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There's a new generation of The Husband’s genes on the planet and I’m a Step-Granny.  Not sure I’m happy with the Granny tag, but I’ll get used to it I s’pose, if I try terribly hard.  The Grandson, is perfect and beautiful and Dutch.  So it was off to The Netherlands to meet the brand new boy.  I was excited, he was noticeably underwhelmed...except when he was lying in the arms of Granddad (see first smiley photo).

  The Husband & grandson
  grandson in my arms
  The Parents just celebrated their 52nd Wedding Anniversary, Happy Anniversary The Parents.
  The Starry Towers Xmas happened and was yet another great success.  Table-wise I think I excelled myself this year and the dinner was so tasty and simple in comparison to the traditional turkey dinner with all the trimmings that there was a lot less work for me and The Mum and The Sis-In-Law.  I’m really really pleased with the Starry Towers 2014 Xmas dinner experience, but fear for next year, how to improve on perfection? 
  The aperitif platter was a triumph, four tiny morsels of delicious flavour combinations; the starter my homemade vegetable soup and the main a Moroccan extravaganza.  The sweet course is always a free for all of cake and cream options.  Click on the bauble below for the full menu. 
  I made my own Starry Towers Xmas wreath for the front door and this year’s tree was...different.  Beautiful glass baubles are stand-out shiny as they adorn my stark tree and my mercury glass trees are a classy addition, the overall vibe of the Starry Towers 2014 Christmas is mixed-metallics and Nordistrong.  A really neat little individualised personal touch which proved a big home-filled Xmas crackers...Baby Lips for the ladies, an extendable back-scratcher for The Dad and Wicked Micro Riderz for the men.  It was a wonderful day with The Family, we always have such a lovely time with a load of laughs, thanks for being there The know who you are.
  Starry Towers Xmas Menu 2014
  Xmas table
  table centre piece
  Xmas table
  aperitif platter
  Xmas wreath
  Xmas tree
  mercury glass trees




Those Who Kill


I've been ridiculously lax with the maintaining and updating of MarilynsWorld of late.  One reason is I've recently been on my jolly holidays traipsing around the Continent for two weeks.  Other reason is, I've been lazy and just not in the mood in the wake of the IndyRef disappointment.  However, trying to get back on track, and while I write up the story of my jolly holidays for the Continental Tripping 2014 Journal, here's some of my new favourite stuff on The Star Swag Blog.


This is my new Indy Cup, the fine bone china Saltire Cairngorm shape Mug by Dunoon, available at TemptationGifts.  It's a perfectly delectable 480ml capacity and too pretty to get wet.  Mine will be displayed on a shelf in an oak dresser in the Starry Towers Dining Room, a splash of beautiful blue among the woods, metallics and predominantly pure white crockery.

  Saltire cup
  TV Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Those Who Kill.  We adore a good bit of Nordic Noir, this is a good bit of Nordic Noir.


  Sheep News
The last show of the year, results for the Yetholm Shepherds Show are on The Shetland Sheep Blog.
  It's been a few weeks since my wee blue Scottish heart got broke.  The  Independence Referendum result, YES 45%.  Beaten by a mere 6%.  I postal voted on the 27th of August, it felt good, exciting, hopeful, the future would be Westminster lying-cheating-greedy-bastard-free.  We would rise up and be a nation again...
    ...or not.  Not quite yet, but it'll happen.  I spent the afternoon of 18th September outside the Sunny D polling place, usually known as the community centre.  We stood about and smiled and chatted, I even managed to help a non-decider decide to vote YES.  The YES campaign put out a big sign and was represented all day long, the NO campaign arrived early doors, put out their little no sign, left and never came back.
  Referendum Day in Sunny D
  The next day, while being devastated The Husband and I took a drive in the Highlands and admired Glen Coe with Scotland's flags to bring tears to my eyes and stir our hearts.  To keep our fighting spirits up The Husband got my 2014 birthday present up and flying proud.  We have the Starry Towers Saltire to show where our allegiances are.
  Glen Coe
  the Starry Towers Saltire
  Starry Towers Saltire




This Is The End
















  Sheep News
Over on The Shetland Sheep Blog for the Strathaven 2014 results.
  We've had house guests here at Starry Towers, The Step-Daughter, avec baby-on-board, and her man were here for a week.  A week of sightseeing, jolly holidays and a few dinners cooked by me.  The Husband and I accompanied them on 3 days out when I wasn't working and we had a lovely time too. 
  Day The Kelpies, first time we've seen them since Andy Scott completed his greatest sculpture achievement.  Having said that, I'm a big fan of his Hamish the stag, so it's a close-run call to place the Kelpies at #1.

The Kelpies

  Next was Rosslyn Chapel, my favourite chapel in the world.  I've been to my favourite chapel in the world many times and always happily snap away with the camera, but things have changed since my last visit.  No photos allowed now.  On our visit two different members of staff claimed this is due to "an incident"...someone tripped and fell over someone's camera and sued the Chapel Trust they said.  That's one hellava over-reaction risk assessment and really not on.  A ticket to Rosslyn Chapel costs £9, they've got a cheek banning cameras.  I still got photos, but not nearly as good as they should've been, had to use the iPhone on silent while the Canon EOS M hung, ridiculously redundant round my neck.

Then to see Bass Rock, my favourite rock in the world, from my favourite deserted beach in Scotland, Seacliff Beach.

  Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock
  Bass Rock from Secliff Beach
  Day Linlithgow Palace.  Quick stop-off at the next door St Michaels Church first.  It's a beautiful old church (1540) with lots of impressive stain glass windows, especially the modern St Katherine's aisle window by Crear McCartney, installed in 1992 to mark the 750th anniversary of the church.  Photos below, the nave and choir, and the St Katherine's aisle window.
  main aisle
  St Katherine's aisle window
  Wee tour round Linlithgow Palace and the obligatory near-death experience that is climbing the 123 north-west tower turnpike steps and the 17 further steps to the Queen's Bower for the wonderful views and the achievement.  Photos below, view of courtyard from the Queen's Bower at top of north west tower, the north west tower and the outer arch of the Fore Entrance showing the arms of the four European Orders of Chivalry to which James V (1513 – 1542) belonged: the Garter, bestowed by his uncle Henry VIII of England; the Thistle, which James himself founded; the Golden Fleece, given him by the Emperor Charles V, and St Michael by Francis I of France.  In the Palace gift shop I find these gorgeous little baby sheep feet from Glen Appin for my pending grandchild.
  courtyard from the north west tower
  north west tower
  fore entrance
  little baby sheep feet
  We head over to South Queensferry and my favourite bridges in the world.  Dinner was fish and chips at the cunningly renamed 3 Bridges, previously known as The 2 Bridges. The Bridges
  The 3 Bridges
    Day 3...We go to the city of Edinburgh starting at the National Museum of Scotland.  Specially looked out for Dolly the Sheep and Jackie Stewarts' Formula One race car.  There's also a giraffe positioned in such a way that you have to take a photo.
    Jackie Stewarts' car
    the giraffe
    After the museum we needed a sit down, on a whim I suggest the Scottish Parliament building was probably quite close by and most likely has food and maybe people can just rock up for lunch.  Turns out all of this is true.  One has to go through security like at an airport, but essentially, all law-abiding citizens are welcome.  Inside it's Scottish parliamentary business as usual, a rather pleasant café, some cabinets filled with gifts from foreign governments and the fabulous Great Tapestry of Scotland which I didn’t even know existed.  In the Parliament Café there's a lucky find on the Coke fridge shelf given that The Husband and his daughter Alice are making up half of our party.  After our Scotland-sourced, tasty and reasonably priced lunch we take a stroll round the tapestry.
    Alice and Dad Cokes
    The Tapestry is an ambitious community arts project bringing hundreds of volunteer Scottish stitchery people  together in creating a record-breaking 143 metre long embroidered tapestry, beautifully illustrating Scotland's fascinating history, science, culture, industry and politics over the centuries.  And Dolly the Sheep gets a mention in the tapestry too.
    panel 1
    Scottish Parliament panel
    New Lanark panel
    NHS panel
    North Sea oil panel
    Dolly the Sheep panel
    From the Parliament building we cross town to visit the Royal Yacht Britannia, because it's there and it's raining.  It's not worth the ticket price mind you, £12.75 per adult, and it's a trinket of a system I'm opposed to.  I found the bedrooms oppressive, old fashioned furniture, bedding and carpets, vaguely familiar from years ago, like grandparents bedrooms.  Prince Charles’ room in particular, with the framed photo of him and Lady Di, and I felt a sadness for Diana, sharing that stuffy old bed with such an obnoxious, old fashioned, ridiculous believer in homeopathy and self-important state-sponger.
    Charles & Lady Di bedroom
    Royal Yacht Britannia

Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and our Dutch visitors watched This Is The End.  Very funny.

    The Husband and I watched Braveheart again, in preparation for the Referendum, as always, it's fantastic.




Green Butchers


Casa de mi Padre




















Silver name necklace on The Star Swag Blog.

  More Edinburgh Fringe Festival news.  Friend C and I were back in The Burg doing the triple, one night, three shows.  We are serious comedy fans,  we arrived early doors for Jack Dee's Help Desk.  Standing at the very front of the queue (we insist on front row seats) we spotted Mr Dee approaching the building.  But this was 6pm, and no wine had been imbibed, I didn't have the nerve.  Mr Dee walked into the building and out of my reach within seconds, though he wasn't walking particularly fast, it was just that I was frozen in suspended non-action shock and awe to be so close to a true comedy great

I first saw Mr Dee live 21 years ago.. When The Boy was only 6 weeks old, my first night out after the endeavour and pain of childbirth, of bringing a new life into this crazy world.  I was still a long way short of my final breast-feeding session, was another 6 and a half months till that day.  In the run-up, prior to the 1993 Jack Dee night out I had to get out of bed on many nights to express extra bottles of milk, for freezing, to cover for the 24 hours this milk machine would be out of commission, all for Jack Dee.  This comedian holds a special place in my memory and my heart.  Anyways, there he was, just feet away, and I hesitated.  You try it, it's not always easy to make the first move, infringe on the personal space of the famous, not without at least one unit of alcohol.  I'd let myself down, Comedian Stalking is my new specialty, and this was a major fail.


Shortly after, with me still reeling with self-reproach, a polite young student employee arrived to give us a free Jack Dee Help Desk pen and hinting heavily that we could do worse than provide some Help Desk show material.  Would we kindly consider our problems and perhaps record one on this purpose-printed Problem Card?  Friend C was unable to decide which problem to go with, "just one?" she asked.  I thought for a minute, then a stroke of genius.  My immediate problem could perhaps be solved.  I wrote..."I missed the opportunity to get your autograph before the show.  How can I get your autograph?"  I added a few of my signature stars and as an afterthought, "loving your work", though I did worry bout that...too sycophantic?  In the building and we got mid-front-row seats...we're very good at that.  Jack Dee came on stage and began.  The second card he went!  It worked!  He was so nice, "Marilyn, where's Marilyn?", I raised my hand, "here", he read the card.  Smiling he said "you have to get your autograph", the audience went awwww, he took out a Sharpie and signed the card, he kissed the card then handed it down to me.  With perfect comedy timing he said..."I've got Ebola".  Huge crowd laughter, then Mr Dee said he was hoping I'd be sitting up the back so the card would've been passed through the crowd first.  Very very funny.  My Jack Dee experience was complete, love the man.

    Jack Dee autograph
    Friend C and I had a 3 hour gap to fill, we went to a box office and opted for Damian Clark.  We had to check out a poster to see what he looked like, problem with an unknown wild card is...I might not recognise him to get an autograph.  All worked out just fine Damian Clark...Australian, beard and a hat...was very funny.  I rule, Friend C just rocks.
    Damian Clark
    Next was my regular...Richard Herring.   He was great, and far more energetic than usual, must be all that marathon running fitness improvement.  After the show wasn't long till Mr Herring was signing my Lord Of The Dance Settee book, and he remembered me from The Twitter (2 years running), note the little stars he put at each end of my name.
    Richard Herring
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Green Butchers, for reasons of Mads Mikkelsen.  It's certainly not his best look but this quirky black comedy is very well acted, charming and deep.
    I watched Casa de mi Padre with Will Ferrell speaking Spanish throughout.  Not something everyone will enjoy, I nearly didn't, but I put my game face on and got to the end enjoying a few moments along the way.  It was helped by my thinking that Paul Rudd was playing the brother Raul, turns out it wasn't him, but hey ho, I wasn't wearing my spectacles and Diego Luna looked very like Brian Fantana, easy mistake to make.





A Royal Affair


























There's block heels on The Star Swag Blog.

  The Kids, AKA The Boy and The Boy's Lovely Girlfriend, are off to Creamfields festival this weekend.  This is a tent and sleeping bag situation, they're braver than me, they seem to find this camping thing to be fun...inexplicable, I know.  They're off, all excited, with their Musucbag sleeping bag suits, Festival Feet and Spinning rain ponchos, the Retro and the Pirate.  It's a different world, but they seem to like it a lot.  I on the other hand will only go where there's a hotel room with a comfortable bed, a hot shower, electricity, heating, dining room, and secure parking...and this is not an age thing, I've never went anywhere without all of these things...must just be a me thing.
  The Boy & The Boy's Girlfriend ready for Creamfields
    The Boy's Lovely Girlfriend gave me Thorntons chocs and this lovely bouquet of flowers, much appreciated, but she didn't have to do that, putting up with and loving The Boy as much as I do, is reward enough.  Next photo is the colour of my Hydrangae shrubs this year.  Pretty good, but I'm aiming for true blue with no pink tinge.  Next step is to increase the acidity of the already acidic soil round the Hydrangaes.  This can be done by working crushed egg shells, ground-up citrus peel and coffee grounds into the soil.
    flowers from The Boy's Girl
    While pottering on the Starry Towers estate I managed to get this Peacock Butterfly to stop with the flutter-by-dead-fast business for just a second long enough to capture a good photo with The Canon EOS M.
    Peacock Butterfly
    I'm planning ahead to the Starry Towers dining room, I have a picture in my mind of the interior decor of this room.  This is going to be simple white walls, with white crockery on display, oak furniture, woods of various hues and metallic ceramics of silver and copper and gold.  I've been purchasing items for the room for a while.  So, recently at Carnwath Show when I found Woodturner Mike Pool making and selling his wares, I took the opportunity to pick up some of his beautiful wooden items of decor.  The mushrooms are in various sizes, made of Yew.  My apples are Indian Rosewood (dark one) and Yew (light one), and my pear is Elm.  Watch out for Mr Pool at other agricultural shows.
    elm mushrooms by Mike Pool
    apples and pear by Mike Pool
    The Friend C and I visited The Edinburgh Fringe for a couple of shows yesterday.  As we sat enjoying Aperol Spritz and Prosecco cocktails at the pop-up Aperol bar in St Andrews' Square Garden Fringe Festival hub, we were lying in wait for Robert Newman.  And there he was, I nipped over to him waving a couple of his flyers and he dutifully signed.  He was very quietly spoken, polite and gentle in his manner, with a thespian quality.
    Robert Newman autograph
    The show is Robert Newman A New Theory of Evolution at Stand In The Square, a 150 capacity yurt...a yurt being an original tented structure from Eastern Europe.  Mr Newman engaged us in a lecture on evolution, but with a load of funny observational comedy and a certain air of a half-promise of romance with your university tutor in Edwardian times.  The amount and detail of the facts and information he delivered, and at such high speed, was phenomenal, you have to be quick to keep up with him.  When the jokes come..there's a risk you're still processing the run-up information.  Of course...I understood every word.  Though, try as I might on the Google, I can't find something I think he was talking about, some organism called, was it...Dikki Disco?  Sounded like, but can't be.  He also takes up his electric ukulele and sings twice through the show, and we all joined in with Put A Wiggle On  The sound of Scottish rain drumming on that yurt in the second half of the show didn't drown him out at all, it only added to his twinkling eyed charm.
    Next was Alun Cochrane and his Me Neither show at The Stand comedy club on York Place, so we didn't have far to walk, but the rains were teaming down by then, thankfully Friend C comes avec brolly.  Alun nailed it, as they say.  He's on my radar due to Frank Skinner's Saturday morning Absolute radio show where Mr Skinner, Alun and Emily Dean make the world a better place.  On a stage in Edinburgh, Alun was hilarious and surprisingly good looking too.
    Alun Cochrane
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  Friend C and I watched A Royal Affair, for reasons of Mads Mikkelsen.  It's a 2 hr movie about a period of Danish history, one very important generation of their royal family.  I looked up the facts after the movie...the movie pretty much tells the entire truth.  Very good.





After The Wedding


Sheep News

  The Dad went to Peebles, he took the Ivydene sheep with him, first time at this particular Show, and he came home with a load of rosettes, see the results on The Shetland Sheep Blog.

There's been a bit of swagging, just haven't had the time to blog it.  See my new Maxi Dresses on The Star Swag Blog.

  Bit pleased with myself, I can change watch batteries like it's changing a light bulb.  I turned my hand to watch battery changing after I found myself out for the evening wearing one of my ToyWatches and every time I looked at my wrist my watch told me...the time is 5pm.  It wasn't, obviously, the battery was long dead.  I checked out my watch collection and found two needing new batteries.  I Googled how to then bought batteries and a tool kit on The Amazon.  My ToyWatches are screw backs, I needed a tool, job done, easy.
  Watch battery Tool Kit
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched After The Wedding.  Mads Mikkelsen, the great Dane, looking good, but acted right off the screen by Rolf Lassgård.  It was very emotional.





Deliver Us From Evil


Dark Horse























  Sheep News
  Results of the Kinross Show are on The Shetland Sheep Blog.

The Mum had a birthday very recently, she'd rather we didn't mention it, but we did and she and I spent a lovely day together, lunch on the patio, pressies and love.  I gifted a beautiful Radley handbag, the Templeton Large Ziptop Leather Tote Bag in black with white trim.  I've moved away from Moonpig for a few cards this year, finding some delightful handmade cards at TheHandcraftedCardCompany.  This is Mum's Sew Vintage birthday card.

  Mum's birthday card

The Friend C and I visited The Burg #EdFest for the Alan Davies gig, Little Victories.  First I persuaded Friend C to go with me by tweeting Alan Davies asking him to tell her she should go.  Alan Davies agreed and told her she should go.  That worked a treat, not that she needed much persuading really.  We had a great night out, middle of the front row seats, thanks to us figuring out how to work the Venue 150 queue system and Friend C being fast on her feet up several flights of stairs.  While we were standing at the front of the queue we spotted Mr Davies arriving, unbelieving at first that the star of the show would just walk in the building through the front door, with no posse, just one female companion, and I swear he was wearing an anorak type jacket.  Mr Davies made us laugh then, on the way out, we spotted him again, on his way to the front door of Venue 150.  Too good an opportunity, come on Friend C...please Mr Davies, can I have an autograph?  I was rather garbled with awe, I told him I listen to the Arsenal Podcast, I told him he'd tweeted us, his response was "did I?", he was nonplussed by both bits of information to be honest.  I've had way better receptions from Tom Rhodes was mega-receptive and Richard Herring was friendlier last year and knew of my Twitter name...but no worries, Mr Davies signed our show flyers.  I think he was tired.  Days later when I got round to tweeting a photo of my autographed flyer and thanking Mr Davies for a great show...he even Tweeted me again.  I'll remind him bout that next year, he'll probably be surprised.

    Alan Davies Tweet 1
    Alan Davies Tweet 2
    autograph flyer
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  Friend C and I watched Deliver Us From Evil.  It's terrible, I'm embarrassed I suggested and provided it.
    I watched Dark Horse.  What was that all about?  Apart from my Mr Walken...I wish I hadn't wasted my time and money.




The son and heir AKA The Boy, is now 21 years old.  From beautiful baby boy to a handsome man.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY The Boy, still gorgeous, loved and treasured.  Check him out, 0 to 21  :

  baby Marcus
  The Boy with me & The Boy with Girlfriend
    The Husband and I took The Boy and The Boys' Girlfriend to The Burg for dinner and a show to celebrate The Boys' 21st birthday.  Dinner was at The Tower restaurant on the top floor of The National Museum.  "Uniquely for a museum this has become the hottest table in Edinburgh." AA Gill, The Sunday Times.  I'm not sure what else Mr Gill, who's writing and critiques I respect and enjoy, said about The Tower because that one line is all I can find on the internet.  He may have went on to say...apart from the museum novelty factor this is a bit disappointing for the prices.  If he did...we agree.
    The gentleman who received us and showed us to our table wasn't as pleasant and attentive as expected, he made very little eye contact, preferring to look off to the side mostly, his body language was all about him, he wasn't here to serve us, he was the the star at our table.  The staff who attended to us thereafter were polite enough.  We chose from the a la carte menu thinking we'd receive fine dining quality and inventiveness.  The food was good enough, for a normal run-of-the-mill restaurant.  A couple of the dishes even got more than just our approval, we enthused over the Dingwall Haggis with potato espuma pickled turnip and home-made oatcakes (them three) and the Peanut butter parfait, chocolate sauce, salted caramel popcorn (me).  Overall, when you're paying £40 for a steak (even if it is award-winning Buccleuch beef) you're entitled to expect a little bit more.  There's a  lack of the pizzazz and cheffy-ness that the Michelin Starred prices would suggest.  I found a midgie in my wine and we had to remind them that a Rocket and parmesan salad hadn't arrived, the wine was immediately replaced and a bowl of rocket with slithers of parmesan on top arrived within a few minutes.  Other restaurants with these prices (and slightly less), we've been constantly amused, tantalised and impressed with the tiny details, visual spectaculars, subtle flavours and unusual ingredients.  The weather wasn't on our side either, we hoped to be seated on the terrace with views of Edinburgh Castle, that would've been special and perhaps would've compensated for the underwhelming food/ high prices discomfort. 
    half Lobster
    Peanut Butter Parfait
    After dinner I had my first cocktail, a Dr Frankenstein at Frankenstein...that's Eristoff wild berry vodka, Midori, peach schnapps, Blue Curacao and orange & pineapple juices...very delicious.  Having never been in the Frankenstein bar/restaurant before I was bemused when a giant Frankenstein monster lowered from the ceiling and sat up on his laboratory trolley.  If we'd went to Frankenstein's in the first place, a steak (from McLays Master Butcher), chips and salad would've cost £17.
    Frankenstien Cocktail
    I'd got tickets for the Tom Rhodes Edinburgh Fringe comedy show for after dinner.  I'd put it on The Twitter, the comedian saw my Tweet and replied, we exchanged a few Twitters...and then...he walked in to The Wine Bar at The Gilded Balloon and greeted me like a long lost friend.  "Marilyn hi", chatted & gave me this.  He said hi to The Husband, The Boy & The Boys' Girlfriend at the end of the enthusiastic and lengthy one-to-one attention I got, then off he went and made us laugh.  A charming & funny man, he's awfy nice.
    signed flyer





Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself)





































  Sheep News

The Carnwath Annual Show results are extraordinary, read them on The Shetland Sheep Blog.

  On the Starry Towers estate we've had wasps this Summer.  This particular family of wasps is living in a Starry Towers wall space, using an air tile as a front door.  I idly watched wasps fly in and out of their door then I noted with interest this much bigger insect enter the wasp house (I'm calling it a house for want of the right word).  By coincidence this insect, same as the one I saw earlier, died on my living room window sill...providing the perfect close-up photo-opp.  What is it, a fly, a wasp, something in a bee costume?  The creature moved, in stealth mode, slowly ever closer from leaf to leaf, then to wall, closer, closer, then it walked right in through the front door!  I don't know how the wasps were feeling bout this visitor, but I for one, was quite surprised.  I've never seen this creature before in all my life and here it was walking into a wasp "house".  I Googled it.  This is a White-banded Drone Fly aka Pellucid Hoverfly aka Volucella pellucens.   It has a broad, mainly black body with a yellow/white band on the front part of the abdomen.  It's usually found in woodland, but is sometimes attracted to particularly beautiful flowery gardens that have plenty of it's nectar and pollen dinner.  One of the largest flies in Scotland, at 12 - 18 mm long, it's similar to a toy fly magnet I had as a child.  When I read the next bit I was like...ahhhh...the female enters the underground paper n̶e̶s̶t̶s̶  houses of the common wasp Vespula vulgaris, or the German wasp, Vespula germanica, and lays her eggs.  The larvae  feed on rotting plant material and dead wasp stuff, pretty damn clever to leave the babies in a wasp house maternity unit/nursery/restaurant.  Mummy lays the eggs, her work here is done, she buggers off and later the larvae leave the wasp house and pupate in the soil below...when I discover how long a gestation period they have I'll maybe sit and watch for this happening.  Next mid-May to June I'll be watching for the adults to rise from the zombie flies.  All this insect-intelligence I'm building on, you would think I'd know better than dig up and do gardening around the wasp house, but no.  I got stung on my right wrist.  I found the little stinger up my cardigan sleeve, shook it off and applied the vinegar, though there's no scientific evidence to prove this would make any difference, other than the plaebo effect if I believed in it, which I don't, but I still did it...go figure.  This is maybe how religion works.  Sting annoyed me for four days, despite a daily oral antihistamine tablet. 
    White-banded Drone Fly
      Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Wilbur (Wants To Kill Himself), set in Glasgow it was Mads Mikkelsen that led me to it.  A lovely little movie telling tales of many shades of human relationships and depicting all sorts of madness.  Mads Mikkelsen has officially joined my list of All-Time Favourite Actors, that's Mr Christopher Walken, Nicolas Cage and Mads, an elite list.












  Sheep News

The Biggar Agricultural Show results are in, on The Shetland Sheep Blog.

  Out in the Jeep while The Husband was concentrating on the driving, I took my first iPhone selfie, and with this selfie I'm announcing my glasses.  This is me wearing my first ever spectacles in my first iPhone selfie.  Ray Ban Wayfarers, distance glasses, very mild lenses.  Big eyes...all my own, no lens distortion in the pic.
      I've just been told of a thing, it's an actual real thing, and it's made a whole load of difference to my general outlook on life,  I'll be offered summit called Phased Retirement.  I'd never heard of it before, but seems everyone else knew already.  There's this thing in the NHS for employees approaching retirement...a three month phasing out period.  Nearing the end...1st month 20%, 2nd month 40%, third month 60%...that's the reduction in the hours the employee has to spend at work, with no loss of enhanced pay, so all weekend pay as per usual duty roster pattern.  It means that come 2018, with my retirement day being somewhere in that September, factor in the Phased Retirement, take on board my then accumulated annual leave for 2018, all of which I'll save up for the end...I'm looking at just 3 full years ahead of regular full-on work.  That's the way I roll, knock of a few months at this end, phased retirement, holidays...3 years to go...anyone who wants to rob me of my positive attitude can just sign me a sick line and I'll go that way instead, but I'd rather go honourably.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Justice.  Good enough for a predictable thriller from the USA...with Nic of my fav soft-spot top 2 all-time actors.







Anchorman 2


Straw Dogs




































Sheep News



  Sheep News is the 2014 Doune and Dunblane Show results, check out The Shetland Sheep Blog.

Happy Biirthdays went to The Dad in the form of this Moonpig and an Xhose kit same as the one I got for us here at Starry Towers.  Word is, he likes it, a lot.

  The Moonpig has pictures of The Dad with a couple of his lambs.  The little picture on the back of the card is The Dad with Ram Lamb 205 AKA Ivydene Jack, he of the black stripe on his white horn.  The Dad has recently informed me that Ivydene Jack is being sold!  This is The Dad's double Highland Show prize a 2nd in Lamb Ram and 3rd in Shearling Ram over The Dads' two years at The Highland.  Upset?  Me?  Damn right.  Jack is my friend, I've known him all his life, granted, that is one year, but he's special and I can't help but think someone's going to beat us in a show ring one day with our Jack, and I'll cry and say..WHY DAD? WHY? I told you so!...through my tears.
  The Dad 2014 birthday card

Most of my life I've had 20/20 vision. I know this because at age 20 I had my eyes tested then nothing changed for a long time.  Oh yeah...check me out with my decades of pure clarity.  Pains me to admit I've had cause to revisit an optician.  That optician says I now only need distance spectacles, says my near vision is 0.5 (doesn't recommend glasses).  I wanted to see faces on stages in theatres clearer (they got annoyingly blurred in recent times) and to make reading foreign movie subtitles on the TV screen totally sharp again (was getting all bleedy at the edges).  What a feckin difference!  Everything 2 meters & more distance is sharp and crisp again, real life is all HD/3D again.  I went with Ray Ban wayfarer frames...obviously.

  On the day I was in The Centre having my eyes tested I also accidently misplaced a carrier bag containing small items I'd bought at Tiger and a panini I got at Muffin Break.  2 WEEKS! later when I was back in The Centre picking up my prescription Ray Bans I popped into Muffin Break on the off chance I'd left the bag there.  While I was explaining the situation to a counter staff person, the manageress produced my bag AND insisted on one of her staff making me a free replacement goats cheese and cranberry panini, even though it was entirely my own mistake to have left the bag.  Huge massive well done to Muffin Break and the foods lovely too, many thanks.
  Friend C came over for a Wine and Whine night.  We sat out on Patio 3 and enjoyed the Starry Towers night air sans accoutrement.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Resolution.  A mash-up of horror thriller and not what I was expecting exactly.
    Friend C and I watched Anchorman 2...such a pleasure, like greeting old much-loved friends you've missed for a few years, if your old much-loved friends are Ron Burgundy, Brian Fantana, Brick Tamland, Champ Kind and Veronica should be so lucky, and it's delightfully funny.
    The Husband and I watched Straw Dogs, the 2011 version.  It's OK.







The Body




















  Sheep News

first time in the Royal Highland Show ring


My first time in the ring at the Royal Highland Show & I get a ticket.  A 5th place ticket with the Ivydene Ram Lamb.  See all the 2014 Royal Highland Show Sheep News (as it applies to the Ivydene Flock) on The Shetland Sheep News Blog.

  And...speaking of tickets.  First The Husband, now The Dad, it's been speeding tickets all round here.  Very early one morning, on his way into The Highland Show ground, The Dad was doing 40 mph in a 30, and the cops know it.  This man will be 75 yrs old in a minute and this is his first infringement of any kind ever ever ever in his long long life, that's three points and a £100 fine right there.
  Been great weather in Scotland recently, with a long weekend off I got a lot of it.  Friday for the Shetland Sheep then Saturday saw us having a family dinner on Patio 3.  Many thanks to The Bro, The Sis-In-Law, The Boy and his lovely G/F for accepting the invitation to join The Husband and I, and for thoroughly enjoying my mini oat cakes & crostini with dip & pate selection starter, the Aberdeen Angus or Quorn burger on a Rosemary & Sea Salt Focaccia with Blue Cheese (for us sophisticates) or Cheddar (for the traditionalists), a mixed salad with French dressing, coleslaw and a spicy fruity rice side-dish, then the New York Cheesecake and Banoffee Pie sweet.  Was both amusing and sickening watching The Bro and The Boy engage in a Who-Can-Eat-Most-Sweet competition.
  Weather was still permitting for Sunday, enticing The Husband and I out for a drive in the Jeep, top down.  We headed south to the Borders and found ourselves...gloriously...slap bang in the Middle of Nowhere.  I got my cool on for this snap, when The Bro saw it, his reaction..."you look as if you've just taken Torbrook Sis".  Of course, I had to Google it, having done so, I agree...yes I do, but with greener pastures and a more vibrant coloured Jeep.  I'm totally rocking the Jeep, Ray Bans and Alexander McQueen Skull scarf look.
    the Jeep and me in the middle of Nowhere
    The Starry Towers chim-chim-in-ee got a sweeping last week.  The Chim-in-ee Sweep done a right good job, we had an interesting chat AND he rocked up with a Dog called Holly and a baby Goose called Peter...unexpected result.
  The Chim-in-ee Sweep has a bunch of Geese and Hens.  He spotted that this baby wasn't for surviving, so after he was sure that Mother Goose wasn't able to save Peter, the Sweep took him into the house where the sick chick slept on the Sweep for heat.  Baby Goose survived that first night so the Sweep commenced a feeding program, which began with force-feeding through a straw...a la Foie save a life too far gone to even swallow.  Next on to a pipette, before he was strong enough to do a bit of eating for himself.  No wonder the Sweep became Peters' mother.  Peter won't make a good housemate as an adult Goose, so he (or she) will be pushed back to being a full-time Goose gradually once he's old and big enough to stand up for himself within the group.  And the Dog...Holly passively tolerates Peter, but grows bored & walks off often.  Peter is very demanding.  He needs to see the Sweep or have the comfort of Holly next to him, without one of them he runs around in a noisy panic.  Ahhhh, a lovely story.  Holly is a rescue dog with separation-anxiety issues of her own as big as baby Peters', so she could be more tolerant.  If Peter was mine, I'd name him Ryan...think about it.


    Peter and Holly in the van
    Holly and Peter
    the Starry Towers fire after sweeping
    I've seen the inside of three of Scotlands' law court buildings now.  As a potential jury member...Edinburgh High and Linlithgow Sheriff...and now, the most a potential witness...Livingston Sheriff.  This time I wasn't alone, Friend D and I found ourselves recipients of Witness Citations, a year after the event.  A series of phone calls and I got all Miss Marple, found out the name and car registration plate.  Police told us they'd have a word, it would stop and that would be the end of it.  They did and it stopped...then the citations.  We had many months of worry, imagining all sorts of situations, wondering, not knowing, public speaking itself is a nightmare for both of us, public speaking under questioning...shudder.  So, as it inevitably would do, the day arrived.  We dutifully attended, case got thrown out and we don't have to enter witness protection or anything.  Phew!  What a relief. Friend D was near on having a panic attack and I was only just holding it together to stop her from imploding, a horrible experience.
    The Starry Towers back fence, recently taken down for post-renewal, has been rebuilt, and I picked the hottest day of the year to paint it and the other fence down the side.  What a mess I got in, with paint and sweat, but I did a really good job.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Prisoners.  Excellent movie with Jake Gyllenhaal as Detective Loki with his twitchy eye blinky thing.
    The Husband and I watched The Body.  Seemed a bit too long at times, but this intriguing and inventive Spanish murder-mystery thriller has you guessing all the way...I guessed pretty close.







The Door


















  Sheep News
  There's the latest Sheep News over on The Shetland Sheep Blog.

My new Fossils are on The Star Swag Blog.

  I was doing a Harry...a Harry is when I potter around on the Starry Towers estate.  Last Wednesday I was doing a Harry in the back garden sector of the estate when this happened...a big hole in the fence at the back.  I heard heavy plank removing sounds, nails being forced, wrenched back through the wood they were hammered into sometime pre-1990, which is when I first set eyes on this garden fence.  Neighbour later explained...he forgot to mention he's having some of the fence posts renewed.  That in itself is an admirable and good thing and we're not going to tell him NO because these old posts were rotting through at the base.  The workies are the guys who laid the Starry Towers monoblock, I recall the neighbour chatting to them as old pals when they were doing our monoblock, it's possible they're squeezing his job in at mates rates, as and when they can.  They promised me, guaranteed, will all be back to normal tomorrow night.  It isn't.  Four nights later, the new posts are in situ, but there's still a massive hole in our security.  When they eventually get it all back to normal I'm going to go green, might take a few coats.
  fence dismantling
  I've been resisting  the smart phone, seriously opposed to the money involved (I'm Scottish) and I liked my old Motorola RZ so much, I was angry at technology for making it redundant.  I don't understand all the options these days, what phone, what deal, what cost...fries my synapses.  The Husband took it out of my hands today, whisked me up to our local Carphone Warehouse and I came home with a white iPhone, a white leather Tech21 Impact Flip case with super-protective Impactology and a ZAGG® invisibleSHIELD® with NanoMemory technology.
    TECH21 white leather flip case
    With my new iPhone clutched in my hand we set off for a drive in the Zed, through Edinburgh, Leith, the coastal route, arriving eventually at Tantallon Castle on the Firth of Forth.  I was lamenting to the Gift Shop man (we'd met before though he showed no sign of recalling me) that I was wearing inappropriate footwear for a walk round the castle and that's it's cruel and unfair that there isn't another spot from which to view Bass Rock, my favourite rock in the whole world.  Was then he shared a hidden gem...Seacliff Beach.  This beach is news to me, but we're reliably informed it's been there a while.  If you didn't know it was there you'd never find it.  Reaching the beach involves driving down a road that is signposted only to inform you that it's a private road, but soon you reach a toll barrier, £2.00 raises the barrier and a track takes you to car parking and toilets.  Walk down a short sandy path and you're on a beautiful clean golden beach.  On a Sunday afternoon in the Summer, in great weather and the beach is only sparsely populated with a few couples and families.  At the west end of the beach around the rocky headland is the tiny and incredible Seacliff Harbour, claimed to be Scotland's smallest.  Also there's an end view of Tantallon Castle.  We didn't walk to the end of the beach, we're going back in the Jeep to make a day of it exploring the area.  I played with my new iPhone and it's camera special effects.  Good images, but not as good as my Canon EOS M (third pic).
    Bass Rock
    The Husband and Bass Rock
    Bass Rock
    Tit Watch...I checked in with the babies on Sunday...all gone.  One tiny egg and bird shit is all that's left.  I'm happy, six brand new Blue Tits in the world, result.
  empty nest
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched EXIT.  A Danish action thriller movie with Starry Towers hot favourite Mads Mikkelsen.  We liked.
  The Husband and I watched The Door.  A German time-travelling, super-natural, psychological thriller-drama with Mads again.  Different, we enjoyed.


























Sheep News

  Over on The Shetland Sheep Blog for the Lesmahagow Show Ivydene results at the weekend.
  On The Star Swag new Bloomingville Black Star Crockery, because it's pretty special.
  Tit Watch...I'm pleased to announce we here at Starry Towers are providing maternity and nursery services for six healthy baby Blue Tits this year.  The first year we've been successful since the loss of the old shed with the repeatedly used old bird box.  On the new shed I got it wrong first time round, I went with x3 aesthetically pleasing Swedish style boxes that unfortunately, the birds didn't like.  Also I had too many, too close to each other.  First year the birds ignored them, next year there were half-built nests in two of the three.  I ditched the Scandi-style boxes and went back to my favourite box, the more traditional style with a hinged lid.  Go for solidly built, good quality boxes with the correct sized entry holes.  It's also important to ensure the lid is slightly wider than the body of the box, to prevent rain water leaking in.  Think of all the possible dangers when choosing and sighting your box.  Mine are correctly positioned to be protected from prevailing rain and winds and shady enough to avoid overheating in the sun.  Also, think CAT!  Place boxes where cats can't reach them, from below or above.  Keep them away from feeding areas and do not place them too close together, the birds can get them confused which can lead to all sorts of tragedy.  Here are our itsy bitsy teeny weeny bundles of baby feather and fluff for 2014, so beautiful, marvelous, perfect.
    Starry Towers Blue Tits 2014







The Silence


Sunshine On Leith


















Sheep News


Shetland Sheep News...The Ivydene Flock The Shetland Sheep Blog.

  Silke News...Three pieces of Silke News.  First, on Saturday we had Ivydene Silke in Sheep News, then on Sunday the Sis-in-Law Silke ran her first marathon at Edinburgh in a very wonderful 4 hrs and 39 mins, girl done well good.  And today it's a very Happy Birthday to our Silke.  See The Shetland Sheep Blog for Ivydene Silke and below for Silke in the marathon and Silke Moonpigged.  So happy and relieved the Sis-In-Law done so good in the marathon, was too late to change the card by then, if she hadn't-finished/collapsed/twisted-an-ankle the card would've been as welcome as a chafing thigh in a lycra short.
  Silke running the Edinburgh Marathon
  Silke Birthday Card
  The Husband is going to be a Granddad and that means I'll be a Step-Granny...dear, oh dear, oh dear.  We're extremely happy to announce The Step-Daughter Alice and her partner Mark are looking forward to bundle-of-joy time in December.  The expectant parents made the news public with this charming picture of the family shoes on The Facebook.
  Take note The Boy and lovely girlfriend Laura...we can handle only one pregnancy at a time in this family and you two have at least 10 years to think about it before doing it.
  The Husband can't seem to cope with only two cars, the latest Starry Towers 3-car news is the sacking of the Sudoku, or was that Subaru?  I could hardly tell the difference, it was apparently a fabulous motor, brand new, white, it was bland and looked like a whole load of the other (many inferior) cars on Britain's roads, yawn.  I like an iconic car, one that even I can recognise at a distance.  Joining The Zed and The Jeep Wrangler, we now have the Jag XJ.   A beautiful luxury motor, stylish and classic, customised red/grey stitched leather interior and loads of other nice bits that I know nothing of.  The chrome Jaguar figurine from off the bonnet has been replaced with a badge, and is now all mine, I plan to mount and display in Starry Towers.
    The Jag
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Filth, based on Irvine Welsh's novel of the same name.  How very Eurovision 2014 winner but with a lot more drink, drugs, psychosis, violence, Scotland, polis and truly wonderful music.  I enjoyed the movie more than the book, and you don't get to say that very often.
    The Husband and I watched The Silence, a German movie...feel the pain of the damage paedophiles do, moving, shocking and terribly sad.  There is just no excuse for the damage done by anyone at whatever level they engage in abusing children.
    The Husband and I  watched Sunshine On Leith.  What a marvelously fabulously happy upbeat Scottish movie.  We loved and adored it.  I was singing along and got many rows from The Husband, however in my defence...what Scot could watch this and NOT sing along.  Was so nice to see River City actors AND...briefly...Craig and Charlie Reid, the actual Proclaimer Brothers too.  It's got The Proclaimers, we love The Proclaimers, we belt the tunes out in the car, shouting along on road-trips.  The Husband rocks the tunes at full volume when he's alone in an office in Norway.  Ultra feel-good, life should totally be like this.  I cried...twice...tears of joy.  And even if The Husband asks me nicely...Am no goanna England...I said that even before Davy got the chance to, the mere idea is an affront.




Last Passenger





















Blingy Ringy on The Star Swag Blog.

  Update on The Husband News.  He's only gone and made it to page 3 of this weeks' West Lothian Courier.  I myself made it to page 5 of The Scotsman in 1990.  Not that I'm playing Newspaper Top Trumps or anything. 
  The Husband didn't know his court appearance for sentencing was going to make it the local newspaper.  We're guessing the fact that he was caught at 101 and kept his license in West Lothian made it newsworthy.  He appeared in court with drug dealers and other such low-lives, and quite frankly, that in itself was punishment enough in my opinion.
  Back to me...I was known as Senior Staff  Nurse Bryce back then, and I was temporarily elevated to the vaulted position of union spokesperson which permitted me to speak to a journo without being sacked for blabbing inappropriately. Journo John Smith asked me questions...what did it look like, what was it doing, how did you feel...then took all my answers and made me sound like some sort of simpleton by messing my words around and making a load of little answers into one long sentence that I'd never have uttered.  He also blatantly  misrepresented me, I did not leave the ward, that would've been a disciplinary thingy, I was the only trained nurse on duty.  What I told Mr Smith was, I left the dining room.
      snail shock
    There's a dangerous pervert in Livingston, just the other side of the M8 from Sunny D.  Two women have been attacked and police are now saying the incidents could well be linked.  First, at around 5.20am on April 8 a woman was attacked in a back garden, then on May 7 approximately a half mile away from the first incident a woman woke at around 3.30am being assaulted by an intruder in her own home.  What do these incidents bring to my mind?  The Starry Towers Intruder.  Despite some, including a policewoman, encouraging me not to let my mind run away and scare myself...I was very scared when I put 2+2+2 together and realised that The Starry Towers Intruder had left evidence of his being in the back garden three times.  So, how many more times when he left no evidence?  I am observant, intelligent and sensible, I spotted the two early clues then a neighbour saw him, what bit of that is NOT to be afraid of?  Me being very scared was entirely reasonable.  I've lived here since 1990 with no sign of anyone lurking in the dark, and now a strange man in my enclosed garden, at night, on at least three occasions, it's not a short cut and nothing's been stolen, most likely to be a pervert, elementary my dear Watson.  One month after The Starry Towers Intruder was actually seen in our garden the first of the Livingston attacks occurred.  The distance between Sunny D and the attack area is approx 2 miles with woodland paths between.  I think it's entirely reasonable to think it's possible the attacks and The Starry Towers Intruder could be the same dangerous pervert.  Without our CCTV cameras I'd be very very scared indeed now.  I only hope the police catch this bastard before anyone else is attacked, then I can actually step outside into my own garden after dark again.
    Indecent Assaults close to Sunny D
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Last Passenger.  Engrossing enough, right up to the point where a glimpse is caught of the disappointing bad guy, then it's too hands-off to be a really terrifying threat.






The Frozen Ground


Alpha Papa















Over on The Star Swag Blog for my sheer fashion.

  Crime statistics have spiked here at Starry Towers, from zero to 101 in 0.6 seconds. and now I'm living with a criminal.  The Husband got a speeding ticket for doing 101 on the M8.  It sounds bad, but it truly wasn't.  It was a sultry Sunday evening, we were returning from family visiting in the shire of Lanark and The Husband put his left foot down a little too heavily at precisely the wrong moment.  You see the BMW Z4 M series needs a burst of speed occasionally to make it work right, without said squirt of fuel the Zed engine would surely die and go to car hell, which is an ASDA car park somewhere in Bournemouth.  I would never forgive The Husband.

The Husband took it on the chin, it was after all, a fair cop.  He was charged with speeding only, not reckless driving, because he was actually driving very carefully, as he always does.  The traffic cops were nice, they told him he was driving well, just a bit too fast.  They reported the weather conditions were good, that the traffic was light and that The Husband was rightfully apologetic.  The envelope duly arrived, he pled guilty on the form and delivered it along with his driving licence to the local court.  On the day the result was guilty and he was told he would have to attend the court in person for sentencing.  With much trepidation he did so, 6 points and a £400 fine, it could've been so much worse.  The Husband only gives the Z4 a squirt when it's safe to do so, from now on we'll have to keep that to the home of the BMW Z4, the German Autobahnen.  


Now The Husband's seen the cards I recently made for him at Moonpig I can show them here.  This is his Happy Birthday card channelling the movie Drive and the Good Luck In Court card that I like to think made all the difference on the day.

  Happy Birthday The Husband
    I just got the latest addition to the Starry Towers Meerkat collection, this is our baby Oleg, so sweet.  I'm not sure why, but I have to have them all.
  This is the most recent load of a long history of logs to arrive at Starry Towers, courtesy of The Dad.  This load was almost too aesthetically-pleasing to burn.  If I'm in on my own of an evening and not working the next day (because I need to cleanout and reset the fire the next day)...there's nothing better than a real fire for company.  I don't mind cleaning out and resetting the fire because it's not every day, Starry Towers is, as recently mentioned on here, fully BG centrally heated.  We buy coal once a year, approx £130 to fill the large bunker, the rest is burning logs supplied by The Dad.  Another real fire factor is I absolutely love chopping kindling of my OCD things is having a healthy stock-pile of kindling sticks.  Check out my front garden Tulips looking gorgeous in the background of the log picture too.
    Product Of The Week...My new XHose.  It's blue, so much more attractive than the common yellow.  But the colour is just the bonus, the benefits of the XHose are multiple, it's so light and easy to handle, it doesn't kink, twist or tangle so no abrupt cut-off in the water flow, and when you're finished it takes only seconds to hang it back on it's holder.  Turn the water on and it expands to 3 times it's size, turn the water off and it contracts right back down again as the water drains out.  I went with the 100ft Bundle - XHose & Holder & Water Jet & 8 Speed Nozzle. 
    Book News...Anne Frank Diary Of A Young Woman.  Took me 50 years to get round to it, on my bucket list and read now.  Having recently enjoyed the clever satire of Timur Vermes' Look Who's Back (Hitler alive and well in present day Berlin) I felt it only right to turn to Anne Frank for the reality.  A wonderful girl, intelligent, a skilled writer, extremely self-aware, of both her own talents and her flaws and a keen observer of those around her.  Unputdownable. engrossing, interesting and monumentally heartbreaking. Knowing all the time you're reading that it would come to a very abrupt end, as she would never know when, and not be able to write another entry, after the day they were discovered. But also how, even in these astounding and difficult conditions, she remained a teenager, with all the mix of hormones and emotions. An amazing little girl with such huge promise and possibilities. I've been to the gravestone of Anne and her sister Margot at Bergen-Belsen, where they both died of typhus. One of the saddest sites in the world.
    The Diary Of A Young Girl
    After enjoying James Oswald's Edinburgh based Detective Inspector Anthony McLean in Natural Causes, I did The Book of Souls and The Hangman's Song.  Good stuff.
  The Book Of Souls
    The Hangman's Song
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Nightwatch, the original Danish , the directing debut of Ole Bornedal with Sofie Gråbø of TVs' The Killing fame.  I liked it though it was old school.
    Then I watched The Frozen Ground, ahhh my old friend Nicolas Cage, with the added bonus of John Cusack.  Good movie made all the more interesting unfortunately because it's based on the true story of Robert Christian Hansen, a serial killer born in 1939 and currently serving a 461 years sentence for the murders of 17 to 21 women.
    I also watched Alpha Papa, knowing me knowing him...major disappointment.





Happy Birthday to The Husband.  I wish he was home for this one, it's a biggie, one of the decades, with a zero at the end.  I can't even blog a picture of the card I made for him because the card remains unopened on the Starry Towers mantel piece, waiting for him to come home next week.  All he really needs to know is...I love you The Husband.  Plus, here's a very blurry version of your most fabulous birthday card, all you can see for now...

  Meter Shock Update...Well, well, that "well, well, well" with much self-satisfaction in the tone.  Quick catch-up on this long-running battle.  BG was charging me approx £45 for a ghost meter we never ever used.  BG was getting well antsy as the bill remained unpaid, phoning and emailing me.  The phone calls were hilarious as I achieved a level of remaining evasive I never imagined would be actually possible.  They phoned me, a lot, cunningly asking me to identify myself by confirming my personal details.  I was well annoyed by that approach, as if this new ghost meter daily standing charge wasn't maddening enough.  I told them how ridiculous it was that they'd phone me then ask me to tell them my DOB etc.  Typical response from me..."you know who I am, you know my name and my phone number, YOU phoned ME, I don't know who you are, you could be anybody". 
  I was hoping to do enough to tide them over till I got the meter removed.  The last of their phone calls was on the very morning I won the war.  The BG phone guy was asking me everything and telling me nothing.  I admitted to be me, but he wouldn't believe me because I refused to confirm my personal details.  In the end when he said "if you won't confirm your details, would you phone us?"  I asked... "just tell me one it billing or appointments?"  Billing.  Most excellent, meant my appointment to have the ghost meter removed that afternoon was still on.  Show and tell lose for BG.
  A perfectly lovely BG engineer arrived a couple hours later and removed the offending ghost meter.  Mission absolutely accomplished.  As soon as he and the ghost meter were gone, it was my turn to step-up (as per my cunning plan).  I phoned BG, a man asked me how he could help?  I said, it's more how I can help you, you've been trying to talk to me for a while, here I am now, ready to talk.  Then I announced...I'm not paying, I'll go to court, I'll go to jail, but I'm not paying.  I explained the reasons BG's behaviour had pissed me off.  In the end...he was careful to inform me of the technicalities of the decision.  They're not "dropping" the daily standing charges, rather this is an "act of good will to compensate for the level of service you received".  He clung on to what I told him of how The Husband phoned BG about this shocking bill and he hadn't been told that BG remove these meters for free.  I'd also told him their website doesn't mention the free removal, I had to do a load of Googling to find that out for myself.  Effectively he gagged me with this good-will gesture.  Otherwise my case could perhaps be seen as a precedence and maybe others could use it to achieve some "good-will" too.  That, rather than the charges and secrecy being immoral and just plain wrong.  I sincerely hope some people read this and get BG to compensate them for poor service too.  I fought the BG and I won! 
    Sheep News
    Shetland Sheep News...The Ivydene lambs are all here.  The four Ivydene ewes have each had a boy/girl twin set, eight babies that could grow to be a Champion of Champions, the possibilities are endless.  Here's the babies, from top...Rench Marilyn, Rench Davina, Rench Marilyn II and Ivydene Marilyn.  I haven't been able to get down for photos yet so it's thanks to friend Suzanne Meikle for these pics.
    Rench Marilyn and her 2014 lambs
    Rench Davina and lambs
    Ivydene Marilyn & lambs
    In other Sheep News...The Dad's silverware haul for 2013, congratuwellbloodydone The Dad.
    The Dad's 2013 silverware
      The Husband and I had a night out in Glasgow to see Frank Skinner at the King's Theatre.  Straight up, secure parking right behind the theatre, brilliant.  Then the Italian restaurant Massimo was handy, being right there across the street.  We were taken straight to a table despite no reservation.  A beautiful interior, very classy while being relaxing, comfortable and not pretentious, staff were friendly and attentive to the exact perfect degree.  With time enough for one course I had the prawn Caesar Salad, it was deliciously creamy, warm and just the right side of soft, best Caesar Salad I've ever tasted.  The Husband had summit pasta-based with chickpeas that we couldn't pronounce, even though the waiter said it several times (exceptionally patient and non-judgmental) for our benefit.  The Husband reports the summit unpronounceable with chickpeas was delicious.  Perfect portion size and reasonable prices.
    We crossed Bath Street and into the King's Theatre.  Immediately the lack of queuing and the quiet dignified atmosphere, then the beauty of the interior.  The staff were so friendly, smiling and dignified, proud of their theatre, every single one of them behaved as if this was their own personal theatre and on-going business concern.  The Picture Gallery for a drink, again no queue, a few couples sitting at tables, some even drinking coffee.  Hushed like a Sunday afternoon, balcony doors open to the evening skies.  The opportunity to casually browse the framed photographs of the world-famous actors and actresses who have been on that stage, the history, the glamour, mucho-glam factor.  I visited the toilet before we took our seats, again, I can't emphasize it enough...even in the queue.  The theatre itself, so beautiful in it's antique gold and red furnishings and the coin-operated-rent-a-opera-glasses in the seat-backs, very special.  It struck us both, Edinburgh's Playhouse can't match Glasgow's King's any way.  Apart from the SSEC which is different due to it's at-a-distance-outside-Glasgow status one of the two other times I made The Husband take me to central Glasgow of an evening (to see Jarvis Cocker at the ABC) he left having had his previous Englishman-in-Glasgow fears upheld when some drunk struck his fist against our vehicle while shouting at us.  This night at the Kings Theatre was so magical, it's changed his opinion, and mine, we will be back.
    Frank Skinner is one of MY guys, The Husband used to think he was all right, I've adored Frank for decades, read all his books and listen to his Absolute podcast every week.   With Man in A Suit he made me proud, The Husband is won right over and now holds Frank up with the Eddie Izzards of this world.  The evening was right up there with the best of our best ever great nights out, alongside the opera in Venice, Paris' Moulin Rouge dinner and show, and the Cirque du Soleil "O" at the Bellagio in Las vegas.  Yep, THAT good.

I just heard a couple of days ago that Divinyls singer Chrissy Amphlett (October 25, 1959 - April 21, 2013) died at 53 from breast cancer last year.  I own two vinyl records, the Orange Juice LP You can't Hide Your Love Forever and I Touch Myself in 12" single format.   As I followed the online information trail to learn more I found this, Chrissys' legacy, to have her song used to promote breast cancer awareness.  One of my most loved songs ever, a sexy song I played on repeat back in the day, now in Chrissys' memory helping to fight breast cancer.  This version is so beautiful & poignant...I cry...I honestly do.  Experience it at  And, always, always, touch yourself.

    Chrissy Amphlett





Panic Button



















Sheep News


Shetland Sheep News...and the winner of the UK Shetland Sheep Small Flock (19 ewes or less) John Holmes Memorial Trophy for 2013 is...The Dad.  This is a national trophy, for the entire UK, awarded to the flock that wins the most points in the year's shows.  The Dad has 4 ewes, and 2013 was only his 2nd year of showing his Ivydene Flock, therefore he did fabulously well.  In other Shetland Sheep News...all four of the Ivydene ewes have delivered their 2014 babies.  Pictures to follow, but am I the only one surprised that a '70s and '80s porn legend would have Shetland Sheep memorial trophies in his name?  Or maybe I just knew stuff back in the day, the kind of information that didn't reach most other decent people, or maybe just less savvy people...kinda depends what slant you care to put on it, I go with the savvy and worldly-wise option, obviously.

  Panda we go again.  Can't we just leave the bears alone now?  If they don't wanna...and they really don't wanna, then they don't wanna.  China's Pandas on their holidays to Edinburgh Zoo are much the same as the rest of China's Pandas...not randy.  Tian Tian and Yang Guang have reached their third breeding season since arriving in Scotland and time isn't making them any fonder of each other.  This is just not good enough and the people in charge of Pandas are interfering again.  Tian Tian has been inseminated again and Guan Guan has been, erm, relieved of his sperm again.  How is Panda sperm obtained?  You probably don't want to know, but I'm going to tell you anyway...a process called electro-ejaculation.  The donor is anaesthetised (a Panda sperm bank called Kou Kou died under anesthetic during electro-ejaculation at Oji Zoo in 2010), then a probe is inserted in his rectum. An electrical stimulus is applied several times to the accessory glands of the reproductive tract, and bingo...fresh Panda ejaculate.  Icky...that's ICKY...not licky.
    Panda under anaesthetic
    Giant Pandas are hell bent on extinction.   They don't like each other, they don't show any desire to go forth and multiply and they die a lot in babyhood...infection and being squished by their mothers are common causes.  She is only fertile for 2 or 3 days a year, he's got a very small member, they're shy and don't seem to actually like being put on view to the public in captivity.  Humans are destroying their natural habitat, imprisoning and exhibiting them, artificially inseminating them, flying them around the world, pairing them up with partners not of their own choosing (female Pandas in the wild like to pick their own mate thank you very much)...recipe for a less than perfect conservation breeding programme.  The cherry on the cake of this great big disgusting situation is China using these creatures as pawns in their political strategy games.  From the WWF charity fund raising, via the Zoos, to politics and businesses, Giant's all about the money.  I say give the poor doomed beasts diplomatic immunity.
    Meter Shock Update...Well!  read that "Well!" with much indignation in the tone.  On the 7th April (below) I reported on the Starry Towers ghost gas meter shock bill...for a meter we've never used.  After much Googling I'd discovered BG remove ghost meters for free.
    BG phoned me about a week ago to ask if I'm experiencing difficulty in paying the bill.  Hell yeah!  Difficulty is I don't like to be taken advantage of, cheated, mugged-off, treated like a fool or the victim of thuggery, be it from a hoodie on the street or from big business.  I was near on apoplectic with fury.  I told her as politely and succinctly as I was able, I'm furious with BG for not informing me this change was coming, for not informing us of the free-meter-removal option, for not publicising the free-meter-removal option, for doing all these things to not only me but to other people too.  For being, in one word, bastards.  She bore with me, asked again, am I experiencing difficulty in paying the bill.  I told her (with all my powers of restraint), I'm still too angry to deal with it, leave it with me for now.  The next day BG phone again, I hear The Husband telling them his wife is too upset to come to the phone.  Two days ago I received an email informing me I haven't paid the bill.  I take this email to be the equivalent of an old fashioned red gas bill letter through the door, I've never had a red bill before...because I've never felt so cheated and offended at any utility company's behaviour before.  Tomorrow BG come to remove the ghost meter, for free.  This meter isn't on my property, it's on next doors' wall, I have photographic evidence of this.  I'm biding my time, once the meter is gone, next move will be theirs.
    I got my number 8 Ben Gleib Last Week On Earth podcast mention.  My eighth Mention Episode is #128 April 16th 2014 - question..."are you patriotic? Why or why not?".  My answer..."Yes I'm patriotic. Reason : I'm Scottish #TwitterAnswers #Scotland #Freedom #bagpipes #tartan #haggis #inventions".
    Ben Gleib Last Week On Earth
    Saw this map of Stereotypical Britain, found it amusing.  It says I'm Wannabe English, nothing could be further from the truth, but still, the rest of it's humorously accurate.
    stereotypical UK
    Book News...A Song for the Dying by Stuart MacBride, his most recent work, is my favourite of all his books I've listened to so far.  From this I can only deduce that he's getting better all the time because I've enjoyed them all.
    A Song For The Dying
    Look Who's Back by Timur Vermes is a great work of modern literature, funny and clever, it's a future classic that will be on school and college reading lists.
    Look Who's Back
    Product of the Week...Brooklyn Essential Soap Dispenser White £5, Brooklyn Essential Tumbler White £3, Brooklyn Essential Toilet Brush White £12, (usual full prices).  Sleek, classy, quality products, I got mine at 20% off prices in the BHS sale...score.  I got for two bathrooms and another soap dispenser for the kitchen sink.  So good I had to go back and order more for The Mum, she knows quality when she sees it.
    BHS Brookyn Essentials
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Panic Button, it kept my attention, OK for a British horror thriller slasher, but with a less than believable conclusion the movie could have managed well without.












Book News...New Jo Nesbø Book Day with the release of The Son.  There's been bucket-loads of anticipation for this here at Starry Towers with both The Husband and I eagerly awaiting more Jo Nesbø.  This is not a Harry Hole book.  I wasn't all that keen on Headhunters, another not-Harry-Hole book (but a great not-Harry-Hole movie).  I was still expecting top notch Nordic Noir, and I have not been disappointed.  I started this morning and I'm half way through this evening.  The Son introduces a new police man, Inspector Simon Kefa, I miss Harry, but there's plenty of characters in this book to become attached to, I'm really enjoying this not-Harry-Hole book.  There's a movie to look forward to too.

  And there's more, Tom Johansen is Jo Nesbø.  He's working the nom de plume vibe with two books, Blood On Snow and Blood On Snow II in the pipeline.  There's talk of Blood On Snow being made into a film and also, Cockroaches.  Loads of Jo Nesbø to look forward to.
    The Son
    Product of the ultra-flexible A5 M by Staples ARC Notebook in black Leather.  A seriously quality item at the ridiculously low price of only £16.  The design of the Arc notebook allows you to add, remove, and rearrange pages and accessories as your needs change.  This A5 notebook features an attractive black leather cover with a flap on the inside to hold notes and business cards. Each notebook includes 60 high quality lined sheets.  The ARCs are also available in A4 and A6, a multitude of other colours in the leathers, poly and fabric options (in various colour and pattern designs), various 50 page refill options, accessories such as a ruler, index dividers and pockets, and replacement discs, brilliant.  You can have a look at the ARC range for yourself at Staples.
    ARC Notebooks
    Product of the Week...While I was at Staples I picked up this really cute Animal Print Halfstrip Stapler, only £1.99.  Functional and me, and it's all matchy matchy with my Zebra pens and mechanical pencils for the mirrored desk console in the Starry Towers study.
    Staples Zebra Stapler




The Killing




















Tit Watch...and the results are in.  My first Scottish Breast Screening mammogram is a reassuring success, no sign of cancer.  These breasts have, and still are, serving me well, playing for the team not against, well done breasts.


I love to spend money...on my nearest and dearest, on good things, on me and Starry Towers.  I don't love, not even like, to chuck my money at utility companies, especially when they're being unreasonable and unfair.


A surprise bill arrived at Starry Towers.  From Scottish Gas (ie British Gas) to the upstairs, now defunct, address.  When we bought the upstairs apartment we had to change utility bills over to us.  The Husband took over paying the electricity, but we never used the BT phone line or the SG gas, shut them both down.  Then never heard another word till now.  Apparently Ofgen have made changes that permit utility companies to charge for unused gas meters, they also said the utility companies can choose their own price.  Seems the utility companies have paid a lot of attention to the you-can-charge and ignored the you-don't-have-to-make-it-more-than-zero pence.

  First The Husband phoned SG and was told the legalities, Ofgen has changed the rules, it's Ofgen's fault, this new daily standing charge of 26p a day.  They did not offer to remove the meter, they have been deliberately misleading to the point of dishonesty.  After much Googling I eventually discovered BG removes unused meters for free.  An appointment is made, the ghost meter will be charge.  However, I'm still extremely pissed off, they don't make this information readily available, I could find no relevant information on the BG website and they started charging without informing customers of the change or the free removal option.  Dirty tricky utility company corporate b******s.  If BG wants my money for an unused meter, they'll have to pry it from my cold dead hands, they've thrown down the gauntlet, and I'm prepared to go to war.  Though it remains to be seen whether I'll actually be prepared to go to jail for non-payment of a £40 bill, but if the shit really does come down, I'm sure The Husband would step up in court and pay (against my wishes of course) to save me from myself...I think.
    My information was found in this article by Victoria Bischoff on ThisIsMoney.  On reflection, this ghost meter isn't even on our property, it's on next door's wall...don't ask, I have no idea. 
    3 gas meters next door
    My favourite car in the whole wide world has had a make-over pampering session, and is looking fantastic for it.  The Z4M is all shiny glossy and beautiful, wearing an entirely different shade of red than it used to.  This is BMW Imola Red, in it's true colours.  ShineCarCare in Bo'Ness have done their magic, what they call a Correction Detail.  They totally transformed the paint by decontaminating with tar and fallout removers before clay barring then machine polishing.  The brilliant swirl-mark and scratch free paint is then protected with Auto Finesse Tough Coat and Autoglym High Definition Wax.  Whatever all that stuff is, it's fabulous.  ShineCarCare have put up a page of photos they took during the job.  See their picture page here.  The first three pictures below are the "after" finished work, the last one is the dull paint "before".
    the shiny shiny Zed
    Book News...scorching my way through the Stuart MacBride DS Logan MacRae books.  After Book 1 Cold Granite I listened to Book 8 Close to the Bone, I'm not taking them in strict chronological order.  Next, Dying Light Book 2, Flesh House Book 4, Broken Skin Book 3 then Blind Eye Book 5.  In there somewhere I listened to James Oswald's Natural Causes with the Edinburgh based Detective Inspector Anthony McLean, enjoyed that too.  This is me killing time waiting on Jo Nesbø's The Son which will be out in just a couple days.
    Close to the Bone
    Dying Light
  Flesh House
  Broken Skin
  Blind Eye
  Natural Causes
    Box Set Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Killing, all three seasons.  Season 1, too long, could easily have been 10 episodes and would've been better for it. By episode 17 I was begging...cut to the bloody chase. In the end it was...d'oh...the bloody obvious. Not as wonderful as The Bridge and adorable Saga Norén (Sofia Helin), but good, and I was in for the duration. The makers must've realised their folly with the bumper 20 episode season 1 and they cut Season 2 to ten episodes, much better. Season 2, my least favourite of the plot-lines, not all that keen on army/war/terrorism type murder mysteries. Season 3, my favourite of the plot-lines, ten thrilling episodes. Sarah Lund (Sofia Gråbø), I love you, why do you have to be such a phenomenally brilliant fuck-up?















Loads of effort later, the Starry Towers Blog is updated with all the recent work, photos and shopping information.

  Product of the Week is this beautiful silver star keyring from Twenty-Seven at NotOnTheHighStreet.  A beautiful star shaped keyring with personalised tag and finished in a ribbon colour of your choice.  When The Husband handed me my lovely gift he was the most surprised person in the room.
  star keyring
    Book News...I met him a few years ago at a book festival in the English Borders when he was on stage at an author talk & meet & greet & book-selling & signing event.  It's been a while, but I finally got round to a Stuart MacBride book, I started with the first of the Aberdoom based DS Logan McRae books, Cold Granite.  I liked it.
    Cold Granite





Arn : Knight Templar











Book News...I'm seriously contemplating Scottish independence.  With this in mind I'm currently listening to Andrew Marr explaining the history and the people, the full back story to the Scotland/England debate in his book The Battle For Scotland.  I love all Andrew Marr books, and this one is way close to home, relevant and topical.

  The Battle For Scotland
  If you need answers, find at ScotReferendum.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Arn : Knight Templar for one reason and one reason only, Saga (AKA Sofia Helin) is a main player in it.  It's a fictional tale of a Swedish Knight Templar, and Saga is in it.  It also serves to remind us what a really bad idea religion is, but mainly, Saga is in it.  The Husband really loves the movie because he likes historical drama of all kinds, sword-play, deserts, Scandinavia, Arabs and Sofia Helin, I liked it because Saga is in it.































































































There's an angry bird at Starry Towers, no, not me, this is a female Blackbird.  She woke me up three mornings running with her incessant pecking and thuds as she hurled herself at the patio doors.  When I first heard the sounds I didn't have a clue what it could be, got out of bed and followed the noise, thud..thud.....thud....tap..tap..tap..thud....thud.  To the dining room, was quite a fright to see this bird flinging herself at the glass.  I made this very short video from the little bits I could record as I tried to hide from her in the dining room, any movement by me scared her off.  You can see the dirty marks on the glass high up the window where she was throwing herself at the glass.  But why?  I thought she was trying to get my attention and The Husband thinks the creatures of the sky want to kill me.  The Dad explained, simply and sensibly, she was seeing her reflection and mistaking it for a rival in the breeding stakes.  I found her fighting distressing and put a stop to it by taping black bin bags to the window.

  very angry bird
  This is the laceration I sustained to the second digit of my right hand yesterday.  Today it continued nippy and bleedy.  This is not a superficial cut, more a deep-ish gash.  It's had several plasters, all of which have soaked through with blood.  There was a cardboard food packaging box in the kitchen bin which needed pushed down, I pushed it down and sliced the finger on a tin can.
cut finger
  I really needed to stem the bleeding, was beginning to feel a bit faint, and get the use of the finger back.  I've applied a steristrip and splinted with an IKEA pencil and tape, this wound will heal, I need a fully functioning finger.  To save from scribbling on myself I broke the pencil lead and applied the pencil with blunt end towards the finger tip, I'm not daft   Though I'm starting to think a mini pen would've been a better option for writing at work.  Might not need an ambulance after all.
  IKEA finger splint
  Book News...I'm on to the Chris Brookmyre audiobooks.  Set in Glasgow and featuring PI Jasmine Sharp, ex-crim and general good guy Glen Fallan  and Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod.  I remember a load of Christopher Brookmyre books, tartan noir comedy, I read years ago, these Chris books are less funny, more serious thriller, I like both the Christopher and the Chris books.  Just got Jaggy Splinters from Chris to go, then I might go back in time and listen to the Christopher books again.
  Flesh Wounds
  Where The Bodies Are Buried
  When The Devil Drives
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Gravity alone, just me and the Starry Towers 60" TV, because The Husband was unfaithful to us both, watching it alone on an inferior TV in Norway.  Me and the TV are not pleased.  The Husband didn't rate Gravity, but me and the fabulous, great picture-quality TV at Starry Towers liked it.




















































Tit Watch...I was trying to avoid this day starting...I had to go get my tits flattened.  I had my first Scottish Breast Screening mammogram today.  I wasn't looking forward to this, the thought of having my breasts squashed between hard xray machine plates made me kinda squeamish.  I thought I'd rather have a couple injections or a blood letting.  But considering...I've had (tests & polyp removal) & out (child-birth) of the vagina, and up the arse (regular colonoscopies)...and I briefly forgot the abdominal cutting (total hysterectomy).  I'll count my lucky stars, tit squeezing sounds like a nice day out. 

  This is my first ever mammogram, now that I'm 50 I'll receive the same again every 3 years until the age of 70, thank you NHS.  What to expect at your first mammogram...I arrived early and was taken immediately, a female radiographer is polite and efficient but not really warm or giving of her time, she doesn't invite questions, this is a production line and you're the next item in her busy day.  You are instructed to enter a cubicle, take off your bra and put your top back on, then it's through to the machine and top back off again.  You stand around topless throughout the procedure.  One breast at a time, they're pressed sideways then flat down.  It was a bit uncomfortable, more so on the left breast for me.  There's a chance of some discomfort for a couple days after but I can't say I was aware of any once the test was finished.  There is now an up to three week wait till the results arrive at Starry Towers.
  Product of the Week is the Dualit 46205 4 Slot Lite Toaster in a super glossy black finish.  I've always wanted a Dualit toaster, I guess I was just waiting till they made a lite version with 4 slots in a chrome and glossy black finish. This gorgeous toaster has a Peek & Pop function, allowing the viewing of the toast without cancelling the toasting cycle.  Four slots with a dual control giving you ultimate control over your toast and features a defrost setting and a bagel function that toasts one side of the bagel only.  There's a cancel button and the wider 36mm slots allow the toasting of larger items.  Tried and tested, it makes scrumptious toast just the way I like it.  I got mine at Go-Electrical, only £67 and free delivery.  
  Dualit 46205 4 Slot Lite Toaster black finish








































































  Remember the time when advertisers tried to convince us that a man dressed top to toe in black hanging in or around your building could mean that you were about to have a box of chocolates left on your pillow?  A deranged idea of romance in the world of selling, in reality, you're being targeted by a nutter and you wouldn't be eating the chocolates, you'd be handing them over to the police as evidence.  Well, a man in black, sans chocolates, is currently troubling me...we have an intruder.  Back to the start...the last time there was snow on the estate I saw a large boot-print over by the fence at the bird-feeding station with the trail leading through the next garden & on up to the next fence.  I know every inch of Starry Towers and am naturally vigilant to changes that indicate something's not right.  I didn't worry too much about the footprint, I knew it was wrong but I put it down to a one-off.  Nothing was missing, nothing was damaged, so, someone took a short-cut?  But earlier this week the new right-next-door neighbour told me his wife saw a man dressed in black in my back garden at about 10.30pm-ish.  He came over the fence from my garden, through the next, over another fence, then through their garden and on into the next.  Our back garden is well enclosed, he has to come over a pretty high wall on the side of entry.  Thinking more about it now that I know it wasn't a one-off, it isn't kids and theft of garden stuff isn't the motive, I'm assuming pervert.  Whatever he's up to...I'm unnerved.  My knee-jerk reaction on discovering he'd broken and killed one of my baby roses that I grew myself from a cutting was to channel Liam Neeson in Taken and put this sign on the fence.
  intruder warning sign
  Temporarily empowered while The Boy was home the next couple nights, but then I came home from work to a dark empty house.  Two minutes in the front door and I have an unfortunate imaginary incident, my bolshie dissipated quickly and I became I'm-cold-I'm-wet-and-I'm-just-plain-scared.  I was so upset I alerted The Husband.  He came to my rescue with a CCTV system and now I feel all safe and secure again.  CCTV is the answer.
  CCTV on Starry Towers
  What is the prowler doing?  The police tell me there's been no reported crimes in the area.  What are the facts as we know them?  We know he wears black, we know he's been in the garden at least 3 times, we know he hasn't stolen anything, we know he hasn't raped and murdered me.  The lie of the land strongly indicates he is not using this as a short-cut, it's much simpler just to walk on one of the two streets that run parallel, to the front and to the rear of the property.  He could be casing the joint, but how many times is casing the joint required?  Surely not repeatedly?  And casing the joint could be done from the street.
  Possible motives/reasons for prowling :

1.  theft of garden stuff

  2.  house-breaking
  3.  rape and/or murder
  4.  voyeurism
  5.  criminals stashing drugs/guns in innocent neighbours gardens
  We know he hasn't done 1, 2 or 3, I conclude he could be doing 4 or 5.  Hopefully time and the CCTV will tell, or scare him off forever.
  Talking about criminals, The Husband is now on.  We got a speeding ticket on the M8 because the Z4 wants to live in Germany. 
  Happy Anniversary The Husband.  Four years married on the 5th.





The Bridge: Series 1 & 2 DVD


The Baytown Outlaws














































































































































































































































































































































































































































The Husband and I attended The Shetland Sheep Society Scottish Winter Lunch at New Lanark Mill Hotel and enjoyed a three course meal with The Dad and assorted sheep friends.

  There's a raffle to think about too, so I took along a couple bottles of wine and a vintage (bought for The Boy years ago when he was but a boy) Homer Simpson jigsaw, brand new in the cellophaned box.  Winning tickets can pick from the prize table.  By the time we won our one prize, the jigsaw was still sitting with about 5 or 6 other minor rubbish prizes.  I was not amused, picked up my Homer Simpson and took him back home.  Couldn't have him going to someone who wouldn't appreciate the age and back-story.
  Badger News...Who knew..cruelly slaughtering wild animals would be inhumane and ineffective when there is a vaccination available, the cost of which would've also been cheaper than shooting?  Many people, Brian May, you, me and Prof Woodroffe who said BEFORE the cull..."We know vaccinating badgers reduces transmission of bovine TB to other badgers, so there is good reason to expect it also to reduce transmission to cattle.  Vaccination is also expected to reduce the proportion of infected badgers, rather than increasing it as culling does, so it may have greater long-term prospects for TB eradication".  The Prof was a member of the team that spent 10 yrs and £50m testing badger culling before concluding that culling could "make no meaningful contribution to cattle TB control in Britain”.
  a Badger
  Products of the Week are mounting up at Starry Towers, due to (my tardy blogging and) The Husband's DIY and my interior decor styling of the rooms just after he finishes with the plaster, oak flooring and white paint.  Here I present a smattering of the stuff that's found it's way to Starry Towers in recent times.  This is the result of a couple weeks of The Husband getting stuck in and many many months of me interior designing and product sourcing, bringing my dreams to life.  He's good at that and I'm good at this.

Let's look at the study first.  The Starry Towers study is the room that was previously a galley kitchen off the sitting room when upstairs was an entirely separate 2 bedroom apartment.  It briefly became my temporary walk-in-wardrobe then after a major ripping out, plastering and painting, it's become a beautiful brilliant white space filled with white, mirror and silver with a little bit of blue.

  The major requirement was shelving, a study needs storage.  I also wanted to display objets d'art.  I had my heart set on gloss white cube shelving on two walls.  IKEA had the idea in it's Expedit series (and only in the gloss white... the other colours don't look as good or expensive), I just wasn't sure if it would work out with their available unit sizes.  Happily, it did, it really did.  We went with stacking the 4x4 on the 4x2 and doubling up making for one fabulous corner piece.  For the cubes you have the option of shelve, basket, box, cupboard door, glass shelve and x2 drawer sets.  I had to think about whether these would be placed randomly or if rows of same would be best.  Rows, if you're OCD-ish, go rows, and it makes for a perfect lighting option.  Our row of glass display door/shelf cubes was obviously the aesthetically pleasing way to incorporate a lighting feature.  After we discovered that IKEA could provide the shelving/storage the space left under the window would be for the desk and I was after a white swivel computer chair with a difference. 
  IKEA Expedit in white gloss
  IKEA cube storage in gloss white
  We looked at white desks, but nothing was beautiful enough so it was no surprise to me that we went with a mirror consol.  The space under the window is 101cm wide.  We found the exact perfect-sized 2 drawer Venetian Mirrored Dressing/Console Table at OpulenceFurniture for £299.
  I saw the Eero Saarinen Tulip Style Modern Retro Dining Office Chair with the Black Cushion option and knew it would be the one.  With diminutive sizing (compared to most clunky computer chairs) at H56 x W80 x D50cm, it perfectly complements the room space.  The seat is comfortable and the white aluminium swivel base makes for a smooth gliding movement in and out of the under-desk legroom.  The best price is at MDMFurniture, £79.99.
  Eero Saarinen Tulip Style Modern Retro Dining Office Chair Black Cushion and Venetian Mirrored Dressing/Console Table in study
  The window in the study is frameless with a gloss white window sill, I like it, it makes for a sleek uncluttered vibe, and I knew a roller-blind would be right for this window.  I found my made-to-measure black-out blind at roller-blinds-direct.  I ordered several of their black samples, they send them out for free, then went with my original choice, the Louvolite Baroque in Raven.  I choose the metal chain and Lumina decorative toggle, perfect.   This made-to-measure 99cm x 160cm cost £92.96. 
  Baroque raven roller-blind
  For the study floor I went with a pure white Shetland Sheepskin rug from The Shetland Isles.  This is so soft under bare foot, and that's the only feet welcome to step on it.  I found this beautiful sheepskin at RealShetland for £65. 
  Shetland Sheepskin rug
  The Boudoir, Walk-In-Wardrobe and Guest Bedroom have the black version of this five-point candle-bulb chandelier from B&Q.  I had the brilliant idea of putting the white version in the all white study.  Looks just as I'd imagined, fabulous.  You need a high ceiling and because it's not glass it's not heavy so you don't have to worry about it bringing your ceiling down.  The Wickham Chandelier is £49.98.
  white chandelier in the study
  The next consideration was which objets d'art would make the cut and be awarded a place in the study  The decorative objects and wall art have to be personal, they have to conjure up memories of places we have been, places and things that are close to my heart.  The large white ceramic vase is one The Husband brought with him from his house in Holland, it's found it's home in the study.  The large wooden star I've placed on top of the IKEA shelving is from NotOnTheHighStreet, but I had to sand it down and paint it to change it from shabby chic to high gloss full on white.
  large white ceramic vase
  my study star
  My much loved Aluminium Textured Eiffel Tower Sculpture is from  
  Aluminium Eiffel Tower Sculpture
  A study has to have an owl, this white porcelain Ollie Owl comes from UnicheInteriorFurnishings at a cost of £35, I love him, so he is worth every penny.  H26 x W16 x D20cm.
  Ollie Owl
  I brought the jester crown home from the Amalienborg Palace gift shop in Copenhagen, was extremely non-pricey, about the equivalent of £7 in Danish Krona.
  jester crown
  My ducks came about after I saw the Parlane International  Ceramic Duck Ornament at Mollie&Fred.  It is so classy and only £4.99.  I knew it had to have a Zoola Duck Ring Holder beside it, the best price for the chrome duck is £9 at LisaAngel.
  I want a touch of blue in the room, a couple of art works will feature the colour, but there has to be at least one piece of blue glass.  This big Blue Bottle Vase is £25 from GrahamAndGreen, H30cm x W12cm x D12cm.
  Blue Bottle Vase
  There's still empty spaces available in the IKEA display cubes, and I'll know what's missing when I see it.  Other stuff I already sorted are the H&M ceramic pots placed on the study windowsill, the boudoir dressing table, and there's more of them on the guest bedroom dressing table, they are amazing.  Large £7.99, medium £6.99, small £3.99.
  H&M ceramic pots
  On the wall in the study above the doorway I've hung my set of retro Sass & Belle Flying Swallows.  I got my blue set from ThisModernLife for £10.  Also at ThisModernLife are these Puhlmann Zoo paper clips in sets of 8, either black or white.  Each set has 4 different pairs of birds and a length of white string which can be used to hang small pictures along using the clips.  £7.50 a set.
  bird paper clips
  On the mirrored consol I have a ZaraHome mirrored box, £19.99 and a diamond paperweight.  The box is H9 x W18.50 x D18.50cm with a black velvet interior.  The paperweight is 8cm diameter and came from a trip up north a few years back.
  Zara Home mirrored box & diamond paperweight
  In the Boudoir the centrepiece is the Victorian style superking bed in nickel, currently dressed in Venice Slate bedding from YorkshireLinen.
  the boudoir and study
  The NEXT mirrored dressing table with it's Ghost Chair (see below 23/01/2014) is looking stunning with the Owen Polished Chrome Touch Lamps from SocketStore.  The centrepiece is the Large Ceramic Dish with Silver Bird from grahamandgreen, £14.50.  Other items on the dressing table are H&M ceramic pots, a Zoola Fox Ring Holder, £7.99 from StrawberryFool and The Kiss sculpture I brought back from our Europe trip of 2013.  There's a Thierry Muglar Angel perfume bottle there too because they are beautiful.
  Owen Polished Chrome Touch Lamp, white H&M ceramic pot, Zoola chrome fox ring holder & The Kiss sculpture
  Touch Lamp, H&M ceramic pot and Angel perfum
  Graham and Green Large Ceramic Dish With Silver Bird
  Above the dressing table is a stunning mirror from The Colours Collection at B&Q, for £44.98, 40 x 40cm.  I took an artist's paint brush with white emulsion paint to the tiny spots B&Q missed.  I got the Large White Resin Deer Head at marquisanddawe, they're still available at anna-morgan for £49.
  B&Q Baroque mirror, Ceramic Dish with Silver Bird & Large White Resin Stag Head
  Large White Resin Stag Head
  To the Walk-In-Wardrobe for the last few POTW.  The black leather ottoman came from FootStoolsAndMore.  You pick your size, shape, material and legs, It cost a lot, but it's the perfect ottoman, this had to be the one. 
  leather ottoman
  Here's just two of the prints I've hung on the Walk-In-Wardrobe wall.  These are pages from vintage books with prints on, I got them both from Etsy, there's a multitude of design options available.  One came from the USA and one from Poland.  The crown one has a customizable banner, where I put "Queen of Starry Towers" and there's a blue version with "King of Starry Towers" for the Study which I'll show you once it's up.  The Baroque vintage swept Sixtrees frames are from Design55.
  wall art book page prints
  I was hankering after a better way to store my jewellery in my Walk-In-Wardrobe, I needed a display board which would fit in, Baroque style, colours would have to be black, white and red.  I couldn't find what I was looking for so I made my own,  The frame is a Brompton from Frame-Company.  Saverstore also has a huge range of the Brompton frames at most reasonable prices.  The Husband had to cut me a thicker backing board to take the weight of the knobs/hooks.  The fabric came from IWantFabric and it was free sample time again, I went with the Victoria Floral Damask Taffeta Velvet Upholstery Curtain Fabric in red and used a layer of padding behind it.  I glued the padding then used a staple gun to fix the fabric on the back.  The Small Shabby Chic Wooden "Jewellery" Hooks was £5.75 from Sass&Belle, it was cream, I painted it white.  The hooks/knobs came from a variety of places.
  ThisModernLife for the Paris Clocks and Stag, £2.75 each.  Round Bone Star Door Knobs and letter M knob, £3.95 a piece from grahamandgreen.  The Crown Hook came from a search on eBay, the roses and black crystal are from BombayDuck.
  jewellery display board
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I have started watching The Bridge series 1 & 2 boxset.  We love The Bridge, we adore Saga and can even be non-judgemental about Martin's little indiscretions, Saga is teaching us to be better people, she's adorable.  Only problem is we have to wait till he comes back home to see more.
  Friend C and I watched Baytown Outlaws, very Tarantino-esque, we enjoyed it.





You're Next


Hangover Part III



















































































































































































Happy belated Valentine's Day, I know, I've not been very good at keeping up The Starry Blog recently, I will try harder.  Anyways, Happy Valentine's Day brought me roses, chocolates and a lovely card from The Husband.  It brought a multi-function pen and card to The Husband from me and personalised mugs and cards to The Mum and Dad from each other.

  The story of the mugs is that The Dad accidently chipped The Mum's mug, the one I made with her dog Leo on.  He was feeling terrible bout the mishap and asked me to arrange a replacement and another with The Mum's new dog Bailey on.  No sooner said than organised by me at Moonpig, and I chucked in a Valentine's card, then of course another card for The Dad from The Mum.  They think they don't do Valentine's cards, well, this year, they did, and they liked it.

Back to The Starry Towers Valentines.  I was channeling Gravity while The Husband was channeling a cat suspended by balloons over Paris.

  The Husband's card
  Valentine's Day at Starry Towers
  I got a whole lotta rosses, and The Husbands' pen is a whole lotta pen, it's the Monteverde's One Touch Tool Pen.  Yeah, be impressed, be very impressed.  Judging by his reaction, I'd recommend this to all women looking for a gift for the man in their lives, he was really pleased with it.  This is a great quality, stylish, smooth-writing, soft-roll ballpoint pen, with the addition of a load of tools.  One end has the pen nib, the other end has an ultra sensitive touch screen stylus for use with iPads etc, under the stylus are phillips and flat head screwdrivers, and on the barrel are a built in spirit level, and a ruler edge with 3 different measurement scales. 
  Monteverde's One Touch Tool Pen

Bin News...One of our bins went AWOL.  I put the bins out as usual on black bin day, when I went to bring in the empties...only one there (there should be 2).  I walked around a bit, up and down both sides of the street close to home, checking numbers on other bins, then had to conclude the obvious, one of our bins was truly missing.  I phoned up the council refuse department.  Very pleasant lady told me it probably fell in the back of the lorry.  You could describe me as more than a little surprised...fell in the back of the lorry?  Sounds to me to be a rather poorly designed refuse collection lorry/bin arrangement when bins can just fall in the lorry and be gone.  However she promised me a brand new replacement within five working days, delivered to my door.  Next evening I came home from work and there is was.  Not only a brand new wheelie bin but they'd went to the trouble of applying number stickers to it too.  That is a fantastic service and you won't hear me complaining, though (small complaint) they don't match...OCD Crisis Alert!  I'll swap them for my own, make them all matchy matchy again.


The good thing, the too good to just be a coincidence thing is, the bin with the wonky wheel is the one that fell in the lorry.  Suspicion is strong that the bin men got fed up moving the wonky wheel bin and chucked it in the back of the lorry as trash.  Apparently that can happen.  The bin men just might have done me a deliberate favour, would've been nice if they'd dropped me a note to tell me, save me wandering the street looking for a bin I'd never find.  But, no more will the wonky wheel mark my mono-block...result.

  the Starry Towers wheelie bins

Eye News...I've got a sore eye, the right one.  It's not as sore as it was though, it's practically sorted as I blog...I'm hoping.  The diagnosis is a Meibomian Cyst, or the funkier name for this blocked sweat gland, I've got a Chalazion.  I've had it for weeks and weeks, it's so tiny the only way I knew I have it is that it's rubbing on my eyeball making me feel like I had grit in my eye all the time.  Initially I was advised (by a passing doctor) to use Chloramphenicol antibiotic eye drops, I did that for a week, but this made no difference other than temporary relief at each eye drop application.  From experience I can tell you, if you use eye drops and don't want the taste of them down the back of your throat, press the tear duct for a minute after applying. 

  At the weekend I was still searching for a cure.  With an official GP appointment made for later this week I had another Google around.  I found the answer for myself, and it's simple...heat. 
  A Chalazion occurs on the upper eyelid only, where we have modified sweat glands which open onto the inside of the eyelid.  These glands produce oil.  If one becomes blocked, it can rupture and become infected, but mine has always been tiny, no signs of infection, just the hard plug of oil rubbing against my eyeball when I blink.  What I was reading was telling me there's no point applying eye drops because they can't penetrate the hard plug...makes sense.  It also said, apply heat to soften the plug, and massage to move the plug.  I started my heat/massage treatment on Saturday, this is 3 days of treatment much better.  I can still feel a much smaller bump under a sensitive fingertip, but it's less painful to blink and I'm confident another couple days treatment should see it totally back to normal.
  Initially, when I learned of the heat/massage treatment I had no special equipment, till Friend C arrived and gave me the Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Pearl Therapy Eye Mask.  This is perfect for my needs.  I'd been soaking paper tissue, folding and holding it in dry paper tissue to apply, but the heat was gone too soon, and I nearly burnt an eyelid a couple times.  Who knew water straight from the urn would be so hot?  This eye mask is a gorgeous blue, it glistens in a sparkly way, retains heat (or cold if that's what you need), can easily be held in place and it's a joyfully tactile thing to mess with in your hands.  A cool hot thing.
  Crabtree & Evelyn La Source Pearl Therapy Eye Mask
  Religious Zealot News...Stupid and as mad as a wasp on over-fermented rotten fruit wine in Autumn, extremist Muslim Suicide Bombers are shit-for-brains wankers.  My opinion is based on science-based research, a love-of-life and a healthy respect for other human beings.  I call that...Atheism, so you make your own mind up.  A suicide bomber tutor killed himself and his 20 suicide bomber pupils when he accidently detonated a bomb in Syria.  That is hilarious, fuck you guys, if you get lucky you might be the inspiration for a scene in Four Lions 2.  The tutor guy was either an incompetent idiot...or...maybe he actually infiltrated the enemy, deeply imbedded, he maneuvered himself into a position to take out twenty enemy operatives, but I seriously doubt it...he was a tit.  When it comes to the afterlife and copious virgins it's alright for him, he has actually killed himself, but he's fucked it up for the other 20, who were, technically, murdered.  That's one way of looking at it, the other way of looking at it...there is no heaven, so it doesn't actually matter, but I hope he had a split second of a moment to think, just as he did whatever he did to the detonation thingy, I hope he paused to realise...oh shit...BOOM!
  Excuse me as I heartily laugh out loud and stick up two fingers to these deluded idiots who only succeeded in killing themselves, that is science-based atheistic justice, one of my favourite things.
  Another of my favourite things are the Meerkats.  We just got Secret Agent Maiya to add to our collection, she's the coolest of the Meerkat toys I think, though I'm looking forward to baby Oleg when the eBay hysteria prices drop a little bit more, I'm looking for a £10 reduction before I get mine.  Oleg is currently going for approx £30, I'll pay somewhere between £10 and £20.
  Agent Maiya
  Here's another thing I done for The Husband, got us front row seats for Lee Mack, one of The Husband's favourites, live on stage at Edinburgh Playhouse later this year.  I wondered why such good seats were still available, then we watched a previous Lee Mack stand up show...he interacts with members of the audience in the front row, and when I say "interacts"...he takes the piss.  I'll go and hope it's The Husband he picks on, if he has to pick on one of us, let it be The Husband.
  Lee Mack
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched You're Next.  First thought...proper punctuation, scrawled on the wall, in the victims' blood, that made me snigger.  But, for what it is, a slash-happy gore-fest house-in-the-woods human-slaughter movie, it's actually a rather good one with a solid plot and good acting.
  I watched Hangover Part III, it's one hangover too many.  I think it's better than II, but no-where near as good as the original.






The Liability






















































































Check on The Star Swag Blog for stuff I went for in the festive sales.

  The Starry Towers Blog is struggling to keep up with the DIY work The Husband's marching on with.  Major progress is occurring upstairs, and in the upstairs above the upstairs.  I'm so very pleased and more than a bit ecstatic with the Starry Towers DIY that The Husband has achieved in recent times. 

In on time, we got tickets for the Frank Skinner : Man In A Suit Tour at The King's Theatre in Glasgow.  First time in 7 years Mr Skinner has toured his stand-up.  The Husband and I saw him the last time he came out to tell jokes on stage in theatres in 2009, with his Credit Crunch Cabaret at The Edinburgh Fringe Festival, at which time he was wonderful.  We sat in the front row and remained unscathed by his wit, though he engaged with people in the audience he only picked on the willing.

  I'm very fond of Frank Skinner, I'm mostly currently enjoying him on the podcast of his Saturday Absolute Radio show with comedian Alun Cochrane and the delightful Emily Dean.  I wonder if Frank will be off the radio while he tours, if so, no worries cos co-host Emily Dean, of Day Of The Triffids fame, is fabulous and has already proved she can host the show to an equally high standard when Frank is sick, travelling, holidaying or whatever else he may be doing when absent. 

Mr Skinner

  POTW - Product Of The Week is The Ghost Chair.  I've got two, one each for the NEXT mirrored dressing table consoles in the Starry Towers Boudoir and the Starry Towers Guest Bedroom.  Mine are the Philippe Starck Style Clear Plastic Ghost Chair No Arms from MDMFurniture.  This is the so-similar-no-one-could-tell-the-difference version of the furniture style icon Kartell Victoria Ghost Chair.
A classic Baroque style with rounded Louis XV lines these transparent ghost-like chairs are made from a single moulding of crystal-clear polycarbonate.  They are functional and beautiful...along with the room white walls, oak floors and mirrored furniture these chairs lend themselves to the appearance of clean, stylish and space.  From MDM Furniture you'll receive excellent personal customer service and pay only £69.99 per chair.
  Ghost Chair
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Aurora.  The Husband and I enjoy movies of all sorts, from spectacular showy Hollywood blockbusters making the most of our 60" screen, to quiet, deeper readers (subtitled) from all nations.  We entered into Aurora on the grounds that we've got a good history with foreign movies, loving loads of them, also Amazon said 5 stars & Rotten Toms gives it 78%.  But OMG!  By the end of the movie, if you make it that far, you realise the only thing you thought you knew for sure could be happening and/or you just strongly suspected was happening, just did he is extremely unhinged and the most boring killer in history, ever, ever, ever.
  If you manage to go so far as pass the tipping point of having to know for sure, which is a risk if you're a patient, tolerant and reasonable person, the end isn't worth the endurance and suffering.  So much pointless nothingness and boredom, watching a man going about his long drawn-out un-hinge-ment.  We found ourselves pleased to see anyone who had a conversation with him...but all too soon these people all failed us, proving to be as boring and dull as him, and gone again, we were back to watching the watcher.  His lack of emotion rubbed off on us big time.  He looks a lot, stares a bit, then his eyes dart off somewhere else to scrutinise a thing that isn't interesting at all, for a long while.  He hovers, scuttling sideways like a crab, agitated but blank-faced.
  You know how you suspect there are people who are just watching all the time, cos they're dodgy people, up to no good, you don't actually see these people, cos you've got better things to do with your eyes and time, that's the kind of person he is.  Some of these watchers just pinch the removable bits off your car in your drive while you sleep, or when that old sofa you throw out at the side of your house while you think about taking it to the tip the next day, but wake to find it gone...that's the way he is, always watching, always there, lurking and behaving with no concern for other people.  The surroundings are as grey as he is, the scenery drab, wet, muddy.  The interior decor of the buildings upset me so much, the cheapness and poor workmanship...seriously, is Romania truly THAT ugly?  The other characters are as drab as him and in all other aspects of this movie, there is no joy, nada.  There was a first for us however, we took a break somewhere near the end, paused the DVD to argue over whether we should watch till the end, we have NEVER done that before, ever, ever, ever.  I had to persuade The Husband to sit back down to watch to the bitter end.  All the way through I was wondering when someone, anyone, was going to start actually acting...didn't happen...they were all just there, at the end...I was sorry I was still there.
  I've walked out of one cinema once, I was watching William S. Burrough's Naked Lunch brought to the silver screen, there were cockroaches, a bizarre paranoid drug-induced hallucination too far for me.  I hate cockroaches and drug-induced hallucinations.  If I'd seen this movie in a cinema I like to think I'd have walked out of this one too.
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Liability.  Much better.  Great soundtrack and a teenage step-son with an evil step-father...The Husband had a smile on his face far too many times watching this.



























See, this is what happens when the mental risk assessment process is ignored.  I woke this morning to a turquoise tent, delivered by the stormy weather, in the Starry Towers back garden. At the time this photograph was taken I was all ready to slash it up and bin it as it was hurting my OCD head.  Bloody thing took down one of my big Rowan trees, ok I had picked the Rowan up & sorted it back on it's pot feet, but it was still paining me, I just couldn't bare to think bout it being where it shouldn't be.  I told the local village shop if anyone was talking bout losing a blue tent, they could tell the culprit where to find it, or not if they were too slow off the mark.  If I'd already binned it I was going to say that the winds had moved it on again, the storm tent Taken 2.

  Before I could get the Stanley knife The Husband asked the nearest house with young kids, (over a very high wall), belongs to them.  It's now off the Starry Towers estate, crises over.  What can we learn from this?  If only everyone would baton down the hatches, like us sensible people, this kind of emergency wouldn't happen.  While I'm on the subject, them giant trampolines...could everyone with a giant trampoline please stop being stupid f**kers and either baton it down with a ton of cement or put it in the shed.
  storm tent





A Hijacking




Now You See Me


The Hunt


We Are What We Are






































































New Year, New Blog.  Merry New Year everyone.  It's 2014, this seems extraordinary, I recall clearly when the idea of year 2000 was out there, too far away to imagine, and now it's actually 2014, I wish it wasn't.  Our Happy Christmas went extremely well.  We had the family gathering at Starry Towers, gifts were exchanged, dinner was cooked and eaten, love was given and received, everyone was well happy.  Another monumental festive success.  I loved every single minute of the day.  I'd prepared well in advance in a new red/white/silver colour scheme, menus were printed, it was The Mum and The Dad, The Bro, The Husband and me for dinner and The Boy joined us after for presents exchange.  The Boy is so thoughtful he'd decided to do dinner with his actual father and the granny on that side, because he made their dinner party up to 3.  Dinner was as per the menu below and everyone enjoyed.  I ended the day tired, too full of food and snuggled up on the sofa with The Mum, was special. 


Lots happening in the big Starry Towers refurb.  Not only is the Walk-In-Wardrobe all finished (apart from waiting on the new black velvet with crystals ottoman and wall art arriving), and the Boudoir is done (all but the wall art again), but The Husband has also installed a new hatch/ladder combo and floored and shelved the attic, making for massive, wonderful, easily-accessible Starry Towers storage space.  As each room receives it's make-over, there's less and less places for the non-beautiful stuff to be, hence we needed somewhere to put stuff like...the suitcases (ours), the motorbike leathers and helmets (ours, but mostly his), the metal detector (ours), the Beanie Bear collection (mine), the treasured-but-not-particularly-in-keeping-with-a-French-Baroque-with-a-Nordic-Pallet things.

  The new attic interior is perfect.  Previously, I was too afraid to put even my head and shoulders in the old attic, the hatch was small, the ladder metal and shaky, the floor just beams with dangerous accident-waiting-to-happen ceiling between.  And ooh, it was dark, dark all bar a torch beam.  The potential for accident, evil and/or totally human badness to occur to me up there was infinite, and hence I just wouldn't dare.  Now I can hook the hatch with the stick and draw down solid wooden steps, a large entrance, lighting, a solid floor and it's lost it's unrealistic supernatural threat.  The only evil threat in the attic now is of falling through the hole onto the first floor landing.  I've also discovered a tiny skylight window up there, who'd've thunk it, I'll probably clean that soon.  For now, I'm in the process of taping stuff in black plastic bags, sorting things into boxes, labeling boxes and filling the shelves and other spaces.  It's a paradise of storage for an OCD girl like me.  An in-depth report and photos of all the progress will be on The Starry Towers Blog soon as I get round to it.
  Book News.  I'm currently listening to The History of the World by Andrew Marr.  Engaging and interesting, Mr Marr tells of 70,000 years of human world history over 26hrs and 34 mins.  The other day The Husband asks me..."did you know..." something to do with human civilisation, farming and wars.  I responded..."hell yes I do know that" and "are you reading Andrew Marr's A History of the World by any chance?".  He tells me yes he is.
  A History of the World
  In more Book News, my favourite author ever, Mr Douglas Lindsay, has a new DI Hutton book. This is A Plague of Crows, number 2 in the DI Hutton series.  I so enjoyed the first one, The Unburied Dead, I'm looking forward to getting started on this one.  Check out all of Mr Lindsay's books on his website at Barney-Thomson.  I can't recommend his stuff higher than by repeatedly declaring Mr Lindsay to be my favourite author ever, Jo Nesbø comes second to him, THAT'S how good he is!
  A Plague Of Crows
  Movie Watch (No Spoilers).  The Husband and I watched A Hijacking.  This isn't Tom Hanks, I don't like Tom Hanks, I find him insipid and blank, so I probably won't get round to watching his more recent take on ship-pirates, I much prefer this Danish ship hijacking.  A Hijacking is slow and drawn-out as you'd expect a ship hijacking to be, but all the time the threat of trigger-happy death hangs heavy in the room.  No spoilers, all I'll say is, a thing happens, and it's not so much the thing itself that angers me, but the reason why the thing happens, watch the film, you'll understand what I mean...and you will want to slap someone.
  The Husband and I watched Accused.   This'll have you hooked as a teenage daughter accuses her father of sexual abuse, did he or didn't he?
  The Husband and I watched Now You See Me.  Big-budget and flashy-trashy over-acting at every turn.  However, I liked it because it helped my side of the illusion/magic argument.  The Husband is forever saying...explain that then!  We'll watch a magician perform an inexplicable amazing...thing, then The Husband ascertains "it's magic, like Merlin and Camelot".  Of course, me being the more sensibly skeptical of us, first off I remind him for the thousandth time that Merlin and Camelot isn't a true thing, secondly, these are magicians performing illusions, and thirdly I can't explain it or I'd be a rich famous illusionist/magician.  I also point out that Penn & Teller could most likely explain it. 
  The Husband and I watched The Hunt.  Danish with Mads Mikkelsen, our favourite Dane.  When a little girl says some words all hell breaks out destroying one man's world.
  The Husband and I watched We Are What We Are.  A Mexican cannibal movie.  I was surprised The Husband agreed to watch it.  It's ridiculous.