't seen History Of The World Part One then, so now he thinks I'm crazy.  Why stop now I think to myself, I cemented that opinion by telling him the story of Joke The Coalman.  I'm pretty sure his name was Jock, but pronounced Joke.  He was the coalman who delivered coal in my home village when I was but a child.  Joke was a heavy drinker with a flatbed delivery lorry.  One day he's on the back of his lorry, heaves a sack of coal over a shoulder, the weight drags him back, he looses balance, and falls right off the back of his truck.  I don't recall what happened next, must remember to ask The Mum.
    The joiner's been and measured up for the new Starry Towers front door, I was enquiring, making very sure that he got the picture, I want it just so.  I don't know what's wrong with the man but he said "your gonna be hard work, nae wunner yer man's in Norway".  A tad cheeky, but I like that, it's good he knows I'm difficult to please, I'll get my exact door, which is exactly what you want for two grands worth of door.

An Iranian lady gave me a gift, this little box, all the way from Iran, it's very pretty, special that it came all the way from Iran to Starry Towers.  The Mum could speak no English but her daughter was fascinating to talk to.  She says they'll never return to the UK, because the process of obtaining a visa was too long and complicated.  I'll always remember these lovely ladies from Tehran.

    Starry Towers Iranian gift box
    Here's a couple of pictures of Starry Towers Tits, one of our nesting blues and a great one at the Meal Worm feeder today.
    Starry Towers Blue Tit at the meal worm window feeder today     Starry Towers Great Tit and Meal Worm window feeder today



















There's a little summit summit or three on The Star Swag Blog, featuring blue, suede and footwear, I call it my Elvis collection.

  T'was The Husband's birthday earlier this week, he was at work in Norway so I surprise Moonpigged him in the office with his favourite type of Moonpig, a heavily, a heavily personalised photo card of him.
  The Husband's birthday card

Starry Towers needs a new front door, I'm bored of the old one and it makes annoying rattling noise when it's very windy outside.  The drafty current old varnished solid wood door came with the property when I first moved in, way back in 1990.  I've sanded down and re-varnished several times over the years, but stopped a few years ago, mainly out of boredom, but with a touch of tardy laziness.  It's starting to look like it needs a bit of work, but it won't be getting it.  We went out and bought a Rockdoor, colonial style, in onyx black with chrome stuff on.  No glass, after years of a glass-full front door, I want to go all private, colonial style, in onyx black with chrome stuff on.  No glass, after years of a glass-full front door, I want to go all private, I'm fond of castles and I'm liking the peep-hole approach.

    Rockdoor Colonial onyx black
    The Husband and I went on up to Braehead to visit The Parents after the door thing.  The Dad was telling a fantastically brilliant story, The Mum and I laughed, I mean I was hurting my ribs laughing and the Mum had to rush to the loo.  The Husband was laughing nearly as hard, but he was laughing at us women folks laughing like no one was watching.  The Dad was disgruntled, thinking we were mocking, put him off telling the whole story.  The Dad didn't realise how precious and priceless giving such joy and fun to others is, and to share this wonderful story with his deadpan delivery, what a comedy genius gift.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched 36.  A French reader, The Husband really liked it, I did too, but sometimes the over-acting, the syrupy sweet bits, the unbelievable character flaws and the multi-crescendo-building musical score, but it was OK.



















  Here's more pictures of The Starry Towers Robin.  I took delivery of a big 1kg batch of fresh juicy Meal Worms today and got some cracking photies of our Robin enjoying more than his fair share of them.
  the Starry Towers Robin close up
    the Starry Towers Robin with a fresh supply of Meal Worms
    The Hunt For Therapy has progressed, slightly.  I have been therapied, for 20 minutes.  Just as I was starting to enjoy it, it stopped.  The original therapist I had organised to see yesterday at work, when my half day finished, didn't show up.  I left a message on her home phone and reply.  How unreliable is she?  I'm quite surprised at the level of un-professional.  Luckily I had a back-up plan.  I'd arranged to be unfaithful to my therapist before I actually started seeing my therapist.  Strictly speaking I wasn't unfaithful by seeing the second therapist because I was still therapy-single at the time it happened.
    The bit-on-the-side therapist came to Starry Towers and gave me 20 minutes of too-gentle-for-my-liking massage, my first massage, so can't say how good it was, nothing to compare it to.  This young girl is a trainee in her 2nd year, a friend of one of my work mates.  She was lovely and all that, but I really have to get serious, this isn't working out well.  My needs are great and so far unmet.  Tomorrow I will phone local businesses, a salon in a nearby town and a sports masseuse gym type place in another local town.  I WILL HAVE THERAPY!  Please.
    In way of thanks, two ladies informed me they'd be praying to their god for me.  I know they meant well but can only wonder at what Ala would think on hearing their prayers...given that I'm a Western white female, fond of a mini hemline, 3 times married, in control of my own life, beholden to no man, ex-slut, in full procession of an unmutilated clitoris who truly believes all religious devotees are the bane of the human race.  I'm offended, but I can't tell them so and politely request they not offend my scientific atheist sensitivities.
    Along the same delusion, superstitious, supernatural belief system lines, a work colleague brought in plastic food tubs full of "cake mixture" saying it was German Friendship Cake and proceeded to hand the tubs to our work mates with a letter explaining what they should do with their portion of gluggy floury fluid.  This is a chain letter, with added unbaked cake, a food hygiene infection control accident waiting to happen.  This is 2012 isn't it?  I swear this stupid rubbish will still be doing the rounds in 3012.  What's wrong with people?





Half Nelson










  Bird News: a pair of Blue Tits are moving in.  They've picked the middle box on Blue Tit Street.  I'm thinking the handy strategically placed nest building materials helped them decide, I'm a very obliging landlady.  The regular supply of fresh Meal Worms as enticing bait probably factored in their decision-making processes too, I'm a regular sweetheart of a proprietor.  The Meal Worms are great food for Blue Tit babies, providing protein and water.  And they're irresistible to Robins.  I intend to train the Robin to lift worms from my hand at some point this summer.  Meanwhile, I've been knocking myself out trying to catch pictures of these fast and flighty wee birds at the box and the feeder.
  Blue Tit moving in
    Bule Tit Street and handy nest building materials
    our Robin eating Meal Worms
    Movie Watch (no spoilers)I watched Half Nelson.  I like Ryan Gosling movies.  So, What Has Ryan Gosling Taught Us here?  1...Ryan Gosling can look good sometimes and oddly bad at other times,  2...Ryan Gosling's got strange little piggy eyes, but still he's attractive in this film.





The Goonies


Flirting With Disaster





  ASOS skater style frocks and a bit of cheapo ring bling, over on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 10 : 0 Mice
  Ouch, that looks sore, got some photies of The Boy's swollen and bruised left foot/ankle, though he said they couldn't be put on the www.  It's funny how he thinks I do what he tells me. He got this playing five-a-side-football three nights ago.  It's been x-rayed and happily no fracture.
  wee bit sore
    The Boy's hairy legs and his brusied swollen left foot/ankle
    Desperately seeking therapy here.  Physio G suggested I need to relax and pamper, we agreed I'd go off and enjoy massage and reflexology.  G suggested I need to relax and pamper, we agreed I'd go off and enjoy massage and reflexology.  It's proving difficult to find and make happen, what with work and other restrictions on my available time.  And I really want a mobile therapist, I want them to therapy me in the comfort of my own home.  Two weeks after Physio G and I last met, I've got a therapist and I've nearly had alternative therapies, almost.  There's this therapist I met a week ago, she gave good consultation.  I was crying out for hands on, she asked me stuff and wrote the stuff down.  Twenty minutes later I left, untouched.  G and I last met, I've got a therapist and I've nearly had alternative therapies, almost.  There's this therapist I met a week ago, she gave good consultation.  I was crying out for hands on, she asked me stuff and wrote the stuff down.  Twenty minutes later I left, untouched.  How hard does it have to be to get an alternative therapist to just therapy me in an alternative type way?  Just shut up, come to Starry Towers and massage me.  She has agreed to therapy me next Monday away from Starry Towers, and hasn't quite got round to saying she definitely will come to Starry Towers in future, she talked around the idea.
    So I need to know, is it adulterous to be unfaithful to your therapist by seeing another therapist on the side without telling your therapist?  It's been troubling me because I've been thinking bout two-timing her already, even before we actually start.  Then yesterday in a last minute turn up for the books I've had an offer of therapy, at Starry Towers.  I'm seeing them both on the same day, next Monday, is that bad?
    The Husband and I went to Northumberland at the weekend, Hadrian's Wall, Book Fair and The Langley Castle Hotel.  I'm writing my Northumberland Journal and sorting the photies as we speak, I'll let you know when it's all done.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Goonies.  Because I've heard so many references to this 1985 movie.  It's wonderful, in a kid's movie from 30 years ago type way, surprisingly modern in it's humourr, it holds up well despite it's age.
    I watched Flirting With Disaster. After Josh Brolin in The Goonies, I watched him playing a gay ATF agent for a second time.  It's quite specially funny and always nice to see Patricia Arquettee.





Lars And The Real Girl





















  I had been putting my sheep photies on The Fur & Feathers Gallery page, but I knew that had to change, especially after The Dad got his own flock.  The sheep are important enough to get their own special page dedicated to them and their shepherd.  The Shetland Sheep Gallery page is up and running.
  There was a beautiful, but damaged, butterfly visitor to The Starry Towers Estate.  So perfect, but imperfect.  Has me wondering what happened, how such a tiny segment of wing could be missing?  Such a clean cut.  Congenital?  A fight with a fellow butterfly?  A life-threatening close-call with a sneaky cat claw?  Drunk on the pollen might've got caught on a rose thorn?  I'll never know, and the butterfly is incapable of comprehending, all it knows is getting on with what butterflies do to survive and procreate.  It knows not that I find it's delicate beauty so pleasing and fills me with happiness that it fluttered by my flowers.
  a slightly imperfect butterfly
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Lars And The Real Girl.  Lovely little quirky movie, however, not of the real world.  I can't stretch to believe that there is anywhere on earth, that would handle the local dysfunctional unhinged man's relationship with a real-size latex/silicone love/sex doll, in the absolutely accepting and forgiving way everyone in the town did in this movie.  What Has Ryan Gosling Taught Us? is more difficult for some than it is for others (I knew this already) and 2...Ryan Gosling doesn't suit a moustache (news to me).





The Believer









  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's a bit of jeather.
  T'was with much shame I kept my appointment with Physio G this afternoon.  Honesty being the best policy unless, of course, we all know there's loads of situations when it's the absolute worst choice possible, on this occasion I erred on the side of the truth.  Transpired it was the very best thing to do.  We didn't get round to doing anything physical, we just talked.
  Straight up I admitted I hadn't felt able to do my exercises, I'd done them sometimes, but they just seemed to make me more sore.  In general I'm more achy all the time and just feeling crappy all over and in my head.  Physio G totally understood, telling me how the menopause causes physical pain all over due to the hormone shift, she says there's times that physio can't help, that my lack of motivation is understandable, that I should take a six week sabbatical from physio and treat myself to regular deep tissue massage.  Perhaps even a bit of reflexology, maybe get seriously into appropriate dietary supplements, soya, certain vitamins, the C, the E and Bs, magnesium, Essential Fatty Acids, certain herb/plant extracts.  I'm researching even as I type my blog this evening.
    But the best thing Physio G gave me...empathy, true real heart-felt empathy.  She told me about her own experiences, of the loss of a parent, another parent with a serious debilitating illness, her hormonal symptoms and treatments she has tried, she welled-up with tears, I welled-up with tears right back at her.  And like she said, if that makes her unprofessional, so be it.  She didn't even try to upstage me, saying she knows my hysterectomy menopause is way worse than anything she's having.  The most intelligent and magnanimous conversation about my experience I've had with anyone.  This woman is wonderful.  I can't explain, can't quite get the words together to describe her, how giving she is, how she knew what I needed and delivered exactly that.  A real caring gem of an NHS professional.
    Sure other professionals I've had dealings with have told me there are alternative treatments but none said it with feeling, they say it like I'm reading a leaflet or a website page, alone.  I'd learn nothing, take nothing in, feel nothing, not engaged, leave their offices and go home feeling more alone in ever increasing singularity.
    Last week I got my shit together and arranged a haircut, as a consequence, my hairdressing woman came round today and trimmed my's been ages, December 2011 if I've recorded properly in my Windows Calendar.  This evening I dyed my roots, I only do my roots after a trim, seems it's been four months for both hair events.  Wow.  That's quite a serious level of self-neglect.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The BelieverWhat Has Ryan Gosling Taught Us?  1...religion fecks you up (I knew this already)  2...Ryan Gosling's strangely misshapen skull, he shouldn't go with the classic skinhead look ever again, doesn't suit his head (news to me).










  Product Of The Week...the Stay Cool Pen Fan delivers personalised air conditioning much appreciated by hot women, and I'm frequently a hot woman. This came to me by friend C sending me a...saw this and thought of you...message.  It comes with a crappy battery that only exists to show you the fan works then quickly dies, the packaging does state no battery so I was surprised there was the crappy one, no biggie.  Supply your own AAA battery.  The pen is £4.99 from purveyor of all things gadgety Paramountzone.  Having used my pen fan at work for a couple of days, it's good because it writes well, in black ink, (most important at work as everything I write is a legal document) and it fans, I employed it and I enjoyed it.  Having said that, I could design a better one. Two main things...
    1. the press button to engage the fan activity - simultaneous fanning and writing is impossible and 2. the fan bit itself has two problems - for one, it's made of some sort of quite inflexible hard-ish plastic type material (hurts a bit on accidental contact with the face), should be made of the soft foamy material, and for two, the fan bit becomes detached frequently.  I'm tempted to get all super-glue with it, but what if the glue gets to the rotation movement mechanism bit, too dangerous to risk.  I inadvertently broke the twisty stick bit of the livingroom window blinds, thought it was a good idea to glue it back on, found I'd window blinds, thought it was a good idea to glue it back on, found I'd fecked that right up because the blinds might have the stick bit back, but it's still not able to function because the glue got into the turning bits too.

Fan Pen

    Menopause News...well basically there isn't any.  I thought for a couple weeks there that there was, but maybe, probably, most likely, not.  I was starting to think the hot flushes were reducing, I'd noted a few days I didn't have one till late evening, and some nights I slept right through.  I seriously started to believe my condition/state was improving, I was alloying myself to be hopeful, pleased and what I really wish for, maybe this would prove to be an early sign I'd maybe start feeling all normal again soon.  But the last two nights have been bad again, wakened several times slathered in sweat, leaving me tired, cranky and all emotional again.  I'm all stiff and sore, achy, mentally unstable and generally sad.  Kinda feeling defeated all over again.  And tomorrow I have to go to see Physio G again, I haven't been doing the exercises as much as I should've.





Point Blank













  Over on The Starry Towers page in The Starry Towers Side Door Becomes A Window Project...the new window's in situ.  Happy, happy, happy.
  Richard Herring, one of my favourite funny guys got married yesterday to Catherine Wilkins.  I only know this cos I saw a tweet on The Twitter from his pal Andrew Collins alluding to the ceremony.
  Mr & Mrs
    On 04/04/12 I blogged the strange litter I picked up out front of Starry Towers, the 'love Susan Boyle' signed photo postcard I found on the pavement.  You won't believe this, today there's another one.  I said at the time that I put it on the fire, luckily the fire hasn't been lit since so I was able to retrieve it and take a photo of the two postcards as proof.  I'm giving this Subo litter some thought, how could this coincidence happen?  Subo lives in Blackburn, that's not so far away from Sunny Dl, I can only conclude Subo is targeting Starry Towers, trying to change my opinion of her singing.  Love Susan Boyle...could be more request, pleading, begging, please 'love Susan Boyle'.  Not so much a greeting, more an obsessive compulsive wish.  I'm thinking a Susan Boyle drive-by autographed postcard campaign.  I know she can't drive, I picture her in the back of a taxi throwing them out the window.
    seeing Subo double
    Movie Watch (no spoilers)The Husband and I watched Point Blank.  French action thriller movie, ticked all the boxes, not the best ever, but good enough.








  I've got a seriously fabulous piece of heirloom type silver jewellery, see it and want it, over on, see it and want it, over on The Star Swag Blog.
  The work guys were back on Thursday (two days ago) to replace a door with a window in The Starry Towers Side Door Becomes A Window Project.  Evidence of which can be seen on The Starry Towers page.  Next, the work guy is going to drop a front door catalogue off for me to make my choice.  I'm not entirely sure I know what I want yet, hoping the catalogue will help me decide.  One thing I already won't be white.












  The building work on Starry Towers has begun.  I'm pretty pleased and more than a little excited bout this.  Sometime in the foreseeable future Starry Towers will be my beautiful stylish fully finished palace.  It's like a new beginning.  The workie guys have started The Side Door Becomes A Window Project, pictures on The Starry Towers page.
  Litter annoys me most when it's in the Starry Towers gardens, so while I was snatching an empty crisp packet from the drive I noticed a piece of white rubbish out front and lifted that too.  I'm the kind of person who picks litter off the street.  I lifted the postcard size piece of card, turned it over to reveal...a signed photo of Subo.  Now who would throw away a precious signed photo of Susan Boyle?  Well, yes, most people probably would.  I put it in the fire.
    Love Susan Boyle a dirty postcard









  Over on The Star Swag Blog, finally...there's the best going out shoes, I've got my silver toecap courts.
  I've long harboured the idea that I could rid the front garden of yellows, giving it over to the reds, blacks and purples.  A few days ago I tried again, digging up the bulbs to move to the back garden, but I just got a few and ended up breaking most of the ones I targeted.  It's not working, they're multiplying every year, I give up.  I brought the ones I broke in for a vase.  They're really rather beautiful.
    Starry Towers yellow tulips
    The Husband's friend Malcolm phoned to tell me he was on his way over to pick up his bikeyystuff, was only after we ended the call it dawned on me there'd be a problem with that.  His stuff was in the study, yesterday just after the Starry Towers workman guy had delivered the new window and I'd told him to put it in the study, I'd come out the room and closed the door fully.  The handle thingy broke, the solid pine stuff, was only after we ended the call it dawned on me there'd be a problem with that.  His stuff was in the study, yesterday just after the Starry Towers workman guy had delivered the new window and I'd told him to put it in the study, I'd come out the room and closed the door fully.  The handle thingy broke, the solid pine paneled door was shut tight and couldn't be opened.  The workman guy had told me we'd most likely be looking at removing bits of the door frame, either that or just force it risking damage.  I didn't fancy either option.  Later, The Husband said kick the door in.  To be honest I was perturbed, not feeling comfortable with the idea of kicking anything in, but pissed off in the extreme at the idea of removing frame, replacing frame, then fixing the evidence of said removal thereafter.  So I'd left it, not quite ready to make a decision on the matter.  But now I had to kick it in I decided and called on The Boy.  He was thrilled at the idea, rushed downstairs from his room and kicked the door.  He wasn't thinking, I told him NOOOOO!  He'd kicked the door somewhere in the middle of a panel, I told him he should kick on the thicker bit right next to the door handle.  Off he went to put shoes on for the big kick.  In his absence I pressed my back against the hall wall, lifted an UGG foot and three quick dunts from the sole of my boot done it.  No damage at all, which surprised me, and on The Boy's return...he was severely disappointed, he really wanted to kick a door in.  But he's got more years left to him to kick a door in, this was my time.  I liked it.
    Sheep News
    The Dad was over for a cup of tea and a chat this evening, on his way to a night shift of Lambing Watch.  He tells me the Ivydene twins are out in the field now, that's when the temperature dip and snow started to worry me.  He tells me, the lambs are hardy, as long as they're getting milk from mummy twins are out in the field now, that's when the temperature dip and snow started to worry me.  He tells me, the lambs are hardy, as long as they're getting milk from mummy Rench Marilyn they'll be fine, better off out in the field because keeping them in ups the risk of infection. The Dad also tells me he's starting to think Marilyn II might not be this space.
    Talking about animal mating, The Edinburger Pandas are at critical point.  The female has ovulated and the zoo keepers have introduced him to her today for the first time, then several more meets later...nothing.  These are strange creatures.  She produces an egg once a year, then there's a 36hr window of opportunity before it's all over again till next year. Pandas are at critical point.  The female has ovulated and the zoo keepers have introduced him to her today for the first time, then several more meets later...nothing.  These are strange creatures.  She produces an egg once a year, then there's a 36hr window of opportunity before it's all over again till next year.  Do they deserve to be so protected?  If they can't even be bothered to procreate, have they outlived their usefulness in the animal kingdom evolution process?  Maybe if they knew each other already, perhaps they're just not promiscuous, they may need to get involved in a long term relationship.  I think it's a bit off, they put them together for the first time, take them away again, put them back again, over and over in 3 days, no wonder they're not performing.  The keepers shut the Pandacams down, so news reports claim, I tend to think they're still privately recording in the hope they can use the footage at a later date if the mating is successful. down, so news reports claim, I tend to think they're still privately recording in the hope they can use the footage at a later date if the mating is successful. 
    The news that a lorry driver in Norway had slid off the road and fell 200ft down a cliff taking the rescuing tow truck with it was more than a bit surprising to me.  Norwegians do winter tyres, I think they're great for that, they don't get flummoxed by winter, they just change tyres and get on with it.  I read on, the driver is Lithuanian, that explains that.  Thankfully the Lithuanian fool and the innocent Norwegian tow trucker he could have killed, both survived.











  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's some extremely gorgeous and well priced silver  jewellery.
  Sheep News
  Here on The Star Blog there's some extremely cute lambs.  In this pic babies are practising for when they're old enough to actually eat the hay.  They look like they're eating it, but they're really not.  I've learnt quite a bit bout sheep by listening to the font of all sheep knowledge, The Dad.  He also shared the gory details of the for when they're old enough to actually eat the hay.  They look like they're eating it, but they're really not.  I've learnt quite a bit bout sheep by listening to the font of all sheep knowledge, The Dad.  He also shared the gory details of the Ivydene Twin's birth, it was traumatic.
    Rench Marilyn went into labour as expected but quickly got into trouble.  Twins are always unpredictable and require a bit of extra attention.  What I know now is lambs are normally born head first with both their cute little front feet tucked up under their baby chin, giving for a smoother, easier birth, though I imagine even a straight forward delivery is far from 'easy' for the ewe.  The Dad was on site with two of his best sheepy mates, Alex and Suzanne.  Ivydene Marilyn presented first, with only one leg correctly positioned.  Despite this they got her out alive and well.  Ivydene Marcus was still to come, but he didn't.  He's well named, his namesake, The Boy...he doesn't get out of bed before 12 midday for less than having to go to work.  The Dad and his mates were obviously increasingly concerned, making attempts at getting the second twin out.  From what I know now, that means Suzanne had her arm right up in apparently shepherd type people do in such circumstances, I never knew, it sounds so brutal.  Alex and Suzanne have more years experience with having their own Shetland Sheep flock but had never had this difficult birth experience.  Happily The Dad had been told by an old sheep pal years ago, raise the back legs, it straightens the birth canal, giving an increased change of reaching in for, and pulling out, the baby at risk.  Sounds a bit rough for the sheep mum, but it's equally essential.  Shepherds have to get lambs out, alive or dead, so the mum sheep has to endure it all either way, and if the sheep people are wise enough and a bit lucky, the lambs survive.
    Taa-daa...both twins and mum Rench Marilyn are alive, healthy and good looking.  If our old Octogenarian pal Tom was still here, he'd be thrilled to bits, as I am, I'm so proud of The Dad.  I spent a while at close range with Rench Marilyn and the twins, taking loads of photies of the Ivydene 3 day old lambikin sweetiehearts.  Throughout the photo session Rench Marilyn was protective of her babies, though she's well used to humans, being trained to the leash and in the show ring.  She stared me out, she kept an ever-watchful eye on the children.  She approached me, digging her head in and applying enough pressure to knock me over at one point, though The Dad intervened to stop her full force.  But this picture says it all.  I'm still right there, inches from them with my camera, The Dad leaves the building to go out back.  The three of them, looking after for him, where's he going, when's he coming back?   Excuse me sheep...I'm still here..woman with camera, behind you....I'm still here..woman with camera, behind you.
    I've found a new elderly person to pin my good neighbour status on.  The Neighbour On Other Side Of Wall Lady, or NOOSOWL.  I suggested that when I'm ordering my grocery delivery I'll give her a shout, she can give me a shopping list for what she needs and I'll get her stuff delivered to Starry Towers.  I'll sort it out and take it round to her, she just pays for her messages, I cover the delivery as usual.  What do I get?  A sense of smug well-being for being such a lovely person, mission accomplished. 



  Sheep News
  The Dad took me down to meet Renchh Marilyn's babies this evening.  That's Ivydene Marcus posing nicely at the front and Ivydene Marilyn is hiding behind her Mum.  These lambs are Marilyn is hiding behind her Mum.  These lambs are soooo very cute, a couple of little beauties.  They'll all be in Scottish agricultural show rings this summer.
  Earlier in the day The Brother was over to pick up the new motorbike tyres The Husband had picked up for him in France and he and I had a little trip to Morrisons.  Turns out The Brother is a great shopping companion, not rushing the job, encouraging me to take my time, get everything I need, chatting pleasantly, The Husband could do with taking shopping lessons from him, he is the world's worst shopping companion, unless you're shopping at eBay, he likes that. 



  Talk about mood swing...over on The Star Swag Blog there's some amazing and adorable Lola Rose Lola Rose jewellery to cheer me up. 
  Sheep News 
    I've got some really exciting breaking Sheep News : TWINS!  The Dad's Shetland Sheep flock just nearly doubled in size, almost.  I'll do the maths...he had 5, he's now got 7...The Dad's Shetland Sheep flock just got bigger by 40%.  The Dad's flock has officially been named Ivydene, and here's the back-story for newbies to Marilynsworld...Rench Marilyn and her daughter Rench Marilyn II, both prize winners, were named after me by my old octogenarian farming friend Tom Findlay (sadly we lost Tom Xmas 2010...still missing him and thinking about him often).  Tom's flock was called Rench, hence the Rench prefix to the Marilyns.  The Dad then went to auction market, bidding for and winning my sheeps, Rench Marilyn and Rench Marilyn II.  He also bought young girls Rench Davina and Rench Iolanthe, and little boy Rench Dandy, though he's not so little boyish any more having become a father himself a few days ago.
    On Tuesday night The Dad was out lambing, attending to Rench Marilyn.  It was a difficult birth and she needed a bit help.  I don't have all the details yet, but from what I understand so far, lambs should be born head first with their front feet tucked up under their chins, so front legs and head come out together.  One of Marilyn's babies came head first with the legs in the wrong position, but all's well, and she recovering from her trauma well.  The Dad has named the twins, the girl is Ivydene Marilyn, and the boy is Ivydene Marcus, after my son.  Sheep Marilyn has a son called Marcus too.  How lovely and cute is that.  That's three sheep named after me now, when I was a little girl I never imagined this would happen.  The Boy was more than a bit surprised when I broke the news to him that he too now has a sheep named after him.  Pics to follow as soon as I can get down to meet our new lambikins. 


28/03/2012 River Island sale items on The Star Swag Blogg
  I decided to add Meal Worms to the Starry Towers garden bird menu, so went online to get the creepy crawly creatures and a special window feeder to put them out there.  I know how much Robins love Meal Worms, years back I do recall a Robin lifting Meal Worms from my hand.  I was hoping that our present day Robins would suss out the new window feeder quickly, though it's been in situ for several days now I haven't witnessed one Robin chowing out the new window feeder quickly, though it's been in situ for several days now I haven't witnessed one Robin chowing down.  Since the feeder went up I've only seen a Robin visitor bout twice, very briefly, and nowhere near the new feeder.  Even when I just gave in and put a tub of the creepy-crawlies down on the ground at the main bird feeding area, I watched a while, there were no takers.  So far, I'm seriously disappointed, but not totally dejected, the Robins probably just need more time to figure it out, and maybe they're in there when I'm not watching.  I have seen a Blue Tit at the new feeder a few times, so it's most likely just that my regulars need a little longer to accept it.  I can wait, and fingers seriously crossed, this stuff is important to me.  I hope it says a lot about me as a person, I'm sweet and kind, honest I am. 
    I recently read that Meal Worms are a valuable food source for garden birds, not only are they protein rich, but also because parent birds like Blue Tits need to get water to their babies in the nest, Meal Worms are chock full of water, they're basically little avian bottles of Evian.  So I'm also hoping that by providing a regular Meal Worm supply the Blue Tits will see Starry Towers as a good place to lay their eggs.  There's three bird boxes waiting to be nested in.  From what I now know of Blue Tit behaviour I'm not expecting to get three families, one would do, I'm just providing a housing choice.  Back when I only had the one nesting box I got Blue Tits on three different years, if I don't get Blue Tits this year I think I'll take two of the boxes down and see if my luck changes back again.  I'm not expecting to get three families, one would do, I'm just providing a housing choice.  Back when I only had the one nesting box I got Blue Tits on three different years, if I don't get Blue Tits this year I think I'll take two of the boxes down and see if my luck changes back again. 
    Was funny this evening when The Boy was near-on puking after finding the Meal Worm tubs in the fridge.  The fridge is the best place to store them and the tubs are escape-proof, I don't know, kids these days.  I quickly got it into my head to just not look at the tubs when I open the fridge door.  Also, when they're in the fridge they don't move, they've went all comatose with the cold, what's The Boy moaning about? 
    the Starry Towers Meal Worm Window Feeder 
    I've sorted out the Starry Towers baby Rowans.  Read all about the origins of the seedlings below in the last blog post.  I bought a load of them little biodegradable pots and a couple of trays to sit them in, and transferred 25 Rowan tree seedlings to individual pots.  These are home-grown Starry Towers baby Rowans.  The off-spring of Zeus and Erik, my 2009 Birthday Rowans, I'm so proud. 
    the Starry Towers baby Rowans 
    The Husband came back from his annual bikeyyholiday at Val De Vienne, with just 24hrs he changed a light bulb, we visited The Parents, got the hard top off the Z4 and into storage, and off he went, away to the land of...the land of...I don't care any more, I've lost the will to come up with stuff Norway's famous for, he's away to workholiday at Val De Vienne, with just 24hrs he changed a light bulb, we visited The Parents, got the hard top off the Z4 and into storage, and off he went, away to the land of...the land of...I don't care any more, I've lost the will to come up with stuff Norway's famous for, he's away to work again.  I'll put some more VDV 2012 photiessup onup on The Bike Galleryywhen I get enough time and enthusiasm.when I get enough time and enthusiasm. 
    The Husband at Val De Vienne 2012 
    Work-wise I've had a couple of my worst ever days at my current placement.  Also my worst post-Total-Hysterectomy days.  See the connection?  Yes, you would imagine it's a no-brainer wouldn't you.  I'm coping with major personal changes, just a few weeks after returning to work in a very stressful difficult area of nursing care to start with.  I'm understandably hormonally-challenged, you'd think the work colleagues would rally round and be forgiving, after all, they are all women.   Sympathy?  empathy?  No chance.   I just hoped, I expected, I would just be natural, that women would treat me well.  If I had a mixed sex work environment I thought it would be more difficult because men would make it more embarrassing for me with my distressing flushing, tearfulness, feelings of dread, apprehension and doom, mood swings, poor concentration, memory lapses, disorientation, mental confusion, anxiety, loss of balance, aches and pains, fatigue, muscular tension and sleep disturbance etc etc etc  I haven't even mentioned hair loss, skin thinning, bone density reduction, loss of libido, thickening of the waist and weight gain...OK, I just did, I mentioned them there.  I just thought with women it would all be more acceptable, women would be more understanding, more caring...they're not.  They tell me each and every one of them that they are going through something worse.  One of them said...'we're all going through a menopause', they're not.  The one that said that is younger than me, still having periods, hasn't been witnessed flushing...not even once...and is on her  I haven't even mentioned hair loss, skin thinning, bone density reduction, loss of libido, thickening of the waist and weight gain...OK, I just did, I mentioned them there.  I just thought with women it would all be more acceptable, women would be more understanding, more caring...they're not.  They tell me each and every one of them that they are going through something worse.  One of them said...'we're all going through a menopause', they're not.  The one that said that is younger than me, still having periods, hasn't been witnessed flushing...not even once...and is on her hunnerth course of anti-depressant medication to get her through normal life pre-menopause. 
    To a man, or I should say, to a woman, they tell me how I should go to the doctor and 'do something about it', 'sort it out' HRT or anti-depressants, get medicine to get me AND THEM through this time of my life.  Pharmaceutical treatments that bring with them risks and side-effects.  What do people think happened before drug companies made big bucks pushing a 'pill for every ill'?  This type of thing isn't for you if you have negative emotional connections with it.  I'm the least placebo kinda girl ever ever ever.  It's like telling me the Virgo moon is rising on some sort of Leo cusp, that Jesus is going to make it all better or that a Reiki stage II healer is curing me from a distance, or even from close up, nonsense.  The doctors don't come out in favour of it, speaking of it in neither positive or negative terms, but to me, sounding more on the non than the plus, and leaving it up to me to decide, speaking of it in neither positive or negative terms, but to me, sounding more on the non than the plus, and leaving it up to me to decide.  If I need or want advice on health and well-being in general, or post-hysterectomy in particular, I rather think I'll be listening to my GP and my mother who has experienced life, menopause, hysterectomy, cancer and bereavement, and all without Prozac!  I'm so can probably tell.  But mostly, disappointed. 



  Blingbacks on The Star Swag Blog
  I did a bit of Wood Pigeon training, shaking my bird food at them (see previous post if that sounds too strange).  And I set up my new live Meal Worm feeder, more bout that, maybe tomorrow.  By mid-afternoon it was very pleasant out there.  I put a few new stepping stones in place in the front garden, put sharp sand and slug killer round the just-emerging Hostas, and lifted any baby weeds that had the cheek to show up at Starry Towers.  I was mainly just looking at stuff, longing for the next round of flowers to be here.  The Snowdrops and Crocuses are gone, currently the colour coming from the blue Glory Of The Snow, Siberian Squilla, a couple of different shades of blue Pansies, blue Anemones,  Christmas Roses, Snakes Head Fritillary, my specimen Mahonia japonica in a large pot at the back door on Patio 2 and the japonica in a large pot at the back door on Patio 2 and the Primulas.  I've already pruned my roses, planted out new summer flowering bulbs Agapanthus and March Blazing Star, sown some seeds, mown the lawn and spread the weed/feed/moss killer on the grass.  And I'm constantly trimming dead stuff off loads of other plants.  I'm also marveling at the huge amount of baby Rowan trees I've got growing at the base of Zeus and Erik, my big potted 2009 Birthday Rowan trees, first seen on The Starry Towers Blog.  I deliberately left the berries where they fell in the pots, every year since I got my Birthday Rowans.
    I know the tiny spindly 1cm tall, two leaved seedlings are Rowans because one has grown a third leaf, a "pinnate lobed" leaf I think it's called, and...look, that's just got to be a Rowan, don't you think? amazing.  The rest of them are still looking like the little two-leafer at bottom-left of this at bottom-left of this photie.  I'm going to move them to individual pots in the hope of growing them on.  I suspect this is probably the best time to do that right now, before they get dangerously rooted in, make themselves too much at home already, risking me damaging their roots.  If they survive my novice interventions and get to sapling size I might start my own Rowan tree business, place an ad at the Sunny D village shop, or more likely, give them to The Mum to donate to her Church sale charity.  Both options will pain me, at the point of parting with my Rowan children, but it's true, the Starry Towers Estate just isn't big enough to keep them all. 
    the first Starry Towers baby Rowan to grow a pinnately lobed leaf...I'm so proud 



  A gorgeous ring from, and a bargain discount code for, Kurt Geiger, on The Star Swag Blog
  Starry Towers 9 : 0 Mice 
  My arse is hurting, and luckily for The Husband, he's in the clear, nothing to do with him.  It's hurting, and luckily for The Husband, he's in the clear, nothing to do with him.  It's Physio G's fault.  She gave me an arse exercise last add to ALL the other stuff I'm doing on the physio front.  I went with a sore neck/shoulder/arm, hoping for a quick fix.  Jeeez, I have to find a good sports masseuse or chiropractor.  This arse exercise is to help with the developing of surrounding muscles to relieve a bit of strain on my spine.  It involves lying on my side raising a leg, there's rotating of said raised limb, the bit I can't remember is, am I supposed to have the knee up or down?  it's one of them, and it's an important detail, damn it.  Anyway, it's making my bum muscles, my glutes, annoyingly and naggingly uncomfortable.  I'm just generally annoyed and uncomfortable since last years TOTAL Hysterectomy.  I've gone to the dogs.  Physically I hurt all over, I'm fat, I've given up on dying my roots, getting my hair cut, I'm miserable.  It's like some strange older, fatter, sadder, frumpier woman took over my body and mind, and she's ignoring me.  I'm sounding defeated and sad...I'm just tired from all of the above and being back at work full-on.  It's also impacting on me that no-one at work is being sympathetic, they just tell me they're all having a menopause and I'm not 'special'.  I know that's actually not true, cos some of them are too young to be going through 'the change', most haven't had any sort of Hysterectomy and ALL of them haven't had a TOTAL Hysterectomy, and definitely not in the last year.  It's been my experience that women are not a girl's best friend when it comes to women's troubles, they just moan back at you in a yeah-yeah you-think-you're-suffering hurry-up-and-stop-moaning-bout-YOU-so-I-can-moan-back-at-you-about-ME!
    On a more positive note, here's one of my Starry Towers Wood Pigeons.  There's two of them, man and wife, they visit every day for dinner.  I'm training them to recognise the shaking of a seed tin sound, I think it can be done. 
    one of my Wood Pigeon pals 
    The Starry Towers Workie, we'll call him R, has been round and measured up for the first job, replacing the side door with a window.  If that job is satisfactory, next up will be a new front door, there after the list is long, and we'll go from one to the next, and I'm so excited.  If R is a good, we'll call him R, has been round and measured up for the first job, replacing the side door with a window.  If that job is satisfactory, next up will be a new front door, there after the list is long, and we'll go from one to the next, and I'm so excited.  I'll be blogging the story on The Starry Towers page.
    The Husband just spent the last week at French race-track Val De Vienne, playing with his bikey pals and their race bikes, and had a great time by all accounts.  He's due home any day now, thankfully, I need to have someone acknowledge that my night-time sweats are worse than theirs.



  If you catch a cold virus...medicate, makes all the difference.  It's taken me a while in my life to realise, the more Over The Counter drugs the better.  Though I'm feeling way better, I've still got the snottery nose, I can blow bubbles outta this thing.  A new turn of events happened when I went back to work these last two days, I've found if I talk for any length of time my throat goes something terrible.  At work I found myself talking at length to three different relatives...each time, after about 10 minutes my throat went all wonky, irritated, squeaky and sore, and I had to cough a lot, and then it got so uncomfortable I had to apologise and explain why I couldn't talk any more.  But apart from that...I'm on the mend.
    I finished a half day at work today and went straight to an appointment with the Dentist.  Someone at work asked me...what you getting done, I said, hopefully maybe one thing, this broken tooth, I just want another dose of protection stuff slapped on it and I'm outta there.  That's exactly what happened, though the Dentist was saying the tooth needed root canal treatment...I said no just slap on some more of your magic stuff...whatever it is, that stuff I've had on it the last hunner times.  She said she couldn't do that this time because 'I can see the root shining through'.  Now, I might have had that said to me before but only about hair roots in need of a blonde dye.  Astounded, I told her I hadn't experienced any pain/discomfort at all, are you absolutely sure?  She said yes, the root was definitely 'shining through'.  She poked around a lot more, I said, nope, still no pain, just slap on a layer of that 'stuff', she said...root canal treatment.  I said, from what I remember, a previous dentist told me root canal treatment isn't an option for roots are too thin and convoluted, it would be impossible.  I remember very clearly, at the time I was loving that even my roots are skinny and twisted.  In the end she put some more 'stuff' on as I requested and it worked, so we can leave it for now, and she says she'll look into the root canal thing further down the line.  Back out in reception scheduling my next 6-monthly appointment and handing over 4 of my Scottish pounds and a bit change, I did then voluntarily part with one more of my Scottish pound coins, for a dental 2-min sand-timer/hour glass.  I enquired cos I was hoping it was a freebie, I stayed looking cool when she said £1, but it's blue and cute. 
    my blue sand 
    The Husband tried to kill me, a stealth heat attack while I was innocently OCD-ing over the Starry Towers lawn.  His big mistake was the secret photographs he took as a memento, I've passed them on to the authorities.
    The Husband's stealth Heat Death attack on me 



  The Husband and I were out for an evening, into the city for the ballet.  First, with under an hour to spare we dropped in to the Shezan Tandoori on Leith Walk.  We were offered the special pre-theatre menu, three courses for £15, a great deal, but not what we were looking for on this occasion.  The Husband had a chicken main and rice, I had a spicy mushroom filled pancake starter, which was a lot like an Indian calzone pizza.  We also shared a bunch of appetisers as we sipped on a couple glasses of the very palatable house white wine.  Fantastic food and great service from very friendly Glaswegian staff.  We both enjoyed our quick visit to this comfortable and pleasant restaurant, many thanks to the staff, we will be back.  The food was timed very nicely, out the Shezan, across the street and in to The Edinburgh Playhouse for our Nutcracker experience.
    A couple of years back we were at the Playhouse for the same Russian State Ballet Of Siberia, that time they were performing Swan Lake.  Swan Lake was magnificent, of the two, I way prefer Swan Lake.  But then, Swan Lake is all monochrome gorgeousness with lead female and male roles which offer up some outstanding performance opportunities.  The Nutcracker doesn't have such depth or beauty.  It's a tad lightweight comparison, wouldn't be and wasn't, my first choice.  That said, and stopping with the comparisons, because it's unfair, this is my review of The Nutcracker at the Edinburgh Playhouse performed by The Russian State Ballet Of Siberia.  Act One was a trifle lightweight and disappointing, though in it's favour, 45 minutes went past so fast, I had lost track of time and curtain down came as a surprise, so it really wasn't like it was bad, it was just my second ballet-only experience, and I was never fully committed because I view The Nutcracker as a Christmassy thing.  Act Two was a totally different beast,  The Russian State Ballet dancers stepped right up.  Lots of music I, 45 minutes went past so fast, I had lost track of time and curtain down came as a surprise, so it really wasn't like it was bad, it was just my second ballet-only experience, and I was never fully committed because I view The Nutcracker as a Christmassy thing.  Act Two was a totally different beast,  The Russian State Ballet dancers stepped right up.  Lots of music I recognised and intense dance action.  The entire 45 minutes of Act II were mesmerizing. 
    Edinburgh Playhouse 
    I've got a cold.  First noticed it on Wednesday night, woke up many times with a dry mouth, a blocked nose and facial discomfort verging on pain, in the sinus regions, the ears, jaws and sneezy fits.  I got on top of it with Paracetamol, cough bottle and, cough bottle and Otrivine up the nose.  Still got a bit of a cough and a snottery nose, but I'm feeling much better now.  And no smoking = no chest infection, but I'm feeling much better now.
    Thursday was Physiotherapy #3.  Physio G seems to think things are getting a bit better.  She did that pressing on my back again and only got one little tiny bit of muted cracking.  Then she got all Dr Spock on me, applying pressure to my neck, she said it was to loosen up my neck muscles, hmmm.  My worse side is the right, I get terrible pain on the shoulder, neck and arm.  While Physio G was pressing my neck she gave me an instant headache up the right side, she said that can happen.  Soon as she stopped, so did the headache.  I've got a couple more exercises to add to my routine and I'm really trying to sit properly. 



  My new silver ring from Annie Haak is on The Star Swag Blog, fabulous.
  Douglas Lindsay (AKA  Elvis Shackleton, AKA My Favourite Author Ever Ever Ever) writes regular, always funny, often topical and bitingly close to the truth, blog posts, read them at This Blasted Life on the Scottish digital publishers Blasted Heath website.  Save to your favourites and never miss an episode, you too will grow to love this extraordinary author who is like some sort of best kept secret, he should be well famous.  I know he looks like a bit of a miserable bastard, but really, you should read this man's blog, buy this man's books.  They're all available on eBook for your Kindling pleasure too.
    I'm about to read, on my Kindle, 'The Unburied Dead', which is the new & improved '21 Years on the Back of Dixie Klondyke's Spanish Guitar'...which regular readers (both of you) will recognise as the special book Mr Lindsay sent me, all autographed and with a dedication to me, blogged about here by me on 18/10/10.
    Douglas Lindsay 



  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's a skater dress that ticks ALL my boxes..
  Product Of The Week : Clinique Even Better Makeup.  This foundation is allergy tested and 100% fragrance free, a couple things important to sensitive me.  There's a SPF15 for protecting us against them evil UV rays.  It's an oil free formula, developed to help combat hyper-pigmentation and deliver brighter skin, both immediately and over time.  It claims to include treatment benefits to help even skin tone, with the SPF15 to help prevent future hyper-pigmentation.  This is a moderate to full coverage foundation, promising to leave skin instantly perfected with it's unique mineral blend.  I like it.  I first tried a sample sachet in Neutral and found it gave fuller coverage than I'm used to, but more the kind of coverage that I probably need now.  I currently use the Garnier BB in Fair, which is good in lots of ways, but no-one seems to realise I have makeup on when I'm wearing it.  I don't know if that's a good thing or a bad thing.  But I do know it's not enough for a night out, I think I'm still getting away with it these days, but I'm needing a bit more help for these nights.  I wore the Neutral on two days, humming and hawing over the shade.  I finally decided it was just a tad too dark, there was no way round it, I had to visit an actual shop to explore the colour options.  I found my Clinique Beauty Advisor up The Centre at Debenhams.  She tried four shades on my lower jaw, brushing it on and blending.  My shade is Cream Chamois.  A little goes a long way and 30mls is £22.
    Clinique Even Better Makeup in Cream Chamois 
    BT are on the job, I can hardly believe it, but there's lots of evidence, it's happening.  The complaint I made, must've been at least three months ago, but due to one thing and's being attended to now.  My number one issue is the neighboursstrees that break our phone line connection.  Every time there's high winds a little more damage is done to the wire, leading to the ever worsening deterioration in the quality of our connection, escalating to phone calls being interrupted, clicking on and off, and the www connection droppingtrees that break our phone line connection.  Every time there's high winds a little more damage is done to the wire, leading to the ever worsening deterioration in the quality of our connection, escalating to phone calls being interrupted, clicking on and off, and the www connection dropping constantly.  I phone the www provider, they mess me around because they have to take me through all their tests and procedures, they start at the house phones, go through the indoor sockets and line, and I end up wanting to kill the person on the phone, I KNOW what the issue is, it's outdoors up in the trees, they insist I don't know and...they just AREN'T LISTENING TO ME!  It doesn't make any difference if you tell them every detail of your knowledge of the situation, the history, the facts, they take you through every single stupid bloody stage of their procedures, and this is costing YOU to phone THEM, and you just know they make it so long and tedious so it costs you plenty and is designed to make you give up and go away.  I can't always understand the accent of the person I have to talk to for hours on end, and they mostly can't understand my Scottish accent.  Is this foreign call centre thing designed to increase racism in the UK?  We still pay for the bad service while we go through this dance over several weeks.  Till eventually the line's dead and I'm extremely pissed off and have to endure many more phone calls, only NOW it's on my mobile...costing me a small get the www provider to get BT involved.  In the end I have to agree to pay a fine of near on £100 if I'm wrong.  Jeez Louise! thing designed to increase racism in the UK?  We still pay for the bad service while we go through this dance over several weeks.  Till eventually the line's dead and I'm extremely pissed off and have to endure many more phone calls, only NOW it's on my mobile...costing me a small get the www provider to get BT involved.  In the end I have to agree to pay a fine of near on £100 if I'm wrong.  Jeez Louise!   
    Last December while they were out fixing the broken line (again) I found a BT Openreach guy on the street, and got talking to him.  Caught him on the back foot, he thought I was out to complain his van was blocking my drive.  Not at all, no problem I told him sweetly, but went on to insist he accept my invite to see the cables hanging low over the Starry Towers back garden.  He was being nice, he told me they qualified as 'dangerous'.  The BTguy on the street, and got talking to him.  Caught him on the back foot, he thought I was out to complain his van was blocking my drive.  Not at all, no problem I told him sweetly, but went on to insist he accept my invite to see the cables hanging low over the Starry Towers back garden.  He was being nice, he told me they qualified as 'dangerous'.  The BT Openreach guys are actually local human beings who will treat you like a human being, if you're lucky enough to chat one up on the street and draw them in, it's a bit like trout fishing.  I had to complain about the 'dangerous' low hanging phone cables in the back garden to get what I wanted.  The 'dangerous' low hanging cables were technically 'dangerous' because they were hanging less than 3 meters from the Starry Towers ground.  I didn't know that, I wish I knew this secret years ago.  I phoned BT and while they were telling me I had to phone my www provider I said 'dangerous'.  That done it.  It's like learning the magic word.  BT gave me a job number and sent a surveyor guy, he agreed.  Then nothing happened for ages.  But by this stage I had the right to speak to BT Openreach.  That's like amazing, no-one gets to talk to BT Openreach, but I could because someone along the line gave me a number.  A man came around then and looked and agreed, 'dangerous'.  Then nothing happened for ages again.  I phoned the magic number to Openreachhagain, asking why nothing had happened for a while, a very nice woman told me she couldn't understand either.  She looked into it, two opposite opinions of how to sort our problem of 'dangerous' low cables had been logged, the case had then been closed.  She told me that shouldn't have happened, she thought it ridiculous, just because they didn't agree, didn't mean the problem went away, I agreed.  She reopened the case and gave me a new case number. again, asking why nothing had happened for a while, a very nice woman told me she couldn't understand either.  She looked into it, two opposite opinions of how to sort our problem of 'dangerous' low cables had been logged, the case had then been closed.  She told me that shouldn't have happened, she thought it ridiculous, just because they didn't agree, didn't mean the problem went away, I agreed.  She reopened the case and gave me a new case number.  That worked, the Openreach guys came round again.  Eventually, last week on the Wednesday, they set about fixing it for real.  It still seems to be a long drawn out process.
    At this time the problem is mid-rectifying.  The pole out back was joined by a new taller pole, and they replaced some of the cables, then they went away again.  One of the 'dangerous' low cables is still dangerously low.  The tree cutting guy came round on Saturday and cut some of the tree bits, though to be honest, I can't tell if he's cut enough.  If I hadn't seen him drive away with a few twigs on the back of his truck I wouldn't know he'd done anything.  He has slung blue ropes to aid the Openreachhguys put new cables up.  We'll see, it might take several weeks more before they finish theguys put new cables up.  We'll see, it might take several weeks more before they finish the job.  Here's the BT guy last Wednesday attaching some of the cables to the new taller pole, spot the old smaller pole below the cherry-picker and the dangerous low slung cable that still hangs in our faces in the Starry Towers back garden. sounds so much like a special disability sounds so much like a special disability community programmeefor people, makes me laugh..a little, when I'm not grinding my teeth in anger.for people, makes me laugh..a little, when I'm not grinding my teeth in anger. 
    BT Openreach guy mid-pole job 



War Horse




  There's a couple of pretty dresses on The Star Swag Blog.
  I headed to the Beecraigs Restaurant today, escorted by The Husband and The Dad, to attend my first Shetland Sheep Society Lunch.  We enjoyed a delicious dinner, three courses in early afternoon, not my usual sort of eating habits, but I can make an exception on a special occasion.  We were entertained by Jeronimo (AKA Robbie), a 15 year old magician, and family member of The Dad's Shetland Sheep best friends, he's very good.  This here is Robbie, charming a sheep lady with some magic coin trickery.  Then between The Dad and The Husband we pretty much swept the boards at the raffle.  I got sent up to do the prize picking and at one point the compeer jokingly told me just to stay there by the prize table.  We got six wins.  Two boxes of chocolates, a bottle of wine, a man's hat and gloves, jar of fancy marmalade and a bottle of perfume.   All good gifts, no cheap and nasties. 
    young magician charming the ladies 
    Religious Zealot News : witchcraft.  Delusional beliefs combined with a sociopath personality can lead to terrible acts of cruelty and murder.  The latest that's shocked me is the horrendous death of 15 year old Kristy Bamuu.  This French boy was starved, attacked and tortured with knives, sticks, metal bars, and a hammer and chisel, for three days before he gave in and drowned in a bath on Christmas Day 2010.  Two other sisters, a younger brother and an older autistic brother got the same abuse and were forced to inflict damage to Kristy too.  His sister Magalie and her partner Eric Bikubi, natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo (natives of the Democratic Republic of Congo (ie Voodoo Central), excuse themselves by ascertaining that the 15 year old boy was a witch.  They accused the other four of the same thing, but apparently Kristy peeing his pants was the sure sign they were looking for.  The children phoned their parents in Paris several times, the parents were unconcerned and did feck all about it.  Poor kids.
    killing in the name of Voodoo 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).   The Husband and I watched War Horse.  Not really my type of film, a tear-jerker, heavy on the syrup of human kindness, low on the nitty-gritty reality.  A wonderful film as you'd imagine, being a Stephen Spielberg movie, it's slick and beautifully made.  I started, as you do, by assuming I'd be attaching my emotions to the people, but soon realised that the people are all too shallow, character-wise, and that they weren't going to be all that important.  The humans come and go regularly as the main character, Joey the horse, changes human ownership often.  But it's a big budget Hollywood movie with beautiful scenery and high production values, telling a tale of the horse experience in WWI, which is something worth contemplating.  Amazingly, it contained a scene which had me hiding behind a cushion unable to watch.  If you've seen the film I'm sure you'll know the scene I'm talking about.  It's been a long time since any movie made me look away.  The Wikipedia page tells animatronic horse and a rubber prop was used for some parts of THAT scene.



Holy Rollers





  There's a little bit of Diesel purse loveliness on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 8 : 0 Mice 
  Number 8 was too horrid for my squeamish constitution to cope with.  Up till now every death stayed in the death camp, I've been able to lift a tile, utter something under my breath, fer fecks sake! or OMG!  Then I deal with it by lifting the trap by the good end, looking away and releasing the corpse into a handy rubbish bag, tying the bag up and throwing it in a bin.  The latest was different, some how or other the death camp was quite a bit awry and the trap plus dead mouse was way over there.  I can't imagine how it happened, though The Dad says the mouse probably did it in it's death throws.  Only other explanation is a cat moved the seed tray and the trapped dead mouse, but, a cat would surely have had a meal, not just moved it?  Anyways, I couldn't cope, so The Dad came over and dealt with it. 
     a dead mouse
    The exercises Physiotherapist G prescribed for me at our appointment #2 have proved to be a little more difficult to follow.  I'm still doing the neck-stretchy ones, with quite a bit of discomfort and clicky noises, but they're doable.  She added in some posture stuff aiming to get my shoulder blades back where they belong.  There's this exercise called 'shoulder setting lying on front', as you'd imagine, lie on your front with arms resting at side palm up.  Pull one shoulder blade back and down, hold for 10, repeat 10 times, then over to the other shoulder.  I did it for two days, then had really sore shoulder blades all the time.  I will endeavour to do all my exercises every day for the next two weeks because I'm on annual leave.  The pain factor isn't my only draw-back, exercise is just so time-consuming. 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Holy Rollers.  Attracted by Jessie Eisenberg, one of my new wave of favourite actors, he's even starting to look more grown up and acceptable in a sexually attractive way.  Based on a true story, the movie is well acted, moving and entertaining.  I just didn't realise that Jewish people did bad drug shit.  The song from Holy Rollers, Darkness Before The Dawn, by MJ Mynarski and Paul Comaskey, is too beautiful. 




  There's a few fashion little bits and bobs on The Star Swag Blog. 
  The Dainese Leathers I was selling on eBay sold this evening for £107.52.  This works out rather well.  The Husband bought these for me a few years ago, and he just bought me my new ones, I sell the old ones, I'm quids in while still being fully leather-clad on the bike.  Speaking of the new BMW R 1200 GS Adventure, here it is in the attractive surroundings of snow-sprinkled Winter Scottish Highlands. 
    the new road bike 
    I've been meaning to show you the cute flower urinals at our local Sunny D Dobbies for a while, so here they are.  
    Dobbies flower urinals 




30 Minutes Or Less

















  Was Archie's funeral this morning.  A church service with disco music, Rufus Wainwright's Hallelujah and a bit of Amy Winehouse.  Awesome music choices, unfortunately the acoustics in the church were terrible, they should've turned the music up, it was too quiet to evoke emotion.  Up on the balcony, I should've been lost in the music as Amy was belting out, but instead I was straining to hear Tears Dry On Their Own.  If I'd forgotten to switch my mobile off and someone had phoned, Amy singing Rehab would've made for better sound quality. 
  The lady conducting the service said something that stuck with me, speaking directly to her Lord she told him..."without you there is no hope".  Thanks missus, so there's no hope then.  It was a sad day.  Then, on exiting the church a young friend of Archie's was there, in full livery sitting atop Archie's horse, to accompany his coffin to the graveyard.  Horse and rider, so handsome, they looked amazing, Archie would've been proud. 
  This afternoon was session #2 with Physiotherapist G and the promise of the laying on of hands for what I was hoping was going to be a right good pummeling.  Was alright, just not enough pummeling for my liking.  I was hoping for a full half hour of bone crunching and massage.  My spine made loads of impressive cracking sounds as she pressed on it.  She reckons my exercising is working, the neck was less tense, when she stuck her fingers in the muscles there it was less painful, so I think she's right, who'd have guessed such small effort could be so effective.  She taught me a couple more exercises, focusing on getting my shoulder blades back to where they belong and how to sit correctly.  Sitting correctly is going to be more challenging than the exercises.  I was hoping for a full half hour of bone crunching and massage.  My spine made loads of impressive cracking sounds as she pressed on it.  She reckons my exercising is working, the neck was less tense, when she stuck her fingers in the muscles there it was less painful, so I think she's right, who'd have guessed such small effort could be so effective.  She taught me a couple more exercises, focusing on getting my shoulder blades back to where they belong and how to sit correctly.  Sitting correctly is going to be more challenging than the exercises. 
    She warned me that I could be left sore and bruised after the spine cracking, but this evening, it's only very very mildly a good way, it's made me want more, turning me more on to the idea of going to a chiropractor or sports massage type therapist.  I met The Old Lady Through The Wall Neighbour at the health at the health centre, so we went for a beverage and shared a taxi home.  I must make a point of going round to spend the occasional evening with her. 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Cabaret. Brought a well-needed reality check, I could live in way worse times in a terribly dangerous place, life has to be a cabaret old chum.
    The Boy and I watched 30 Minutes Or Less.  Was it any good?  Lets just say The Boy enjoyed it more than me, appeals more to his demographic. 



  Over on The Star Swag Blogg there's a pair of starry sunnies from River Island.
  My old Dainese Two Piece Motorbike Leathers ladies black, size 42 a UK 10 are up for sale on eBay.  They were becoming just a touch too tight, so I had to get the next size up.  And by the way, the next size up are still tiny.  If you know some skinny bitch biker chick who could do with some leathers.
  my old Dainese Leathers

There's good news from BT.  The surveyor came around to look at our cable situation following the complaint I made a couple of months ago.  They intend to replace a pole and raise the low hanging cables that I initially complained about.  The best bit is they are also going to cut thee neighbour's trees.  The trees that cause our phone line to be damaged every time there's strong winds round here.  That's what I've wanted for years..

    Anybody without a chimney want to hazard a guess at how much a chimney sweeping costs these days?  I'll tell you, eighty-five of my Scottish pounds.  That feels like way too much.






Archie was a friend of mine.  In the '80s when we were student nurses then fresh young staff nurses we lived under the same, very big roof, that of the Bangour Village Nurses Home.  What a time we had.  We hadn't set eyes on each other for years, decades, till recently we got reconnected on The Facebook.  Archie, still nursing, married to Scott, into his horses and had just recently set up his own little henhouse for his new chickens.  I entertained ideas of meeting up again, I thought we had plenty of time.  Archie, you were a big part of my life back in the day, the fun times, the emotional roller-coaster times, heady times.  Sitting on your knee when you were all excited to tell me a secret...gorgeous, lovely, kind, funny, sweet, exciting, sexy, wonderful you.

     1st August 1962 - 11th February 2012



The Damned United














  Some random frocks on The Star Swag Blog.
  I've been living such a quiet life here at Starry Towers in the last few weeks, what with it being winter in Scotland, and The Husband being in Norway most of the time, and my work has raised it's ugly head once again, as it inevitably had to.  All my travelling abroad came to a full stop with my phased return to work.. The phased return for long term sick people is there for a good reason.  I've been gone so long I'm not used to hard work, and my body is a bit different to what it was when I left, and I've forgotten everything.  I'm sure it'll all hit home once I'm back full-on, but currently, I'm still feeling kinda out of it.. 
  The Husband gave up on road biking a wee while back, deciding the roads were too dangerous so he'd only do race bikes on race tracks.  He's since changed his mind and bought a new road bike,The Husband gave up on road biking a wee while back, deciding the roads were too dangerous so he'd only do race bikes on race tracks.  He's since changed his mind and bought a new road bike, the BMW R 1200 GS Adventure.  Now, I love a BMW...the ones that are the Z4 type.  But I can still do bike when I absolutely have to...I had to get more Dainese leathers, and I dug out my SIDI Black Rain Boots and AGV helmet. The Husband took me for my first trip out on the BMW bike yesterday.  It's massive, very comfortable and I look tiny perched on the seat at the back, tiny is always a good look, so it's not the Z4 but it's not all bad.
  The Husband's latest
  We tripped up to Braehead and visited The Mum.  The Mum asked me what I'd like, I don't know why, but I said, scrambled eggs on toast.  The meal that says home, comfort, childhood and well-being.   After first refusing, saying that she couldn't be arsed she made me scrambled eggs on toast.  We were all enjoying the situation, but The Husband was laughing the most, she couldn't be arsed, now he knows where I get it from, that's one of my most used phrases. 
  A wee while ago I self referred for physiotherapy.  For a long time I've considered treating myself to massage, but as is so often the way of things, I just never done anything about it.  I asked my GP what she thought of chiropractors and she suggested I try NHS physiotherapy first.  I've had my first appointment.  Physiotherapist G is two years younger than me, and went to Lanark Grammar School, same as me.  She recognised me.  I don't know how some people can do that kind of amazing memory feat.  I'm pretty sure I was never aware of her existence back then, so how she even knew of me, and even more astounding, could actually remember me 30 odd years later...well, my hat's off to her.  Physiotherapist G did her assessment questions, then she put hands on me and pressed a lot.  Some of her finger presses hurt quite a bit.  The main issue is my right shoulder/neck/arm, and a bit of lower back wear and tear. 
    There's slight weakness the length of the right arm, a bit of lower back aches, general poor posture, but the neck impressed her most, that was brick shouldn't be.  I'm doing the stretching exercises she gave me and when I go back next week she's going to pummel my bad bits.  I'm really looking forward to that. 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).   I watched The Damned United, football, history, boring.
    The Husband and I watched Drive, good enough, but not as good as all the rave reviews led me to expect.  The main trick seemed to be having the main characters not saying much.  
    The Husband and I watched Incendiess.  Love it.  How come nearly everything we watch with subtitles is 1000 per cent better than English speaking movies in general?  The subtitled ones tell tales, the English ones slam entertainment in your face.  The telling of tales makes for fascinating viewing, and are very moving.  Even though I was proved right with my guessing of the twist, it's an extraordinary movie.  






  The Boy is so well-mannered.  He came home from work and both surprised and impressed me with the extent of his diplomacy skills.  What he found at Starry Towers was a mother, more than a little less than prefect.  I had put in a little effort, I had showered and put on my freshly washed starry onesie, so I wasn't a total minger, but I hadn't bothered with the effort of doing my face and hair.  I was no-make-up and after putting a comb through it, I just let my hair dry, no hairdryer, no straightener.  I knew already I wasn't at my.  I knew already I wasn't at my best.  He told me bout his day, then just before leaving the room, he enquired..."Mum have you done something different with your hair?"  How very sweet. 
    There's a free ebook available at Amazon from them Blasted Heathens, the new Scottish epublisherss.  For 48 hours only.  The Unburied Dead from my personal favourite author of all time, Mr Douglas Lindsay.  This is the all new, all improved version of the very special book Mr Lindsay sent me in 2010, my uncorrected proof paperback copy of this in it's first life, when it was called 21 Years On The Back Of Dixie Klondyke's Spanish Guitar.  He even sent me a message on The Twitter thanking me for encouraging him to stick with Dixie K, he's so sweet too. 
    The Unburied Dead 



  I watched Wild About Pandas on BBC1 this evening, telling the story of the Edinburger pandas.  The best bit, man dressed in a panda suit.  You may ask why and that would be a very good question.  He says it's to demonstrate how the Chinese keepers enter the baby Panda enclosure without the cubs suspecting a thing.  The woman kept a straight face throughout, was very very funny.
  man in panda's not funny, really it's serious, not funny at all (it is actually) 





  Bit of a fright waiting for me when I got home this afternoon.  I pottered a bit then went upstairs, as I approached the top of the stairs I could hear a noise.  There shouldn't have been a noise as there was no-one home but me.  A few steps from the top I can see into the bathroom.  There's some ceiling lights hanging down in there, this in itself is nothing to fret about, they've been that way for a while waiting for The Husband to get the bathroom re-fitted and redecorated.  The big shock is I hear the noise again and one of the lights starts moving in a tugging type motion, like something or someone in the attic is pulling on it.  The attic hatch is in the hall above where I'm standing, and it's slightly open.
    I shout out "WHO'S UP THERE?".  Silence.  Then I hear a quiet thud like something quite heavy moved carefully, but not carefully enough, just then a shadow flits across the open attic hatch.  That's it, I'm out of here.  On my way down I grab a phone and I'm outside in the back garden.  I phone The Parents and they're immediately on the way.  So I'm outdoors in a onesie with a phone, in January, in Scotland.  To be honest the immediate need that drives me back indoors isn't the temperature, I want a weapon first, coat second.  So I tiptoe back in, cursing that my UGGs are upstairs I have to make do with the crocs on my feet, in the kitchen I slip a big knife out a drawer and lift a parka off the coat stand.  Then back outside lifting some keys on my way out at the back door.  I lock the back door then go open the side gates and wait for The Parents.  I have plenty time to rationalise while I'm out in the cold light of knife-wielding day, it must be a creature rather than a person.  However, I don't know for sure and weighing up the odds of what's best to do against what's the worst that could happen, I decide to wait in safety.  I watch a lot of thriller/horror type movies and have a healthy fear of psychopaths.
    When The Parents arrive The Dad gets a ladder out the shed and we three venture back indoors together.  Going up stairs we hear noises, at the top of the stairs I see something move quickly in the bathroom.  It's a starling, this one in the pic below.  After The Dad catches the blighter and we release it out a window, he goes and checks the attic but can't find any obvious entry point.  On a positive note there's no damage in the attic AND it's a starling, not a serial killer.  It's my lucky day.  This is the second time a starling has breeched the Starry Towers security measures.  Years ago one of them fell down the chimney and spread soot around a couple of rooms before waking me at 5.30am with it's incessant attempts at flying out a window. 
    the intruder 
    In other news, The Boy has been complaining of earache and a sore throat, but mainly the ear thing, while his other symptoms decreased, the ear thing got worse.  A couple of nights ago he woke me at 3am telling me to go downstairs and get him Paracetamol.  You can imagine what happened there, yes I told him where the.  You can imagine what happened there, yes I told him where the Paracetamol is kept then stuck an iPod earpiece further into an ear canal while burying my other ear deeper into my pillow.  Last evening I tended to his complaints by heating my hot microwave panda for him to apply to his ears, he said it helped, see...I am a good mother/nurse.  I also explain to him that I can't judge how bad it is, he's the one with the symptoms, I put the ball firmly in his court to decide if he needs to see a health professional who isn't actually a close relation.  I expect consenting fully-functioning adults to take responsibility for their own health (because I keep being put in the situation where I have to make decisions for others work-wise, and I'm not talking of the patients so much as other staff).  He says he will if it's no better by today.  Good decision.  He came back with medication, he does have an infection.  He'll be feeling better soon as the antibiotics kick in. 





  River Island dresses...for frocks sakeRiver Island dresses...for frocks sake on The Star Swag Blog.
  A few days ago a stranger left a tray of pansies on my doorstep.  I say a stranger, but I dare say I do know the person, it wouldn't have been a complete unknown, it's just that I haven't discovered who it was yet.  Must be someone I know being friendly and thoughtful and, so far, mysterious.  Today I got the hanging baskets out the shed and planted them up with the gift pansies.  I await the discovery of my mystery pansy donator's identity and live in hope the pansies survive and flourish. 
    gift pansies left by mysterious stranger       gift pansies in hanging basket



Red State

  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's a code for a huge discount off genuine UUGs, if you love your UGGs, and you should, this is not to be missed.  Be quick because there's precious little time left.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers)I watched Red State.  It was OK, just not as good as I expected, I have been waiting for a very long time.  I was hoping for more thriller, more scary tension, more wasn't expecting that, more I really feel connected with that character so I care what happens to them.  Kevin Smith has previously admitted there were few if any redeeming characters.  I'm not sure that makes a movie.  I tried to connect to the teenage boys, then the young female cult member, then even the FBI agent played by John Goodman...failed, either because they're killed off too soon or don't seem convincing at all.



Super 8


  There's a big night out waiting to happen on The Star Swag Blog.
  Finally, The Norway 2012 Journal is on the www.  Still got hunners of photies to sort out.
  Starry Towers 7 :  0 Mice
  I'm back at work after the Total Hysterectomy and Bilateral Oophectomy.  This is week two of my phased return.  I'm not the person I used to be, a bit too tearful for now, you don't know how much you need your hormones until they're gone.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Super 8.  It's OK, just not really my kind of movie.



Bad Teacher




  The Star Swag Bloghas a couple little January sale type bargains.
  I'm back from two weeks of exciting Scandinavian tripping.  I've endured many dangerous weather conditions on land and sea and got loads of tales to tell.  Look out for The Norway Journal 2012 and added Norway Gallery photies.  Once I find the time to get the stuff up here. 
  A result of the trip...I'm scared to step on the Starry Towers chrome Dualit scales, The Husband had me out for dinner every evening while we were trotting the northern hemisphere of the globe.  I won't even go near the scales for at least a week of starvation, which starts tomorrow.  It doesn't start today because today saw me accepting KLM's offerings of deli egg sandwich, apple turnover and caramel biscuit (Trondheim to Amsterdam) and a measly snack pack of cheese flavoured Doritos style nachos (Amsterdam to Edinburgh).  All that before 10.15am, Edinburgh arrival time. 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers) The Husband and I watched Bad Teacher, enjoyed by both. 
    The Husband and I watched Russell Brand's Arthur.  I can't stand Dudley Moore and never watched the original, but have seen enough clips and bits to have a good idea about it.  We both prefer Russell's version. 




  The Husband treats me to my first swag of the year, fantastic wellies on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Berlin Journal and theand the Berlin Gallery are finally done. 
  The Husband has an in-car video surveillance gadget.  It provides an ongoing video and audio record of what's going on in and around the car.  Here's a little snippet of what was going on in the Range Rover yesterday, involving hailstones.  YouTube video hailstones and The Husband. 



Kill List

Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes







  I'm here at last to wish you a Happy New Year, I hope everyone had a good and glamorous one.  All the best, prosperity, health and happiness for 2012. 
  My Berlin Gallery and Journal are taking longer than I expected.  I get so caught up in reading all about it while doing the www research needed for the sorting my photies for publication and the writing up of my journals.  What I do on return from my travels is start working my way through my photies.  Some of them I have to find out online and by referring to my travel guide books, what they actually are and others I do recognise but get so engrossed learning more about them, it takes a long time.  At the same time I start the journal telling the story of our trip and work my way from start to finish with the memory jogs of the pics to assist me in the telling of the tale.  We only had two days in Berlin, but we seemed to have covered a lot of ground and seen lots and lots, it's very time-consuming, but I'm enjoying doing the research too.
  Here we go again, high winds and telephone problems.  It's not the winds that are the real problem, it's the NOWG's trees (Neighbour Over the Wall Guy) that cause the damage.  The telephone exchange thingy is up a pole that pokes up into one of  the trees and the  cables go through the branches of several trees before they get to Starry Towers.  One very long, very insistent, verging on threatening and abusive phone-call later and The Husband had arranged for SKY to get the real engineer guys, BT, to come fix it.  It's all sorted again, till the next gale.  
    Movie Watch (no spoilers)).  The Husband and I watched Kill List.  Started off well, two ex-soldiers and their Kill  List.  Paid to kill three strangers by a stranger, all was going horrifically brutally well, till much to my dismay, it all went a bit too Wicker Man for my liking.
    The Husband and I watched Rise of the Planet of the Apes.  More damn dirty apes, entertaining enough, though them Chimps were the biggest damn dirty Chimps I've ever seen, and I really liked the Orangutan.