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  Seasons greetings everyone, to The Star Swag Blog for my Crissy pressies.
    Worked out well again.  I've been in charge of Xmas for a while now...and Xmas must result in my nearest and dearest having a great Xmas time.  If they ever don't have a fabulous Xmas...there will be trouble.  I really love these people so much...they love and understand me back.
    I was out of bed at 6am this Xmas morning and in to work.  A great shift, Xmas breakfast with my NHS nurse colleagues and back in Starry Towers by 2pm.  Dinner on the go, The Parents arrive and The Bro and The Sis-in-Law rock up with the desserts.  Then a four course dinner, commencing with a plate of four petite amuse-bouches (always a big hit) - mixed Spring Rolls, Smoked Salmon Canapes with a Cream Cheese, Lemon and Chive Dressing and Beetroot Pearls, Tomato Feta And Pepper Tartlets and Prawn Cocktail with Crispy Lettuce, Baby Plum Tomato and Toasted Wholemeal Thin Bread Quarters, then Chestnut Mushroom And Madeira or Sweet Potato Coconut And Chilli Soup with Crusty Olive Bread, the main of Moroccan Chicken or Quorn Tagine with Basmati Rice, Roast Vegetable Couscous, Moroccan Couscous, a quartet of Chutneys and a choice of Flat Breads.  The Bro brought Banoffee Pie, Raspberry Cheesecake and Mississippi Mud Pie with four or five different creams.  It was at this point that I discovered my favourite cream ever, Salted Caramel Channel Island Cream with Cinnamon Liqueur, it's extremely thick, kinda melty ice cream, absolutely deliscious.
    After another spectacular dinner success we had the pressie swapping, then The Bro and The Husband went and picked up The Boy.  The Boy had pressie-swap then The Boy's lovely G/F arrived and we had the last of the pressie stuff.  I made my own gift tags this year with crafty stamps and ink pads.  The "To...With Love From" and the "Merry Christmas" are crafting stamps from East Of India.  The little star is a STAR Very Mini Rubber Stamp by Luck and Luck and the names are made with the Shiny S-200 DIY Printing Kit 4mm and 5mm Character Height.  The heart is from a set of 6 I've had for years.  The ink pads are Dovecraft Pigment Ink Pads in black, silver and copper.
    Instead of name place cards, this year I went with gifting white mugs with initials on.  For eating the Prawn Cocktail there were my new Gold Look Teaspoons, and with my Ferrero Rocher Tower I spoiled them.


  Starry Towers 10 : The Bloody Squirrels 0 
  Memo to the Bloody Squirrels...stop eating my tulip bulbs. 
  Getting all Xmassy here at Starry Towers in's a holiday not a religion...atheist type way.  In the Scandic Stavanger Airport hotel I spotted a couple of Tomte on the reception desk.  Next day I had a brief look around some Stavanger shops but couldn't find any of the same quality.  Back home I found out they're called Tomte, that they're a mythical creature of Scandinavian folklore and I got mine at Skandic Hus.  Move over Santa.  The Starry Towers Santa has been my Santa for decades and now I compare him to the Tomte, he is reasonably Scandinavian himself, it's the gnomish quality and the nose.
  The Tomte is a small elderly man believed in ancient times to be the spirit or the soul of the home.  He's apparently caring but if offended will either leave or cause mischief.  You can keep him on side by giving him a bowl of hot porridge with on Christmas eve to thank him for guarding your home.  I'll be making three bowls of porridge.
  There's Åsas Tomtebod Tomte options in grey and red for the hat and grey and white for the hair.  Hand made in Sweden from the grey curly wool of Gotland Sheep from the island of Gotland.  The white wool is from Icelandic sheep.  Tova is the mixing of wool with soap and warm water to produce the felt.  I've learnt a lot about Tomte. 
  The Starry Towers living room has been Xmasisized, as has the front door.  Check out my staunchly Scottish Saltire IndyRef glass bauble, particularly pleased with that one.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Ex_Machina.  Entertaining.


  Bags and bags of saving the planet on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Husband and I took an overnight trip to Stavanger for him to do business stuff and I went along to make sure he didn't inadvertently die due to him not noticing he was getting sick again.  It was too early in his recovering-from-life-threatening-infection-and-abdominal-surgery phase for him to be taking four flights, much walking, an interview and a hotel over-night stay, but who can stop him?  No me, I just have to go along looking out for him.
  I took my Scottish passport out for the entire trip and I'm happy to report, the Scottish passport works well.  Four times I produced it for cross-border scrutiny and several other times because my boarding card was in there.  Not once was I asked to take my Scottish passport cover off.  It's a little win, and here's to the future...when we have a huge win and I have a real Scottish passport.
  One especially good thing about flying with The Husband is the Platinum card frequent flier lounge privelleges.  Free stuff from start to finish.  You can take the girl out of Scotland, but you can't take Scotland out the girl.  I like a freebie.  I stayed strong, keeping it free carbs free on the way out, on the return journey I cracked and had an extreme free carbs day.  From the top, low carb lunch in the Edinburgh Airport Aspire Lounge.  Jack Daniels at Schipol KLM Crown Lounge, still on the low carbs.  Arriving too late for dinner I had a salad from the hotel snack shop, still being good.  Next morning I consumed a low carb breakfast at the hotel then had hunners of carbs on the journey home starting with a croissant then crisps and cookies.  Then there was crisps and cookies two more times, we had a long wait.  Now seriously on the carbs, meant I could have the free wine on the planes too.  Of course, next day I was right back on the low carbs.
    We stayed overnight at the Scandic Stavanger Airport hotel with a giant lamp, an interesting stepped seating area and an open covered courtyard reception and dining area, and where corridor carpets have a lot to say.  Also the first time I set eyes on Tomte, more of the Tomte on the next blog post.
    I read A Room With No Natural Light by Mr Douglas Lindsay while on the trip and finished the last couple of chapters while in my dentist's waiting room the day after we returned.  A Room With No Natural Light by my favourite author in the world ever ever ever, is a love story.  Mr Douglas Lindsay's first love story ever ever ever.  I'd bought it on Amazon for the Kindle and The Mum got to it before me (she shares my Kindle account).  She'd told me how much she loved the book, used the words..."it could be his best ever".  I'm too big a fan of Barney Thomson to go that far, but it's really rather good. 
    I went to the dentist, I don't remember the last time I went, one, maybe nearer two years.  For me, there came a time in life when going to the dentist was one of the most annoying things.  Twice a year a person has to keep appointments, sit in the chair of torture and endure whatever it is the dentist tells us is needed, sometimes that involves painful injections in the tender oral tissues, maybe drilling into teeth, DRILLING!  Teeth, drilling, drilling teeth, it's all so terribly Running Man disturbing.  I've never even been totally convinced dentists always make the right decisions.  However, I knew I was running out of time to keep my part of the NHS deal so I went back.  It proved to be my favourite dental appointment ever, probably, apart from the time my childhood dentist, Mr Hutton in Lanark, told me what a good brusher of teeth I was, though I wasn't.  I used to make brush sounds in the toilet by cleaning the sink taps to kid The Parents on that I was really in there brushing my teeth.  What I did do was brush my teeth immediately prior to a Mr Hutton appointment.
    My now dentist has had treatment for a seriously life-threatening illness, from which she's recovered thankfully.  She used to be a bit quiet and uptight, now, she's so chilled and lovely, like...meh, life's too short, she's now so human.  I really enjoyed this dental appointment and I told her so.  It helped that despite the filling that had fell out that tooth in the interim and the varnish coating stuff that had worn off that other tooth, I'd had no pain issues in my dental-holiday and needed no painful treatment at this appointment.  Result.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Cold Prey.  An aestheticaly pleasing and well made, but still formulaic, the Nordic style.  We won't be doing Cold Prey 2.
    The Husband and I watched Wakolda.  Absorbing and atmospheric.


Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

  Two silver stars and a gold M's beginning to sound a lot like a Xmas song on The Star Swag Blog.
  It's been a worrying time recently.  The Husband had a double whammy to cope with.  His mother recently passed away, while he was coping with that, he began to feel physically unwell, suffering abdominal pain and fever.  We now know he'd been living with appendicitis (for about a week) and then an actual burst appendix (for several days) leading to peritonitis.  His abdominal cavity was full of infection gunk pus by the time he told a GP there was a bit of a problem.  The GP sent him straight to the Western General Hospital in The Burg, he drove himself there.  Soon as he arrived he was whisked to IV antibiotics and tests/investigations.  The appendix is out now, phew, emergency over.  He could've died, saved by the Scottish theater on a Saturday, at night, get that up you Jeremy Hunt.
  A huge Thank You to NHS Scotland and in particular, The Husband's GP and the lovely professional people in the Edinburgh Western General Hospital.  The anesthetist was fabulous, looked like she was still at school, she was the loveliest of people, highly intelligent, exceptionally friendly and dedicated to her patients. 
  The Dad took me in to visit The Husband every day and The Brother and Sis-In-Law joined in Hospital Duty on the Sunday.  Which was excellent timing, because that was the day The Husband had H...while we were visiting.  I asked respectfully if it would be Ok to take pics, when he said YES (whether or not he was capable of legal consent at that moment is hazy), the speed and enthusiasm with which The Bro and his wife got their iPhones out, clicking away, astounding.  Sunday was a fun visit.  We saw an awfy difference in him by the Monday, I was just about convinced he's going to live.  Here he is on Sunday, off his face on the smack, with The Bro.  This may be photographic evidence of abuse...I'll have to check the details of the Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007.
  He packed his bags on Tuesday morning so the doctor gave him permission to be discharged home, if they didn't let him go, he was a flight risk.  By that time my big concern was he hadn't shit since before the hospital stint.  Abdominal surgery carries the risk of the bowel ileus.  The good news is he has shit now, it took him over a week andhelp from the Laxido, but the dirty deed is done.  I won't show you the evidence, but the event took place in the downstairs sparkly loo and today is the last day of the oral antibiotics, he's loads better now.
  The Bro had a big birthday, my wee brother is 50.  Happy Birthday The Bro.  He got Moonpigged with 19 individual little photies of his motorbike life, with him, his bikes, The Sis-in-Law and the cats.
  I've made ice cream.  French Vanilla Ice Cream no less.  The low carbohydrate version of French Vanilla Ice Cream even less no less.  The Andrew James ice cream maker is from Amazon.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.  Tosh.
    The Husband and I watched King of Devil's Island.  Left me traumatised, I struggle with child abuse, especially wee boys.  Exceptional movie.


  Earphones tres chic on The Star Swag Blog.  A few special H&M treats for me, it's called incentive, because...see Diet News...on The Star Swag Blog.  And some more special treats for me on The Star Swag Blog, because...see Diet News.
  Diet News.  Now down to 8 stone.  That's a total loss of 40lbs.  Two pounds till I can claim I've lost 3 stone.  I know I was too fat, but 3 stone!  I didn't realise I was carrying 3 stone of excess blubber, that's a lot.


  Faux fur bag charms, scarfs, hats and gloves on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Husband and I got on a train and attended a rather special Book Week Scotland event at the Central Library in Edinburgh.  On the way from Waverly Station to the venue we looked down to the Princes Street Gardens Xmas things, nice view in the dark.
  We dropped into Italian restaurant Vittoria where The Husband ordered a Chicken Caesar Salad on the promise that it would be served up quickly, we didn't have a lot of time to spare.  Dinner arrived after about a 20 minute wait, giving him 5 minutes to eat up and get out.  I did that female partner thing where I claimed, honestly at the time, that I didn't want dinner, I was fine for food.  Obviously that changes when the delish is placed right there on the table and I have to admit, the bits of the salad I ate, were very tasty. 
    In the Central Library The Husband claims he counted 120 stair steps from the toilets to the Reference Library room where the Douglas Lindsay event was occurring.  I'd went on ahead to take frow seats while The Husband nipped to the loo.  When he took over frow-guard duties and with 5 mins to show-start, I ran down a load of flights.  Found the loo, persuaded the tiny amount of urine out of my bladder (it was more excitement than need to pee) then experienced problems getting my lace short zip back up.  Ran back up what I now know was five floors of majestic staircase.  Was engaged in a chat with a nice Librarian guy, the same one who doubted my ability to get to loo and back in 5 minutes, telling me "it's an awfy long way", but still kept me back on the return journey, telling me about librarians with pedometers and how many steps they clock up on an average shift at the Central Library, what with it's loadsa stairs.  The Husband claims he counted and it's 120 stair steps from loo to Reference Library room, so he says, seemed more like the Wallace Monument's 246 to me, but I was getting a shifty on.
    And then there he was, Mr Douglas Lindsay making his entrance quietly from the back of the room.  I'd tweeted to give him a heads up, telling him he couldn't miss me as I was frow.  As he walked to the stage he acknowledged me with a smile and a wee wave, then he came over, we started with a hand shake, then he said give me a hug, so we hugged. John said to him..."this is your stalker", he said..."that's what we call her in our house".  During the talk he was asked if he engages with fans much, he said...not much...apart from Marilyn.  And at the end we chatted, did book signing and he signed my movie premier ticket too.  And I stayed back at the end for the photos and more chat.  I (half) jested I should've brought ALL my paperbacks for signing, he said he was expecting me to, I (totally seriously) told him next time.  And we hugged again.  Very happy stalker & #1 Fan.  I'm right in there...certifiable #1 Fan since circa 1999. We email, he sent an autographed Editors Edition book (one of 50 in existence) to Starry the post! his books, and do see The Legend of Barney Thomson, hilarious.


The Fourth State
  New metallics on The Star Swag Blog.
  Diet News.  I'm rather pleased to be announcing I'm currently 8st 1lb, which is a total weight loss of 39lbs, which is 2 stone and 11lbs, it's hunners.  I'm a stone lighter than I was when I went into hospital for the Total Hysterectomy and Bilateral Oophectomy which was followed by a menopause, low mood and weight gain.  I'm as light as I've ever been before in my adult life.  Quite frankly, I'm pleased with my wonderful self.  Just 3 more little pounds and I'll have lost 3 stone, incredible.
  The Husband and I had a drive to Waitrose in Morningside, usually Waitrose in Morningside brings my shopping to the kitchen.  Morningside being part of that particular area of The Burg where some people in Scotland actually voted for Jim Murphy-led Labour at the 2015 general election and gave the Labour party their one Scotland MP in Westminster.  Fer feck's sake...Jim Murphy, Ian Murray!  South Edinburgh, what the hell is wrong with you?  And so, it was with equal amounts of nosiness and trepidation that we entered Scotland's tiny little, almost non-existent LabourLand.  Noted...there are no fat people in Morningside Waitrose.
  Sunday brought the Sunday Herald and my free Yes Destiny badge.  With Yes Destiny badge on my mini duffle coat we headed out to Yellowcraig Beach at Dirleton for another Saltire photo-op.  It's a beautiful beach with the island of Fildra in the Forth.  As we were in the area we dropped in to visit Dirleton Castle.  Nice set of cellars and an ingenious touch, a murder hole.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Fourth State.  Would have been really good if practically everyone in the Twittershpere wasn't already aware that all the main world player countries do dirty devious double-cross tricks in their spy-world politics.  Everyone knows nothing a government/world leader says can be trusted.  The twist was too easily understood too early in the movie.


The Legend of Barney Thomson
  My Xmas outfit is in the Starry Towers walk-in-wardrobe, and on The Star Swag Blog.  Looking forward to Xmas Day so much now I have a Xmas wooly to wear to work, joining in the festive spirit and all that, but with perhaps a too high random kiss risk.
  The walk-in-wardrobe was needing a doorstop, the door to the room opens against the wall where I've put a black metal clothes rail, for the hanging and displaying of individual clothing items.  I have a doorstop for the walk-in-wardrobe.  He's a boy and his name is Foxy.  Look at that face.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Legend of Barney Thomson.  Of course this is my second viewing, having attended the world premier in The Burg.  This is now the award winning The Legend Of Barney Thomson.  Visually beautiful, lot of black, white and red, very funny and perfectly acted.  Emma Thompson is now not just another boring actress, she's fabulous.  MUST SEE!  In my top movies of all time ever ever.


Vikings 3
  Best boot of the year over on The Star Swag Blog.
  I don't have many days off just now, working Monday to Friday doesn't suit me, but a nurse's got to do what a nurse's got to do, so I do, with good grace.  On a precious day off The Husband and I had a walk along Seacliff Beach, the Bass Rock in the Forth barely visible with a curtain of mist.  A Saltire-photo-op.
  Box Set Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Vikings season 3.  Fantastic, over all too soon, another intolerable wait ahead of us.

  The Star Swag Blog has a round-up of Autumn Winter outerwear.
  The Husband and I did Halloween this year.  With a cauldron of sweets we greeted spooky children at the front door.  Children are so lazy and unambitious these days, I insisted on a performance from each one and got a one liner joke every time, until a couple of Harry Potter fans gave me spells.  Some were reading from bits of paper, a joke book, an A4-sheet-long magic spell was memorable, for it's length and nothing else.   When I was a very young child my party-piece was singing Ruby Don't Take Your Love To Town, the Johnny Darrell version from 1967.  I remember singing it at the wedding of an aunt and uncle.  I wasn't a scathing or prophetic child, he wasn't in a wheelchair and she was never unfaithful.
  The tiniest spooky children are the worst.  While a larger child at the back is reciting a joke with total lack of comic timing, they're down the front, wee grabbing hands working fast, repeatedly transferring fun-size chocolate sweets (while avoiding the mini hard candies) from my cauldron to their little orange pumpkin buckets.  No child was left un-traumatised however, I forced them all to tell me a Halloween joke which inevitably involved a skeleton or a vampire.  One young lad raised my black powdered eyebrows, telling us an ethnic-religion joke, what do you call two Jews singing?  A Jewet. Boom.
  For The Halloween experience we also got into costume, me as a Serial Killer Waitress complete with a tray of poisoned cakes and The Husband was...something with Devil wings.  After the guisers were past we attended the neighbour's Halloween party for a couple of hours, which was...something too.  The neighbours really do Halloween, their front garden has been a graveyard for all of October.


Read My Lips
  Over to The Star Swag Blog for playsuits.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Read My Lips, or Sur Mes Levres, for French it is.  We do adore a reader.  This crime thriller is very good.



  There's a box bag story on The Star Swag Blog.
  Two items of Car News to report.  First, The Boy passed his driving theory test, congratuwelldone The Boy.  I made it worth his while with a little cash enhancement which should keep him enthusiastic for the driving part of the driving test.
  The Husband has been spending a lot of time in the last couple days in his pop-up garage and actually IN the engine compartment of the Jeep.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Ajami.  I had the idea that Israel has only Jews and Palestine only Muslims, there's a big wall and never do the opposite peoples come into contact unless it's to throw stones and bombs.  Ajami helped me understand that people of different religions actually live and work alongside each other in the old city of Jaffa (part of Tel Aviv in Israel), that Palestine is territories, parts of Israel they're fighting over, that there are also Christians there and some of the younger generations actually like each other.  The film did reinforce my thinking that it's a terrifying region of the world to live and that religion is divisive and destructive.
    The Husband and I watched Interstellar.  162 minutes that could only be won back if time travel were a viable option.  Matt Damon couldn't hide his disbelief at the words coming out of his mouth, neither could we.  Matthew McConaughey is such a good actor he fooled me a few times, suckered me into believing it's a good movie, but it's not, it's an unbelievable waste of time, effort and gravity.  What was McConaughey thinking?



Child 44

The Absent One

Over to The Star Swag Blog for a round-up of gorgeous stuff.  When I was in my temporary post-hysterectomy-menopause-depression-fat phase I never bought a bigger size, never ever do that.  That would be like accepting the bad, believing I couldn't fix me, the first step on the rocky road to obesity.  Never go up that strass.  Always know you will return to normal size again.  Knowing for certain that you will again be skinny, is a prerequisite for being skinny again.  Hence I've got a load of new stuff to wear now AND all my old stuff fits again, but the new stuff is obviously best.


Time again for Bowel News.  Due to the family genetic cancer risk, every two years I have the colonoscopy and every other year I have the test where shit is placed on the test-card three times.  It's x3 pieces of shit on the card test-time again, and for the 2nd time (same result 2 years ago)received the "we found blood in your poo" letter.  They use that word, "poo" I suppose incase for someone the word faeces is too technical.  I rubbed shit on the 2nd stage test again and waited.  Result in today, I still don't have bowel cancer, makes me sweat waiting on 2nd test results though.  Everyone given the opportunity to take this free test, take it, stupidity not to.

  I have a new skin care routine from an old favourite.  Three Nivea products.  I'm cleansing with the Daily Essentials Sensitive 3 in 1 Micellar Cleansing Water,  free of parabens, colours and perfume for my delicate allergy-prone skin, it removes makeup, cleanses deeply and moisturises. 
  For night the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Skin Rejuvenation Night Cream and for day the Nivea Cellular Anti-Age Skin Rejuvenation Day Cream with SPF 15 protecting against UVB and UVA rays.  The night and day creams are thick, but still the day cream sinks in so quickly and invisibly you can apply make-up over it immediately.  These potions and lotions are doing what they promise, my face feels silky smooth and it may just be only me, but I think my skin looks visibly younger.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Arbitrage.  Good, even Gere.
  The Husband and I watched Child 44.  Was a great story told in quite a rush.  It was alright, but would have been so much better if Scandinavians had made it, too Hollywood.
  The Husband and I watched The Absent One (Fasandræberne).  Our second movie based on a book by the Danish author Jussi Adler-Olsen, the previous one being Keeper of Lost Causes.  I've read all his Dept Q books.  I find it disconcerting watching the movie versions, glimpses tell my brain I've seen this movie before, but of course I haven't, I've read the books.  Brain playing tricks on me.  Good movie from a good book.


Mad Max Fury Road

The Devil's Backbone

A Second Chance

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Wild Tales

The Treatment

Over to The Star Swag Blog for beautiful silver and gold.

  Diet News.  I was 8st 8lbs at time of last post, and I've took so long to get this blog post up that I'm now proud and happy to announce...I'm looking at 8st 4lbs on the Dualits.  Target weight achieved and sped past, 36lbs down, and loving it.  Every single piece of clothing in the Starry Towers Walk-In-Wardrobe fits again, even the short shorts.  It's so easy eating less than 15g of carbohydrates a day.
  The Husband and I, on a whim (of mine) had an evening out at the Howden Park Centre, West Lothian's premier centre for arts performances, events and activities.  This comedy play, Gym & Tonic, was performed by local amateur dramatic group The Livingston Players.  The Husband and I, out there supporting our local thespians.
  Star of the show was the rather special award-winning Howden Park Centre with it's spacious and very comfortable 296 seat auditorium.  The design and seating arrangement of this intimately cozy theatre affords a spectacular view of the action on the stage from every seat in the place.  Good job architects.
  Gym & Tonic was amateur dramatics at it's very best, highly entertaining precisely because they're amateurs, they're just not very good at it, the acting thing.  We liked the extremely domestic story, we identified with some of the character traits (though this was in the way of The Husband telling me the wife character was like me in certain ways, and I, while refuting that, was telling him the lead male was similar to him in some ways), we even laughed.  We will return to Howden park Centre, it's a very plush local venue.
  The Husband and I have been out and about in Scotland recently.  First up was a drive out to Loch Katrine, taking The Duke's Pass, and via our old favourite Kilmahog on the homeward bound.  Early on the trip we're persuaded off the M9 by road signs for the Bannockburn battlefield.  I've never been before.  The time is right, I'm politically motivated for the first time in my life, Scottish independence is right up there with the most important things and people in my life, also, Bannockburn has been voted "THE most decisive battle fought in the British Isles" in an online BBC poll, even though they hid it away under their English section, hoping no doubt that some rubbish who-cares-anyway English battle would win.  The biased BBC is so stupid, us cybernats (ie we want Scottish independence and we own computers) can sniff out duplicitous lying cheating bastards with greater ease than they can hide.
  There's a rather lovely gift shop, and an exhibition which is mostly history-telling in the medium of movie.  We don't need to watch a movie, we're here for the monument, this place on earth.  On arrival, we buy flags and Saltire Rock then it's out to the monument and it's fine Scottish weather we're having.  The rain is falling straight down and kind of to the side like.  It's emotional.
    On up the road and wee drop into The Pier Cafe at Stronachlachar on Loch Katrine for lunch.  I ask the young Irish waitress for the wi-fi password, she tells me "cardcake".  I ask with a hint of incredulity...cardcake?  She repeats with extra emphasis...CARDCAKE.  I ask again with lots of really?...cardcake?  She patiently says "cardcake" pointing to the label next to a slice of actual carrot's the accent.
    I order the Caesar salad and when it arrives, give away the croutons to The Husband to add to his soup of the day and sandwhich.  I bring my own low carb bread and mayo from out my handbag.  Great hearty lunch and I'm still a weight-loss angel.
    We drop in to the Kilmahog Woollen Mill too, I mention this just so I can share this picture of The Husband in a silly hat.
    We have another trip out heading even further up north.  We're going to the Aberdeen area to visit friends, but I've booked a hotel for an overnight stay and surprise The Husband when I tell him to pack an overnight bag. 
    After meeting up with the friends we head on up the east coast to Ackergill Tower Castle Hotel near Wick.  I picked a good 'un, it's spectacular here.  Every room is full of antiques and it has it's own beach, where we have a nocturnal picnic, in the pitch black dark, other than our little tea-light candle lanterns and torches.  This night I slept in a bed that could kill me and in the morrow I broke fast under ceiling lights that could kill me, bringing an imagination of the domestic dangers of historic Scottish.
    We're so far up Scotland, it would ridiculous not to visit John O' Groats just a little further north.  I've started to carry a Saltire in my handbag at all times, to be always pro-Indy photo-op ready.  John O' Groats is such an opportunity.

    We have a drink at The Storehouse then drop in to one of the John O' Groats gift shops.  There I spotted rubber ducks in amongst the other stuff I had no interest in.  There's a pink duck for The Boy's lovely girlfriend Laura.  Thinking to myself, there's no point buying this tourist gift shop tat if there's not a duck with The Boy's name on, when I spot one for him too.  It's funny, and therefore these personalised ducks are now out of the shite and into the irony category.  Even better, when The Husband hands over a £10 note to pay for the ducks the jolly shopkeeper gives us three very good condition Scottish £1 notes in our change.  It's been a long time since I laid eyes on one of them.
    We head back home via the Loch Ness route.  We're starting to get hungry by the time we reach Loch Ness.  We drive through Fort Augustus thinking too many tourists.  The first suitable place we see proved ideal for us.  The Husband easily picks a meal from the menu.  I ask, not for one of the dishes, but for certain ingredients to suit my low-carb diet.  No problem, cafe lady didn't bat an eyelid and huge portions of delicious ham, cheeses and salad stuff arrived at our table.  The Husband was chuffed to see a photo and autograph of Cal Crutchlow hanging on the wall above our table too.
    I've decided that a classy picnic experience is a romantic and enjoyable thing to do.  We're new to this picnicking, there will be more romantic and highly enjoyable picnics to come.  For one, this is not exactly optimum picnic season weather and temperature-wise.  We also need to research for the best places for picnics.  With dream picnics in mind I purchased an aesthetically-pleasing traditional picnic basket and a new picnic rug to match.  We took a drive down to the Scottish Borders and stopped at the bridge over Talla Water on the unnamed road high above Loch Talla.  At this spot there's off-road car-parking space for two vehicles, if you have a Jeep or suchlike.  Park up, cross the road, climb over the fence and you find yourself in a beautiful piece of Scotland.  Not one single vehicle drove past while we were there.  We'll picnic here again in summer weather, we'll walk in a bit further then, to have the best possible view down on Loch Talla.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Mad Max Fury Road.  I liked it, The Husband was not so impressed.
    The Husband and I watched The Devil's Backbone.  Very good.
    The Husband and I watched A Second Chance.  Makes you think...big questions with uneasy answers.
    The Husband and I watched A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night.  So strange, so different, filmed in black and white.  An Iranian vampire, I was surprised when The Husband announced it's one of the best movies he's ever seen.  He's right.
    The Husband and I watched Wild Tales.  Brilliant.
    The Husband and I watched The Treatment.  Enjoyable.


Shell Shock



Open Hearts

The Salvation

City Of God
  Over on The Star Swag Blog for a shoe/boot haul.
  Diet News has me weighing in at 8st 8lbs, that's another 6lbs down and a total weight loss of 32lbs.  Please remember I've not always been a fatty, I only put the weight on because of the Total Hysterectomy and Bilateral Oophorectomy, a physical, hormonal and mentally traumatic experience in anyone's book.  I've returned to the weight I've been all my adult life prior to the major op.  This "new" weight-loss me is the me I've known all my adult life until the past 3 or 4 getting-fat years.  Loosing this fat is life-changing and life-improving, my mood is up again, back to normal, physical problems are resolved, no more pain in my lower limbs, my skeleton and major internal organs are sighing in relief, my option in what clothes I can wear on any given day has increased by many many multiples.  Put simply...I'm back and I feel great. 
  As a chubster I suffered the severe pain of (properly diagnosed by a real doctor) plantar fasciitis (both feet) and a bone spur on underside of my left heel.  I had sore legs, especially in the calves and thighs, and my poor back.  It was so bad I limped most of every day when I was too heavy.  I harboured a secret suspicion that my weight gain was most probably causing or at the least, contributing to these painful conditions, how could it possibly not?  Now the burden of 32lbs of unwanted and unrequired fat has gone, I no longer experience painful feet and calves.  If you carry extra weight, you will suffer, one way or the other at some point...that's the law.  So at 8st 8lbs I've changed my goal, I'm aiming now for 8st 4lbs.
  My Life remain within the 8 to 8 and a half stone weight range.  Once there, if I start to creep up to the 8 and a half I'll do a week or two of low carbs (15g or less per day).  It's a really effective diet, lots of options of acceptable foods and lots and lots of food.
  I had a very Happy Birthday to me earlier this month with a couple dozen red roses, my signature scent, Thierry Mugler Angel Eau Du Perfum (the beautiful new Gravity star 75ml refillable) and a silver Pandora Moments Silver Pave Star Bangle.  The funniest and cutest thing about my birthday was The Boy's wrapping skills, see below.  Silver wrapping paper and tons of selotape.  I love it because it's so obviously all his own work.  The Pandora bracelet I found inside the wrapping is so perfectly me, he chose it with his lovely girlfriend.  Real silver with a star, they know me so well, and they put time and effort into getting it just right, they even got it in my size.  Emotional.
  Angel Gravity
  Went to The Amazing World Of M. C. Escher, an exhibit at The Modern Two gallery in Edinburgh and all I got was this ridiculously and fiendishly difficult puzzle.  Couple weeks later, I'm no further forward.  It does offer an answer to...what is it s'posed to look like?  On the back of the puzzle is a ridiculously and fiendishly unhelpful black and white image.
  Escher Impossipuzzle
  no help
  In truth, it wasn't all I got,  I met up with Friend L.  We calculated we hadn't seen each other for approximately 18 years.  Friend L and I were student nurses together back in the '80s.  What extraordinary fun we had together back then, two like-minded young women sussing out our world, our lifes, our futures.  We had a tasty lunch and agreed we'd both liked Escher before we saw the exhibition, but we came out loving, respecting and appreciating him far more.  I came home full of joy and happiness, for the art and for my friend.

Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Shell Shock.  Yeah, was a good depiction of photo-journalism in war-torn Kurdistan in the '80s.  Very very '80s, no mistaking the decade.

  The Best Friend C and I watched '71.  Excellent movie.
    The Best Friend C and I watched SPY.  Hmmm, was OK.  We'll never recapture the Zucker/Abrahams excellence that I remember so fondly as the first comedy that truly appealed to the young adult me.  The Zuckers and Abrahams will never recapture their own brilliance ever again.  It's a sad truth that their humour was of it's time and of my age, it was innovative and spectacular, to me.  Three decades later, there's no point in attempting to recreate, to recapture their fresh young thing, it's gone, let it go.
    I watched Open Hearts.  I couldn't find a relative or friend who would agree to watch this with me, despite the presence of Mads Mikkleson.  It proved to be a rather boring and self-indulgent relationship piece of...seriously, who cares?
    The Husband and I watched The Salvation.  Mads is a a Danish man in the very wild wild west.  Good.
    The Husband and I watched City Of God.  Good.


Take Shelter


Starred Up

In The House

What We Do In The Shadows
A Bumblebee hitched a lift in the Jeep with us from Braehead to Sunny D and now I'm worried about how it'll get home or will another hive let it move in?  I've been trying to understand the behaviour of Bees, but even trying to work out what the sex of our accidental passenger is likely to be is proving too taxing for me.  Advice from Neil Mackay, the Deputy Editor of the Sunday Herald, is to read The Bees by Laline Paull.  I'm doing that now, just started, and haven't read enough to know if this book is going to help me understand what's likely to happen to my Bee hitchhiker.  The Bees has a lovely hive-style website.
On the journey to Braehead we had the Jeep top down, while at Braehead The Husband put the top up due to weather changes.  Half way home the Bee suddenly appeared on the window by my side from the back of the car.  My first reaction was to open the window and let it out, which only resulted in the Bee being blown right back to where it had just come from.  Then I realised it could be damaged if I did insist on evicting it en route and the Starry Towers gardens with all the Bee food available would be the best place to set it free.  Not immediately turning the Jeep around and going back to Braehead was a given.
  I've got a beautiful collection of political fridge magnets, something that, just a year ago, if you'd asked me, I'd have never suspected would ever happen, but it's true.  When Indyref returned a NO vote the world changed.  I suddenly and totally understood how important Scottish Independence is to me and for Scotland.  I was heartbroken with the NO result, and mystified, I seriously thought everyone understood the only way to improve Scotland was to be free of Westminster, I became politically aware, joined The SNP, upped my political Twitter activity, got a Scotland cover for my passport and a Saltire for my birthday.  Hence the political fridge magnets.  The large ones available from @BadgeBonny on The Twitter, the small ones from eBay.
  fridge magnets
  My Grass Head was getting a bit unruly, The Mum said...give him a hair-cut, I did and now he's looking tidy.
  Gass Head haircut
  Friend C and I attended the So You Think You're Funny 2015 Grand Final at The Gilded Balloon.  Compered by Zoe Lyons, with Mark Watson as the celebrity judge.  Zoe Lyons provides a lot of comedy material in this 2.5hr show.  Here's my (very) rough calculations.  There were ten finalists each delivering 7 mins, that's 150 mins minus 70 = 80 mins, take away 10 minutes for the break = 60, then there was at least another 15 mins as we waited for the judges decision = 75 mins (or thereabouts) from Zoe Lyons.  Good job Zoe.
    Contestants :
    Ben Pope
    Yumna Mohamed
    Neil O'Rourke
    Matilda Wnek
    Red Richardson
Ed Day
    Yuriko Kotani 
    Stephen Lawson
    AJ Roberts
    Luca Cupani
    Third was Ed Day, second place went to Yuriko Kotani and the winner was Luca Cupani.
    The judges decision was not Friend C and my decisions.  We liked...3rd place Stephen Lawson, 2nd place Yumna Mohamed and our winner is...Yuriko Kotani.
    and the winner is...
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Take Shelter.  Interesting and Michael Shannon gives a great performance, is he portraying mental illness or spooky?
    The Husband and I watched Birdman.  Oh dear.
    The Husband and I watched Starred Up.  Very good.
    The Husband and I watched In The House.  Nice, witty, funny, well acted and different.
    The Husband and I watched What We Do In The Shadows.  Love this movie.  5 stars.


Son OF A Gun

It Follows

In A Better World

Progress on The Starry Towers Blog.

  Friend C and I were at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival again.  This time we visited the Free Fringe at The Counting House (Venue 170).  This is a pleasant place with a relaxed atmosphere.  The deal at the Free Fringe is, you the customer are admitted for free, and are then encouraged to put money in the bucket to show your appreciation.  You will too, it's only right.
  I'd been attracted to a Free Fringe night out when I found out that Glaswegian comedian Janey Godley was was doing a show.  I've paid to see Janey twice already and found her hilarious.  Also her daughter Ashley Storrie is doing her own show.
  We started with Ashley in A Very Tall Storrie, 18:15 in the Counting House Lounge.  I asked for a photo and ended up in a selfie with her.  My favourite show of the four we see tonight, Ashley has a natural, energetic and mischievous comedy, she's alive with funny, buzzing with humour.
  The Counting House
  Both Ashley and Janey Godley are socialists and make it clear, if you can't afford to put money in the bucket, don't.  By playing the Free Fringe they hope some people who would otherwise not be able to see their shows, will.  Janey Godleys' Honest To Godley starts at 19:45 in the  I've twice paid to see Janey before, she's very funny and we did put paper money in her and Ashleys' buckets.
  Ashley Storrie
    Janey Godley
We were going to spend the next hour or so in the bar for drinks and a chat before going to The Barry Prophesy, but we were encouraged in to watch Conor Drums' Adult show, by Conor Drum.  Up to the tiny Studio room to fill the last two seats and the show began (20:45).  Conor is funny, he has masses of excellent material and he tells it with charm and a quite well-honed delivery.  He fell down occasionally because he appeared jaded and a bit annoyed.  Or maybe he was tired, preoccupied, he might have worries, whatever it was, he wasn't fully connecting, which is a shame.  Not to feel too sorry for him however, if he was interested, which he may well not have been, the red head on the front row with the thrusting forward body language and the shrieky chortle at his every joke was working very hard at being a comedy groupie.
    Shortly after this, at 22:00, we're back in the Lounge for Barry Ferns.  Maybe I was tired, preoccupied, worried, maybe 4 hours comedy in one night is too much.  I wasn't all that impressed.
    Conor Drum
    Barry Ferns
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Son Of A Gun.  Captivating.
    The Husband and I watched It Follows., don't have sex, it'll either kill you or tie you in to a loveless relationship/marriage and either way it'll haunt you forever.
    The Husband and I watched In A Better World.  Good.




A Most Wanted Man


A Walk Among The Tombstones

Maps To The Stars


Sheep News

Shetland Sheep News has the results from Kinross and Peebles, The Dad's last show, ever, EVER! and a sad goodbye to the Ivydene Flock.
  The Star Swag Blog has leather.

Official announcement.  Diet News : I've lost 2 stone/28lbs/12.7006kg. For those of you who haven't seen me for a while this doesn't mean I'm the incredibly underweight tottie wee woman, it means I'm back under 9 stone, having put on weight in the mood slump that followed the total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy. Being over-weight felt awful, this feels good, and healthy (I can do cartwheels again), nearly all my old clothes fit and so do all the new ones bought in my successful-diet celebrations (yes The Husband that's what I said...successful-diet-shopping celebrations). Only 5lbs to go till totally skinny fighting weight is achieved. Congratuwelldone to me, I've earned my bragging rights, go me, go me, go me!

  Friend C and I had our first night out at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I decided not to continue with my previous autograph hunter behaviour, it's lost it's appeal.  We started with Alan Davies at The Gilded Balloon.  Ridiculously bad iPhone photos were obtained.  The iPhone camera ability doesn't cope well with stage-lit subjects on stages, it's the white lights, all I get is white with no recognisable facial features whatsoever.  However, this is the photo I'll put on here, because I'm keeping it real...unfortunately...sorry.
  The seating in the Debating Room at the Gilded Balloon is the worst I've ever experienced, the most squeezed-in blatant money-maker.  I know the show is called Work In Progress 2, but I was at Work In Progress last year and it was both funnier and more polished.  WIP2 had a few more honed and funny bits, but I'm left with an overall feeling of being cheated, was £15 a ticket same as the superior WIP last year.
  Alan Davies

We went straight from Alan Davies to Ian D Montford at the Pleasance Courtyard for Under Sciencey Conditions.  This guy is funny, appealing to my skeptic heart.  This is a character played by Tom Binns, and he's hilarious.  A ball was thrown about the audience, when finding people to come up on stage.  Friend C told me...if the ball comes to me, bat it away.  I'd just finished confidently promising her I definitely would bat the ball away if it came anywhere near her, when the ball came out of nowhere and fell into my lap.


I recall holding the ball up in my left hand at Friend C, my eyes swiveling from ball to her face and back, saying "shit" out loud twice, seriously shocked.  Then realising I had no other option, everyone would've seen me with the ball, I wasn't exactly hiding it.  I got my shit together and went up on stage.

    Ian D Montford is gentle on his stage guests, if you get the ball, do not fret, just get up on stage, I enjoyed my time up there.  This show is a mix of skeptic humour and well executed magic tricks and will probably be my #1 pick of the Fringe Festival 2015.  IPhone camera still shite though.
    Ian D Montford

Next up was Iain Stirling "Touchy Feely" at The Pleasance Courtyard.  He was OK, made me laugh quite a bit and he commented that he liked my River Island silver crossbody bag, but I wasn't comfortable with the political content in his material.  Too soon Iain.  The iPhone camera liked him best though, his stage lighting must have less wattage.

    Ian Stirling
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched A Most Wanted Man.  Good.  The Husband didn't realise Philip Seymour Hoffman was in the movie till he saw him in the movie, even though his face and name are on the DVD cover.
    The Husband and I watched The Homesman.  Very good.  I didn't recognise Tommy Lee Jones for ages, even though his face and name are on the DVD cover.
    The Husband and I watched A Walk Among The Tombstones.  Enjoyed.  Didn't sing "oh, we can't help but wonder, how big is Liam Neeson's c*%k" (a la Hollywood Babble On) throughout the watching.
    The Husband and I watched Maps To The Stars.  Not so good.




Age Of Uprising

I'm currently reshaping Marilyn's World, do hold on to your hats.  In approximately 1, 4 or 6 months, after I've toiled and troubled over the minute changes, you will be astounded at how miniscule the changes are, you may not even notice when it's complete because the improvements will be occurring little by little and will in total be little.  I do hope you find the future Marilyn's World as pleasing as I envisage it, but for a while there'll be dead links etc, though all the content should remain here somewhere, on the old links.

  There's a metallic silver jewelry/bag/shoe thing on The Star Swag Blog.
  I went on a work-day-slash-night-out, my first time ever, or for a very very long time anyway.  Now thinking about it, I kinda recall meeting up with a bunch of people in a Chinese restaurant in Edinburgh when I was a student nurse on an acute admission placement, but obviously my heart wasn't in it and I didn't actually eat.  Oh aye, and there was the evening at a local golf club with the staff of a rehab ward when I was a student, that ended in tears.  So, my third time now that I think about it.
  I decided to give this a go, for the sake of experiencing what I might be missing out on.  A bunch of us women went to see The Real Hoosewives Fae Glesga at The Pavillion.  The day starts with a train journey from Bathgate to Glesga around midday, that's far too early to be going on a work outing, but that's the way it was.  The show was a matinee starting at 2pm, the audience were almost exclusively middle-to-late-aged women, and mostly, they'd either been more-than-one drinking already, were arguing with bouncers about having their alcohol taken off them in the queue and/or drinking their illicit supplies in the theatre throughout the show.  I have reason to believe some of the party I was with were drinking their illicit supplies during the show. 
  The show just wasn't my kinda thing.  The actors were strutting about, delivering, in a near-on panto stylee.  I couldn't do it, I admire them for that.  Thing is, for me, I'd rather not leave a show with the best I can give them being...yes, you're good at your job.
  How time flies, noticeably so at the village Post Office.  I'd started to realise I hadn't seen the Silver Haired Fox for a while, maybe I'd coincidently visited the PO on his half day for ages.  So I was in there the other day and I enquire after him, is he on holiday?  To be told, he left in February, six months ago.  I try for the goss...did he move on, change jobs, retire?  We can't talk about it was the response.  His departure remains a mystery, to me anyway.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kohlhaas.  Technical movie-making's visually very dark, like not clear, too dark, and the, what I can't help but suspect is bad sound, insect noise features prominently.  A French story of one man's rebellion and a lot of futile effort, loss and pain.  An elite wrongs the ordinary man, the man stands up and refuses to take it anymore, others join him, rebellion and social improvements are within their grasp, The elite make promises to the working man and his little army, the silly man accepts the terms, the elite cheat him and...I said no spoilers, got dangerously close to spoiling there.  But it's all so Rob Roy and William Wallace in a Frenchy stylee...with Mads Mikkelsen, it's great.



The Boy is having the Congratuwelldones and the cake today, 22 years old.  He had his Go-Pro plus many Go-Pro accessories before he went on holiday to Mexico so today he got cake and he ate it too.




The Heat


The Step-Daughter and The Step-Grandson have been here a week now and tomorrow they travel home to The Netherlands.  A holiday in which the youngster behaved impeccably and for once his mother did too, a week in which the young 'un adapted well to all things Scottish (see his See You Jimmy hat) and his mother did too (see the man in a kilt).  Was lovely having them over.  The pick of my favourite photies.

  On our jaunts around Scotland I fed a Highland Bull a piece of apple.  Despite two fences between me and him and his apparent pleasant nature (while behind double fencing) I was rather nervous, but placed the apple slice on an open hand and the big black one snaffled it up, leaving my hand dirty and snotty, but essentially, all fingers too.  Hamish is big enough but the black one is even larger.
  While we were at the Glen Coe Ski Centre they were air-lifting bucket after bucket of cement up a mountain.
  The Step-Daughter gifted me a Grass Head and in the week she was here I grew my own grass.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Heat, felt like I'd seen it 20 times before, but I hadn't, or maybe I'd seen it once before?  Disappointed.




The Judge



  Sheep News

The latest Sheep News on The Shetland Sheep Blog.

  The new Starry Towers Upstairs Loo/Shower Room is complete, story and pictures on The Starry Towers Blog, along with the story and pictures of my first attempt at a tiling repair...not in the loo/shower room but on the Starry Towers fireplace hearth.
  And then there's some swag on The Swag Blog.
  Diet News...another 4lbs down.  Today's weight...9st 2lbs.  Total loss 24lbs.
  The Boy is back in town, he and his lovely The Girlfriend have spent two weeks in Mexico.  I'm currently weaseling his holiday photies off him, watch this space, well not THIS space, but a space further up the page in the near future.

On the day The Boy rocks up to Starry Towers, The Step-Grandson also arrives (with The Husband and The Step-Daughter on a big boat) for his first visit.  I get called "Grandma" in an actual conversation, ie The Step-Daughter says to The Step-Grandson "say night night to Grandma".  That stung.  The Boy and The Girlfriend were all smiles and awwws and ahhhs for The Step-Grandson and The Boy held a baby for the first time.  Said he didn't want to hold a baby as he fears dropping/harming, accidently of course, but I showed him the easy way, sit down...hardly any effort at all and no fear of dropping/falling, practically can't go wrong.  So today we had a couple of Roman emperors here at Starry Towers, Marcus and Julius.

    With the new Starry Towers Upstairs Loo/Shower Room complete I'm turning my attention to sourcing and framing art and old cards/postcards for the future Starry Towers staircase of vintage with a predominantly Scotland flavour.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Judge.  The Husband really enjoyed it, I really enjoyed Robert Downey Jr. and Robert Duvall, the storyline was a bit too hokey for me.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Hyena.  It's a miracle we watched all the way to the end.  Not good.




Fortitude first season


Human Capital

Night Moves

The Book Thief

Sheep News

  There's Royal Highland Show Sheep News on The Shetland Sheep Blog.  Hint...I'm not the biggest fan of that judge and his silly hat.

The Starry Towers upstairs loo and shower room is practically finished, a few little details still to do, coming soon to The Starry Towers Blog.  The final details still to come is me sourcing the towels, and I'm still debating whether to put up a roller black out blind.  I've already ordered super-soft towels, in two shades of deep blue, from Marks & Spencer...on the subject of a blind...I think I will.  Congratuwelldone to me for the styling and design, and to The Husband for his DIY skills.


I've struggled for a while with sleeping in our superking-size bed.  The bed is fantastic, I love our big metal bed, but the mattress was too hard for me.  I'm so done with planking every night.  I prefer a softer surface, I like to sink into a mattress, I like to be able to lie on my side in comfort without having to put a shoulder out of joint to do so.  I don't like that "spare arm" feeling, when the under-arm feels uncomfortable and/or sore, forcing one to thrust the arm far away from it's natural position and even then it's still annoying.  I like a mattress that permits the body to lie on a side in pain-free proper alignment, the spine stays straight and the curvy bits dip into a soft top layer, both cushioned and supported.  I just had to get a new I did.


We're currently testing the Eve mattress.  I say "testing" because the Eve Mattress company sell their mattress on the understanding that if you don't like it they'll collect it and take it away, free of charge and give you your money back.  They are that convinced that you are going to like it a lot.

  So far, they're right to believe their own hype.  The Husband thinks it's as good as the very expensive high quality Bed Butler mattress we threw out.  We had to get the local council to pick it up because no charity wants a superking mattress, they don't get the bed frames to go with it.  I tried to give it to a good cause, to help others, but no joy.

I found the idea of throwing it away difficult to stomach, but having tried my best, phoning around locally, then contacting the national recycling charity and being told for sure there are no charities that can use a superking mattress without a bed frame to match, The Husband phoned the council and a few days later it was gone.  Which is a good thing because it was becoming very annoying standing there in the hall.

  When I told The Husband that I was sleeping in the Starry Towers Guest Bedroom (with it's super-soft mattress) in his work-related absences and that I'd reached breaking point on the Bed Butler, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANY MORE!
  He said, ok, but remembering the pushing, pulling, squeezing and sweating effort we both put in to getting the Bed Butler up the stairs, he told me I could fetch the new mattress up the stairs myself.  Unknown to him I'd already been searching for the new mattress and found the Eve.  It comes with free delivery, and, crucially...vacuum-packed in a box.

I'll admit now, I didn't get it up the stairs all on my own.  It's way more compact than an old-style sprung type mattress but still too heavy for my muscle power.  The day it arrived The Husband had just popped out for a bit of shopping and I felt blessed at my luck.  I would have it up the stairs and be free to casually drop that into conversation, oh yeah, the new mattress, it's up the stairs, just to see him set face to stunned.  About a third up the stairs I called out for The Boy who helped me up the other two thirds.

  Take the mattress out the box, place it on the bed frame then remove the vacuum-packed plastic and watch it expand.  It's so comfortable, I'm lying on my side, on my perfectly aligned shoulders, bliss.  A remarkable by-product, The Husband (who I don't believe) says I haven't snored for the 11 nights I've slept on it.  I DO NOT snore EVER!  I'm exceedingly pleased so far.  We've got 89 of our 100 free trial nights ahead of us for further testing.  The Eve is delivered free, you try it out for 100 nights and if you don't agree it's the world's most comfortable mattress they will come and take it away for free and return your money.  One mattress suits all and there's a ten year guarantee.  The superking is £700 but as always I found a £50 off discount code, top deal.  Have a look at evemattress.
  Eve Mattress box
  Eve on the bed
  The not snoring thing must be related to the mattress, but perhaps also to my weight loss.  I've been sitting on this information, perched on my peachy shrinking bottom, as I didn't want to jinx myself and my efforts.  So far I've lost 20lbs (9.07185kgs). 9.07185kgs doesn't sound as impressive as 20lbs.  20lbs is one stone and 6lbs, practically 1 and a half stones.
  After the total hysterectomy and bilateral oophorectomy with the consequential sudden and horrendous menopause, what with the physical symptoms leaving me feeling like a leaky hot water bottle, the hormonal plunge into darkness and much crying of tears and the localised trauma to the tummy, I let myself go much further than ever before, gaining 26lbs before giving myself a shake.  I've never in my life let myself go more than 6lbs before.  By the time I hit my heaviest ever in my life, I weighed, and whisper this bit......10st 12lbs.  I know!  Shocking.  Now I'm very close to reaching my normal weight.  Another 6lbs will take me to 9st and I'll go further if it continues to be this easy, maybe reach the 8 and a half stones of my 20s.
  With self given a shake and a determined determination like I renamed myself The Determiinator, I set about cutting carbohydrates.  I try to stay below 15g a day, which turns out to be an easy target.  I've found loads of foods I can eat as much of, like chicken, fish, eggs, mushrooms and cheese, as I want and add in little bits of others that care must be taken with, like nuts, onions, tomatoes, leafy greens, certain vegies and gravy.  With that lot on the menu it's not all that difficult.  For sweet it's a certain brand of strawberry jelly and double cream, for chocolate it's Lindt 90% cocoa, which is healthy but not very chocolaty as I know it.  Whatever, it's not a big sacrifice for the benefits.  I'm fitting into most of my clothes now, that further 6lbs and I'll look and feel great in all my clothes.
  The Friend C and I went to the Gala Opening Night of the world premier of the Robert Carlyle movie The Legend of Barney Thomson based on the book by my favourite author in the world, Mr Douglas Douglas Lindsay at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre.  We loved the movie, Emma Thomson in particular, was the best I've ever seen her, very funny.  Yet again the iPhone proved to be shite at taking photos in theatre conditions.
  Edinburgh Festival Theatre
  The Legend of Barney Thomson
  Robert Carlyle
  the tallent
  Embarrassed by my British passport...I've given it a makeover.  This'll do nicely, with it's unchained unicorns, till I get my Scottish passport.  Available at  Saor Alba.
  passport makeover
  Box Set Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Fortitude season 1.  Certain aspects were enjoyable but on the whole, not really.  I wasn't keen on the acting from the English apart from Michael Gambon of course, even Sofie Gråbøl wasn't as engrossing as we know she can be.  The plot was a bit meh.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Deception.  Enchanting tale well acted, in the mood of Hitchcock.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Human Capital.  Italian family drama and separate lives, very good.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Night Moves.  Gripping enough for a while that it?
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Book Thief.  A moving story full of love and even a bit magical at times, human magic.




Vikings 1&2


  Sheep News

Over on The Shetland Sheep Blog for the results of the first three shows of the 2015 season.  Hint...The Dad does very well.

  The gardens at Starry Towers are moving on from Tulip season to the great Allium season.  I love all the Starry Towers garden seasons but Allium season is one of my favourites.  I just adore these big purple balls.  The other remarkable flower just now is my first Himalayan Blue Poppy.  There's 7 buds on this plant, this one's the only one flowered so far.  I've had two of these plants for a couple years, a gift from The Mum and this is the first to flower since I got them.  Stunning plant.
  Himalayan Blue Poppy
  Box Set Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Vikings season 1 & 2.  We lurve these Vikings.  Very enjoyable TV, can hardly wait for season 3.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Dragonflies.  Attracted by Kim Bodnia (The Bridge), it's beautiful and wonderfully acted, not an awful lot actually happens but it gives the impression all along that much is about to happen.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Choose.  Attracted by the Katheryn Winnick, she of the Vikings' Lagertha Lothbrok, it's not all that good.


Wayhay and woohoo!!!  This is history in the making, this is the fist time Scottish votes will make a difference in Westminster.  This is a hugely united Scotland and the Scottish people are the winners.







The Keeper Of Lost Causes


In order Of Disappearance

The Hypnotist

I've been sourcing the product again.  TBH I'm kinda always sourcing the product, it's a little hobby of mine.  This time it's wall lights for Starry Towers.  The new light for the Starry Towers living room is here and I'm absolutely delighted with it.  This is the tarnished-black finish metal Broadway, H75 x W78 x D13cm.  An absolute bargain at £139.  The reality is as good as it looks on the Made website.  We're using E14 15W bulbs.

  For the staircase I've tracked down these beautiful Nordlux copper Scorpius Maxi Wall Downlights, H14 x W27 x D14cm, takes a max 60W bulb.
  Designed for outdoors, but with a little shakeup, we're putting them indoors and upside-down.  I contacted Lighting-direct and asked two questions.
  1.  Can these lights be installed upside-down if they're used indoors?
  2.  Are these lights of a good enough quality and finish for indoors?
  With a YES to both questions I went ahead, and I'm very happy with both quality and finish.  Bit pricey at £99.98 each but I found a 10% discount code.  Always the savvy shopper.
  new star light
  Nordlux Scorpius Downlight Copper

He's been down right annoying since he got home to his dinner on the patio table plus an ice cold beer. Mr Angry causing a fuss over a "smelly fridge", escalating to "this house stinks".  Thing is I have a disability, Anosmia, and he's been berating me while flaunting his fully-functioning nose at me, so very cruel and Anosist.

  Just as I was getting ready to empty the fridge for a bleachy scrub out (2nd in a month) he brings Charlie from across the road in.  Tell her about the stink Charlie, he says.  First Charlie it soap?  Directed to the fridge Charlie's (perfectly fresh) Camembert.  Pah! To you The Husband.  See below for problem & problem easily solved.
  Camembert Sistema solution
  The Husband at work. He was s'posed to be starting on the Starry Towers upstairs loo/shower room, this doesn't look like the upstairs loo/shower room to me.  He was out helping Charlie from across the road.  Charlie from across the road lost the brownie points he won earlier.
  The Husband fixes neighbour's trailer
  Afterwards Charlie from across the road brings me flowers in exchange for the welding.  Charlie from across the road earns them brownie points back again.
  flowers from Charlie
  Garden News :  my Green Man is wondering why neighbours can't use earphones like decent human beings do! 
  I've been watching Ladybirds at work.  There's so few of them compared to the number of the aphids they eat, I wish they would just eat a little faster, and perhaps be a little more aware of when the dinner is misbehaving badly.
  What a great job I did with my new planter boxes.  This is the Spring phase, with three rows of red Tulips, tall at the back, medium, then short at the front.  There's purple and red Pansies and Anemones.  As the year goes on different plants will be flowering and the fence should be covered with Clematis plants.  That's the plan anyway and so far, they're shaping up very nicely.  5 stars to me.
  Then there's the new garden chalkboard, especially so I can write Vote SNP on it.  The big day is tomorrow, so do it, Vote SNP.
  Green Man
  Ladybird at work
  behind you
the new planters
  small red Tulip
  Vote SNP
  And more in SNP News :  I met both Hannah Bardell and Alex Salmond at the book signing in Livingston.  That was an exciting day.  I'd sent him a tweet saying I was on my dinner break so could he kindly hurry it up, and this is what he wrote in my book, he's good.  The Starry Towers SNP windaes have been sending out subliminal messages to all of the villagers in Sunny D.  And I spotted Hannah Bardell in Look magazine.
  signed book
  subliminal advertising
  Hannah Bardell in Loo magazine
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Northwest.  Very gritty Copenhagen, it's good.
  The Husband and I watched The Keeper of Lost Causes. I enjoyed this as it's the adaptation of the bestselling Department Q crime novel by Jussi Adler-Olsen.  I've read all the Department Q books.
  The Husband and I watched In Order Of Disappearance.  This surprised us, not exactly what we were expecting.  There's great acting, violent death and laughs.  Kind of a Norwegian Tarantino movie.  Very good.
  We also watched The Hypnotist.  A short way into the film and I realise I've read this Lars Kepler book too.  This is a bit on the slow side, but I liked it fine.




State Affairs

Pusher trilogy

Tower Block 

Weather's been beautiful here and so, a bit of gardening started at Starry Towers.  I've turned the soil, fed and added a little compost in back and front gardens.  Sown seeds of the rich-in-pollen annuals, for the Bees.  The Bees need their dinner and they love the Poppies and Blue Bedders.  Flowers are growing so fast this photo is already unrepresentative of what's happening in the gardens.  Also, the new trellis for the back fence is up and I just painted the fence too, while I was at it.  Currently it's the drumstick Primroses that stand out providing beautiful colour-pops.

  new trellis

With all this good weather The Husband and I took the opportunity for a trip up to Loch Lomond.  As we reached Loch Lomond on the Balmaha east shore (the best shore), I spotted the Tam Weir memorial statue in Balmaha Bay.  The even better thing was that someone had stuck a red toorie on Tam's heed.  I looked from the statue to The Husband, and back to the statue...both in their red toorie hats.  Was a too good to miss photo opportunity, a gift of a photo opp.  I rushed The Husband over to the Tam Weir memorial statue and grabbed some great pics.  Like twins.

  Then further up the loch we went for a meal at The Clansman bar, part of The Rowardennan Hotel up the top of the east side of Loch Lomond.  I even found a delicious low carbohydrate dish.
  quite similar
  Tom Weir statue
  dinner at The Clansman Bar
Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched State Affairs.  Attracted by the director Eric Valette, who directed one of our French favourites, Braquo.  This film isn't as good as Braquo, a bit disappointing.
  The Husband and I watched The Pusher trilogy.  Both loved them, great characters, story telling and acting.  The main characters are Tony (Mads Mikklesen), Frank (Kim Bodnia of The Bridge fame) and Milo (Zlatko Buric).
  And so, The Friend C and I watched Mads Mikkelsen Gets Naked.  I believe the rest of the world calls it Pusher II.  Pusher II is the best of the trilogy, it's all about Mads' character Tony, and he gets naked. 
  The Friend C and I watched Tower Block.  Attracted by Jack O'Connell and the thriller trapped no-escape scenario.  I enjoyed it though found the snipers' Raison d'etre a tad unbelievable .




Spiral 5


Correction : The Boy did improve on his Happy Maw's Day text message (see below).  He came by tonight to pick up his football kit and delivered a lovely card and some strawberry Body Shop stuff.  Such a lovely gesture, he's divine.  However, does this boy even know me?  Absolutely oblivious of the fact that I only use certain purer, perfume and colour free toiletry products, what with my sensitive skin and allergy issues.  I'll gift it on to someone who has no horrendous chemical-induced rashes and itches.

  Maw's Day 2015
  The partial eclipse happened again, I saw this back in 1999 with a blue clear cloud-free sky, and this time round I got a good view from the bedroom window.  I say view, but of course I wasn't really looking.  A lot of eye squinting and scrunching and holding the camera in about the right direction and squinting and scrunching at the eclipse on the camera screen.  I only looked, in my squinty scrunchy way when the sun was mostly covered, the rest of the time the sun was a ball of light burning the eyes from fools.
  partial eclipse
    Had a bit of an accident with the ancient Mother In Law's Tongue of Starry Towers.  Luckily it's my plant and not The Husband's auld yin.  I accidently broke a leaf off at it's base, so I cut it up and stuck 6 bits in pots of compost.  Not before messaging The Boy to ask for tips, the Starry Towers mummy plant was propagated by The Boy when he was at school, in exactly the same way as I've tried propagating some more.  The Boy's tip was very helpful.
    cutting advice
    Mother In Law's Tongue babies
    I announced the need, The Husband asked "we need and umbrella stand?", I informed him, "we have umbrellas".  And so, I opted for this ceramic Mona Lisa one, (H48 x W21 x D21 cm) £49 from Rockett St George.  Then, it made total sense to me, I had to obtain a Mona Lisa umbrella.  This is the Von Lilienfeld Fine Art Automatic Walking Leonardo Da Vinci Mona Lisa Umbrella, £30.95 on Amazon.
    Mona Lisa
    Mona Lisa umbrella
    TV Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched series 5 of a big Starry Towers favourite, the French police series Spiral (Engrenages).  We've been so looking forward to this new DVD release, and haven't been disappointed, it's so good, so very very good.  Just one little thing.  Dear the people who make Spiral...we are now at the end of series 5, we adore you, we're well and truly hooked, we're Spiral you really have to leave us on this OMG cliffhanger?  We are coming back for series 6 and 7, 8, 9 ,10, please, just you keep making them, we will surely be watching them.  No need to leave us worrying so, and we are SERIOUSLY worried.




Braquo Trilogy


Over on The Star Swag Blog for a bag, boots and hat which have recently taken up residence in the Starry Towers walk-in-wardrobe.  Meanwhile I've been adding some politics to the Starry Towers living room window, I have a General Election 2015 SNP Windae.

  I'm voting Hannah Bardell for Livingston and Hannah likes my windows, she told me on The Twitter, top picture.  The below picture is the current Labour MP for the Livingston constituency, Graeme Morrice, shaking hands with the Lodge, I don't like what that picture represents, and I can't be the only one.  Do we want a beautiful future or the ugly past?  This man and his party are way past their sell by dates in Scotland.



dodgy handshake

  Happy Maw's Day.  Kids eh, who'd have them? Why have them? The Boy's obviously very busy with his life and girlfriend etc.  I got a text message.  Suits me, I don't want him spending money on me...the sign of a good mother in my opinion. 
  On the other side of the generation equation I entered a Mother's Day competition, at this time I don't know if I've won the hamper and dinner, but I have high hopes.  I read my in-50-words-or-less entry to The Mum, brought tears to her eyes, in a good way.  Me too, I moved myself, shed a tear reaching the end.  I rock this competition, so going to win.  There was also cake and this is the Mother's Day card, The Mum loves Owls and baby Owls rock.
  Happy Maw's Day
  baby Owl card
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched all three series of Braquo.  It's fantastic and we love it.  First episode can appear a little incredulous, but stick with it, it's a blast and leads nicely into a rollercoaster ride that becomes increasingly believable throughout the three seasons.  We want more and we want it now.




The Inbetweeners 2


The Conjuring


Life Of Pi


The Babadook





  Let's talk about sheep.  I attended the Scottish Shetland Sheep Society annual dinner with The Dad today at the Brewer's Fayre in South Queensferry.  Come raffle time, we won a bottle of whiskey, a bottle of wine and a foldable insulated tote bag.  I also bid in the auction for a dark brown Shetland sheepskin from the Shetland Isles, which I won.  I'm packing up the Reindeer skins on the Guest bedroom floor, they cast so very badly, and replacing them with sheepskins in shades of brown and perhaps grey.  Dinner was ok, though a bit early in the day for a 3 course meal, and it was nice to see everyone again.  I was sitting next to the man who bought Ivydene Jack, my favourite boy sheep, I miss Jack.  I spat on that man's tartar sauce.  Well, I didn't, but I thought about doing it, nearly as bad.
  brown Sheepskin
  Currently very high on my LIKE list is this Polar Bear holding a slab of tree trunk.  He's a very cute kitschy side table made of polyresin by Kare and is currently located in the Starry Towers Guest bedroom, looking extremely covetable. He's 53cm tall and 37cm diameter.  I got mine at UrbanOutfitters with a handy 20% discount from LOOK magazine taking the price to below the £100 mark, which I was very happy about.  The original price of £125 had me pondering for a while, wondering if he was a trifle too trifling, a fandangle too fandangley, a frippery too frippent.  Of course, I needn't have concerned myself, I was just waiting for a discount code to grab myself a bargain.  He's lovely, and much admired here at Starry Towers.

Polar Bear Table

  I'm astounded that Tory MP David Tredinnick, who sits on the Health Select Committee and the Science & Technology Select Committee, believes that the NHS needs astrology.  WT actual F???  Nurses and doctors have to abide by research and evidence-based practice, actual real things.  The wilfully ignorant should not be permitted to have any sort of say in the UK's approach to health and science, it's just ridiculous and quite shocking.  Here he is on Homeopathy and Autism..."there is clear evidence that homeopathy is effective in treating autism". NO.  No David, there's absolutely NO evidence that homeopathy is effective in treating anything, ANYTHING! FFS.  Tony is a Capricorn.  If my GP ever diagnoses me by my birth sign I'll clear their desk with a swipe of my arm, move their examination table to the opposite side of their consulting room then stick their reflex hammer in their ear, while telling he/'s all about the feng shui and reflexology these days.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched The Inbetweeners 2, it was a bit funny.
  I watched The Conjuring and was zero impressed.
  I watched Life of Pi and was relatively unimpressed.  There were certainly some visually impressive scenes, but I found the story a big yawn.
  I watched The Babadook, not as special as I was led to hope for, damn it.  It's really good at what it is, but it's hard for me to be scared of make-believe, give me a right good raping and murdering serial killer psychopath who creeps around a lot so you don't know you're safe cos he could be there...the thought of that scares me.




Gone Girl


Someone's very happy.  The Continental Tripping 2014 holiday blog is finished at long last, and the very happy person is me.  Two weeks of holiday and it took over three months to write and sort the photos.  It is though, even if I say so myself, a pretty damn good holiday journal.  Ahh, the memories.


Still in the very happy area...The Husband gave me a dozen beautiful red roses for Valentine's Day and it's the first time getting wet for my fabulous mercury silver glass pineapple vase.  Day before Valentine's Day The Boy was working so he asked The Husband to pick up flowers for him to give to his girlfriend.  The Husband came in with a dozen reds for The Boy, when I asked the cost, he showed me a laminated price tag he'd taken off the shelf at the florist.  This surprised me.  That would surprise anyone, so I asked to see the receipt instead, he wouldn't show it.  I naturally assumed there was something going on, and I was right.  Where I went wrong was, I suspected he was trying to rob The Boy, not rob him exactly, put jest with him, pretend the bouquet was far more expensive than in reality and pull his leg for a while.  What was really happening was The Husband had come home with two bouquets the same, and one was for me so he was having to hide the receipt.

  He insists I spent the rest of the day ratty at him because I saw no evidence of him doing similar stuff for me for Valentine's Day, but this is not so, I was just being suspicious, not ratty.  Maybe my suspicious and my ratty look very samey.
  roses in large pineapple vase
    I love you ribbon
    For Valentine's Day The Husband got Moonpigged with this striking personalised neon heart card, I'll probably frame it later, and his card to me came with a badge I'm liking big time.  The badge and a recent travel cup gift I gave him...say it all.  Both with a big dose of humourous sarcasm.
Valentine card to The Husband
    Mrs perfect
    a very difficult man
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Gone Girl.  It's OK, not as good as I pictured it in my head when I read the book, that being the factor that usually makes books better than their movie versions.  The sound was all wrong, it was on the DVD we have anyway, purchased at a supermarket, we don't do pirates.  There were quite a few conversations at the beginning on the film that we struggled to catch.  The background music seemed to muffle the voices.  It did improve a wee while in though.




Arne Dahl


My IndyBirds have arrived courtesy of @IndyScotEvents on The Twitter (YesLocal on the Facebook).  These little hand-made glass items are made by the father and son team that are ScottishBordersArtGlass in the rolling hills of the Scottish Borders on the outskirts of Hawick.  These two beautiful little Saltire birds have found a home at Starry Towers.


TV Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Arne Dahl.  More Nordic Noir, from Sweden this time.  Intricate but believable plot-line threads twisting together until they compose a complete strong rope of tied-up criminals caught and banged-to-rights package.  It's very good, much better than my attempt at a metaphor there.





It's Winter, it's Scotland and just as I suspected would happen...January brought a couple storms to Starry Towers.  How bad was it?  It got so bad that one of my big potted Yew trees got blown over, that's how bad it was, ie not very bad at all.  Been a bit of snow too, not much though so we had to go on a snow-hunt to find it in appreciative quantities.  We found ours a bit south at Talla Reservoir...driving in a Winter Wonderland, in the Jeep, on Winter danger.  Still February and March to go, might see more yet, ne'er cast a cloot till May's my old Nana used to say.

  There's new lights at Starry Towers, for the halls and back of house ground floor.  For the hallways I found a quality bargain at B&Q with their Colours Barock Light Shade.  I got brass for the upstairs hall and copper for the downstairs front entrance hall, also available in nickel.  This beaten metal shade is exactly the same as some selling for up to £350 each and is less that £20 at B&Q.  To up the style anti I found the Lampholder & Braided Cable with Antiqued Brass Ceiling Rose at Jim-Lawrence for £22.10 each.  The metal rose and twisted flex makes all the difference.  I've been sourcing again, I'm so very good at it. 
  beaten metal shades
  metal light fitting
  The new shades for the kitchen and back of house ground floor hallways are these IKEA Foto pendant lamp shade in the aluminum, £18 each.
  IKEA lighting
  A new mirror for above the Starry Towers fireplace.  The main theme of my redesigned Starry Towers is my own eclectic mix of a monochrome and metallics Baroque and Nordic and I've recently added a couple of touches to the living room.  The ornate mirror is Eloise in the silver, available in 3 sizes, in silver, gold, black and white.  This is the small (117cm x 90cm) at £210.00 from OutThereInteriors.
  I can make soup.  Turns out it's really easy.  Here's my Starry Towers Vegetable Soup, but I can also make lentil variations and a really good Potato and Leek.  I know I appear to be a bit of a simpleton, coming over all wonderment-filled at being able to make soup at this late stage in my lifetime, but I didn't used to be all that keen on soup, hence I never bothered to discover the soup-making before.
  Starry Towers Vegetable Soup
  For anyone who thinks they can't make soup, listen up, I have tips.
  1. Soup making is easy.
  2. Absolute necessities : a hob, a great big heavy-bottomed pot and an electric hand blender.
  3. Ingredients : water, vegetables, herbs and stock cubes.
  4. Do this to ingredients : put in pot, bring to boil, simmer till cooked, blend or don't.
  I don't know how polypharmacy people cope.  Just remembering to space out and swallow x5 Aciclovir tablets for 7 days for the Shingles is difficult enough.  Also taking painkillers and an antihistamine...drug meltdown.



Spiral series one to four

Unit One series one

Unit One series two

Unit One series three

Unit One series four






Pacific Rim


Start of a new year and a new blog on MarilynsWorld.  Happy New Year everyone. 

  I'm currently off sick from work, because I've got Herpes.  In the form of Herpes Zoster ie the Shingles.  I haven't been off sick since October 2013 so it's a great relief to have an illness at long last.  With only three years till I retire, I've been nursing since 1983, I think I deserve to be slowing down.  A little bit of sick time is just what I needed.

Shingles is caused by a Herpes virus.  Now I pride myself with never having had a cold-sore or vaginal Herpes (both Herpes Simplex) in my life, but I have had Chickenpox and now I've got Shingles (both Herpes Zoster).  Now that we've established which kind of Herpes I have I want to tell you a story.  The story of how I got Chickenpox.  When I was 17 I was in the Rec Hall at the School sitting my English Higher exam.  It was the morning, the first paper.  I felt it went rather well and I fully intended to go back for the second paper in the afternoon.  In the dinner break I became aware of a rash all over my body and went to see the school nurse, she diagnosed Chickenpox and sent me home.  I don't recall what exactly happened after that but I had Chickenpox and I got my English Higher.


The Herpes Zoster virus has lain dormant in my body all these years waiting for me to be immunosuppressed and/or psychologically stressed, prime-time for the Shingles to show up.  I'm not immunosuppressed as far as I know, I blame the psychological stress, another good reason to be taking a break.  After Chickenpox the Herpes remains in the ganglia adjacent to the spinal cord (the dorsal root ganglion) then when it determines conditions are right ie now, in my case, the virus replicates in neuronal cell bodies, virions are shed from the cells and carried down the axons to the area of skin innervated by that ganglion. In the skin, the virus causes local inflammation and blistering. The short- and long-term pain caused by herpes zoster outbreaks originates from inflammation of affected nerves due to the widespread growth of the virus in those areas.

  The affected area is usually on one side of the body and sticks to a particular dermatome (an area of skin that is mainly supplied by a single spinal nerve).  I think mine is in the L2 dermatome with blistered areas on my back just above my bum, and three areas on the side and front of my upper thigh, all on the left side of my body. 


  I'd been feeling under the weather, very tired, aches and pains, but difficult to differentiate from menopausal symptoms I'd had for several years now. and I recall mentioning a general discomfort around the hip area.  I'd noticed a patch of itchy red lumps above my left buttock, even checked it out in a mirror.
  It was a bit out of the ordinary but I went to work anyway, yawning a lot.  Mentioned this patch of red, the ward clerkess said "that's Shingles", the ward GP said "that's Shingles".  I sent myself home sick and a couple hours later at my Health Centre a nurse looked at my bum and the new patches on my thigh and said "that's Shingles".  I'm on the anti-viral medication Acyclovir and painkillers because the pain has increased over the days.

Enough about the Shingles already.

  I need to think of something else to blog about.
  L2 Shingles area
  I've been doing a couple of Scottish Independence type things.  The day after Indyref I joined the Scottish National Party and became a card-carrying fully paid-up member of a political party for the first time in my life.  The Husband and The Mum also joined.

SNP membership card

  I also attended a book signing at the grand opening of the Edinburgh South YES Hub and Cafe and met the author Mark Barnes and his lovely Mum Shona.
  The book is called A Nation Decides and it's a collection of photographs, stories and poetry about the 18th of September 2014.  I got one for The Mum too and got the books signed with £5 from the £15 cost of each going to local Scottish charities.  You can check it out for yourself on the website ANationDecides.

A Nation Decides

  Mark Barnes
  Edinburgh South YES Hub and Cafe
  Edinburgh South YES Hub

TV Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Spiral, the French police series known as Engrenages in it's home country.  Series one to four, it's very good, we loved it.  The series five boxset will be along next month, looking forward to that.

  We also watched Unit One.  I picked this up because of Mads Mikkelsen, who is adorable in his role as Fischer.  It takes a little while to become accustomed to the short hour long storylines after our previous favourite boxsets, but once you're there the enjoyment levels and addiction are enormous.  The characters become like family, with Mads being a brother-in-law not sharing my DNA, wouldn't be right if he was blood relative.

Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Non-Stop, which is a bit rubbish, but it's entertaining and emotional in it's own trashy way, entirely unbelievable.

  We watched Prometheus.  Not my favourite genre the sci-fi, again totally unbelievable nonsense but entertaining enough.
  We also watched Pacific Rim.  Crazy monster fighting film, entertaining but not really my cup of tea so it's good for what it is.