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Pitch Perfect











































































  The Husband had a sore finger as described in The Sair Finger by Walter Wingate (1865-1918), if it weren't for the fact the time-frame's all wrong I'd swear the old Scottish poem had been written about The Husband.  For them not familiar with The Sair Finger...

You've hurt your finger? Puir wee man!
Your pinkie? Deary me!
Noo, juist you haud it that wey till
I get my specs and see!


My, so it is - and there's the skelf!
Noo, dinna greet nae mair
See there - my needle's gotten't out!
I'm sure that wasna sair?


And noo, to make it hale the morn
Put on a wee bit saw
And tie a bonnie hankie roun't
Noo, there na - rin awa'!


Your finger sair ana'? Ye rogue,
Ye're only lettin' on!
Weel, weel, then - see noo, there ye are,
Row'd up the same as John!

  The skelf is out now and The Husband's sair finger is all better, but it's an interesting and gruesome tale to tell, so I'll tell it.  This photo does not do the skelf justice, that's a 2cm x 4mm stick in his pinkie.
  the sair finger
  The Husband had been lugging planks of wood in his gloveless hands, the planks slipped down through his hands and the skelf was in.  He carried on with his DIY in the Starry Towers soon-to-be new Walk-In-Wardrobe and only saw fit to mention it two weeks later when it had started to smart a little.  First thing to do was contact the Health Centre, the clinic nurse had a look, wouldn't touch it with a pair of tweezers and a sterile needle.  Fingers have so much delicate stuff inside, ligaments and that kind of thing, non-Plastics health professionals won't cut a finger open.  Selflessly I agreed to attend A&E with The Husband, to interpret Scottish-accented medical-speak negotiations for the English.  We were in A&E for between 4 and 5 hours.  After one A&E doctor and one A&E nurse had proclaimed they wouldn't touch it with a pair of tweezers and a sterile needle, the last 10 minutes were the closest of all the minutes to actual medical intervention progress.  A Plastic Surgery guy said Plastics would touch it.  That was a good news, quickly followed by a major bad news.
  Right, here's one thing that's wrong with NHS Plastic Surgery...there's two lists, the elective is for really serious important stuff that merits being planned.  The other, and presumably, shorter list, is for emergencies.  Trouble is the emergency list takes severity into consideration, and a non-life-threatening sair finger is of little importance to the Plastic Surgery people.  I know this to be true, for The Dad had a far worse finger thing, I'd call it a severe emergency finger situation.  Years ago he removed his circular saw safety cover then nearly took three fingers right off, but even this was of little importance to the Plastic Surgery lists.  Three days and nights he lay in a hospital bed, fasting every day, waiting for an available Plastic Surgery theatre slot.  He was eventually operated on and went home starving, a scabby left-over sandwich of an evening is poor sustenance for a grown man.
  The 10 minute Plastic Surgery guy said the stick would have to come out and it would require local anesthetic, slicing and stitching.  He said the trouble with the sair finger was it didn't quite fit on either of the Plastics lists...much the same as The Dad's sair fingers.  The solution was The Husband had to go back to A&E and wait, it could take three days of waiting around in A&E, but hopefully Plastics would take it out after the wait.  OK!  This is wrong on so many levels.  The Husband was going to go back to work in Norway the next day, he had to go back to A&E at the end of the following week when he came home to Scotland and spend his weekend in A&E, and maybe, just maybe, he'd have the required treatment.  What he did in the end was go back to work in Norway, fit in a visit to a Norwegian A&E, be seen and given an appointment to return.  He attended the appointment, which was convenient for him and the medical people, a Norwegian medical professional opened a small hole in his skin at one end of the skelf with a sterile needle, squeezed, then pulled the skelf out with tweezers.  Ta-da!  This is exactly what the Scottish NHS should've done.  A Health Centre person should've looked at it, made an appointment which would fit in with The Husband's important high-flying oil-industry job on the computer, The Husband attends appointment and a medical person picks up needle and tweezers, that's what should've happened.  But the NHS had him visit, first the Health Centre, then A&E, five hours in A&E, come back and spend up to 3 days sitting in A&E, then maybe, just maybe, someone would've sliced the finger open, stitches and incapacity would've followed.
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  Friend C and I watched  Anchorman.  I've seen this loads, one of my all-time favourite movies. With Anchorman 2 on the horizon it was a good idea to watch again, and for Friend C, who hadn't seen it before, it was absolutely necessary in preparation for Anchorman 2.  I love Ron Burgundy, and especially the acapella Afternoon Delight.
  Friend C and I watched Pitch Perfect.  Aca-licious, I liked it, it's comedy warm-heartedness without being too pukey-sickly-nauseating. 





World War Z


Cell 211


The Place Beyond The Pines




The World's End


Stand Up Guys


Side Effects



























































  Starry backpack on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers  34  :  0  Mice.  My first hit of Winter 13/14.
  I finally finished my latest holiday blog, it's on The Star-Euro-Trek-2013 page.  I've got a lot of my Star-Euro-Trekking photies up on my Norway, Denmark, Germany, Belgium and Holland Gallery pages already, but there's loads still to do.
  Happy Birthday The Bro.  A good brother for all of 48 years now.  I made him a lovely personalised T-shirt and a cat & motorbike card at Moonpig.  Then Moonpig got it so wrong that he got two of the personalised cat & motorbike cards 6 days too late, and the T-shirt arrived another day later.  Bloody hell Moonpig, first time they let me down.  I phoned Moonpig to tell them The Bro got two cards and no T-shirt.  A very nice service man reassured me the T-shirt is in the post.  For my part of the conversation/complaint I said exactly the right stuff to earn me a refund credit for the price of the T-shirt.  I stayed polite and reasonable and reminded him at the end of the conversation, Moonpig had royally fecked up my order, he said...I see you shop a lot at Moonpig...I agreed, told him I like Moonpig...I got a free T-shirt.  I know The Bro will enjoy the full story when he comes over to Xmas dinner wearing his new birthday Tee.
  Bro's birthday card
  Two great things happened at Starry Towers on Friday the 13th.  The thing that pleases The Husband most...British Gas connected the lower ground pipes to the first floor pipes, and all is warm and snuggly upstairs.  The thing I'm excited about is IKEA delivered and built masses of wardrobes with lighting.  The back bedroom upstairs has been a dumping ground since we purchased the first floor.  Few weeks ago I tidied the room up, The Husband put a load of suitcases and storage boxes up into the attic.  We stripped paper, skimmed and sanded walls and finished them off with a couple of coats of white paint.  Then The Husband laid a new oak floor and applied new skirting. 
  Mintcake (Starry Towers in-joke), the lurverly IKEA Wardrobe Planner, visited to measure up and help me plan the wardrobe space.   Long story short, I've got a stunning new walk-in-wardrobe.  More detailed story, a bit longer...PAX tall oak wardrobes, black glass sliding doors all the way round 3 walls with mirror door on the corner unit.  Exterior lighting on a remote control button.
  Starry Towers wardrobes
  Sheep News
  In Sheep News, The Dad's Ivydene Flock, me and my photographs feature in the latest issue of Shetland Sheep Magazine.
  Shetland Sheep Magazine
  In Lollipop Lady Legend News, our Lollipop Lady, Margaret stars in local magazine Konect.  Margaret The Lollipop Lady, works right out front of Starry Towers in Sunny D.  The Boy is 20 yo, Margaret saw him safely across the road on every one of his school days, she's a well-loved local star. Thank you Lollipop Lady.
  Lollipop Lady
  Happiness is the arrival of a long-awaited English translation of your 2nd most favourite author's book.  I've already read numbers 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 and now it's finally here, the 2nd Harry Hole book, I got mine in audiobook.  Harry Hole fans will be very happy with this one, it's a delight.
  Jo Nesbø Cockroaches
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers)The Husband and I watched World War Z.  Strange to see views of Glasgow's George Square in a USA Zombie apocalypse and it is a good looking movie, but it gets so ridiculous I did laugh quite a bit.  Brad takes so long to put 2 and 2 together, he's an hour behind the audience, and his how-to-save-the-world solution is extraordinarily unrealistic.  I enjoyed a game of "where's the Mexican boy?", you'll see what I mean if you watch the movie.
  The Husband and I also watched Cell 211, The Place Beyond The Pines, Mama, The World's End, Stand Up Guys and Side Effects.  I'm in a hurry to get this Blog post up, they're all good.




  There's a lovely silver necklace and key charm on The Star Swag Blog.
  I'm still working on my Star-Euro-Trek blog and photies, it's a work in progress, I'll get it done as soon as I can.  Meanwhile there's a petition needs signed.
    Gumtree permits "free to a good home" live animals advertisements.  There's a big concern that these creatures are being picked up by people who use them as convenient and free live bait for use in their dog-fighting training.  This makes sense, if you are a person who participates in illegal and cruel dog-fighting then you would wouldn't you...of course you would.  Gumtree have to stop doing this and we animal loving people have to tell them.  Sign petitions at Avaaz, at ThePetitionSite, and another at Change, stop using Gumtree and tell them on The Facebook and on The Twitter @Gumtree.  When I first became aware of this I went to Gumtree, I put the search term "free kitten"...took me 10 seconds to find my free fighting dog bait, then I searched "free puppy", another 10 seconds.
    The Parents have two dogs, both previously unwanted dogs.  Leo from a newspaper advert and Bailey from The Dogs Trust at West Calder, they could've suffered death by ripping apart if the previous owners had went to Gumtree instead.  Please get proactive on this issue.
    Baillie & Leo
    While I was on holiday there was a terrible accident in Norway.  My worst nightmare, the first and biggest, even before the serial killer rape & murder scenario.  My worst nightmare is falling from a great height, I lay awake at night terrified at the idea, I try to fall asleep only to trip over that cliff edge, again and again and again.  I've spent years worrying about The Boy falling from a cliff, I try to catch him and go over with the early hours of the morning, all the time, it's horrible.   I got home from my Norway/Denmark/Germany/Brussels trip to read about the Spanish tourist who fell from Norway's 600 metres of Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) on the 10th October.  He just went back to take a couple more photies, his tour group companions heard him scream, seconds later he was in the Lysefjord.  I feel sick.
    Pulpit Rock




In Bruges



















































  Over on The Star Swag Blog I give you the best Biker Boots I know of, they're Kurt Geiger, and gorgeous.
  It's been a long time since I blogged and I apologise.  My excuse is twofold, first off I was on holiday for a couple of weeks, second off, I've been no well and still am.
  On the very first day of my holiday I woke up in Oslo with a pain at left back shoulder blade area.  I put it down to a pulled muscle, though I couldn't remember doing anything that would cause it.  It didn't get better and I've been on pain killers ever since.  A week into my holiday the pain moved to the front too.  Near the end of the holiday we were visiting Karla and Dirk (The Husband's first wife & her husband) in Holland.  She's a nurse, she was concerned, indicating I should be thinking seriously bout it, she suggested a chest infection.  At that time I didn't have any other chesty symptoms.  Anyways, cos she was concerned, cos she was making sense, and cos it was only getting worse, I went to a Dutch GP.  He ruled out a pulmonary embolism (if I'd thought bout that I'd have had it checked out a long time before), but my ECG was, and I'm quoting him "very pretty, the most perfect I have ever seen".  I was very happy to hear that...cardiac system working well...tick.  He said it could be a lung infection of the bacterial or the viral persuasion, so he gave me antibiotics to sort it out in case it was bacterial.  I finished the one a day for 3 days course of antibiotics with no improvement, it was still as painful, nothing changed. 
  We arrived back in Scotland and I went to my own GP.  This GP got me x-rayed and gave me a different antibiotic.  The x-ray showed a chest infection, breathing was sore, walking, sitting, couldn't sleep on my left side, even to bend down was sore.  Anyways, cutting a long story a wee bit shorter, the heavy cold, chesty cough and runny nose symptoms are with me now, the pain has been diagnosed as a pulled muscle and I'm on Cocodamol and Brufen.  I'm sick of being sick.  The Parents were over to cheer me up yesterday and take me to the GP appointment, but they made me talk and laugh so much I coughed even more than on a usual day, they're hearts were in the right place.  Down at the Health Centre The Mum and me were taking my prescription to the pharmacy, I told her how it would be...we'll hand it in and even if the shop is empty, they'll say the prescription will take 20mins.  We handed in the prescription, the shop assistant told'll be half an hour, they didn't let me down.  The Mum and me went for a drink in the Health Centre cafe and enjoyed a chat, the time flew in we were enjoying each other's company so much, I just wish I hadn't been wearing starry PJ bottoms and a cable knit woolly bobble hat over just-washed hair that couldn't be seen in public.  I just hadn't been expecting to be out in public for so long.
  Remember I was moaning about NEXT furniture service?  I'd received my new mirrored dressing table, three parts, one part was broken.  I wanted that one broken part replaced and to keep the other two good bits.  The NEXT service team on the phone and on The Twitter, told me that wouldn't happen.  I'd have to return the entire 3 parts of the item and have it replaced with three replacement parts.  I told them that was crazy,  I'd waited for so long, and was having to wait for even longer to have the broken replaced.  I was furious with the situation and felt entitled to have things go my way.  I packaged up the broken top bit, put the good two side bits into use and destroyed the packaging for them 2 good bits.  There was no way I was giving them back.  When the van eventually turned up with the replacements, I'd let them swap the top bit and talk them into keeping the side bits in the van, and call it job done.  I even made and printed labels to stick on the side bits packaging explaining they were returned bits.  The NEXT guys arrived, I explained, they totally understood and obliged.  Them guys were so the best representatives of NEXT, the service teams are shite, reality is the delivery guys on your doorstep, they save NEXT from being total arseholes, they mean I might shop at NEXT again.
  Remember I blogged bout doing my first bowel screening shit test...I got the result back from that the day before I was going on holiday. The result was positive and I had to do this next test, the hema-screen specific Devel-A-Tab.  I put it aside and didn't mention it till I got back from my Star-Euro-Trek.  Soon as I got back I did the test, the result from the second test just arrived here, says it's negative and I shouldn't worry bout it.  OK, even though the first letter tells me that blood can show in one bowel motion and not the next because polyps can bleed one day and not the next...OK, I'll just ignore it.  That I have the cancer-genetic colonoscopy test every two years...that's the only bit I find reassuring.
    hema-screen Devel-A-Tab
    I'm currently writing my Star-Euro-Trek Holiday Blog, which will be available as soon as I get it written and my thousands of photies sorted.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  When I got back from holiday, which included 4 days in  Bruges, I watched In Bruges again.  I'll always associate Colin Farrell with Bruges.
    The Husband and I watched Flight.  An amazing story.  That a pilot could use his instinct and skill AND be such a seriously strung-out substance abuser, then land a plane, by performing a manoeuvre no other pilot could pull off, saving all them people.  That's what I believed and was amazed at, until I searched online to find the "true" story behind Flight.  Basically there isn't one.   In 2000 pilot Ted Thompson rolled  Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in an attempt to save the stricken plane and everyone on board due to fatigue of a jackscrew due to overuse and poor maintenance.  It didn't work, the plane crashed into the Pacific Ocean and everyone died, the pilots were heroes and were posthumously awarded the Airline Pilots Association Gold Medal for Heroism.  The "based on a true story"...hardly.   Still I enjoyed the movie, feel a bit cheated out of the happy "real-life" bit though.




  Sheep News
  That's the Scottish agricultural shows all done for the 2013 season.  The Dad was at Yetholm, I couldn't be there due to an important prior engagement.  The results, over on The Shetland Sheep News Blog, tell the story.
    There's a stunning animal print classic on The Star Swag Blog.
    It's been a while dear reader, I've been gone but now I'm back...and I've got sooo so much to blog about, feels like I'll never find the time to catch up.  The Husband and I just got back from Euro-Star-Treking, Jeeping it across the Continent.  Meanwhile here's a couple of woodland themed Products Of the Week, I plan for them to be dining room decor accessories in my Starry Towers interior design project.
    These quirky cute H&M ceramic plates with woodland animal motifs will either be displayed in an oak dresser or hung on the wall.  Diameter 22 cm.  Plates are £4.99 each.
    H&M woodland creatures plates
    The Habitat Carve White White trees wall decoration adds instant visual and textural interest to a room.  Made from a painted panel of paulownia wood and carved with the impression of a row of trees, revealing the natural grain of the wood beneath.  There's other colours and sizes available but I went for the long white, dimensions : W100 x H50 x D4cm.  £70 down to £56
    Habitat Carve White Trees Wall decoration



  Over on The Star Swag Blog there's my lovely new mixed texture parka.
  The Husband was home for the weekend so on Sunday we went to visit The Kelpies.  The Andy Scott (my 2nd favourite Public Artist) Kelpies, nearly finished at The Helix Park in Falkirk.  These two 30-metre high horse head sculptures each weigh in at 300 tonnes of structural steel with stainless steel cladding and sit on either side of a new Canal extension and marina improvement being formed as part of the Helix Project.
    The Kelpies in progress
    I want to see The Kelpies finished with the sunlight shining off them, though I fear placing them so close to the M9, where they literally appear to rear up out of nowhere as you drive past at speed, may prove problematic.  Now this shouldn't cause trouble for sensible alert drivers, but not all are.  The Kelpies are already stunning and will be beautiful.  What I want is that they move them to the coast, perhaps at the mouth of the River Forth, on a cliff top, where they could be seen in truly awesome Scotland scenery.  What I don't want is some smaller version of a London Eye capsule that people can enter and intrepid explorers that they are, can go on a "journey of exploration within one of the horses heads" up to a viewing platform at horse-eye level which will be "the highlight of the visitor experience".  That would perhaps detract from the beauty and the just-being of the public art.
    the journey of exploration & highlight of the visitor experience
    Product of the Week is the fabulous Super Star Door Mat.  This is the perfect door mat for Starry Towers.  The striking coir mat in natural brown with a large black star is by Danish company Bloomingville.  It measures 80cm x 40cm and it's available for £25 from UnicheInteriorFurnishings.  I love it.
    Starry Towers Super Star Door Mat



Zero Dark Thirty

Silver Linings Playbook







  Now I'm 50 (you know) the NHS sees fit to rub it in and gives me something age-related to do.  The NHS recommends it as an absolute must-do, and very nice of the NHS too, the kit is provided free, whether you fancy the idea or not.  It came as a bit of an unpleasant belated surprise 50th birthday pressie.  Deep breath...however, it's important and you'd be well advised to participate when your time comes.  Bowel screening saves lives.  And saving your life requires a little bit of work, just a little bit.  I already have a Colonoscopy every 2 years, still, this is a comparatively easy addition.
  Every NHS envelope that arrives at Starry Towers makes me fret, I open under a worry-cloud, but so far, it's never been a scary You Are Fired thing.  I opened this one with the same job-related fear and found the Hema-Screen Test, 6 cardboard sticks, a free return envelope, a covering letter and a step-by-step instruction leaflet.  The instructions are simple enough, but there are two troubling matters.  Firstly, they keep referring to shit as "poo" and secondly, how is one to harvest one's own poo?
  The instructions suggest three shit catching methods you may consider, bearing in mind that your shit must not touch the water in the toilet, the NHS suggests :
  1  folded pieces of toilet paper.   I don't think this is much toilet paper would you have to use to support the weight of a stool, keeping it afloat while you jump off the seat and fiddle about with 2 sticks obtaining 2 samples, one from each end of the stool.No, I don't trust this method.  Either you're going to dump heavier than you expected and it's in the water already, way before you even start with the specimen obtaining, or by the time you get going with the sticks, it'll be sinking all the time.  It's not going to work, or you'll have to use such massive amounts of toilet paper, you'll be having to call in an emergency plumber to unblock your loo, three times.
  2  a clean disposable container.   I couldn't think of any.
  3  your hand inside a small plastic bag.   Obviously the reality of this one is you're shitting on your hand.  BUT, think about it, it's infinitely better than shitting on someone else's hand, isn't it?  Yes it is, because that would be truly gross, and for no reason I can think of, other than some sort of deviant sexual perversion.
    I opt for catching my own shit in my own hand, though I go with a disposable latex glove rather than the plastic bag.  The glove gives extra sensitivity...if you're going to do it, go for it, really embrace your catching your own shit in your own hand experience.  Turns out it's easy to do.  Once you have your motion in your hand, it's very simple to complete the test.  Just remember to catch it in the hand you don't need for the pernickety stick and smearing action.  I mean, if you're right handed, catch the shit in your left hand and vise-versa.  From the picture below you'll see I'm a regular mover, I completed the test over 3 days.
    my first Hema-Screen
    During the days throughout the test you have this piece of cardboard with shit in, what to do with it, where to put it, becomes an issue.  I kept mine in the return envelope which is made of a plastic type material, and left it lying around.  The joy of throwing the envelope at The Husband and The Son, "here catch".  The Husband let it fall to the floor because he knew what was in it, The Son didn't know and caught it.  Oh how we laughed, well, The Husband and I did.
    During the days throughout the test you have this piece of cardboard with shit in, what to do with it, where to put it, becomes an issue.  I kept mine in the return envelope which is made of a plastic type material, and left it lying around.  The joy of throwing the envelope at The Husband and The Son, "here catch".  The Husband let it fall to the floor because he knew what was in it, The Son didn't know and caught it.  Oh how we laughed, well, The Husband and I did.
    The postman delivered a letter to Starry Towers today, to someone unknown called Mrs Maude Gow, but our house address was correct.  I read the name as Mrs Mad Cow.  It's all so surreal, I opened the letter and witness the bizarre ramp right optician slip of paper saying its time for an eye do they know???
    It's one of them little mysteries in life. I've been noticing my eyes deteriorating for bout a year or so (previously 20/20 vision & proud of it)...I nearly booked an eye test last week, but it turned out to be a public holiday so I didn't...again.  I keep putting it off, then this arrives.  I will arrange an eye test...soon.  I'm thinking Ray-Ban frames, so it'll be like wearing my shades, just without the shade, and with a lot more visual clarity.  I just noticed...I think I can "re-cycle" the stamp...result!
    time for the eye test
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Zero Dark Thirty.  Totally engaging, we were hooked from start to 2 and a half hours later finish.
    The Husband I watched Silver Linings Playbook, not my usual type of movie, verging on rom-com, but saved from that sin-bin by it's lovable characters, quirky humour and the authentic portrayal of mental disorder.  Excellent movie.
    The Husband and I watched Bernie, interesting, intriguing and funny because it's the telling of a true story you couldn't imagine in your wildest.




Iron Man 3

  More photos of the Strathaven Show Shetland Sheep on The Shetland Sheep Blog, the place for them.
  The new Harry Hole book, Police, is out in audiobook...guess what I'll be doing for the next 17hrs & 3 mins?  SPOILERS!  At the end of the last Harry Hole book I thought he was dead, I cried, I'm now so happy, he better not be pseudo-dead at the end of this one.
  Jo Nesbø Police
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).   The Husband and I watched Iron Man 3, fabulous Robert Downey Jr and lots of tongue-in-cheek laughs too, we liked.




  Sheep News
  I've still to sort out and upload a whole load of photos, meanwhile The Strathaven Sheep News is on The Shetland Sheep Blog
    That's me another year older, another year more fabulous and my fantastic 3-Day-Long Weekend Birthday Fiesta is sadly at an end.  I am 50 you know. 
    Birthday Day 1...The celebrations kicked off at 0720 on Friday (my official birthday) at work, a little half day thanks to a trained nurse colleague who swapped shifts with me.  The Husband dropped me off asking, "do you think they'll have the bunting up?"  I was foolishly too quick to retort "don't be ridiculous".  The Husband was right, there were Happy 50th Birthday shiny banners all over.  My Girls fixed me cards, a birthday cake and a Sweetie Tree, and a big cooked breakfast for us all.  I thank them all very much for making my half day very very special, and for not carrying out their threat of putting me in a bath when I would've had to stab them with my scissors, and all sorts of turning nasty could've happened.
    my Birthday Sweetie Tree
    Back home after work The Husband has UGGs, a big bunch of flowers and more cake.  In the evening The Husband whisks us off to The Burg and a meal at The Shazan restaurant on Union Place.  We shared Mushroom Pooris, King Prawn Tandori, Vegetable Samosas, Chicken Jalfrezi, rice and Peshwari Nan.  Delicious spicy.  After dinner we have tickets for Hairspray the Musical at The Playhouse.  A fabulous show, perfect performances, great tunes and very funny.
    Hairspray The Musical
    Birthday Day 2...Saturday and The Husband and I go to Strathaven for The Dad and the sheep.  In the evening we're invited to dinner with The Bro and The Sis-in-Law for my birthday treat.  The Brother's booked a table at Mill One, the restaurant at the New Lanark Mills Hotel.  I wanted a river-side view, I got the Clyde and the Mills where The Mum worked before she became a married woman.  The Bro and I went to Lanark Grammar School too, I was delighted with his very thoughtful choice, The Bro done well good.  The meal was lovely and the company great.  I had the Monkfish cheeks, the venison and the cheesecake with New Lanark Honey Ice Cream.
    Birthday Day 3...The Husband and I take a drive in my favourite car, the BMW Z4, up the east coast to St Andrews.  Then on the way home we drop in to the Queens Spice restaurant in South Queensferry for Birthday Dinner #3...more spicy.
    Then...just when you think it's all over...Friend C gives me a multitude of gifts, I haven't counted, but at a rough guess, maybe 10 or 12.  I'm loving them all, but my absolute favourite is the Highlander Lego Mini Figure for my collection!  She must've been checking out my Blog (December 2012) and knew I didn't have William Wallace yet.  This indicates a special effort and is extremely muchly appreciated.
    William Wallace
    Product Of the Week is the Mini Stylus Pen.  I got my first Mini Stylus Pen on Saturday, gifted to me by The Sis-In-Law when she recognised my need.  I went straight home to Starry Towers and ordered up a set of 10 in a rainbow plethora of colours to play matchy-matchy with any outfit.  Bargain buy at £2.45 for the set of 10 plus free p&p on Amazon.  I needed a Mini Stylus Pen because on my 50th birthday, sitting in Shezan restaurant The Husband put me online via my mobile phone.  All I'm doing so far is on my Pay-As-You-Go deal, checking in on The Facebook, letting my friends know where I am when I'm somewhere a little out of the ordinary.  This could be the start of me joining the modern world.
    Mini Stylus Pen set
    On first impressions I was loving my new nail polish from the Nails Inc Feathers collection.  I went for Cornwall, the blue and white colour-combo.  Tiny blue and white confetti strips suspended in clear nail polish.  Looks bloody good...unfortunately looking good is all it's good at, and only manages that for a few hours.  It's not the easiest of polishes to work with, you have to be dedicated to achieving the Feathers.  
    I started with a coat of Sally Hansen Diamond Shine to give a smooth canvas and protect my nails from staining, then applied three coats of Feathers.  It tends to become more and more gloopy as you're working with it...don't tarry, quick-sticks, smooth and confident with your application, this isn't a novice-nail choice.  Feathers has quite a dull finish on it's own, and as I like a shine, I finished painting with another coat of Sally Hansen Diamond Shine, for it's great protection and for the gloss.  Then a quick spray of my nail necessity...Elegant Touch Rapid Dry For Nails. 
    It's a shame this is so bad because it could be so good.  After a lot of work I did achieve an attractive set of nails but there are a couple of problems.  First...many coats are required to achieve a well-covered finish that looks good. starts to get gloopy half through the second coat and by the end of the third coat it's so thick & slow in application, more like glue, and only just still what could be called a liquid. doesn't last long, the next day an entire nail cover drops off in a perfect nail shape.  A little poke at the edge of the rest and they're all off.  Very costly for a product that is a nightmare to use, looks lovely for a few hours then falls like Autumn leaves.
    This Summer I've been liking a white nail polish on it's own too.  Many whites are too wishy-washy, I've found the best quality, most solid white polish to be Rimmel's Brit Manicure in 430 Porcelain.
    Nails Inc Feathers in the Cornwall










  The Foot Doctors, and when I say Foot Doctors, I mean a podiatrist, says I need to wear comfortable, supportive shoes at all times.  I'll tell you why a little later.  Meanwhile you can see me ignoring that advice, obviously...I'm approaching my 50th - I'm not dead yet...over on The Star Swag Blog.
  It's been a YOU doing?  I've been on annual leave for a couple weeks.  Before The Husband returned to his fjords and oil he bought us a new Miele T8812C Edition 111 Condenser Tumble Dryer.  The updated version of our old Miele Condenser Tumble Dryer,  we're keen on our high-end German-made domestic appliances, and sports cars, the BMW Z4 M Series springs immediately to mind.  After The Husband returned to his fjords and oil and the Dutch girls took their HAIR and went back to their canals and cheeses, I was left on my own and not an awful lot happened for the remainder of my holiday.
    Miele T8812C Edition 111
    Friend C was over for an evening of cold drinks and hot Slankets on the patio, which was nice.  I also went to the Foot Department at the hospital.  I've got a calcaneal, a boney spur on my left heel to go with my plantar fasciitis in both feet.  The NHS are making me a pair of special insoles with a cute little cut-out for the bone spur, that makes it...what...OK?  I've also to do exercises and apply ice packs four times a day.  Right, that's so user-friendly for a fulltime worker, and...not going to happen anytime soon.  I already have good quality insoles I bought because of this foot issue.  I'm not impressed so far.  Two GPs have had a little feel at my left heel, both said...plantar faciitis.  The first one said you need an injection, the second said...foot stretching exercise and Brufen.  The Brufen put me to sleep so she said, OK, we'll stop the Brufen and she put a special alert notice on my file, no more Brufen prescriptions for me.  None of the GPs spotted the calcaneal. 
    So...what happens to this boney spur?  It's not going away of it's own accord, or even if I wear sensible shoes at all times and do x4-a-day icepacks and stretch-one-two-three religiously.  Therefore I'm thinking the plantar fascia is going to stay damaged regardless...I feel a keyhole bone shaving operation coming on.  Well, I say that, but I don't know how keen they Foot Doctors are to do that.
    Product Of The Week is the Large White Stag Head from MarquisandDawe.  £50 a head, I got two, one for the Starry Towers Guest Bedroom and one for the Starry Towers Boudoir.  Dimensions: 45cm x 40cm x 20cm.
    Large White Stag Head







  The wonder of woolies over on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Step Daughter is visiting from The Land Of Canals and Windmills, so in best Wicked Step Mother mode I took her to contemplate her own death...mwahahaha!  It's was done in the style of humour.  Us two, plus The Husband, went to see Richard Herring at The Pleasance Beyond in The Pleasance Courtyard.  Or Venue 33, as The Pleasance is known at this time of a Scottish year.  I love The Fringe.  Just one more very good reason for why Scotland is the best country in the world.
    We're All Going To Die is Mr Herring's "tenth distinct stand-up show in ten consecutive years", pretty good going, and probably a record.
    We have dinner in one of The Pleasance three cafes then take a drink at a table in the pleasant Pleasance outdoors evening air.  Nearing the show time we get to the front of the queue thanks to The Husband starting the queue.  We're in the Pleasance Beyond which is upstairs, on the way up we're given "10" the free DVD Richard has made instead of spending £3000 on posters.  What a great idea.  The Husband picks up the show programe too, good on him, I hadn't spotted that.  We're first in the room and a young man is requesting we fill up the seats from the far end of the front row.  I say no, I want to sit right there in the middle of the front row.  I know my rights and the limits of this young Pleasance employee's powers, he's not the Police.  We sit in the middle of the front row with billowing smoke special effects around the gravestone props, which occasionally reaches our lungs.  Don't sit on the front row if you're really troubled by fake smoke.  The show is great, Richard's smooth and more confident than I remember him, and amazing to have him so close, right there, no raised stage.  He's funny and he works so hard, his product is prolific.
    Out in the courtyard after the show I spotted Mr Herring...tempted?  Too tempting, I plucked up the courage to go talk to him and got my bookazine signed, with the words... "Marilyn RIP".  I said, "Starry Towers on The Twitter", he said, "yes, you've got little stars next to your name".  YES..that's me!  What a great guy this comedian is.
    This year Mr Herring decided not to do posters, instead, he's giving away free DVDs at his We're All Going To Die shows.  We came home with free DVDs, 132mins of his favourite highlights from his previous nine different stand-up shows in as many years at The Fringe.  I also got my bookazine signed by the man himself.  Result.
    the grave stage
    We're All Going To Die
    Next day we go to Edinburgh Zoo, or as we call it, The Scottish Panda and Penguin Centre.  Edinburgh Zoo has the world's largest Penguin enclosure, Britain's only Pandas and Britain's only Koalas. That's it.  They seem extremely proud of their well catered for Pandas and Penguins, but embarrassed about the rest of the place, maybe hoping the other animals just go away, die, be rehomed or escape and be darted to death.  The Sea Lion for instance, has been rehomed because his female companions died, they didn't get him new friends, shipped him off to make new friends elsewhere.  The first thing you see on entering the Zoo proper, is the rancid water in the empty Sea Lion enclosure, off to a happy start then. 
    "Edinburgh Zoo's Budongo Trail allows visitors to see our chimpanzees in the world's most innovative, interactive chimpanzee enclosure. Watch these amazing creatures in their home and learn all about the links between humans and our closest relatives."  Really?  It's a sad looking prison with depressed looking Chimps.
    Perhaps if you had never seen any other zoos in the world you might think Edinburgh Zoo is OK, but it isn't, even in comparison with the last Zoo I visited, in small Dutch town Emmen, Edinburgh is in a sad state.  The grounds maintenance and gardening is shockingly poor, weeds everywhere.  Much of the zoo is pretty dilapidated looking, it's obvious where any spending is being made.  And they've got mice, spotted by me in the Baboon's bedroom and the Panda enclosure, yuck.
    Tian Tian
    The Zoo shop is really the Panda shop.
    the Panda shop
    The Step Daughter has a Best Friend Forever.  Editha arrived a couple days after Alice.  Look at them, with their...HAIR.  Not content with their already awesome HAIR, when Editha joined Alice at Starry Towers they immediately headed up to The Centre and bought more HAIR.  This is them with their purchased hair-pieces on-top their already awesome Swedish Blonde HAIR.  They're beautiful, blonde, intelligent and lovely people.  It wasn't easy accepting that I'm old enough to be mother of both of them, but I adapted, then started pretending to be Mum, in my own head.  I cooked a fabulous Mexican dinner of chicken fajitas, salad, sour crème and cheesy nachos, followed by warm chocolate and caramel torte with Flake Ice Cream and Häagen-Dazs Pralines & Cream Ice Cream, accompanied by Mexican beers and an exceptionally good bottle of red, the Gallo Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon.  I gave out pearls of wisdom and advice, highlights sticky broach kitten throwing experiences, ex-boyfriend elimination, debt-collecting-made-easy and Panda wanking.  I'm glad to say, The Step Daughter took my advice on at least one of them important life lessons.
    The BFF is a world class hairdresser/make-up artist.  She brought me Keune hair products.  She said, and I'm paraphrasing..."I like your hair, your hair is good", I replied something along the lines of..."ach, but I've got rubbish hair", she said, "but for rubbish hair, you're doing the best with it".  Telling it like it is.
    Alice & Editha




  Sheep News
  The Dad's Drymen Show results on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
    On The Star Swag Blog I have gorgeous bags, and a necessary accessory of note.
    I'd like to be blogging about my new NEXT mirrored bedroom furniture, but.  I'm trying to stay polite and non-sweary...but...feck NEXT furniture delivery.  I waited 3 months for the new Simpson mirrored chest of drawers and dressing table.  They eventually arrived, I set about opening the huge boxes.  First off, the chest of drawers in the guest bedroom, all was right and good.
    The delivery men had taken the dressing table boxes upstairs for me, and that was right and good of them.  The dressing table comes in 3 parts, I opened the two boxes containing the side bits, all was still right and wonderfully good.  This is the point at which it goes disastrously wrong and bad.  I opened the large flat box containing the three-drawered top of the dressing table, what a gutting disappointment, this part has a small area of shattered glass on the top.
    Now I have to wait another 7 weeks...they'll send 3 new parts, but I (the customer) only need and want the broken part replaced.  They tell me to re-box and rewrap the 3 parts to do the swap.  Couple of places their plan falls down.  One..the re-wrapping of the two good parts is so much hassle, hard work and a total waste of time.  Two..I'm more than a tad afraid that one of the replaced bits will be broken, I'd be giving back perfectly good pieces and left in the same situation with a different broken bit, having to wait another 7 weeks with no guarantee I'd be any better placed then either, this could go on forever.
    I put these thoughts to the less than helpful NEXT person on the phone, he carried on being less than helpful while showing his less than intelligent side too, but massive amounts of towing-the-party-line smarm.  He says the delivery guys can't and won't keep the two new side bits in the van and just swap the broken bit.  Can't and won't...we'll see about that.  They'd rather carry the new bits up the stairs, carry the old bits down (they'll have to box/wrap them while they're at it).  These bits are heavy and fragile and it's just plain stupid.  What's it to be van delivery guys?  What's it to be?  I'll fight to the death over this, is it worth it guys?  The NEXT Twitter rep tweets me an apology for the inconvenience.  One thought...if you don't actually have the products your selling available at the time your offering them for sale, this is bound to cause inconvenience.  Terrible service NEXT.  Here is what the Simpson Mirrored Dressing Table will look like when and if I ever get three perfect parts in Starry Towers at the same time.
    NEXT Simpson Dressing Table







Reykjavik Rotterdam




  Sheep News
  The Dad-related Kinross Agricultural Show 2013 results are on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
  At long last, over on The Star Swag Blog there's THE Starry Sweater.
  Was The Mum's birthday last week.  She got mugged by Moonpig.  The design on the mug is Leo, The Mum's Pomeranian.
  No sooner had I Moonpig mugged The Mum with Leo, then The Parents go and get a new dog and Leo the Pomeranian has a new wee brother.  There's only one thing for me to do, and it involves another mug.
  Bailey is a 2yro Malti-Poo from the Dog's Trust at West Calder. The Parents have been over visiting him loads, taking him for walks and introducing Leo.  They picked him up today, on the way home to Braehead they dropped by Starry Towers.  Sure he's in need of a bit of washing and trimming to the face, but other than that, he's pretty damn perfect.  At the dog rescue centre he'd apparently gained the reputation of being wary of people, but it seems no-one's told him that, he's very friendly, and abundantly full of life and fun.  He came running into Starry Towers making the rounds of meeting and greeting The Husband and me.  Inquisitive and bold. 
    A Malti-Poo is a Maltese & Poodle cross, with a smooth, silky, wavy coat with very little shedding, a well-proportioned body & great agility, he looks like he could leap up & over fences with ease. Look at him, he's absolutely adorable.  Reports from Braehead this evening are good, Leo and Bailey are getting on fine.
    Bailie at Starry Towers
    Friend C and I had an evening at Edinburgh Fringe taking in two shows and three further bars, finishing at Lloyds Bar in the Omni Centre, closest to a pub crawl we've ever done I think.  The taxi driver on the way home tells us we're more sober going home than most he takes IN to the city at the start of their nights out.
    We started with some café culture feeling very European, drinks on the pavement at Amarone Ristorante on St Andrews Square.  From there we walked across the square to the Stand II venue on North St Andrew Street.  Looking around for the venue we spot a big sign, on closer inspection, asking each other, "where?", we read..."up these stairs".  Couldn't be clearer.  Up the stairs we find ourselves in a real Fringe venue, a back room off a tiny bar.  We bravely sit on the front row, and it's great being next to a big open window and AC unit.
    I think you have to see Seymour Mace perform his Marmaduke Spatula's Fuckin' Spectacular Cabaret of Sunshine Show to understand why this infantile, bodily function-orientated, highly sweary offensive and school-boy-purile song & video are funny, but it'll bring back happy memories for anyone who has seen the one hour live performance.  Watch this animation of the Seymour Mace song, video by Alex Collier on The Youtube.  Click on the picture of Mr Mace.
    Seymour Mace
    I won't be saying more about the show, no spoilers, but this is my name sticker from the show.  He called me (quite randomly) Barbara Bumstring.  Friend C was Nanny Clampit.
    my Marmaduke Spatula's Fuckin' Spectacular Cabaret of Sunshine Show name sticker
    After Seymour Mace, Friend C and I walk along the street and imbibe another drink, this time at Tiles Café, Bar and Bistro on the corner at St Andrews Square.  Time flies and very soon it's time to get to The Stand on York Place for the "Brendon Burns Hasn't Heard of You Either" show.  He knows my name now, and he can't spell it, see below for details.
    Brendon Burns
    A great show, fast paced, loud (there's a good reason for that) and sweary (in a good way), on a theme, though seemingly chaotic, it all ties up nicely with a bow on top by the end.  Bought his book, which he signed, spelling my name wrong first time, scoring out, getting it right 2nd time and giving himself a tick.
    Brendon Burns book Fear of Hat Loss in Las Vegas signed to me
    So I go home and Tweet about enjoying the show and about the book signing with a picture of the book cover and Mr Burn's writing on the inside front page.  Mr Burns Tweets me a reply.  Click on the picture below to see the Twitter exchange.
    Twitter exchange
    I got my number 7 Ben Gleib Last Week On Earth podcast mention.  My seventh Mention Episode is #94 August 7th 2013 - question..."Since my folks R my guests recordin 2nite, if u want advice from them ON ANYTHING ask now. They good at that".  I tweeted to Mr Gleib..."please ask parents..who has been the best world leader in history ever ever & why (of any country #LoveToBenGleibsMumAndDad".  Ben asked his parents on the podcast and they gave their answers.  Mum Gleib went for David Ben-Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister with a moving telling of her admiration for this little big-man.  Dad Gleib had two, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln.  Listen at 1 hr 26 mins in.
    Ben Gleib Last Week On Earth
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Paranorman.  I liked it a lot, it's quiet, but sweet, and there's a few LOLs.  I sensed the Husband wasn't all that impressed.
    The Husband and I watched Snow White and the Huntsman, we both enjoyed this far more than I expected to.  It's a good old fashioned fairytale, no-one more surprised than me that it proved to be just what I needed, a bit of flight and fancy.
    The Husband and I watched Reykjavik Rotterdam.  Good.





  Sheep News
  Over on The Shetland Sheep Blog I'm bragging for The Dad with his trophy silverware collection on display.
    There's a drop waist monochrome splatter dress on The Star Swag Blog.
    There's nature at Starry Towers.  This August the Bees are mostly in the Poppies.  Each Poppy flower is ravaged as soon as it opens.  It's buzzing out there.
    Bee in flight
    Bees on a Poppy
    The Husband and I were sitting chatting on the patio late one night recently.  I heard a familiar noise which was strangely discombobulating given the circumstances.  It was a much quieter version of a crunching munching sound, teeny little tiny teeth biting down over and over again at quite a speed.  I fetched a torch, for it was dead of night darkness.  I tippy-toed into the flowers, one stepping stone, then another and there, The Starry Towers Hedgehog eating an apple.  I had to go back indoors to get the Canon EOS M, the image I managed to capture wasn't the best quality, and my Hedgehog had stopped eating the apple, but here it is. 
    the Starry Towers Hedgehog
    Gardening News's that Rose cutting in full bloom, my best Rose baby.
    1yr old Rose cutting in full bloom
    rose cutting just one year old
    Product Of The Week...the Wooden and Fabric Hand Fan.  This is the most effective portable hand-held personal cooling device I've ever known, and I've tried quite a few already.  The least own hand; the emergency anything will do...sheet of paper and magazines; the battery operated...hand-held and on the end of a pen.  Some of these methods look flappy and most are noisy.  At Wimbledon 2013 I saw a couple of women in the crowd looking cool and attractive while casually, but effectively, wafting hand-helds similar to these.  My fans are 23cm long Wooden & Fabric Hand Fans from Amazon.  I have the blue and the black, the pink are gifts for the girly women-folk in my life.
    Wooden & Fabric Hand Fans



  Sheep News
  The latest and glorious Shetland Sheep news is in the obvious place for such stuff, The Shetland Sheep Blog.
    I take it to the ultra-max on The Star Swag Blog, this is a beautiful bargain from Topshop.
    POTW is my new RHA earphones.  These are better than any other earphones I've had before.  The nmMA450i Black - Noise isolating aluminium earphones with remote and microphone from RHA have some delightful features I find extremely pleasing and user-friendly.  I've been using these for two weeks and still can't find fault.  A quote from the website says..."We create unique, high specification audio products, designed and engineered at our research and development centre in Glasgow".  I do believe they do, and they're Scottish.  Features include..
    Noise isolating aluminium earphones with remote and microphone
Dynamic Speaker for high definition sound with full bass
A choice of seven silicone ear-tips for a secure comfortable fit
Fabric braided cable for reduced tangling and prolonged cable life
iPhone/iPod/iPad remote and microphone
3 year warranty  
    I'm loving the fabric braided cable, it seems to be more flexible and less fragile than what I'm used to.  The remote allows me to control sound level and switch on and off without having to fumble around with the iPod.  I know other earphones provide that too, I just haven't had that feature before.  Apparently there's a microphone on the remote too, I've had no reason to try it but my iPod has shown me a screen I've never seen before... says "voice messages", so it's there if I happened to feel the need.  A huge choice of earbud sizes, 7 instead of the usual 3 in other sets.  The earbuds I'm using are the ones that were on the earphones when I opened the package, very comfortable and a great sound, with superb noise-isolating properties.  Whatever I've said in the past about other earphones, forget that, these are the best ever.
    RHA nmMA450i Black earphones
The Husband and I had a night out in Falkirk at the weekend.  We went for Janey Godley appearing at Behind The Wall as part of the comedy festival Funny In Falkirk.  I've never had a night out in Falkirk before, but what a great venue and what lovely welcoming people, maybe I go to Edinburgh too often, but they're never this friendly in Edinburgh.
    Janey Godley
    I just finished Kindling the book Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn.  I'd read reviews and entered the transaction with high expectations.  And after all, this has a virtual sticker on the virtual cover... "The Observer Thriller of the year".  I'd read of a massive plot twist and the he-said-she-said format.  I found the him-her-him-her story-telling intriguing and totally page-turning, but my hyper-interest went down a step about half way through, because the big so-called shock-horror plot twist, wasn't as twisty as I thought it was going to be.  I'd started to think up possible twists that were far less obvious and more shocking than what Ms Flynn went with.  After the twist is revealed I found the story-telling less dark, too light, even trite.  The only really seriously bad act portrayed in the book, is dealt with over the space of a few pages, it comes and goes with less import than it surely deserves.  I felt emotionally connected to only one of the book's characters and found the ending disappointing and kinda unbelievable for that character.  However...the fact I'm reviewing here, does tell of my overall enjoyment, it's well worth reading.
    Gone Girl




  I take me to the max, on The Star Swag Blog.
  Happy Birthday The Boy.  Today The Boy is 20.  I know!  I can't fathom it either, but it's a matter of on-the-record history, it's true.  Worse thing about the number is that I was a mature-ish first-and-only-time mother.  I was 29 when The Boy arrived, and he's now closer to that age than he is to the day he was born.  I could cry.
    The Boy's birthday card
    To rub salt in the wounds I met his teenage baby-sitters yesterday.  The once teenage babysitting sisters are now women in their 30s, one has a 5yr old son.  I know, its feckin sad!  They look like women in their physically hurt me, like a punch to the stomach.  I was also a bit annoyed because the child was determined to climb the new Starry Towers stone wall, placing his feet on tiny stone ledges and picking at lime mortar with his little finger nails.  I tried to distract him with conversation about bees and spiders, but he proved able to ask inane questions and climb walls simultaneously.
    Anyways, the weather has turned here at Starry Towers giving us frequent Summer storms, with thunder, lightening and ferocious rain showers.   The first of the storms was the worst, on the late afternoon and evening  of the 23rd, patio areas turned to paddling pools and some of the back garden washed onto monoblocking.
    ohh look at it rain
    seriously heavy rain
    Gardening News 1...and so the first piece of Gardening News is Summer storm related, addressing the dirt washed onto the patio problem.  I had to spend ages brushing it back into the garden then clean up the monoblocks.  One brain-wave later I set about with a potential solution to the problem, and hopefully it won't happen again.  I dug a trench along the problem area, I say trench, it's a min-trench, just a hand-scoop deep and wide.  Now I've done it and it's been very successful so far, under a few deluges it's stood up to the test and proved me right.  But, now I've thought about it some more, this can't be a permanent solution.  After a while soil will inevitably slip between the aesthetically pleasing stone chips, clog up the channel, dirty up the shiny pebbles, so it'll no longer perform and it'll look and be...soiled.  It'll be an abomination, absolutely useless and even contributing to the recurrence of the original problem.  Then what'll I do?  Clean the stones and re-hand-scoop the trench I s'pose...for a high-ranking's doable.  More than doable for a high-ranking OCD-er, it'll be a pleasure.  So, this is a great idea.
    pebble trench
    Gardening News 2...really exciting bit of news this...the best of my rose cuttings with it's successful budding situation, has an actual in-bloom rose, and this makes me happy.  The Dad recommends not being so self-indulgent in year one, snip the buds and allow the plant to put all it's strength into growing big and strong for future years.  The Mum says...OMG!  Isn't it great, we have a rose on our new rose cutting!  I tend to agree mostly with The Mum.
    first rose cutting to flower




  Sheep News
  Shetland Sheep News is very exciting...on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
    Gardening News brings the story of me successfully propagating my own roses.  Here I share the knowledge (given to me by The Mum).  Instructions...wait till your roses have finished flowering, so late Autumn.  Cut a long sturdy straight stalk of about 50cm length.  Knock all the leaves, stems and thorns off the bottom 2/3.  Stick it in the ground.  Do this as many times as new rose bushes you want.  Wait till the following Summer.  That's it.  My first attempt was last Autumn and I've had a 5 out of 6 success rate.  It's easy, anyone...well, anyone with roses, can do it.  One of my cuttings even has buds, and it's one of the three I dug up and transplanted to another spot in the front garden about a month ago...that's how easy this rose cutting propagation business is.  Expect a photo soon of my first DIY rose in bloom.
    rose cutting with buds
    Product Of The this glorious (two week long) Scottish Heatwave Summer of 2013, I've fell asleep a few times on the Starry Towers estate.  I've done my napping on a Miami Relaxer Daybed, two of which I got delivered from ASDA Direct.  Tried and tested...found to be wonderful and a massive bargain.  Very strong, sturdy, good-looking and comfortable.  At only £20 a pop, similar items go for double or triple the price.  The hammock is high on the easy-put-togetherable factor.  Eight easy pieces of powder-coated steel frame, then the fabric with an attached pillow, simply clicks onto the frame.  Equally simple to deconstruct and store draw-string cotton bags, I sent The Mum the measurements and an old IKEA cotton curtain she brought me two storage bags with reinforced bottoms.
    Miami Relaxer Daybed
    More Starry Towers Guest Bedroom product details.  The Folklore Enamel Coffee Pot by Nina Jarema has foxes.  I was first attracted by the foxes, then the black and white silhouettes, the symmetry, the birds and folksy floral design.  I believed it to be Nordic, turns out this is a Ukrainian design.  Close enough, it's only a hop, skip and a chunk of old Soviet Union away, it used to be part the USSR and that's next door to Scandinavia.  Height 15cm and diameter 9cm with a capacity of 950ml.  £14.95, I got mine from Wild & Wolf, buying via Amazon gets you free Prime delivery.
    Folklore Enamel Coffee Pot



  Swag Time has returned on The Star Swag Blog.
  Sheep News
    The Dad won two pieces of Shetland Sheep silverware this year, his trophies can be seen on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
    More Starry Towers Guest Bedroom product details.  The Zoola Ring Holder, Fox version, is an adorable mini chrome plated die cast zinc ring stand, with convenient pointy bits for keeping your ring jewelry items safe and in a place you know you put them.  No rings on this fox, just a solidly heavy shiny little fox.  Dimensions : 5 x 1.8 x 6.4cm.  Burglar Advice...the rings will be in a hidden compartment in the Starry Towers black leather sofa (I could do with a new black leather sofa).  Foxy is available at StrawberryFool for a very reasonable £7.99.  More Burglar your own, it's less than a tenner.
    my Foxy ring holder
    In Religious Zealot News we have the seemingly unknowingly ironic Adnan Rasheed, terrorist and senior member of the Pakistani Taliban.  Following her triumphant speech at the United Nations, he writes an open letter to Malala Yousafzai, an unarmed 15 year old girl who just wants to go to school.  Malala as we all know, was ambushed on her school bus and shot in the head.  He says in his letter that he is shocked the Taliban tried to kill her...though he has nothing to say about all the other children, girls and women the Taliban have successfully murdered.  He says she was targeted for heading an anti-Taliban "smearing campaign".  He goes on to advice Malala to return to Pakistan (haha), join a female Islamic seminary (hahaha) and advocate the cause of Islam (hahahahahahahahaha)...aye right, she'll get right on that good advice, fuckwit.  He looks ridiculous, like a Monty Python character with a rubbish false beard, in video footage shown on British TV.
    Seen here with a heavily disguised Peter Andre and two members of the IRA, for some unknown reason.  Rasheed or Malala, which one would you vote for?
    Rasheed with Peter Andre and the IRA
    Letter to Adnan Rasheed...
    letter to Adnan Rasheed





Django Unchained



  The Starry Towers Guest Bedroom is proving to be a style triumph, added bonus...I'm loving the job of Top Interior Designer Stylist.  I'm still waiting for some of the furniture from NEXT, a mirrored bedside drawers and an ottoman for the foot of the bed.  Also I'm working on changing an oak bookcase/cupboard into a wardrobe.  Meanwhile, it's the adorning little details that add the WOW factor.
  Signed Ros Shiers prints are quirky gorgeous.  I ordered two prints, the Alice and the We All Scream For Ice Cream.  The prints arrived beautifully and securely packaged, with a couple of complimentary greetings cards, a mini version of Ice Cream and a Steal A Kiss...bonus score!  The outer packaging is seriously strong stiff cardboard sealed with Ros Shiers Wrapping Tape, big PLEASE DO NOT BEND sticker, I don't think the postman could've bent it even if he wanted to.  Inside the prints are enveloped in crisp white tissue paper, with a signed thank-you-for-purchasing card.  It's all delightfully sparklingly stupendously adorable.  Available at Ros Shiers and Not On The High Street.
    We All Scream For Ice Cream
    Steal A Kiss
    I got the white frames at Amazon for the prints to hang on a wall, and the smaller mirrored frame on the dressing consol, I've had for years.
    framed Ros Shiers prints on the Guest Bedroom wall
    Ros Shiers lipstick in mirrored frame
    I've got a hedgehog and I'm not afraid to use it.  Ooops, sorry, I really mean, I'm going to look after it and gain pleasure just knowing it's around.  I was having a little look around The British Hedgehog Preservation Society website, which has a lot of useful information, but they tried to tell me this is not MY hedgehog.  I know this is my hedgehog.  They say hedgehogs get around, that they..."visit several gardens within an area. Ten or more different individuals may visit a garden over several nights, which could mean that ‘your hedgehog’ is in fact a number of different individuals visiting at different times." 
    The Husband and I were sitting outside on the patio enjoying the phenomenal Summer at Starry Towers, at around 11pm the other evening, when we heard a stone moving sound.  From where the back of the shed meets the pebbles around the monoblock.  I thought mouse?  Bloody big mouse to make such an impact on the stones.  When the sound returned the hedgehog showed itself, walking along the pebbles to the garden area.  He went back and forth then disappeared behind the shed again.  I know this is MY hedgehog because the space below the shed is the perfect hedgehog home.  I've put out a water dish and come Autumn I'm going to throw dead leaves back there for the hedgehog to use as bedding.  There's been a distinct reduction in slugs on the estate recently, I was crediting the Starry Towers frog, but maybe assisted by the Starry Towers hedgehog.  Just hope my hedgehog doesn't eat my frog.
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Django Unchained.  Absolutely very bloody fantastic, we love it.  Checking the movie length...2 and 1/2 hrs...we couldn't believe it, felt more like 1 and a 1/2...sign of a great movie.












  Sheep News
  The Dad wins big time at the Doune & Dunblane Show, on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
  I have a Stepdaughter, gained in much the usual way, she's the daughter of The Husband with a previous wife.  We ladies are friends on The Facebook.  I exchange conversation with The Stepdaughter AND her mother, which is pretty cool, the current wife in friendly FB communication with the first.  They're lovely people.  Last week I actually met The Stepdaughter for real when she visited Starry Towers for father-daughter time and a heavy dollop of Scotland tourism.
    They arrived at Starry Towers in time to meet me, visit The Mum and The Dad up at Braehead then drive to South Queensferry to see The Bridges and have dinner at The Hawes Inn.  Next two days I was off to work and they spent them touristing around Scotland.  The Husband took Alice to some of our best highlights, Roslin Chapel, Linlithgow Palace, they climbed the Wallace Monument at Stirling, Ranoch Moor, they got up-close with a deer at Glen Coe, and at Loch Ness they spotted a ceramic Nessie they'd placed in the water only seconds earlier. 
    On Wednesday evening after I finished work we sat out on the patio eating strawberries and cream, quaffing Champagne.  Next day the three of us head into Edinburgh.  First up we took the Mac Tours Edinburgh Tour Bus round the city.  We hopped on the bus on The High Street and from there headed south over George IV Bridge past Grey Friar's Bobby and did a turn around on Lauriston Place, then along Chambers Street.  So far the highlights are McEwan Hall and The National Museum of Scotland.  Over South Bridge Street then North Bridge, we turn right along Regent Road, passing Nelson Monument, the National Monument, the Observatory and the Old Royal High School.  Turning on to Abbeyhill we see Holyrood Palace with the Queen in residence.  We swing round past the Scottish Parliament Building and Dynamic Earth, then back out past The People's Story and John Knox's House and on to Waverly Bridge.  The Tour Guide thus far had been a man who fancied himself a comedian but he was swapped here for a more serious chap, I preferred the funny guy.  Past Scott Monument, along Princes Street, past The Gardens, round Edinburgh Castle, view of George Heriot's School (Harry Potter's school) and back on to The High Street.
    We visited the castle and saw the Scottish Honours and Stone of Scone.  The castle was windy, chilly and very busy.  On the High Street Alice was on a photo-with-another spree, having her pic taken with a piper (dignified chap in full regalia), William Wallace (he insisted on showing us his tattooed bum) and The World's Most Tattooed Woman.  Elaine Davidson is a 40-something Brazilian but married to an older Scottish civil servant, she has over 9500 piercings.  It's not pretty and must be a torture some times.  I'm predicting a horrendous menopause for that woman.  Imagine the night sweats.
    The Stepdaughter and the most pierced woman in the Edinburgh
    At St Giles' Cathedral I pointed out The Heart of Midlothian and Alice and I had a spit for luck.  The Husband had been on at The Stepdaughter to have a kilt.  I said no, a mini kilt-style skirt maybe, then I spotted THE kilt.  I looked round at Alice and in the way of all seasoned fashionista shoppers, we locked eyes, nodding and made a bee-line.  Two of the black 100% wool mini kilt with leather straps and silver-tone buckles and kilt pin please The Husband. 
    From there we headed down Cockburn Street and in to the Dungeons.  The Husband and I did the Dungeons quite recently so I managed to keep my mouth closed for the surprise photo.  This time we all got picked on by the actors, The Stepdaughter was up in court for streaking on Carlton Hill, The Husband for crimes against fashion and I was murdered in a Burke and Hare demonstration.
    After this we headed over towards The Stand stopping at Tiles Café, Bar and Bistro on the corner at St Andrews Square for drinks.  Lovely place, previously the offices of the Prudential insurance company, it has a beautiful high vaulted ceiling, an opulence and...tiles.  It looks expensive, but is no more so than any other café, bar or bistro.
    At The Stand we have dinner then the show begins.  The compere is Siân Bevan, friendly, likeable, funny. 
    The Stand stage
    The first slot is filled by Owen McGuire.  He could've been funny, he started out funny, unfortunately he ruined it for me with his totally unnecessary and harsh "heckler" put-downs.  First up, I was laughing and he told the audience my laughter was annoying him.  I stopped laughing.  Later a man in the audience got caught speaking, it was at the end of a round of applause and he was obviously finished speaking just a split second too long after the applause died down.  McGuire shouted with an evil better be phoning your mother to tell her your dying, and I'm sure there was an "f" word in there too.  Felt very uncomfortable and stunned everyone into silence.  He's got put-downs and he's damn well going to use them.  Lack of experience?
    Owen McGuire
    Second spot went to Ali Cook, close-up magic and comedy.  If you like magic with your comedy and/or comedy with your magic, this is definitely the man, Mr Cook is a delight.
    Ali Cook
    Janey Godley up next.  She's very very funny, raising unexpected subjects that seem to become more risqué every couple minutes.  Best female comedian in the world...that I'm aware of.  Will be looking out for more Ms Godley.
    Janey Godley
    Seymour Mace took top spot, he's hilarious.  He sets up his weirdo simpleton geek character so absolutely that when it comes, the juxtaposition of his Pip routine is wonderful.  Laughed throughout, but from a sexual attraction point of view...I went from being repulsed to hmmm, quite fancy him.  We will see more Mace in the future.
    Seymour Mace
    Glorious  win for our Andy at Wimbledon.  I watched the emotionally-charged match at work on Sunday, disappointed at my fellow workmate people...hardly a smidgeon of enthusiasm amongst them.  I had to do the emoting for them all.  In 1936, 77 years ago, an Englishman won Wimbledon.  All they've had since then is Tim somebody?  He was rather rubbish.  Andy Murray is the second Scottish man to win Wimbledon...and in spectacular fashion, he beat Novak Djokovic, the world's current #1 in three straight sets.  The second Scottish man, I thought he was the first, but he is the first in shorts.  Harold Mahony wore trousers when he won his title in 1896.  The following day, in the papers...
    Wimbledon champion Andy in the papers






  Happy Birthday The Dad (a couple days ago).  I gifted The Dad a J by Jasper Conran silver textured striped faux fur throw and two matching pillows from Debenhams.  The Mum was very happy with The Dad's pressie.  A very attractive and soft smooth faux fur with a glossy sheen and textured stripes, the throw is 130 x 200 cm, the pillows 30 x 48 x 9cm.  This is my Guest Bedroom version of the throw and pillows.
  The starry duvet cover is part of the Personalised Stars Duvet Cover Set by Minna's Room, the starry pillow cases from H&M.
Guest Bedroom bedding


















  The Starry Towers gates are complete, over on The Starry Towers Blog.
  The GP, she say NO.  I can't have Hormone Replacement Therapy.  I can have an anti-depressant, not as an anti-depressant, but as a treatment for the menopause symptoms. She contacted the genetic specialist and also discussed me with a GP colleague for a third opinion, then told me she wouldn’t be willing to prescribe HRT due to my innate cancer risk, the additional HRT risk is too high.  She is now offering me antidepressants.  She tells me that certain antidepressant medicines have been proven to reduce the symptoms of menopause.  I don’t think they are licensed in the UK for the treatment of menopause, but doctors seem to be convinced enough to prescribe them all the same.
  I Googled (other tax paying search engines are available) but can’t find the evidence.  Is my GP trying to placebo me?  I told her I’m non-placebo-ble, I’m skeptic by nature, and that even though I’m a Mental Health nurse, I have a natural abhorrence for psychiatric medications other than the ones needed to treat serious psychotic illnesses.  I particularly dislike the antidepressants that so many people are prescribed because they feel a bit sad and would get more benefit from a kick up the arse.  Also, the possible non-beneficial side-effects of anti-depressants is a very long list, and is probably even worse than my current symptoms.  I think I'll say NO.










  Sheep News
  Royal Sheep News...The Royal Highland Show 2013 and The Dad wins his first Royal Highland ticket with a second for the best of Marilyn II twin sons.  The nameless Ram Lamb showed well, walking in halter perfectly with no messing about, no dramatic missing his mother, no becoming bored and throwing a tantrum.  The Dad's only been a shepherd for a couple years and has a very small flock therefore this is a big achievement.
    The Dad's first Royal Highland Show ticket
    The Starry Towers estate has another frog, this time, a healthy, alive, jumping, slug-eating one.  I was watering the garden when I spotted the frog enjoying the "rain".
    an alive frog on the Starry Towers estate











  Awww...James Gandolfini RIP, damn it, 51 is way too young.  I loved you in True Romance, my favourite movie of all time.  I kept a tin of hairspray & a lighter at my bedside for years after seeing how Tarantino had Alabama beat your Virgil.  Legend.  Shit and shit shit shit..nite nite Mr Gandolfini x
  James Gandolfini in True Romance
    I've been putting in a lot of hard work styling the Starry Towers Guest Bedroom, it's not quite finished, but already it's been much admired, mostly by me (the stylist) and by them I've dragged in to see/admire it.  I'll put up individual items here then blog photies of The Guest Bedroom on The Starry Towers Blog when the room is complete.  I painted the room brilliant white for the perfect backdrop, allowing for...anything I wanted.  I went with the clean fresh palette and simplicity of modern Scandinavian decor with a large injection of decadent Baroque.  White, black, greys and oak.  Mirrored furniture, black crystal chandelier, stags head, genuine reindeer skins, fox, chrome, glass, black & white prints.  Alice In Wonderland, Ros Shiers, stars, it's all so ME!  The rest of Starry Towers will look much the same "styled by me" when I'm finished, which will be after The Husband has done all the major "DIY by The Husband".
    Back to the guest bedroom.  One entire wall has the most gorgeous stand-out talking-point of a world map, bringing with it the muted blues, greens, and browns of old school atlases.  This allows me to add little touches of the greens and blues that also reflect the colours in my garden flower choices.  Trinkets come in tiny touches of the dazzling light fresh green and blues, glass, mirror and oak.
    From the NEXT Simpson range there's the console and the bedside chest.   The Simpson pieces are beveled mirrored bedroom furniture items, also available in black mirror.  I have items from the same range in The Starry Towers Boudoir so I know this is quality.  Also from NEXT I went for the deep buttoned upholstered Antoinette Silver Ottoman.  I'm loving a blanket box, this one looks great in the Guest Bedroom.
    NEXT Antoinette Silver Ottoman
    The map is the IKEA PREMIÄR world map wall canvas hanging.  When I first saw it in IKEA I gasped and was drawn to it.  As I stared, an elderly gentleman standing beside me asked, "do you love it too?"  He and I got talking, he pointed out where he'd served as a soldier at war in the far east, he indicated an area he'd flown over in a plane at that time, described in awe a barren parched land he'd later found out was Iraq and showed me where his daughter was going on holiday this year.  He said he didn't have a wall big enough, that he'd have to think about moving home, then The Husband pulled me away.  I bumped into the old man again before we left the shop, he said "are you thinking about moving home too?"  I told him in a whisper so The Husband wouldn't hear, "The Husband's not sure it'll fit our wall, but I'm sure, we'll be back to buy it tomorrow".  The old man was left smiling.  And the next day, The Husband bought me my world map.  The check-out woman spotted it and said smiling, "ahhh, you're buying the world map, it's awesome".
    At 200 x 140cm it is so eye-catchingly beautiful, I lie on the bed and look at it for ages at a time, every time I walk past the doorway and catch sight out of the corner of my eye, I step inside the Guest Bedroom and gaze.  Everyone who has been invited to view the room has been struck by the map, it's amazing.  Wipe-clean Polypropylene with an aluminium frame, it takes a bit of practice and effort to stretch the canvas on the frame and get it right, to my OCD standards.  Thank you The Husband, you done a good job, eventually.  This is well worth the  £100 price tag. 
    IKEA PREMIÄR world map wall canvas hanging





Once Upon A Time In Anatolia








  Starry Towers  33 : 0  Mice.  My first hit with the newly relocated Mouse Trap Station.
  Over on The Starry Towers Blog there's the latest very good news on The New Starry Towers Gates.  You can see the gate decorative pointy bits in more detail on the 15th June 2013 post.
  Health Update...there I was, back to the GP on Friday.  First up, my blood results are all normal, which is obviously a good thing.  I'm just disappointed I'm not easy-ill, I was hoping my thyroid was playing possum, or my Vit B12 was needing a little boost, something begging for a quick fix and all would be well.  No such medical luck.  So what's wrong with me?
  Now with no vitamin deficiency or minor organ malfunction to blame, here's the thing, two years after the Total Hysterectomy, I'm going to try Hormone Replacement Therapy.  The GP will write to the Genetic Specialist to ask for advice on my risks of cancer from the HRT.  She knows the usual percentage risk figures for normal women from taking HRT, women with no already known percentage risk of cancer.  Given that there's my family history of cancer and the Genetic program involvement the GP wants to know MY particular increased risk of cancer to add the HRT risk on to.  The GP will present her findings, I'll decide then a prescription will be prepared if that's what I choose to do.  Life is pretty difficult just now due to these feckin' Menopausal symptoms.  We'll see.
    Product Of The Week...Sniff Designer Tissues, and it must be the Mona Lisa version.  What do your pocket tissues say about you?  Mine say arty, quirky and individual in a seriously proper show-off way, top marks for grown-up princess attitude.
    blow your nose on Mona Lisa
    Playing with my Canon EOS M, I shot a Daddy Long Legs, also known locally as a Jenny Meg or as I like to call them, a Jennifer Margaret.  I've been told they also answer to the name Crane Fly.  Look at Jennifer Margaret's strange wee face.
    Jennifer Margaret
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Once Upon A Time In Anatolia.  That's 10 hours of our lives we'll never get back.  Eh, it's actually 150 minutes long?  Really?  It felt an awful lot longer.  If only Nuri Bilge Ceylan had thought to cut it to a more sensible 90 minutes, which would have made a reasonably good story and perhaps an interesting character study.  Our mistake was to like it just enough to keep watching, imagining that it had to step up a gear any minute now.  If you find yourself in this dilemma, believe me, it doesn't get more exciting.











  My adorable garden and beautiful wall are now adorned with my gorgeous car, the Starry Towers BMW Z4 is home from Winter storage.  I'm very happy here at Starry Towers, just keeps on getting better and better.  The Husband has set about constructing our new gates, see the initial stages on The Starry Towers Blog.
  the wall and cars in drive
    the new Starry Towers wall
    I had Friend C over last night for a girlie time.  We spent a highly enjoyable evening at the table with the patio heater on full blast, wrapped in Slankets with the Citronella oil burning in my table torches and in candle lanterns.  I can bites. 
    back garden furniture
    TV Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  Then we headed in and watched the first episode of my latest TV series must-watch, the beautiful, haunting and intriguing French zombie import, The Returned.
    The Returned















  The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project update report is on The Starry Towers Blog, the workie guys are done.  The finishing touches are down to us.
  Last chance to vote for your choice of name for the new Forth Bridge, voting closes midnight on Friday the 7th.  From the available options I went with Queensferry Crossing.  No matter what its officially called, in conversation I have the Rail Bridge, the Road Bridge and this will be the Pointy Bridge.
  a pointy bridge
    Regarding my health problems, it's not going particularly well.  I've had a needle in a vein, the labs will be scrutinising my red stuff for a long list of factors and sending the results back to my GP.  I started taking the NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) Ibuprofen 400mg three times daily last Friday.  By the time I was at work on medicated-day-6, I was feeling a bit discombobulated, overly tired like I could fall asleep standing, and my eyesight was all wrong.  My vision was extremely blurred, and at one point I was seeing a vent panel on a radiator, effectively white and black stripes, moving all on their own.  I asked a work colleague, can Ibuprofen send you do-wally?  She said no, it's only Brufen.
    But I don't do drugs very well.  Now I recall my Lost Weekend.  Maybe 15 or 20 years ago I had a dry socket after a wisdom tooth extraction the socket got infected.  The dentist told me to feel free to over-dose on Brufen if I felt the need, a dry socket is an unbelievably painful thing.  I spent 48 hrs in bed in a repetitive cycle, pain - Brufen - read book - fall asleep - wake in pain - take Brufen - read book - fall asleep - wake in pain, that's all I did for two days and nights.  I s'pose I must've drank some water too, if only to help with the swallowing of the tablets.
    Even before the heartburn struck me on the evening of day 6, I'd already decided I wouldn't take another Brufen.  The GP had told me if I had stomach or breathing side-effects I should stop.  Confusion, tiredness and visual disturbances had already made my mind up.  I still had pain, though sometimes it was a little less, it wasn't distinctive enough for me to detect a particular pattern though.







  There's the latest Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project update reports on The Starry Towers Blog.
  Sheep News
  Sheep News has the latest The Dad Shetland Sheep results..not his finest moment, but just a blip.  On The Shetland Sheep Blog.
  Who hates the current lay-out inside the Dechmont Dobbies?  I do.  Today I told them..."I came in to get compost, no matter how hard you make it for me to get to the tills, how hard you try to tempt me to buy a scented candle in the maze of luxury decor items, I will NOT be manipulated into buying a glass butterfly wind chime or any other such trinket."  Rant over.
    This Dobbies used to be very open, you could see where you were going & find a more or less direct route to (& back from) that bit.  Now it's all closed off, there's a long walk through a twisty turny maze of shelving to get to where you want to go, in an attempt to keep you in the shop longer, tempting you to linger, and sell you their less-gardeny and the not-at-all-gardeny items.  It's a blatantly obvious piece of attempted customer-manipulation.  The manager guy I spoke to says they're putting it back to the original layout.  They've had many complaints.  Yes, Dobbies is a day out for many browsers, but for some, it's a gardening mission in a hurry, gardeners often have to get in, get the stuff then get back to the garden ASAP.
    I went to talk to my GP because I've got two major health issues troubling me.  I'll start at the bottom and work up.  I'm convinced I have Planters Fasciitis, especially the left foot.  A GP friend has diagnosed me already, unofficially, told me I need a steroid injection.  But another GP friend told me to get insoles and do foot exercises instead.  The Mum says my Uncle B got the steroid injection with fantastic results.  Both my feet are achy all over, but there's a particularly painful knobly bobbly bit in the underside of my left heel.  Standing barefoot on a hard floor, I can feel it move from side to side as I press down.  This isn't the worse pain I have, my legs ache, up the back of my ankles and both my feet.  The GP has prescribed Brufen 400mg three times a day and foot exercises. 
    To the top...the other problem is the menopause.  Many symptoms, physical and mental.  I've been attempting to wait them out since the Total Hysterectomy and Salpingo-oophorectomy of 2011, but the low mood, hot flashes, sweating, panic, mental and physical pains, are just now becoming intolerable.  I gave it a fair shot, I'm a trier if nothing else.  The GP is going to check out the drug options available to me, she's talking Hormone Replacement Therapy and anti-depressants that are used for Menopause symptoms, I've to have extensive blood tests, take the Brufen, do the foot exercises and go back to see her again in three weeks.  For now, I'm thinking I need hormones to replace the ones I lost on the theatre trolley and a steroid injection for my heels.  We'll see.
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Farewell.  Try as they might, they really couldn't make this a very exciting watch.  I only stuck it through to the end because I'm a stubborn movie watcher.














  The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project is going strong on day 4 of The Wall Bit and the monoblocking in the back garden completed, on The Starry Towers Blog.
  Happy Birthday to The Sister-In-law.  Our Sis-In-Law is a runner with auburn bobbed hair, similar to the girl in this very appropriate and funny Moonpig card she opened today.
  The Sis-In-Law's Moonpig birthday card
    Turks in Ankara stage protest with a 'kiss-in', demonstrating against Turkish morality rules opposed to PDAs.  They don't want people kissing in public but they're OK with men holding hands, but not in a homosexual way, that is not OK, they hold hands because they're very very good friends and so they don't get lost, like in primary school.  Well done Kissers of Ankara, keep up the good work mwwahhhh.








  Sheep News
  The Dad goes home with a fistful of rosettes, results of The 2013 Lesmahagow Show on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
  The new wall bit of The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project has begun.  Three days in to the wall bit can be seen on The Starry Towers Blog.
    The Husband has a new toy, a beautiful bright red Jeep.  He done some straight-swap deal for his BMW road bike after experiencing an unnerving shudder of doom over the road bike, his inner-warning-voice alarm had went off and the bike had to go.  I'm well happy bout the swap.
    The Starry Towers Jeep





Seven Psychopaths

  New watches on The Star Swag Blog.  The Mum put me onto this Mum, respect.
  Sheep News
  Sheep News on The Shetland Sheep Blog as The Dad wins more rosettes he's considering getting a bigger prize-winning-rosette display wall.
  Starry Towers News on The Starry Towers Blog as The Starry Towers Double-Up the Drive and Good-Bye Lawn Project begins in earnest.
    Product Of The Week is my new nest boxes.  I've had a few different nest boxes, so I know my nest boxes like a Frenchman knows his onions.  The important stuff about a nest box is that it's solidly made of thick wood for insulation, and is positioned properly avoiding driving rain, over-heating and predators.  For me, the selling point is a raisable lid, I want to be naughty and lift the lid for a wee peek, and some photos, of my chicks.  This can be safely done with stealth and sensitivity to the parent birds ways, ie wait till the babies are hatched and the parents are on a few minutes mini-break, I've done it before, just be careful, sensible and knowledgeable to the ways of the birds.
    I got the Standard Nest Box Reinforced in the 25mm and the 28mm entrance hole sizes.  All options are priced at £16, from  WigglyWigglers.  Wiggly Wigglers is my favourite online shop for bird seed and fresh live mealy worms, with their free next day delivery and frequent discount codes.  Enter TRUFFLE at the checkout for a 10% discount. 
    Wiggly Wigglers Nest Boxes
    The Starry Towers Robin agrees Wriggly Wigglers is fantastic.  Second picture is the Robin using my Canon EOS M with it's Continuous Shooting mode, Robin looks like...who me, I didn't eat a mealy worm, what mealy worm?
    our Robin with Wiggly Wigglers live mealy worms
    what mealy worm?
    The new Starry Towers bed and mattress have arrived and are proving very successful.  Was like a Tetley Tea chimp advert getting the super king mattress up the stairs, we were laughing so much.  This bed is huge, but five or six nights later, we're finding our way around it.  I can sit up in bed (our bedroom is on Starry Towers' first floor) and see people standing at the bus shelter across the street, I can see their feet, not just the top of their heads, or their faces, right down to their feet and beyond, I can see the pavement and a little bit of the road in front of them.  This is a beautiful big and high bed, this is a boudoir bed.
    My favourite Bob Dylan song, perhaps the only Bob Dylan song I really like, is Lay, Lady, Lay.  Lay across my big brass bed, and this is the white metal version.  This is The Sleepynight Solomon Nickel Bed, an extraordinarily sexy bed, thank you The Husband, you've got good taste in beds.  The 10 inch deep mattress is a handmade luxury Emperor mattress from The Bed Butler.  It has 2000 springs, each individually sewn into cotton pockets.  The pockets are then linked together through the centre, allowing them to move independently to those around them, with the result that every part of my body has excellent support and comfort.
    It's upholstered using 500g of pure lambs wool and 1250g of finest cotton.  This covers a layer of teased horse hair with further layers of cotton and 250g of silk giving greatly increased comfort and I'll be kept cool in the summer and warm in the winter.  Soft wool pom-pom tufts hold the mattress pocket springs in place and create a soft smooth and comfortable surface.  What's not to adore?
    lay lady lay...
    In Religious Zealot News drummer Lee Rigby of the 2nd Battalion the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers is hacked to death, disemboweled and beheaded on a London street in broad daylight by two extremely religious and zealous men.  Take the power of supreme divine devotion, multiply it by infinite psychosis, then hike it up some, about that amount of terrible religiosity.  And for "religious" read "mad bastards".  Of course this is not anywhere near to being all Muslims, but it is a minority of dangerous ones in our midst.  How can a war be won with the enemy within?  The leaders of the UK Islamic community could help substantially, if they were to call on Muslims to shelve the doctrine of armed jihad against the "kuffar" (non-Muslims), this really is a thing, and some Muslims really do act on it. This article by Tarek Fatah, a Muslim writer, explains the problem brilliantly...UK Beheading Shows It's Time To Fight Doctrine of Jihad.
    This article by Farzana Hassan in the Toronto Sun makes interesting reading too.  Gruesome Sharia Murder in London, the pervasive misogyny and segregation of women, the pursuit of jihad, the insistence on prayer halls in public spaces are all part of sharia in action.
    Is it wrong to open & destroy your 19 year old son's mail when you know its offers of "financial advice" ie loans/credit?  You know what it is because when you accidently hold the envelope near a very strong light bulb, this can cause x-ray vision.  Not saying I have, just wondering..asking for a friend...a friend who also has a 19 year old son.  I reckon x-ray vision must be used to thwart the Satanic intentions of the evil financial institutions, it's the super power law.
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Seven Psychopaths.  Great movie, great soundtrack.  This is a spoiler-free zone.





  Product Of The Week is the Classic 160GB iPod.  Mine stopped working a couple days ago, no shame, it's had a lot of hard use for many years.  It's played all night many many many times as I fell asleep listening to podcasts and audiobooks.  It's been dropped a load of times, onto hard surfaces and into dirt in the garden.  It's been recharged thousands of times, sometimes for just a few desperately grabbed minutes because it was needed immediately.  The 160GB is my thing, I like to have my entire music, audiobook and podcast collection with me at all times, you never know when you'll need a particular audio or video file.
    Also, I need Klondyke, the patience/solitaire type card game.  This is the only game I want to play on a gadget.  When my original iPod broke down The Husband gave me his 30GB Classic because he's went all iPod Touch and doesn't use his Classic anymore.  But the 30GB doesn't have Klondyke, it has Solitaire and it's rubbish, no scoring, no returning to the previous unfinished game, and the click wheel isn't as responsive.  My right hand thumb already has a Klondyke-derived arthritic-click without having to put extra pressure on it.
    This iPod will be gone soon, rumour has it Apple is phasing the Classic out in favour of all this touchscreen nonsense.  I like the click wheel, lets just call it retro and I'll get away with this.  I'll be protecting this one with leather case and screen and wheel skins.
    iPod Classic 160GB
    In Sheep News, more sheep are mauled to death by a dog or dogs in West Lothian.  This is outrageous and frightening.  First on Sunday 14th April nine lambs were killed and 6 injured locally in a field at Bathgate's Pyramid Business Park.  Then on Friday April 19th, 25 lambs and several ewes were killed in a field next to Blackfaulds Farm in Avonbridge.  The locations are marked on this map, too close to home.  Owner of the dog/s doing this please have your dangerous dog/s put to sleep, sheep now, children next?  Police are making enquiries.
    sheep killed by dog/s in West Lothian
    TV Box Set Watch (No Spoilers).  While we await the return of The Following and/or Homeland, I'm watching Hannibal starring Hugh Dancy, Mads Mikkelsen and Laurence Fishburne.  A prequel to the Hannibal Lecter books by Thomas Harris, I'm hooked already after just one episode.  There's also the promise of an appearance of Eddie Izzard to look forward to.  Tuesdays, 10pm, SKY Living HD.














  Starry Towers  32 : 0  Mice.
  Happy Birthday to The Husband (last week).  The Husband got Moonpigged, simple card (no photo-personalisation) with meaningful pre-ordained text (cos I usually have  a long list for him to do on his return from Norway work) but the best bit is the very very very very very muchly much personalised bit, cos that's so us, see below.
  The Husband birthday card 2013
    The Husband came home from Norway and all was lovely, I had organised and purchased for his birthday well ahead of time.  Way far back last year when the Eddie Izzard Force Majeure world tour was first announced I was right in there.  I bought tickets to Eddie and booked the Aberdeen Holiday Inn Exhibition Centre hotel.  I told everyone I sorted The Husband's birthday pressie.
    Turns out I suffer from False Memory Syndrome.  And why not...I am so of the FMS age.  Recovered Memory Therapy could sort out anything I care to explain off and excuse with a few trips to a so-called psychologist slash councilor.  Apparently The Husband bought the Eddie Izzard tickets.  Really?  Really, I was working on the ticket release day therefore The Husband sat for hours on the www waiting for their release to get us great seats, it's all coming back to me now.  But I definitely booked the hotel.  What can I say, it's a Syndrome, a disease, and it really is the thought that counts, and I definitely thought I bought the tickets.
    I had no paperwork to prove I'd booked a hotel room, it was so long ago, I'd sorted it as soon as the hotel made it possible to, at least 6 months ago I think.  Email confirmation long since deleted me thinks.  When we parked in the car park I told The Husband, it's either this one or maybe the Express version next door, but I think this one, lets just rock up to the desk, all will be well.  And it was, we rocked up, the reception man, he say "yes".  The Husband even congratulated me on my expert organisation skills.
    Force Majeure
    Eddie Izzard was fabulous and wonderful, if you haven't been wise enough to get in there and have someone else purchase your tickets already, you'll be waiting for the DVD release in November.  Meanwhile, next morning in Aberdeen, The Husband tried to pay for the hotel room, but it had already been paid on my credit card.  He'd seen the price list on the Aberdeen Holiday Inn Exhibition Centre reception wall.  He was trying to protect me from a vast hotel bill.  I paid only £45 by booking early.  It got even better after breakfast...the £12 a head breakfast was included in the pre-book price per room.  That's a double room plus x2 breakfasts in Aberdeen for £45 in total.  Proud to pay for it.  Happy Birthday The Husband.
    Holiday Inn
    The Husband and I did Eddie at Aberdeen with Friend M and her husband.  There was a moment when the husbands did some funky head massage thing back in the room, 'nuff said.  We also did room service, very tasty food but seriously bad marks on the mattress, I woke next morning in a lot of all-over crippling boney/joint pain.
    The Husbands
    We took the coastal route back down the road to Starry Towers.  He'd previously asked me what Dundee is famous for, erm...cake, marmalade, jute and comics, Desperate Dan and Denis The Menace.  Driving through Arbroath The Husband asked me if Arbroath was famous for anything.  Of course it is, it's famous for the thing, after a lot of "you know, the thing", "the thing they signed", "the famous historical thing", I came up with it just as we spotted this statue.  There it is...The Thing.  The Declaration Of Arbroath.  I couldn't recall if it's signed by William Wallace and/or Robert The Bruce, I choose to believe that William Wallace and/or Robert The Bruce were involved in every century of Scottish history this is the stuff that makes me go all...freedom.  "As long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours, that we are fighting, but for freedom - for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself".  See, this is why we shouldn't be under English rule, the lure of freedom and honouring these brave men's promise is still strong.  Decision time growing closer, I might need to see Scottish freedom in my lifetime.
    Declaration of Arbroath statue
    Jon Ronson tweeted me a reply, this has got to be my most #famoustweet.  I'm loving his audiobooks & podcasts, his voice conveys his best qualities and his anxieties, and has become like the voice of a close friend to me, it inspires trust and confidence.  Listening to his stories of his investigations, interviews and travels I've developed a one-way rapport with Jon Ronson.  I'm currently listening to Lost At Sea.  I tweeted Mr Ronson about the NLP (Neuro Lingustic Programming) chapter.  It's like hypnosis, and I don't credit that with anything other than entertainment and easily-influenced sheeple, showmanship and smarmy salesmen.  It seems too cheerleader, mass hysteria manipulation shite to me.  Developed in part by Richard Bandler, a psychologist and multi-self-help book writing guru with a murky past, a self-confessed drug abuser (cocaine) charged with the murder of a female prostitute called Corine Christensen in 1986, he paired up with Paul McKenna on his NLP conferences.  It's all very creepy and makes me feel uncomfortable.  Hence I was surprised and disappointed when at the very end of the NLP story chapter Mr Ronson tells us one of the techniques taught by these cult-leader types, Swishing, cured him of one of his biggest fears.  Hmmm.
    show conversation
    Lost At Sea
    I'm up to six Ben Gleib Last Week On Earth podcast mentions.  My sixth Mention Episode is #77 May 1st 2013 - question..."What's a secret from your past? Big or small. Told it before or shared with no one until now".  #TwitterAnswers #LastWeekOnEarth.  If you want to hear my big secret you'll have to listen to episode #77 Of Last Week On Earth.  
    BBC TV ad explains Ceefax means "see facts" I feel strange & a bit dim, how did I not realise that?  This is an IEM (Idiotic Eureka Moment) as per Frank Skinner's podcast, that link is also in The Lobby.
    The Frog is definitely dead, he's buried in the back garden, so he better be dead.  I dug a grave/plant hole and planted a rose to mark the spot.  I've moved all the big plants I want to save from the bit front garden I'm loosing over the new monoblock project to the back garden I gain from the new monoblock project.  It all seems to be going extraordinary well so far, apart from the sore aches and pains bits from all the heavy digging and humping and bumping.  First photo shows the destruction at the front garden, the second, the new back garden bit with recently transplanted perennials and bulbs.  Third photo is an old glass bottle top, the only Starry Towers Time Team dig result.
    front garden being stipped of all good plants making ready for the extended monoblocking
    new bit of back garden
    glass bottle top





Wild Bill

  Retired-Queen Beatrix looks so sweet and lovely, she looks like a real person, like she has emotions and that she raised her boy right.  It's obvious the new King of the Netherlands is both trusted and loved by his Mum.  Meanwhile back at Buck Palace, we're stuck with her-very-old, dour-faced and non-retiring maj, Queen Frosty Pants and her unloved untrusted slightly-warped weirdo embarrassment of a son that is 64yr old not-king Charles.
  Maybe if the UK had normal human beings as royals, same as Holland, I might not be forced to be so anti-royal.  Maybe if Chuck hadn't married and blatantly used an heir-making machine the establishment had specially raised for the job, while continuing to hanker after his married woman girlfriend, and hadn't mentioned Tampax while phone-sexing with his married mistress, and if he'd refrained from telling that he talks to trees, and if he wasn't quite so in-bred looking, and if my Scottishness didn't rule out the very idea of an English royal family la-dee-da-ing it over me...perhaps I'd feel more warm, fuzzy and royal loyal, perhaps but probably not.
    Happy combined Queen's, Abdication and Coronation Day to my friends in the Netherlands.  An Princess Anne still alive? 
    Anthropologist, author and terrorism expert Scott Atran makes the most sense I've ever heard/read about the problem the world is facing with terrorism today, you have to listen to this Point Of Inquiry podcast, hosted by Chris Mooney. When that bad guy in Norway shot loads of young people and exploded a bomb in Oslo The Husband told me, it's the way in Norway, they won't over-react publicly, the barest of facts were delivered with no OTT shock horror headlines and long drawn out media exploitation of events. Norway was very quietly dignified, America, the UK and others could learn a lot from Norway. Scott Atran explains why "publicity is the oxygen of terrorism" in What Makes A Terrorist.
    Point Of Inquiry podcast with Scott Atran
    Things are moving along with the next big job at Starry Towers, the additional monoblocking by EcossLandscaping.
    For two very good reasons we're having more of the monoblock.  The first reason is that The Husband has two cars, one is really his car (because it's a car, it's top of the range functional, apparently does well in all things extreme terrain and weather conditions), and the other is really mine..even though I don't drive (because it's so cool, beautiful, iconic and special).  Anyway now is not the time to talk of my gorgeous car, the thing is The Husband has a desire to increase The Starry Towers estate driveway from a single to a double.  When he first suggested this, which will involve me losing a large bit of my front garden, I cunningly struck a deal. 
    With a slight hint at reluctance, but without umbrage, I looked concerned but didn't miss a beat, alright I agreed I could give up a bit of my precious and much admired front garden, with the caveat that The Husband had to meet me half-way and make the grass out back of the estate, just go away.  You see, in this, the 50th year of my life, I've reached tipping point on lawn maintenance.  There's only so much trimming lawn edges with scissors that one OCD woman can do, and life really is getting too short to mow a lawn ever again.  I never will.  No more will I feed/weed and moss-kill, no more will I heave the hover-mower from the shed, never again will I sow seed on bare bits, and never ever again will I care if the edges aren't tidy.  I'm released from lawn tyranny.
    Last week I finished with the digging over of lawn.  I haven't had to dig over the entire lawn, some of it's going under monoblock, but the bit that will be garden, I wanted to dig it over personally, to give it the benefits of the turned and buried grass as a natural fertiliser, as per The Dad's gardening advice.  He better be right, cos it was a backbreaking effort over several days and many hours.  I finished the job last Friday, on the 26th April.  I took the first photo just after I finished, I went back in the house to put the Canon EOS M in a safe place, right then things outdoors changed, a lot.  The natural light in the house darkened, and a loud noise was heard, then a fierce rattling sound.  Only minutes later, I went back out to take the second photo.  The gloriously sunny day had turned to a hailstone storm with thunder and lightening.  Scotland really is the country of know I'm singing.
    no hailstones
    The Frog is officially pronounced dead, I'm confident bout it for sure now, it hasn't moved for over one week and though it looks surprisingly similar to when I first set eyes on it, I can detect a change in it's plumpness and general demeanor.  I'm so certain that I'm going to bury it now without fear of cruel and unusual buried-alive nightmares...or maybe another week...just incase.
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  I watched Wild Bill.  It's alright and The Husband would hate it...too many chavs.










  Starry Towers  1 : 0  Frogs.  A hollow and unwanted victory.  I'm pretty sure the frog I saved is dead.  I've been checking regularly and it's still there, but now with slugs on.  You'll be pleased to hear I'm saving you from the photographic evidence.  What would have normally constituted dinner for Frog, are now on Frog, which has to be a massive slap in the face to him/her.  The Frog Incident has been sad and disgusting in equal measure.  I'm very fond of frogs and the part they play in nature.  I did what I thought was best, to move Frog to the garden amongst the plants, wet soil and it's been raining, but he did look a bit crispy on the edges.  Maybe I should have found him a pond, it's all very distressing.  I'm hoping this is an old age thing after a long and productive life with many enjoyable froggy times and not some horrible crippling degenerative disease for which treatment could be sought, and me not soughting it makes me negligent and responsible for the death of Frog.
    I'm currently engrossed in listening to the Jon Ronson BBC Radio 4 podcasts from a few years ago, available from his website, click on the pic below to find the archive.  I found Ronson via several references in other loved podcasts and the audiobook website I buy my audiobooks.  Having enjoyed The Psychopath Test in audiobook, and the goat movie, though I did watch The Men Who Stare At Goats, on a transatlantic flight so didn't give it the attention it surely deserves.  These podcasts are amazing, listen and think, they are atmospheric and thought-provoking with a dreamy late night vibe.
    Jon Ronson podcasts
    In Religious Zealot News this week two midwives have their right to appeal to not to be involved in abortion-related services upheld.  This is ongoing with a final set-in-legal-stone decision yet to be made.  Judges in Edinburgh ruled that Mary Doogan and Concepta Wood, who worked as labour ward coordinators in Glasgow, had a legal right to consciously object to helping with abortions in any way.  Coordinators, not even hands-on nursing.  How very dare they.  Nurses can not judge those who they are paid to care for in the employment of the National Health Service.  This is so wrong, who's next?  Nurses who morally object to paedophilia, rape and murder (ie most of us) do they refuse to nurse those who commit those crimes?  I morally object to Catholicism, badger baiting, drug dealing, obesity, bull-fighting, eating sheep and double denim on anyone who isn't a working cowboy, to mention but a random few of my moral objections.  Where's my human rights on these issues?
    If the catering staff are conscientious objectors, the receptionist, the domestics, the laundry staff, the porters, the surgeon, does a patient arrive at the hospital to be shunned and ignored by all.  If she is fortunate enough to be admitted, does she go hungry in a dirty corner of the ward with no bedding?  No-one turns up to take her to theatre, she makes her own way, no-one performs the operation, she wanders back to the ward, discharges herself and goes home pregnant, see how this just isn't going to work.  Employment is horses for courses and nurses have to nurse non-judgmentally as coordinators must coordinate without prejudice, or maybe go do some other job that doesn't include something you stick your nose up at.
    Product Of The Week is the Retractable Permanent Marker Sharpie.  I got mine at CultPens.  This is such an improvement on the already brilliant original and iconic marker. The Sharpie RT permanent marker contains quick-drying water-resistant ink that permanently marks most surfaces including glass, metal, photos, foil and most plastics. Resilient tip resists abrasion; tough polypropylene barrel stands up to almost anything; clip indicates ink colour; approx. 1mm line width; safety-seal system prevents ink drying out; no cap to lose.  Aaaahhh, no cap to lose and no ink on your fingers when you're replacing the cap and miss a bit.  Also, and this makes the Sharpie marker perfect, the sound of the click on/off is resoundingly exactly how it should, like a sound effect pen click for a radio play, wonderful.  Available in black, blue, red and green, £1.80 each.
    retractable Sharpie























  Starry Towers  31 : 0  Mice. 
  I'm on a mouse-serial-killer roll again.  Peanut butter is defo the way to go bait-wise, I've tried cheese and chocolate in the past, I'm speaking from experience.
  Sheep News
  There's more Shetland Sheep story and photos on The Shetland Sheep Gallery, with The Dad's lambing finished for this year we have five boys and two girls.
  Out on the estate yesterday evening I met a frog looking a bit worse for wear.  I don't see frogs on the Starry Towers estate very often, maybe twice before, so I was surprised and horrified at this one looking frazzled, dry, crispy on the extremities and near-dead on the monoblock out front.
  I gently poked it with a stick, it slowly opened an eye then closed it again, not even trying to survive.  This frog is surely doomed, a horrible frog-death situation.  I reckoned froggy would stand a better chance out back of Starry Towers.  If I left it where I found it, it was in danger of being stood on.  I had a terrible time coming up with how I could move it without having to touch or feel it.  It's a pudding of a frog, a chunky, fleshy, weighty puddock of a frog. I put on a pair of heavy-duty gardening gloves, then stuck my gloved-hands in a plastic carrier bag, so even the gloves wouldn't actually make contact.  Still, I didn't like it.  I moved the frog round to the back garden.  This upheaval resulted in a second languid eye-open.  I placed the frog in amongst plants and waited to see it come to life and be active.  Sadly, nothing so positive happened.  This morning it's still there and the worm hanging out the side of it's mouth in this picture is making it's escape. it's all very horrible.  Please get well soon frog.
    Here's something I wasn't expecting. It's blue bin (paper) day, but what with the storms last night, bins blown over and giant litter confetti racing along Main Street I decided I'd put the bin out front but not on the street, not on the kerbside and not with the handles facing the road.  Instead, I'd set my alarm & get up dead early in time to put the bin on the kerbside, handles facing blah blah blah (as per the council's strict instructions).  They got here too early for me, I heard the truck at 0745, looked out the bedroom window...amazing...a West Lothian bin-man was collecting the bin from the wrong end of the drive...not on the kerbside, not handles facing etc etc.  He looked round and up at the window...we waved...we shared a rare moment of recycling happiness.  He because he was going out of his way to be a great bin-man, me because my OCD appreciated his sterling work.
    So impressed was I that I've written a letter, yes, a paper and pen, envelope and stamp letter, I walked to the Sunny D shop/PO and posted it in an actual post box.
    Product Of The Week is the OHTO Smile Slide Clip from CultPens.  I love stationary and I love the cool stylish version of cute.  £3 for a pack of 10 or 40p each.  I was previously gifted a free yellow one from Cult Pens, the advertising campaign worked...I bought the vivid blue.
    vivid blue OHTO Smile Slide Clips
    The lady who knitted my blonde (me) and red-head (Friend C) nurses has knitted me a big batch of personalised nurses for my nursing team, two blondes, a silvery blonde and three browns of varying shades.  These will be a surprise pressie, wrapped in tissue paper and itsy little star stickers.  The finishing touch is the woven labels I had made with the words "STAR NURSE love Marilyn x" to sew on each nurse.
    all 8 of The Starry Towers knitted nurses
    STAR NURSE woven label
    Star Nurse label front
    Star Nurse label back
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Jackpot.  A Magnus Martens film based on a story by our favourite Norwegian writer, Jo Nesbø.  This is a caper and a half, an unexpectedly delightful movie delivering laughs and evil twisted psychopath in equal measures.




  I've been applying my arty skills to the Starry Towers vestibule.  I hung our Hitched In Vegas number-plate, framed my Pulp signed photograph and one of my drawings and for the rest I home-made some text art.  The Eddie Izzard one took for ages but I'm particularly pleased with it, made with an Office Word .doc.
    the Starry Towers vestibule artwork
    Starry Towers signed PULP photo
    Starry Towers Eddie Izzard text art
    Starry Towers Walken pic
    normal family art
    Starry Towers star art
    Product Of The Week is Command Picture Hanging Strips.  I went with the value packs, with 4 pairs of small and 8 pairs of medium Interlocking Picture Hanging Strips.  These Picture Hanging Strips are a light-bulb-moment brilliant idea.  I was already aware of the value of Velcro for hanging things on walls, as The Husband had recently used industrial strength adhesive Velcro to put a new floating mirror on the Starry Towers downstairs loo/shower room wall after I re-grouted and suffered mirror hanging problems when I attempted to screw a new one to the broke as I turned the screw.
    These strips are simple to apply, and make it easy-peasy to get picture frames straight and with the exact distance you want between close-hanging frames.  I love this Product Of The Week.  I haven't had to yet, but they also promise that if you choose to remove a frame from the can do so without damaging the wall surface.  WOW!  Just...WOW!
    Command Picture Hanging Strips
    My 5th shout-out from Ben Gleib in his Last Week On Earth podcast.  My 5th!  Third time was Lifelong #BrainTrust, fifth probably means I'm invited for Thanks Giving dinner.  My previous four Mention Episodes can be read on my Blog on 20/12/2012.
    My fifth Mention Episode is #74 April 10th 2013 - question...what's the best and/or worst comment u ever got on ur looks?
    Last night I was listening to Last Week On Earth episode 74 and heard this..."Marilyn, @StarryTowers, our friend from Scotland said, 'got told I looked like Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction, but with a blonde wig instead of black..was chuffed to bits'.  Chuffed to bits, famous like British phrase, ridiculous sounding, but glad people think you look like that and from your profile picture I kinda agree."
    "Friend from Scotland", I am so welcome at his Mum & Dad's house, they haven't actually said that, but it's what they mean.  One of my favourite podcasts, link here at the picture below and in The Lobby #TwitterAnswers #LastWeekOnEarth.
    Last Week On Earth podcast
    The Husband has addressed the sexism of the Halliburton memory stick situation.  Previously the Halliburton memory stick was male, now there's a female too.  Halliburton memory sticks are super cute with their little Halliburton cover-alls and hard hats and movable joints allowing for positioning the memory stick in various positions including the stuck in the laptop USB position..
    Halliburton memory sticks
    Star Snippet...Thatcher died on Monday 8th April, she was 87, goodbye.  I take no joy and think it's infantile to be celebrating this old woman's death, she was after all, someone's mother, aye, Carol and Mark Thatcher, best we don't dwell on that legacy either.  I took my pleasure on the 28th November 1990, the day this photo was all over the newspapers, when she was voted out of power and was seen crying on her way away from 10 Downing Street.  This image was on my kitchen notice board for a long long time, till it was discoloured, faded and crispy.
    It had struck me how strange to see her showing emotion, she didn't show any for people she did down financially with the Poll Tax, or sending them to fight a war in The Falkland Isles, or closing down shipyards, steelworks and coal mines, only for herself.  She didn't seem to care what damage she was doing to individuals who suffered at her policies.  In this picture she looks like any old woman I'd instinctively want to care, to comfort, wipe her tears and ease her distress.  Yet she was wicked to my people, I got over my compassion and reverted to the Maggie Maggie Maggie Out Out Out stance, often gloating at this picture.  But not now, she's dead, having suffered the prolonged slow loss of her mental faculties from Dementia for more than a decade.  That was her what-goes-around-comes-around.  I wonder if she was a sociopath.
    Now we have to give her, paid for with our tax-payers money, an expensive funeral sendoff, she's been dominating loads of media headlines and TV, and the English Parliament got called back from holiday.  I'm disappointed to learn that Jeremy Clarkson is attending the tax-payers funeral, on the grounds that...she was a huge Top gear fan and favourite car a Mercedes SLS.
    out she goes with tears in her eyes
    I'm a massive Top Gear fan, I watch every episode, record it for The Husband, have read Clarkson's books and have my house keys on a Stig Lego Keychain.  My dream threesome (I only know this because someone asked me, and when I thought of it I found it to be this) (obviously), Clarkson (this surprises people) and my favourite journalist-wit-writer-commentator-food&TV-critic type person, A A Gill (my work colleagues don't know who I'm talking about).  My favourite car is a BMW Z4 M Series.
    When Clerkson said he'd take the nurses outside and shoot them in front of their families for threatening to strike, I saw the funny side, even though I am a nurse, and have a family, but hmmm...the Thatcher funeral.  I'm currently "off" Clerkson and he's messed up the dynamics of my dream threesome, not sure who else would work well with Adrian.





False Trail (Jägarna 2)


The Imposter


End Of Watch




The Lookout

















  The Shetland Sheep Gallery has been updated with the first of the 2013 Ivydene lambs.
  I'm loving playing with my new Canon EOS M, just achieving that blurred background effect tickles me aplenty.  I took loads of photos of the four lambs we have so far, I really like this one of Rench Iolanthe's tiny babies.  I'm looking for an appropriate photo competition to enter.
  Iolanthe's twins
  The Starry Towers hanging baskets are up.  I had planned to do what I usually do every year, which is plant up my hanging baskets myself.  I usually do pansies in shades of blue, purple, lilac.  But last year my hanging baskets went in the bin because after years of use they'd got old and were falling apart.  The Husband and I set out to buy new baskets, compost and baby pansy plants today, but at the Sunny D branch of Dobbies they were selling made-up baskets with purple/blue violas at 2 for £16.  At £8 a basket I don't think I could make my own for less.  Ten minutes later there's 6 hanging baskets in the Starry Towers estate and I didn't even have to toil and freeze outside for an hour or so.  Check out the blurry background and high intensity focus point on this pic.
  Starry Towers hanging baskets 2013
  The Friend C gave me a wee pressie, this Darwin Fish Badge.  How cute and meaningful is this?  I made my own desktop graphic, to remind me of crazy religious people and how I have to stay strong on my personal Anti-Bullshit Campaign.  Click on the image below to see my very tidy desktop.
  Darwin Fish badge
  The Husband came back after his week at Circuit du Val de Vienne at Le Vigeant.  See the photographs on The Bike Gallery.
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched False Trail (Jägarna 2).  A Swedish murder thriller.  Great movie, you'll be hunting on a false trail for a long while and it'll keep you wondering, till the last bit, is it him? or him? or her?
  I watched The Imposter.  The Husband tried to watch it but soon believed it to be so much shite that we stopped and watched another movie, then I had to go back and finish it on my own at a later date.  This 2012 British documentary film tells the story of the 1997 case of the French confidence man Frédéric Bourdin, who impersonated blue-eyed blonde-haired Texas teenager Nicholas Barclay, who had disappeared at the age of 13 in 1994.  It is just ridiculous that brown-eyed dark haired pathological liar and serial child-imposter Frédéric Bourdin could be believed to be the American boy.  It's not all that interesting to be honest.
    The Husband and I watched End Of Watch.  It took some time to get easy with the jumpy around camera technique, but once it grows on you, it really takes firm hold and flourishes. 
    The Husband and I watched Ondine.  I wasn't sure about this one, attracted only by the presence of Colin Farrell, the storyline, caught up with possible fairy tales and mysterious creatures, didn't naturally appeal to me.  But I was most satisfied with the ending, it's a great little movie.
    The Husband and I watched Lookout.  A brain damaged young man caught in a massive mess, it's a highly entertaining and well made gem of a movie.














  There's a two in one frock on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers  28 : 0  Mice
  Dammit, that's the last of the available Harry Hole audiobooks.  I finished Book 9, the final Harry Hole book today.  Jo Nesbø's Phantom is a cracking good read/listen.  I gorged, spoiling myself, I listened to the audiobook version over the space of two days.  I wasn't expecting allthe twists and now, I'm devastated.  I'm terribly upset, I didn't, but if I were just a tiny bit more hormonal today, I'd have cried.  I'd got to know Harry Hole, I'd formed an attachment, a reader-detective relationship,  Missing him already.  I'm not 100% certain but I reckon the phrase "starry sky" is in every one of the Harry Hole books.  I'll have to listen to them all again to check for sure, but meantime I listened to The Psychopath Test by Jon Ronson.
  The Psychopath Test
    Jo Nesbo The Redeemer
    The Boy has his first DJ gig under his belt, see the poster below.
    The Boy does DJ
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  I watched Sightseers.  It's all right, it just wasn't as hilarious as reviews would have had me believe.  Fact that the female lead reminds me of a work colleague bemused me.








  My Klear Klutch has been styled by me, see my choices on The Star Swag Blog.
  Klear Klutch Starry Towers label







Killer Joe






  Over to The Star Swag Blog for the Klear Klutch.
  My favourite pen store Cultpens has a discount code for 10% off and as always there's free delivery over £10.  They're celebrating the 10,000 Trust Pilot reviews milestone and sharing the pen love.  Enter TRUSTPILOT10 at the checkout.   I treated myself to a couple more Zebra SL-F1 Mini Expandz Ballpoint Pens, one black and one white, £4.90 each and a Zebra Expandz Stripe Ballpoint Pen in white, also £4.90.  I took advantage of a little bargain, one per customer, a Faber-Castell Grip Marker Highlighter in pink, for 10 of my Scottish pennies.  Currently still available in yellow too.
  latest Cult Pens
  The Husband is off on his annual pilgrimage to his beloved place of worship, Circuit du Val de Vienne at Le Vigeant in France.  It's a motorbike thing he's been going to every year since he was about 3 years old.  He spends a week on motorbikes, going round and round, and round, and round.  This year, as always, he's joined by his old oil field pal Izzy, and first time VDV-ers, Twister Hastings and his dad Tony.  Tim Twister Hastings is a young man from Falkirk with his eye on the motorbiking big-time. 
    The Husband, Twister & Tony setting off for VDV
    Circuit du Val de Vienne
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Argo.  A well-good movie but it's not a great movie.  The Husband liked it a bit more than it deserved because he's worked in Iran, for an oil company, just a few years after the Iran Hostage Crises depicted in Argo.  He's been in places shown in the film, like the American Embassy building and the Azadi Monument.  The Husband has good memories of his time in Iran and the people he met there, so much so that he harbours a dream of sharing the experience with me, my response to that idea...Argo fuck yourself.  The Husband knows really, I'd only go and get myself in trouble, arrested, sentenced to 100 lashes in public or stoned to death.  As a woman and an atheist I couldn't tolerate, even for two weeks, even half the shite women have to in Iran.  I like to show a bit of leg in hot weather..even that would be a problem, the hot flashes of the menopause would be intolerable, and imagine how seriously badly I'd deal with the many other aspects of the sexist Iranian religious law.  No way would I put on that ridiculous head scarfy thing.  It's a no-go, I don't think I'd like Iran that very much and I suspect, Iran would hate me.
    I watched Killer Joe, intoxicatingly and excruciatingly ugly and brutal with fine performances from all.  Felt like I had to brush my teeth afterwards.  KFC will never, ever, be the same again.






  Lacey Pep-Hem on  The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers  27 : 0  Mice
  Well, well, well, we meet again, my little vermin adversaries.  I was starting to think they'd all moved away from the Sunny D area.  It's been a while since one of the little vermin poked it's nose into the peanut butter traps on The Starry Towers estate, 30th November last year to be exact.  Seems mice aren't very active outdoors during the deepest Winter.
    I've been to the 40th Anniversary Tour of The Rocky Horror Picture Show at The Edinburgh Playhouse with Friend C.  Fabulously entertaining while simultaneously cozily familiar.  I loved this so much I could've happily pressed rewind and watched it all over again immediately after the final curtain.  And we did The Time Warp...again.  Despite being in the middle two seats on the front row of the balcony, I shudder at the risks we took, carried away on a wave of Rocky Horror ecstasy.  It's so steep up there, I wasn't ashamed to remove my stiletto heels and provide an arm for Friend C to hold tight to as we gingerly found our way down to our seats...twice...cos we went to the loo and bar in the break.
    Happy Anniversay Rocky Horror
    Back in the day when a nurse called off sick, the thing to do was phone the nurse manager, it was their responsibility to ensure the wards were fully staffed.  Nowadays the nurse in charge has to find the staff, entering bank requests on the system and phoning everyone you can think of.  Anyways, back in the good old days, a nurse manager or two would always respond with the words...what do you want me to do?  knit a nurse?
    I've got a couple of special nurses.  Knitted ones made specially for me and Friend C.  Hand knitted 11" Jean Greenhowe dolls made for me by a lovely lady I found on the eBay.  I've been thinking a lot recently about retiring from work, day-dreaming about being a part-time Tesco checkout girl.  I don't fully understand how this happened, but I'm only 3 years away from obtaining 30 years, which equals 40 years in pension years, as a registered psychiatric nurse.  It's 30 years ago in September this year that I started my 3 years nursing course.  I do recall The Dad telling me, you go be a mental health nurse girl, great pensions and you can retire early.  Of course I couldn't even conceive of the idea I'd ever be old enough to be picking up a pension, but I'm glad I listened to him now.  I have what's called Mental Health Officer status.  I can retire at age 55 with my work pension.  To carry on in the same fulltime nursing post after that age would be like working for nothing.  Better to retire and take up a less stressful, less their-life-in-my-hands and high-responsibility part-time job, working less hours, less money, but added to the pension, still earn the same or thereabouts.  Then ten years later really retire and pick up the state pension too.  Sounds like a plan.  Back in the day, the extremely trying nature and high risk of burn-out in our line of work, was recognised and compensated.  Not no more it doesn't, the powers-that-be dropped it for people starting after a certain date in the '90s.  These lovely knitted nurses are the ones the Nurse Manager would've provided back in the day...if only it were that easy to staff the wards.
    Friend C and me
    Mr Muscle #3 happened this week.  More deep tissue massage and really painful calf work, even I of the high pain threshold and usual occasional quiet "oh god", was making a bit of noise.  It'll be worth it.





The Hunter


  Product Of The Week is the 14 in 1 Black Collage Picture Frames from Red Candy.  Each Collage Frame holds 14 photographs of 6 x 4 inch size.  Overall size is : length 118.5cm x width 36cm x depth 1.2cm.  Choose your photos, then have fun deciding which one goes where.  The frames can be hung horizontally or vertically, which is excellent for what I had in mind.  One will be horizontal in the front ground floor hall, the other vertical on the small piece of wall in the back ground floor hall, it's just wide enough for the frame to sit comfortably.  Red Candy have these and many other choices of collage frames, in different colour options and designs.  This one was £79, down to £75 in the sale.  In my experience, visit Red Candy and sign up for their newsletter, then wait till they send you an email offering a 5% discount.  With the discount my frames were £69.50 each.  The parcel arrives with a little packet of red candy jelly hearts.  Red candy from Red Candy, see what they did there, it's a cute touch.  Click on the Red Candy logo to see my red hearts candy..The Boy and me shared them, he was in charge of opening and dishing out, I got three.  Not sure, but I suspect The Boy got 4.  Tasted like Cherry Lips.
    red candy from Red Candy
    Red Candy Collage Frame
    Red Candy picture frame
    I've been accused of favouring me in the photo choice.  Who moi?  The 28 photographs I picked are up there, primarily, because they are good pictures.  My main criteria was each individual photograph and the overall multi-frame collage had to be aesthetically pleasing, a close second was relevance, to us here at Starry Towers.  Colour scheme featured, obviously, hence the vertical frame has muted shades of black, grey, white, blues, the greens and yellows of autumnal foliage and dry desert earth tones.  Stronger brown, green and reds were a feature in the second, the vertical.
    Sports Massage Update...Lee McGrorty is a god, the god of all things muscle.  Link in The Lobby.  We here at Starry Towers refer to him as Mr Muscle.  I've been for my second session.  I had approximately one week with no Achilles pain from the Tendonitis down there after my first session.  I had mornings of rising from bed, putting feet to floor, then being able to walk down stairs, walk pain-free, not hobble in agony.  After that first week the benefits of the first session wore off and the ankle pain was back.  At session #2 Lee worked on my neck, shoulders, back, calf muscles and them tendons.  He also pulled my toes till they clicked, which stirred some sort of memories I can't quite place.
    damage done to lower legs by high heels
    The photoshopped picture above is gross, granted, but it also points out an exaggerated version of how come I've got sore feet and lower legs.  All my adult life I've spent regular and lengthy periods in high heels.  But this Winter I've practically lived in UGGs and hardly ever put on a heel of even slight elevation.  My life-time of shortened Achilles tendons and contracted calf muscles have felt the pain of enduring a long period of re-lengthening, trying to get back to normal length.
    where I went wrong
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Hunter.  Initially I was a tad disappointed when the storyline became evident, but I found it engrossing as it went along, helped by William Defoe and the rest of the cast, the acting was first class.








  Product Of The Week is my new hangers.  In my big Wardrobe Clear Out I turned to Hangerworld when I realised I'd inadvertently collected a few too many crappy free-with-clothing-bought-from-a-shop hangers compared to my mostly stylish hangers.  To rectify the problem and get back on hanger track, with a uniformity and an aesthetically pleasing vibe as properly befits a Starry Towers walk-in-wardrobe, I got these black plastic hangers from HangerWorld on their Amazon shop.  Box of 15 for £7.50.  Excellent, I'm very happy with these coat hangers.  Strong and slim (some hangers are so needlessly bulky) letting me buy and hang more clothes in the Starry Towers walk-in-wardrobe.  The extra added special bit...the pizza box delivery, just a shame they don't arrive on the back of a scooter.  
    hangers from Hangerworld
    My eBay items sold pathetically poorly.  WTF?  Is there a recession or something going on?  Fees and postage etc deducted, the G-Star jeans made £7.50 and the Levi jacket, £8.50.  I can't believe the results were so poor.  It's put me right off eBay, I'd have got more feel-good factor from giving them away to charity.  I give everything away to charity usually, just thought more expensive brand name items in perfect as-new, hardly-worn condition, would maybe give a little something back.  Not so.







  New two tone Spring coat on The Star Swag Blog.
  I've been told today it's Happy Anniversary to us, to us.  Also needed some assistance in working out it's our third.  The Parents remembered and sent a card, a work colleague remembered and wished me a Happy Anniversary for the day.  The work colleague shares the same wedding anniversary date, she remembered her own and that mine is the same date.  I'd forgot it all.  I've got one excuse to hand...I get March and May mixed up all the time, sheeesh, I once got June and July so mixed up that I told the nursery that The Boy was born in June, it's really July.  I should've done better on that one.
    A major Wardrobe Clearout happens, I'm guessing, ten times tops in one lifetime.  From the time I became the adult in charge of my own clothing I can recall two previous major Wardrobe Clearouts, this is just my third.  Previous occasions have been traumatic, difficult, and hold bad memories.  I swear I didn't really want to lose my mini skirt collection.  Last seen at the turn of the century, there were over 40, all fabrics and colours, a red tartan mini kilt, faux fur, silks and faux silks, tiered, prints and colour block, leather, suede, where the hell are they now?  Memory tells me I carefully bagged and put them into storage, either in the attic here at Starry Towers or up at The Parents house, mini skirts never go out of fashion.  I can't find them now.  I must've been out of my mind.  I also regret my seriously bad jeans decision.  The decision to throw was seriously bad, not the jeans, the jeans were perfect.  I loved the jeans in this photo, straight legged, don't remember the brand.  This was 1996, I was 32, my child was 2, I'd got my figure back after childbirth, thanks in major part, to a serious full-time 8-month long breast-feeding.  There's nothing like breast-feeding for snapping a woman's body back to top form, seemed to reset the metabolism.  I had to eat three good healthy meals a day to produce the milk and was still dropping 2lbs a week with absolutely no dieting.  These were the smallest and yet most comfortable, roomy jeans I ever owned, before or after, and they were tiny.  I remember throwing them out because they became too disheartening in later years.
    I heart these 1996 skinny jeans
    Seems to me, from experience, there's a risk of future regret from a major Wardrobe Clearout.  However I'm two days into my third and biggest ever and I reckon there's another 3 days work ahead of me.  Loads of stuff going to the bin, loads of stuff going to The Mum's local church fete/sale things.  I may be an atheist but I do recognise the community spirit of a church sale, and get big feel-good from supporting the local community I grew up in.  A lot of The Boy brand name stuff went to a couple of work colleagues with sons who'd appreciate it.
    A couple items have been too good to give The eBay.  I don't sell on eBay very often, it's hard work sorting out good photos.  Low starting prices and low & fair P&P.  Sales end soon, so if you're interested, best be quick.
    G-Star Jeans on The eBay
    Levi Jacket on The eBay
    Cardinal O'Brien...hypocritical, lying, nasty, devious, homophobic, non-practicing (though has attempted to practice in the past) homosexual?  Yes.  Do remember I'm not a bigot, I'm an atheist.  All religions are shite, I dislike them all equally and without prejudice,  it's becoming refreshingly possible to say that science is your "god" without being labeled a bigot or racist.  Thank you Mr Dawkins, Skeptic podcasts, Socrates and all people who believe in evidence-based knowledge, science and reason.













  Next step in my Wellbeing Project - finally...I had my first session of Sport Massage on Monday, 25th February.  The Massage Guy is Lee McGrorty in Bathgate, link in The Lobby.  Massage Guy addressed my back, shoulders, neck, and newcomers to my aches and pains list, my Achilles Tendons.
  It hurt, especially on the right neck and the Achilles bits.  The Achilles bits have felt amazingly improved since, the Plantar F underside of the heals still hurts a little but he never claimed to be able to help that, he told me straight he couldn't.
  The Achilles Tendonitis feels like it's totally gone.  I keep expecting it to return, but it hasn't at all.  I researched this thing, never saw anywhere recommending Sports Massage as the Quick Fix answer.  The rest of me, especially my right shoulder and neck, was well-tender to the touch for a couple of days, but now it's just mildly-noticeable to the touch.  Massage Guy told me to expect a great deal of pain over the next couple of days, I was ready, but really, it wasn't so bad.  The other instructions were to drink a lot of water and keep my neck warm, no stretching, no lifting or any other such exertion.  In the hours after the treatment I was surprised at the headache that comes on, but each time it did I drank more water and it lifted practically immediately, till it stopped coming back and was gone for good.  I've no idea why this headache happens, I'm not a headachey person, and this one was unlike any other I've ever had.
    One of the things that held me back from going for treatment initially was that I was afraid the therapist, if male, would be some sort of Gym Bunny winking at himself in the mirror, and I'd feel intimidated, old and out of shape in his presence, but Massage Guy is nothing like that.  He's friendly, enthusiastic and serious about his specialty, and above all, very professional.  It felt totally comfortable and I'm glad I got a man now, he's got the weight, strength and stamina to get the job done.  I'm feeling very positive about this deep tissue massage
    The Husband started it, the other day while I was at work he did a Wardrobe Clearout of his clothing.  Yesterday I got The Boy to join in with his Wardrobe Clearout.  He's now got roughly half the clothes, but at least what he's got left all fits him and will be easier to locate in the much emptier wardrobe and drawer spaces.  And we had a good laugh while doing it.
    The Boy's Wardrobe Cleanout
    The stuff he's lost is either heading to the local council recycling center or up to The parents place on it's way to The Mum's local Church charity fund-raiser.  I decided on eBaying a pair of G-Star jeans though, auction starts later this evening.  Then there was the scary idea of having a Wardrobe Clearout of my own.  Shudder!  But I actually managed to take the first tentative steps in this massive life-changing event.  Below is the pile I made in a tentative frenzied ten minutes
    my own Wardrobe ClearOut
    I finished the audiobook version of The Redbreast by Jo Nesbø, Book 3 in the Harry Hole series is very good, very very good.  Listening to The Devil's Star now, unbelievably Book 5 is shaping up to be the best so far.  Not sure if I'll be able to handle the amazingness of what Book 9 may bring.
    The Redbreast Jo Nesbo
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers). The Husband and I watched Skyfall.  Great movie, and I'm not even a James Bond fan.













  Starry bliss on The Star Swag Blog.
  Every year, at some point after Xmas, the Quality Street gets to this point.  The dregs are always the ones in yellow wrappers.  The Dad's doing his very best, slowly working his way through them, but really, it's not easy for him.  It's about time Quality Street stop putting the yellows in the tins.
  the dregs
    With some vague idea that I need to improve my physical self I've taken action, there's a Starry Towers exercise bike in the house.  I've built up to 10 minutes.  I know this sounds rather pathetic, and it is, but it's better than the 5 minutes I pushed myself to reach when it first arrived.  I do 5, then later 10, maybe another 5 after a bit.  Twenty minutes is my top daily total so far, but given that the burn hits my thighs after 20 seconds, it seems to me to be a huge accomplishment.  This is a ridiculously poor show I know, but the only way is up.
    the Starry Towers exercise bike
    The Husband's been playing his part in my health and wellbeing project too, he's organised what I've been trying to sort out for ages.  I'm booked in for the first session of a course of Sports Massage next week.  This is going to really hurt.  Hopefully it'll sort out years of nursey wear and tear aches and pains.  Tall order, here's hoping.
    I've got an unofficial, but perfectly sound, diagnosis.  Plantar Fasciitis (inflammation of the instep tendons) and Achilles Tendonitis.  My feet and lower legs, especially up the back of my heels have been painful for ages.  Ward doctors have diagnosed and advised a visit to my own GP.  I just have to get round to going, and I will because this is hurting and makes me hobble like a very old woman.  Meanwhile I've started exercising, stretching and wearing insoles.  How old do I feel right now?  Very, very.  The recommended insoles are Sorbothane Sorbo-Pro Total Control Insoles.  Strangely reminiscent of the exercise bicycle colour-wise.  I definitely feel a difference when I use them, and I've been wearing them, practically all the time I'm not in bed, switching them from UGGs to work Crocs and back (I've ordered another pair).  Very cushioning of the heels and supportive of my high arches, but my feet are still really sore.
    Sorbothane Sorbo-Pro Total Control Insoles
    Time marches on and Snowdrops are back at Starry Towers, marks a turning point in the garden when they show up.  The gardening year will soon begin, I miss my gardening and general outdoor pottering during the winters.
    Starry Towers Snowdrops










  The new sumptuously glam Starry Towers chandeliers are on The Starry Towers Blog, be wowed, be very wowed.
  The Dad and I attended the Shetland Sheep Society Dinner at the Beecraigs Restaurant at the weekend there, I'd swapped a weeks annual leave to be able to attend and The Husband was home from Norway with this event in mind.  However The Husband did not accompany us because...he forgot.  He got so caught up in replacing some big electricity thingy that when I walked in on him, me dressed and ready to go, him elbow deep in wires and fuses. He did a double take and asked, "where you going?"  Power to Starry Towers ground floor was off at that point, with little hope of it being on without a couple hours work, we agreed that I'd go with The Dad and he missed out on his Sunday dinner with the sheep people.
    Beecraigs Restaurant
    table set for dinner
    The Dad and I had a nice meal (both pescatarians, we had the fish and no risk of horse), a close-up-magic show and a raffle.  Everyone brings a raffle prize then we watch and see who goes home with the prizes.  I took two bottles of good wine, The Dad a bottle of Port.  Early on in the proceedings I had a look at the raffle prizes as they were accumulating on the big raffle table.  Two things caught my eye, a Bouncy Castle session and an original art work.  I imagined going home to The Husband declaring that sometime soon we'd have a bouncy castle in the back garden with four hours to jump around, would be amazing.  The art work was enticing too, an original print, number 5 of 10 and signed.  Booby prize has to be winning the thing you gave.  Between us we had ten tickets and won three prizes, statistically a good result.  Disappointed to get one of my bottles of wine back, we also got a box of After Eights plus some special chocolate cookies.  The biggie we won was the bouncy castle session, worth £75.  Wee Boab's Bouncy Castle Hire would deliver, set up and collect after we played for four hours.  I was astounded to win what I had my eye on, what was regarded to be the 2nd prize, with only the art being considered the #1 prize to better it.  I've no idea the monetary value of the art, but the raffle organiser did say that the art was the biggie.
    With the Bouncy Castle prize in my hand I started to wonder about the logistics as Sarah the Bouncy Castle woman told me the details.  The size, too big for the Starry Towers estate, but I know a man who knows a man who has a couple of fields.  Then I was thinking of the other issues involved, who to invite, how they'd get to the field, what we'd do for 4 hrs, The Husband and I would last 15 minutes tops (I guestimated) and probably do ourselves a serious mischief in the process.  I could donate it to a charitable event, but couldn't think of anything I'm that close to, then thinking, who has a young child with a party coming up, but couldn't think of one.  I decided the art was more my thing.
    Luckily at the same time as it dawned on me that sadly a bouncy castle was probably not doable, I also had the idea of swapping.  Extra amazingly, the art prize had been won by our best sheep friends, The Arbuckles of Brae Flock fame.  If you don't ask you don't get so I just asked.  Margaret said she thought the art was beautiful but she had no place to hang it, and the bouncy castle could be put to use in her church fete type thing.
    my raffle prize
    I've been in touch with Hazel, the raffle organiser, to ask for more information on the artist.  I'm guessing this is a lithograph, it's signed S. Orr, 5/10 and titled Golspie Garden.  From what I can ascertain on The Google, Golspie is East Sutherland village of 1650 people, located on the shores of the Moray Firth under the shadow of Ben Bhraggie.  And for the rest, I await contact from Hazel.
    Entertainment at the dinner was from young Robbie Cockburn, code name Jerome.  Robbie is a close-up magician and childrens entertainer, you can find him at RobbieCockburn.  Robbie was last years entertainment too, he's getting better and better.  I followed him around, at his request, taking photos for him.  Even though I was concentrating on the camera, I was astounded at every trick. 
    Jerome captivating the audience







  I've got a new fav author.  Having watched and loved the movie Headhunters based on the Jo Nesbø book I reckoned I'd give his novels a try.  I got some of his audiobooks and first listened to Nemesis.  I'm hooked.  Then I discovered I'd went for book 4 in the 9 book Harry Hole series.  Thought it best to go for book 1 next...The Bat...start again, at the beginning.  Intriguing, captivating and exciting.  The detective Harry Hole is Norwegian, and most of his stories are based in Norway.  Having been to Norway a good few times now, I find the Norwegian people, traditions, history and general way of life a source of cozy loveliness and great interest.  Loving this man's work and I can see the movie of each book in my head.





  Happy Valentines Day.  The Husband and I were a-Moonpigging again.  We do like a good Moonpig at Starry Towers.  Just showing the card I made for The Husband and the two dozen red roses he sent me with a card and choccies.
  The Husband's Valentine card
  my two dozen red roses
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Looper.  I don't do time travel very well, was the same when I first watched The Matrix, I don't do virtual reality and the future.  It's a well enough made movie...if you can get your head round it.





The Possession


Taken 2


  Over on The Starry Towers Blog there's the result of my latest painting
  How outrageous was that Richard III woman?  Phillippa Langley is the secretary of the Scottish Branch of the Richard III Society.  There's a Scottish branch of the Richard III Society?  There's a Richard III Society?  PL is a woman madly in love with a 500yr dead man and is currently writing a film script about Richard III and redecorating her house with new images of Richard III.  We know PL is a strange and/or businessy self-promotion-savvy individual, not only because she felt "a chill" which helped her detect the long dead King's skeleton, but mostly because we watched her in the CH4 documentary The King In The Car Park.  Further evidence of Ms Langley shaky hinge and/or business plan is she agrees she sounds mad, "I know how mad this sounds, but I had the strongest sensation that I was walking on Richard’s grave".  The sensible people confirm the skeleton found in a car park which is built on the sight of Leicester’s Grey Friars (a friary and likely place for his dead body to be).  In the car park Ms Langley saw a white R painted on the ground and said..."of course it was ‘R’ for ‘reserved’, not ‘R’ for Richard but from that moment on, I was on a mission".  Mission accomplished crazy lady.
  Phillipa Langley loves Dick
    Religious Extremist News.  Pope retires...the Pope retired today, he's old, he's tired, he should be allowed to retire without the world going crazy.  Would've been better if he'd shut the shop up before he went, just close it all down, no more Popes, no more Catholicism.  The best thing about the Pope news is it led to me finding this Tim Minchin song, The Pope Song.  Hilarious and very catchy.  Available for download at TimMinchen where you can also watch the highly entertaining accompanying video.
    NHS nurses...good nurses are compassionate by'll find the desired quality mostly in Mental Health nurses, though it should extend to all branches.  I've got a couple opinions about why nurses are finding it difficult to be compassionate, but I'm always worried about expressing my opinion of the NHS, my employers, in the public forum...incase they see fit to sack me for my troubles.  I'll just tell you about my visit to the NHS Nursing Careers website.  I'm assuming I'm entitled to have an opinion on an online recruitment tool...fingers crossed.  There you will find a Personality Quiz to assist the budding student nurse in choosing which branch of nursing would be most suitable to them.  I tried it twice, first time round I answered as honestly as the questions permitted and got this result...
    Second time, and I swear this is true, try it for yourself if you don't believe me, I answered as I imagined a psychopath would, the result was as I suspected...
    Mark Wahlberg on The Graham Norton Show...drunk or obnoxious?   Definitely drunk, obnoxious at times, then he livened up a bit near the end and got very funny.
    I've framed my Novice Handler and Young Handler, yes YOUNG Handler, rosettes with a nice photo of prize-winning Champion Rench Iolanthe and me at the Yetholm Shepherd Show last year.  This I've added to my new Photo Alcove Wall.  The Photo Alcove Wall is a work in progress with more pics to be added.
    my sheep rosettes
    new photo alcove in living room
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Possession, it's a well made spooky movie.
    The Husband and I watched Taken 2.  Well obviously it's nowhere near as good as Taken, but still, suspend believe and just have a giggle at how ridiculous it's got, and don't bother with Taken 3.  If you ignore my advice, I will find you and I will kill you.




  Over on The Starry Towers Blog there's the latest white paint news.
  I've had a terrible crash, made even worse for was all my fault.  This is how I found myself in the situation of having all my photographs saved to only one external hard drive.  Previously I had all my files/photos/mp3s etc on the D drive partition of my laptop AND I had the back-up on this external hard drive.
    The Husband gave me a new laptop, so I scrubbed the "old" laptop and reinstalled windows making for a fresh clean second laptop (to be used in emergency laptop crises situations).  I proceeded to use my new laptop and never thought to make a new back-up copy of all my files.Hence, there I was, devastated when the 1TB external hard drive containing ALL my precious photos as well as my entire mp3 collection, years of podcasts and all my have-to-have personal details, like insurance policy details, magazine subscriptions, account numbers, receipts and stuff, stuff that you need once a year on average, but you do need it all.  Everything gone, mostly, it was the photos that broke my heart.
    After a few days of panicky scrambling around, trying to find someone to make it all better and hearing nothing but doom and gloom from local PC repair/data retrieval places, I was trying to come to terms with the idea that it was all gone or it would maybe cost me several hundreds of pounds to get it back.  And when I say several, I was imagining approximately £700, give or take couple hundred.  Once I got over the fear I'd lost it all, I was thinking I'd get them back probably, not 100% sure, but most likely, it was just going to cost a small fortune.  Then I Googled in Edinburgh instead of West Lothian and found @City PC Repairs in Brunswick Road in the city.  Long story short, via a few days hanging on every update text from the @City PC Repairs guy, the news is the best.  Everything is saved and the total cost, which includes a new 1TB drive to physically hand my files back to me on, is £160.  Only £75 for the actual data retrieval, which would have been all I'd been charged if I'd supplied my own hard drive.  Not bloody bad.  Highly recommended, a link to @City PC Repairs is in The LobbyWe'll pick the hard drive with all my saved files up at the end of the week when The Husband's back home from Norway.  Meanwhile I've bought two more external hard drives, 500GB each, with them and the 1TB, I'll have at least two back-ups of everything from now on.  This will never ever ever happen to me again.  Now, if only I could make a back-up of The Parents and The Husband and The Boy, and me of course...all would be 100% secure forever and ever and I'd have nothing of any importance to worry about ever again.  Wouldn't that be sweet.





The Stepfather


  I like when them Saw This & Thought Of You things happen to me, and there's been a couple recently.  First is the Steiff Lamb Keychain.  Saw this and thought of The Mum, I also thought of The Dad, because The Mum collects Steiff and The Dad has Shetland Sheep.
  Got one for The Mum and one for me.  Wrapped Mum's up in a gift box, silver star paper, silver star stickers, then proper brown wrapping paper and posted it at The Sunny D PO.
  Steiff Lamb Keychain
    Then there was paperclips.  I was on the hunt for star paperclips when I saw these Cat Paperclips, thought of The Sis-In-Law and got them posted straight to her from Amazon.  She love, love, loves them, which is the effect I was after.
    Cat Paperclips
    I've started the Starry Towers Rubber Band Ball.  I had been considering some more DIY Starry Towers painting this annual leave week but The Husband told me no, I'd done enough recently and should have a weeks rest.  I'm fighting the urge, I really want to paint, but I'm making a Rubber Band Ball instead, for now.  I'm not entirely happy with the colours of the Rubber Band Ball so far, but better the non-attractive colours are in the beginning, they won't be visible by the time I'm finished.
    Have you ever tried to make a Rubber Band Ball?  It's not as easy as it looks.  With practice the best techniques become more obvious, but I wouldn't call myself an expert at this stage.  The thicker the band the better it stays in place and in the beginning you need mostly thick bands, as the ball becomes a little bigger it retains the shorter and thinner bands easier.  Now it's a medium sized ball the smaller thinner bands go on better when applied in multiples, take 3 or 4 at the same time.
    the Starry Towers Rubber Band Ball begins
    Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  I watched The Stepfather, scary movie time, just passable.







  Drop waists on The Star Swag Blog.
  The weather's been kind to Sunny D and most of the central belt of Scotland so far.  The Husband is gutted, precious little opportunity to get out his big snow guns.  He's been hoping for roads that need a Subaru/winter tyre combo, and pavements in need of a snow blowing machine.  He's been sadly disappointed so far.  I'd have been quite happy to see the white stuff this week cos I'm on annual leave and self-centred by nature.
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Battleship.  Mindless entertainment, that's not a criticism, some of the best entertainment is mindless.  I found the film to be very tongue-in-cheek humorous with deliberately OTT acting and funny lines.  From the corny start to the implausible end, via the outrageous storyline and amazing visuals, all good.  Everyone in the movie kept asking "what is it?"  I kept saying "no one knows, stop asking!"  Never assuming aliens would be coming in peace, we should stop looking for them right now, and hope they don't find us.




  My favourite handbag, or as The Husband calls it, The Bag Of This Week, is on The Star Swag Blog.  The story and photies of the painting of the Starry Towers living room...on The Starry Towers Blog.





The Woman In Black


The Cider House Rules




  There's Oasis drop waists on The Star Swag Blog.
  Happy New Year dear reader.
  The Husband went back to work soon after our Starry Towers festivities, as he was out the door the DIY took me over again.  Out came the Dulux and step ladder and I painted the living room.  Time has past and it's all done now, pictures to follow.
  With The Husband in Norway and The Boy partying with his pals I spent New Year in Braehead with The Parents.  I was abandoned by the people I live with and working the 1st and 2nd of January, so it was very lovely being at The Parents for a couple days.  We had dinner, chatted and watched The Royle Family Xmas Special, and I think, for the first time since I became an adult, I was in bed and asleep well before the bells.  Woke up on New Years Day in my old bedroom back at home with The Parents.  Then the spell was broken, The Dad took me to work for a 13 hour shift.
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Woman In Black.  It's a good ghost story, can just imagine the jumpy type of people jumping at the deliberate scary jumpy bits.  The Husband insisted on calling the character at the centre of the film Harry Potter.  If you can watch it with someone who isn't prone to mentioning Harry Potter too many times in 90 minutes, then you should watch it with that person.
  The Husband and I watched The Cider House Rules.  I've been meaning to watch this for a long time having read all the John Irving novels years ago.  It's a sweet tale, though as usual, the movie can't live up to the book.  We watched the film and I never once said, "you were only supposed to blow the bloody doors off" because I don't do that sort of annoying thing.