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  We had our family Xmas dinner (on the 23rd) accommodating my 3 day festive season 2016 work stint.  Let me remind you, I worked 13hr shifts, Xmas Eve Day, Xmas Day and Boxing Day.  It's very much a bite the bullet type situation this working over Xmas and all thanks to my wonderful family for doing the dinner on a day that suits my duty rota every year.  Xmas Dinner 2016 was a four course affair, highlights for me were the 7 tasty morsels with a mini jug portion of sweet chilli dipping sauce on the Appetizer Plate, and the Sweet Plate, where I did my first ever chocolate sauce scribbles, on square plates, with a scoop of soft vanilla ice cream in a brandy basket topped with a peanut butter wafer roll and a mini chocolate melt-in-the-middle pud served on my gorgeous ceramic star spoons.  Of course, again this year, I didn't manage photos of each course, because I'm too busy cooking and serving up.  However, come Hogmanay I'm planning on using up the leftovers (not really leftovers cos they're the ones I didn't cook for Xmas), with the same appetizer plate, soups and sweet plate.  The turkey joint or stuffed sea bream main course will be replaced with steak pie from the award winning Boghall Butcher, still with the honey glazed rainbow chantenay carrots, roast and mash potatoes and red cabbage with cranberry chutney, bramley apples, port and red wine.  I might even remember to cook some of the sprouts I've got in the fridge, I was so busy cooking Xmas dinner I totally forgot them on Sprout Day.  There's also some Sainsburys NOEL Tiffin Cake left over, and loads of extra thick brandy cream.  I'm so looking forward to New Year.
  My favourite Xmas pressies were the Olympus M.ZUIKO Digital ED 9-18 mm 1:4.0-5.6 Lens, a set of six filters and a hood for said lens and a Swarovski 2017 chrome-plated Celebration Pen sparkling with approximately 160 clear crystals and a removable star charm featuring clear crystals on the front and white epoxy on the back.  Best bit, The Boy and his lovely girlfriend knew to get me a pen that writes with black ink, hate a blue ink pen.
























  Xmas is coming, and sooner for some than others, the Starry Towers Xmas is tomorrow, the 23rd, due to this little NHS angel working 13 hour shifts on Xmas Eve Day, Xmas Day and Boxing Day.  The truly shitty end of the festive stick this year.  The table's set and the pressies wrapped.  Friend M has been over with her homemade Xmas chutney, the exceptionally 2 dimensional Xmas tree is back on the wall and beautifully embellished and the mantel benefits from 2 meters of tinsel, some tealights and a rather nice Contemporary Battery Operated White Star Shaped LED Decorative Light (£17.99 from Amazon).  Merry Christmas everyone.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Timecrimes.  Intriguing.




































































































  Starry purse and cosmetic bag on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Boy came home with dirt on his hands, when I asked, he told me someone had written "wash me" on his car.  He claims it was the lovely girlfriend, she denies it.  Doesn't matter who done it though, I enjoyed him washing his car, something I hadn't seen before.
  The Husband told me it was Take Your Wife To Work Day so off we set in the white van.  The infra-red load space camera in the back was trained on the biggest motorbike in the world, was like watching a scan of an unborn baby.  Baby was on the way to it's new Daddy in the Highlands.  I spotted a lorry with 38 tyres, I'm going...that's 9x2+ 18x2= 36+2= and Carol Vorderman in the driving seat's going 38, 38, it's 38, then I's 38!  We admired The Queensferry Crossing on our way over the Forth Road Bridge, coming along nicely, just the last wee bit to go.  I'm no saying the Take Your Wife To Work Day got boring, all the way up to Aberdeenshire, but I took pictures of my shoes and handbag for that evening.  Then the Full Dress Indian was delivered safely and we headed over to Ellon for dinner.
  We were visiting the Ythanview Hotel for dinner with our friends in the north.  We arrived too early to locked doors, it was bone-chilling cold out and I was adamant I would not be making my way back into the potholed hotel car parking space out back again, in the dark, not in these shoes.  We walked along the street instead, finding the only open and perhaps warm place was a wee supermarket type shop where we purchased a chicken sandwich (I'd had nothing to eat all day and was a bit starvy).  At the counter I had a quick read at the local newspaper headline regarding a nursing home where a nurse had been accused of force-feeding medication to a resident.  An item of professional interest to me, I had to flick to page 5 or summit, for further detail.  Back out on the street, I was telling The Husband again, "absolutely not" to the idea of my shoes risking a return to the white van.  I was ready to chap on some random house on the street and beg for use of their toilet (illegal to refuse) as a subterfuge, or a more honest, please just let us sit in your living room for a half hour, we're very cold human beings.  However, no need to scare the locals, we somehow got very fortunate indeed and immediately bumped into a Ythanview Hotel member of staff.  This very very very nice gentleman let us in before official opening time, he had real fires and drinks, and we love him.  The Ythanview proved to have a great wee local pub atmosphere, everyone, staff and customers, were friendly and welcoming.  The staff do a great job, a very pleasant, cheerful and relaxed evening with yummy food.  I'd accidently (on purpose) taken a bite of the Grilled Halloumi Cheese with a Lime and Caper Dressing starter before I remembered I take photos of every meal I eat out, then I nicked the capers off The Husband's plate. 
    This displaying your deadliest weapons in the kitchen's always worried me, like making it far too easy for your murderer, but I've done it now.  I like it.
    Got myself another Scottish Passport cover, this one is leather, from iScot Magazine.
    A bunch of us all got a Coast Candle Co Love candle as a thank you pressie, a thoughtful and kind gift made in Scotland.
    Just a little annoyed my Xmas Whisky picture didn't win a Scottish Whisky Xmas Photo competition.  I put a lot of effort into setting this up, I did a lot of set dressing then placed the one bottle of whisky I have (a gift a few years ago) in the middle, took photos, photoshopped to perfection...and didn't win.  The winner was rubbish.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Legend.  Boring old story, great Tom Hardy acting.
    The Husband and I watched The Nice Guys.  Two of our favs...Ryan Gosling and Russell Crowe, lots of giggles, only complaint was from The Husband, he's disappointed Crowe's put the weight on.
































































  Starry Towers 55 : 0 Mice
  Starry tops on The Star Swag Blog.
  Bus News.  This doesn't happen often, me on a bus.  I've used First Bus several times in the last few weeks and I can only give them a bad review.  The impolite dour  behaviour of Bus Driver 1 and the downright nasty lying conniving of Bus Driver 2 has brought the First Bus company into disrepute in my eyes. Both occasions were on the #21 bus from St John's Hospital in Livingston to Tippethill Hospital.
  Bus Driver 1 was obnoxious to me, or perhaps he was teaching me bus etiquette with his silent treatment.  I don’t travel by bus, ergo I don’t know bus etiquette, and I certainly don’t know HIS version of bus etiquette.  He pulled up to the bus stop, slowed right down, I walked towards the bus door, he’d practically stopped as I got there, then he pulled right along as far away from me as he possibly could.  I walked to the door again.  He opened the door, I got on the bus, standing in front of him I asked for my stop, he ignored me, I said it again, he ignored me, deliberately looking elsewhere.  I asked if I was on the right bus, he ignored me.  He still hadn’t said a word or acknowledged my presence in any other way.  I became aware of two people getting off the bus, I wasn’t blocking their path in any way.  As they alighted he pointedly turned his head towards me, though still not looking at me, he said “right”.  I made my bus stop request again, for the third time, perhaps he just hadn’t heard my previous two requests, aye right.  However, this ignorant power-mad little “service-provider” wasn’t the worst.
  Bus Driver 2 scowled, screwing up his face when I requested the Tippethill stop.  I repeated myself, I was getting used to this refusal of bus drivers to recognise the word Tippethill. again I said Tippethill, then Tippethill Hospital, before he made a grunt noise which seemed to indicate he now knew what buttons to press on his ticket machine.  As the bus approached my stop I pressed a stop-request button, no sound, I pressed again, no sound, by this time I’m up and walking towards the bus cab and he’s not slowing the bus.  I chap on his glass “stop the bus”.  He pretends he doesn’t understand.  Something I say gets through because he actually stops the bus, half way down the hill between Tippethill and Whitburn, which is countryside, not a built up area, but at least the bus has stopped.  I tell him I pressed the button, he presses his bell button (which makes the usual noise) while saying “did you hear the bell?”, I say through gritted teeth, “no, I don’t think I heard the bell...but the sign said STOPPING”, he says “I didn’t hear the bell, it’s not my fault”.  This is the first time he’s spoke to me and I recognise he’s probably from Poland.  I get off the bus saying “fix your bell” and have to walk back up the hill to Tippethill.  Luckily this was in daylight and my only problem was the cold frosty air on exertion effects my lungs to the extent I have to take a puff on a Salbutamol inhaler, I’ve only had to use a PRN Salbutamol inhaler when I’ve previously had a bad chest infection, but the hill-walking in the cold was bad for my health.  When I get to the ward I’m complaining about his behaviour and am told a nurse colleague has officially complained about this bus driver 5 times already for exactly the same thing.  Turns out I’ve actually been fortunate, with my colleague he has refused to stop at the official Tippethill Hospital bus stop and taken her all the way down into Whitburn before stopping.  This man is doing First Bus and other Polish people a disservice.  My colleague tells me there are other Polish people working for First Bus and they’re all good at their jobs, just this one is not providing the service the consumer is purchasing because it would appear he just doesn’t want to stop at Tippethill for his own unreasonable reasons.  If he ever needs health care, perhaps the NHS should just not feel like treating him, see if he likes it when nurses exercise a personal choice as to what parts of their jobs we don’t want to do.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Never Let Go.  Extreme version of unbelievable.



  Couple top halves on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 54 : 0 Mice
  Happy Birthday to The Bro.  Sent him a wee Braveheart birthday card.
  Oor Nicola sent us a St Andrew's Day card.  I'm already penning the email The Husband will write to the right person (once I decide who that person is) to get me a personal hand-signed thank-you-for-your-decades-of-dedicated-work-for-the-Scottish-NHS, wish-you-well-in-your-retirement card from Nicola, 1yr 9mths to go.
    Pulling up at Starry Towers a taxi driver gave me my first new plastic waterproof 5 pound note, then looking at my Saltire took the Bank of England £5 back and gave me a plastic waterproof Bank of Scotland fiver.  Wonderfully thoughtful and sweet of him.
    Bin News. A while back the local council broke the news that one day they’d be taking the large grey land-fill bins away, replacing them with smaller slim grey bins.  In preparation for that day I started getting serious with the recycling, even doing the walk of shame to the bottle bank on a regular basis.  No-one believes me but a lot of my glass recycling is peanut butter jars, but anyway, I started making totally inclusive use of the blue bin (paper, card, tins etc), even purchasing a 60l Brabantia for the indoor collection of blue bin recycling materials.  It’s made a big difference, every empty drinks can and little bit of paper/card etc goes in the Brabantia before going to the blue bin.  We definitely produce much less grey bin refuse now.  The new slim grey bins have arrived, they look dinky tiny in comparison but I think we’ll manage now we’re strict recyclers.  It helps too that we get 2 bins, you pay two council taxes, you get two bins.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Son of Saul.  Harrowing masterpiece of film-making, I expected to watch history, saw horror, took me further in to the inhumanity than any other film.
    The Husband and I watched The Keeping Room.  A different take on the American Civil War, good entertainment.
    The Husband and I watched The Beat That My Heart Skipped.  Different in a good way.






























  New parka on The Star Swag Blog.
  Found Fiver.  I found a very wet £5 note lying on the monoblock out the back.  This was on the morning after The Husband had returned home and been out there, in the dark, in the pouring down rain.  In full disclosure mode I dried it out on a radiator and told The Husband I'd found his fiver.
  The Husband and I had a £5 bet, what temperature would it be at Glencoe?  The Husband guessed 0C and I said 3C, mostly because I have a thing about 3C.  My thing about 3C involves me singing a Three Degrees song every time a gadget records the temperature.  All the way up the road the temperature averaged 3C, I truly was confident of a win, how surprised I was when, on entering Glen Coe, the temperature drops sharply to 0C.  It goes on to register even lower temperatures while we're in the general area. Yay!  The Husband wins.  I tell him he can keep that £5 I found, and buy lunch.
    The fiver goes to Glencoe Cafe in Glencoe village where Carrot and Ginger Soup with a Cheese Scone tastes as delicious as it sounds.  The Husband had off with half the scone before I had a chance to finish taking a photie of my BLTC.  Lunch was delicious then we set off on a deerstalking mission, knowing they've got to be round here somewhere.  We find them in Glen Etive.  Scotland was looking beautiful with a light dusting of snow.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Our Kind of Traitor.  Was OK, though I thought, a little breezy, the actors breezing through situations which should've proven rather more grueling.  Light on the nitty-gritty and sweat, heavy on the James Bond polish.
    The Husband and I watched Jane Got A Gun.  Loved this film.
    The Husband and I watched Disorder.  Was well acted and intriguing, ultimately doesn't answer all your questions.








  Some New Look items on The Star Swag Blog.
  Every now and then I raid The Boys' lovely girlfriends' Facebook page for the latest photies of my boy.  He's a boy, he doesn't understand the importance of why mothers want photos of their boys.  The Boy and his lovely girlfriend have been on their foreign travels again.  These two are so gorgeous.
    We had a supermoon, though from my bedroom window in the central belt of Scotland it looked pretty much like every other usual moon.  Same colour, same size.  I waited a while till the smirry mist then the clouds blew away and then, with my Olympus Pen F and Olympus 75-300mm lens, I got the moon.  My first ever successful moon shot.
    Cut the last of the Starry Towers roses down, Winter's coming, there's already ice in the bird bath of a morning and high winds are inevitable at some point soon.  These roses need to be telt when to take a rest.
    I've often dug up a piece of crockery from the Starry Towers gardens, most of them of a blue and white pattern.  Which led me to ponder on a regular basis, how come every fragment of crockery I dig up is blue and white and why did people throw their blue and white dishes into their gardens?  I finally got round to having a www search for answers.  This makes perfect sense to me, "... people were intrigued by also finding broken bits of china in very old gardens throughout the UK, Australia, US and Canada…perhaps other places. There were varied reasons for this, many seemingly frivolous. But after much thought, I speculated there had to be a very good reason. I believe the Victorians put their broken china and pottery in the garden, not just as a way to dispose of the ruined item, but to also amend the soil in the process. Bone china and many ceramics are comprised of animal bone ash. Bone ash contains nitrogen and phosphorus, excellent natural fertilizers. It made perfect sense to me and these gardens seem to really flourish."  From a website called MotherEarthNews.
    This is a great book.  His Bloody Project by Graeme Macrae Burnet.  Transported me to the Highlands circa 1869.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Criminal.  Outrageous plot twists, just for one instance...the armed forces bring him in like he's Hannibal Lector, yet he gets taken out like he's a brain damaged drunk in a Saturday night taxi back seat, hmmm, that makes sense.
    The Husband and I watched 10 Cloverfield Lane.  Is it a scary psycho killer kidnap thriller or a sci-fi Armageddon apocalypse survival movie, or is it both?  Hmmm, what would be most interesting?  Could it perhaps have been a whole load better if it had not got silly at the end?  But, it is a Cloverfield, what else was I truly expecting?
    The Husband and I watched The Clan.  True story, quite astounding, good film.
    The Husband and I watched Forsaken.  Enjoyable with the Sutherlands.















  A starry jumper on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 52 : 0 Mice
  'Mon the Jacobites.  The Husband and I visited the Glenfinnan Monument.  The 55 spiral stair steps and surprise trapdoor access to the platform with Highlander statue at the top in the tower monument are easy going.  Built in 1815 the tower commemorates the clansmen of the 1745 Jacobite Rising led by Prince Charles Edward Stuart.  This is heart-wrenching history to me, however, the story of the man behind the monument is entertaining.  Alexander Macdonald of Glenaladale, the local laird, was a flamboyant and rather romantically chaotic character who lived fast, way beyond his means, didn’t pay his bills and died aged only 28.  At an outside cafe table a Robin, after the crumbs of The Husbands' lunch, posed nicely for my Olympus.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Spotlight.  Great film.
    The Husband and I watched The Big Short.  It's astounding what banks get away with.
    The Husband and I watched Fury.  Entertaining.
    The Husband and I watched 13 Hours.  So-so.












  I've found my camo shacket and a starry mesh T, on The Star Swag Blog.
  I saw this plaque and thought "I'm having that", I now have it.  The Declaration of Arbroath Wall Plaque from Jaycee Design is 27.5cm tall and £31.50.
    I saw these handmade in Scotland Shetland Sheep wool needle felted Xmas baubles by Sarah-Jane Coleby on Etsy.  Perfect for a Scandi-style Starry Towers yule.



  Shirt, skirt, shoes and a leather make up bag on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 51 : 0 Mice
  I'm a published photographer again, this time not the Shetland Sheep Society magazine but the Shetland Sheep Society 2017 calendar.  Check me out in November, it's a good photo.
    Got a double whammy of Greg Moodie this week.  Striptease arrived, signed, sealed and delivered to Starry Towers and I sourced a copy of Holyrood magazine with the Moodie cover.  The book was easy but the magazine, at first, seemed unobtainable.  Without actually attending the SNP conference or visiting Holyrood itself, there's no way to obtain a Moodie Holyrood magazine without taking out a magazine subscription.  The subscription is terribly expensive, so not an option when I only want the Greg Moodie issue.  What to do?  To The Twitter.  I put an appeal out and a lovely lady who was attending the SNP conference donated her free copy to me.  She understood my fan girl completest need.  She packaged, threw in a bonus SNP pen, posted and parted with her own copy, for me, a stranger, all at her own expense.  I love the great big wonderful YES SNP family.
    More irresistible Stewart Bremner art from Indy-Prints has arrived at Starry Towers, framed beautifully by moi.  I'm going to need bigger walls.  The Unicorn on Saltire is A3 size in a custom-made shiny silver Arun frame from McFrames and a custom-made double mount with V groove from eFrames.  The Monarch and hill in brown and grey is A4, a memento for me of The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, framed in a Nkuku extra large portrait copper Kiko frame.
    I’ve had my Flu vaccine, as a nurse it’s important to protect my vulnerable patients.  Also, with these lungs, I need to protect myself.
    Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Trapped season one.  It's a police procedural murder mystery set in Iceland, good stuff.




  A crop leg trouser on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 50 : 0 Mice
  My 50th kill was a surprise, for a couple of reasons.  1. 50 is a lot of dead mice. 2. This one was in the house, again behind a kitchen units kick board.  I believed The Husband had blocked all possible mouse-access points in there but there it was, the poison had been eaten and the mouse trap contained the wee dead corpse.  I know that by feeding the garden birds well with lard products and seed feed, mice are going to be drawn to Starry Towers, but I can't stop feeding the birds, that is of utmost importance.  I don't want to kill these meeces, but I also know I can't stand a mouse in the house so The Husband will be called upon again to seek out and block entry points in the kitchen.
  The Husband was off on his white van capers, in the late stages of another pan-UK trip he's currently going over the seas to Skye so I was off to Howden Park Centre Theatre to see Daniel Sloss and special guest Kai Humphries, on my own again.  And again, that's ok, Howden Theatre is a delightful venue, and there's nothing to feel alone about.  Daniel Sloss is funny, clever and a genuinely lovely guy.  Turns out it's easy to stalk Daniel Sloss, he does meets after the show.























  Silver Saltire ring on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Husband and I visited The Great Polish Map at Hotel Castle Barony near Peebles.  The largest outdoor terrain map in the world, the story behind how and why this map was made is interesting, charming and poignantly telling in this time of Brexit xzenophobia in the rUK, meanwhile up herein wonderful welcoming #WeAreScotland.  One of the Polish soldiers, in Scotland during WWII protecting the east coast from attack, later bought the hotel, which had been the main Polish staff officer training college.  In thanks to the people of Scotland for the welcome he and his colleagues had received he made the map with the help of another of his Polish army colleagues.  Of course there's no way to experience the map at it's most impressive from the ground, not even atop the viewing platform provided, the map looks at it's very best in aerial pictures.
    The Starry Towers front door is not an old door, installed in June 2012.  I was attracted to this particular door because the seller promised no colour fade even in south facing positions, this front door is south facing and as it's a black door this was of utmost importance to me.  We found the door at our local Dobbies, the set-up being a display and an office building in the outdoor garden section.  Now four years later when we have a major problem and need to call in the guarantee, the business no longer exists.  Dobbies permitted a business to sell on their premises, which convinced us the company was trustworthy.  When the company later fecks off, Dobbies shrugs, nothing to do with them. 
    What happened was, I was in Edinburgh watching The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil with Friend H, the plan was The Husband would meet us after the show and take us for dinner.  As he was leaving Starry Towers to come meet us, the entire locking system on the door broke, turns out it's lightweight, cheap & nasty.  If this had happened on another day it would have affected my ability to go to work, as it was one of us had to stay home until The Husband could construct a device for securing the front door till he could source, purchase and fit replacement parts.  Be very careful to avoid any business associated with this one.  I feel confident telling this story, mentioning the name and all, because this is publicly available information.
    We bought our front door from Almondvale Windows a company owned by Mark Anthony Tester with the business address of Williamson Garden Centre, Beechwood Works, Uphall, Broxburn, EH52 6PA.  Mr T has four company names attached to him Macleod/Saveheat Windows/Almondvale Windows and the current one, Braidview.  I'm at the Companies House website checking out Tony Tester and I don't know all the technical legal terminology but "no returns filed" and "compulsory strike off" doesn't sound too good does it?  He may be doing nothing illegal, but if you're splashing out thousands on doors, windows or a conservatory and want assurance the company will still be there throughout the lifespan of your "all our work comes with a 10 year transferrable guarantee as standard for your peace of mind", avoid any company attached to Mr T.  It's unclear and highly unlikely this extends to the guarantee being transferrable from one of his companies to the next.  Though I did ask him via the contact facility on the Braidview website, unsurprisingly, no response.
    While the front door was broken The Husband had to rig up a device to secure the house.  The Boy ordered a pizza delivery while alone in the house and accepted it through a front window rather than open up the rigged-up broken front door.  He turned from the window and his knee went.  I rush home from work and the only option to get in is through the still open front window.  Just as I'm sussing out how to step up on the edge of a pot plant and instructing the pregnant Friend D not to let me fall, thankfully The Lovely Girlfriend arrives and kicking off her shoes, seems to step up, through and in, in one fluid motion.  Oh to be young, fit and tall.  So The Boy's on the floor in pain and, to cut a long story short, he got fabulous NHS service, analgesia and crutches.
    Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Occupied season 1.  Very good, bring on season 2.  As an added extra, it's mostly set in Oslo, I loved recognising all the places I've been in Norway.



  H&M stuff on The Star Swag Blog.
  Having secured the middle two seats (A15 and A16) in the front row of the Grand Circle in the Edinburgh Lyceum theatre for The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black Black Oil, I can now confidently say I had my bum in one of the best seats in the house, Friend H had hers in the other.  The Lyceum's what I call a wonderment theatre, I'm a little awed and thrilled to be there.  The Cheviot has everything, and there was tears.  The story is a history lesson told in the most entertaining way possible.  A history lesson all schoolchildren in Scotland should see.  An emotional roller coaster, I laughed and I cried, my applauding hands were over-worked.  I arrived in one particular political frame of mind and came out 10 times more so, which I hadn't thought possible.  The actors, the acting, the humour, the music, the singing, the energy, the stage and techniques used, the symbolism, the factual readings, elements of pantomime, all tremendous, and the haunting use of Gaelic, well that's top secret.  Five stars.
    So far my Olympus Pen F practice has been mostly with the macro lens.  Here's a fly on a flower.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Tale of Tales.  I liked, three kingdoms interweave stories, imagery and beautiful visuals.  Adult fairy tales.




Under The Skin



  I've just been talking to the bin guys because they have a toy on the grill of their council bin lorry like in the good old days.  They told me they do it for the kids, admirable gentlemen.
  The Olympus Pen F and I are becoming better acquainted, and here I present the surprising beauty of a Blue Bottle on a Sedum.  Look at the colours on this, jewel brilliance.
    I asked Greg Moodie for a signed copy of his new book Borrowing Burns.  A also requested that he write a wee message of a Burnsy/Indy/very Scottish/inoffensive nature.  He delivered, I'm convinced my chimney will be smoking forever now.
    Movie Watch (spoiler alert).  The Husband and I watched Under The Skin.  I recognised Michael Moreland of Democracy fame.  Strange movie, not entirely to my taste, I'm not keen on the supernatural or aliens, however, I enjoyed the Scottishness and the scenery, and that there are multiple possible interpretations.


  Block heels of gorgeousness on The Star Swag Blog.
  Bee on Globe Thistle taken with Olympus Pen F and Olympus M.ZUIKO 60mm 1:2.8 DIGITAL ED Lens.  I still haven't learned how to use this camera yet, but I'm bumbling along with it.
    I went to see the play Democracy performed by Rapture Theatre at Howden Park Theatre at Livingston...on my own.  It has actors off the telly and all, yet no-one was able to accompany me.  It was very short notice, on a Thursday and German history, but come on!  I was so excited to be going I decided that, if need be, I'd go on my own, like a brave person.  The Husband missed a great night of cold-war espionage drama telling the story of the Guillaume Affair due to his white van man antics.  I loved the show, the acting was skin-tingling-ly wonderful and being alone was actually quite enjoyable.
















  Birthday pressies on The Star Swag Blog.
  Happy Birthday to me.  Another year older, another year closer to retirement.  Is it awful I've come to view my birthdays in terms of how long till the end of adult responsibility?  Probably, but I've been counting down since the 7-years-to-go mark, it's getting so close, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, now only 2.  Mental Health nurses of my generation can retire early at 55.  That might help explain why I'm anticipating getting slightly older so enthusiastically.
  I started my special day in the most glamorous birthday way, cleaning up the mean streets of Sunny D doing my upstanding member of the community bit.  I'd been looking at this black bin bag which had been dumped on Main Street close to Starry Towers for three days as I left for work each morning.  I knew I wanted to lift it and bin it, but I also knew I'd have to look inside, despite the daunting dread of it all I always knew I would.  I lift crap off the streets, quite literally on one horse-shit shoveling occasion which benefitted my roses.  So, what was inside?  A severed head?  Unwanted kittens?  The takings from a bank heist gone wrong with police car chase?  Nope, I had to do the bottle bank walk of shame for an anonymous idiot.  I am indeed getting old, I'm tutting at litter.  In amongst the tinnies and the bottles was a strip of Brufen with two tablets still intact, that's a shameful waste by my standards.
    After my street tidy we went out for lunch with a drive to the Ardlui Hotel then on to the Falls of Dochart.  We ate our lunch in the gazebo looking out on Loch Lomond.  Food was simple and a bit over-priced, but the ambience, the view, who cares about the food.  Today is the first time I actually went down on to the rocks at the falls, only having looked at them from above before.  I love this place, especially when the rocks aren't covered in humans like penguins at Edinburgh Zoo.  There was just one rock-inhabiting human, lolling around like a seal, though he was going for mermaid, yes merMAID.  Scotland is so beautiful.
    There was flowers and a surprise celebrity comedian Facebook birthday message, from Janey Godley.
    Movie Watch (spoiler alert).  The Husband and I watched Men & Chicken.  Mads Mikkelsen in a Danish comedy, they had me at Mads.  We loved it.


  An H&M and Forever21 shop on The Star Swag Blog.  That is all, nothing else has happened.






  Graffiti nail polish from Hard Candy on The Star Swag Blog.
  See they screen protectors for handheld gadgets.  There I was trying to put another one on, badly, these things are near on impossible.  Feeling like the Robert the Bruce spider, I took a deep breath the instructions.  I tried 24 (approximately) times more.  Seems the trick is...three tricks...if you're careful you can try as many times as you need to.  If you get any dust on the underside (the side you really don't want dust on) take a little bit of sticky tape and dab the dust off, this handy hint really works.  Place one end then slowly let the rest down while using a credit card edge with the provided cloth over it to smooth down and work out the air bubbles.  Twenty-four times I failed, then...perfection.  The Expert Shield *Lifetime Guarantee* - The Crystal Clear Screen Protector for: Olympus PEN F from Amazon.
    With the screen protector in situ a bird I didn't recognise at first caught my eye.  A molting juvenile Starling is startlingly beautiful. This photo was captured awkwardly, but quite successfully, at a distance, with the camera lens poking between slats of the venetian blind, through a not-too-recently-cleaned kitchen window, past many plants in-between me and the bird, with my new Olympus Pen-f that I haven't learned how to work yet.  Result.


























  Skirts from ASOS on The Star Swag Blog
  I got tickets for a couple of great shows on the 27th then found myself a partner-free zone at very short notice when The Husband wasn't going to get home in time.  But the good news Sis-In-Law Silke is pure dead brilliant and she jumped at the chance, all is well and the shows went on with us in the audience.  Hence, the shows did go on with the Sis-In-Law and I in the audience.  This wasn't my best comedian-stalking event, I came home with just one autograph and he wasn't one of the 8 comedians we saw but I'm well happy at the result.  At The Stand 3 on York Place we went in for a drink in the bar of the 28 York Place Hotel then the first show.  We weren't particularly front of queue for Stephen K Amos but we got front row seats and he was fabulous.  We had to exit and via the loo we were back on the pavement of York Place queuing to go back in where we just were.  This time we were much closer to the bad end of the queue, but we got the same two front row seats, result.  The second show is a fundraiser for Tommy Sheppard MP running for Deputy Leader of the SNP with JoJo Sutherland as compere.  This show is Jo Caulfield, Fern Brady, Stuart Lee, Josie Long, Andy Zaltzman and Mark Nelson.  No opportunity for comedian autographs but I got to meet the man himself, handshake, cheek-kiss, flyers signed, I wished him luck and requested he get us independence soon as possible, "we're working on it" he replied.  Possibly the best, most hilarious nights comedy I've ever had at the Fringe, actual tears of laughter, and how funny is Stewart Lee in real life, worked the crowd like a puppeteer pulling strings.













  A starry ring on The Star Swag Blog.
  Mind I was wondering what this was last year?  Most guesses were right, turns out it is a wild Strawberry plant.  The birds have strawberries if they fancy.
    I've spent hunners of time researching and reading, Googling for days on end.  There's a wealth of information, at times I despaired, I am the woman who compares the label information on two different tins of beans, I am fastidious at delaying decisions until I have ALL the information.  I've been all about the Canon cameras all my adult life, my latest being the EOS M.  I had to decide to stick with Canon or change brand.  I'm fond of the EOS M for it's size and looks, it has produced some great shots, but the best of them are it's top limit, and there's more luck than skill involved when it comes to flighty creatures who're often long gone by the time the focus get's it's act together.  I had to decide whether to stay brand-faithful and purchase some great lenses which might up my game, or the lenses plus an EOS M3 or M10, but what could be achieved going down that road?  I wasn't convinced I could achieve noticeably improved shots with this option.  I don't want to go full DSLR, the size, weight and appearance of my camera are of major importance.  Reluctant though I was to consider another brand, I did.  This I think is the top mirrorless interchangeable lens bridge camera and the most beautiful camera, in the world.  This year my birthday present will be the Olympus PEN-F, it's the same age as me, we both originated in 1963, only the Pen-f is a lot more retro chic than I am.
    Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Gomorrah: The Complete Season One.  Loved it.  Little niggle, fall off a speeding motorbike with no helmet or protective're mince.  Another little niggle, where are the Polizia Municipale, the Polizia Provinciale, the Polizia di Stato, the Guardia di Finanza and most importantly, the Direzione Investigativa Antimafia.  For the European country with the highest number of serving police officers (300,000), there's a serious lack of police officers in Napoli.




  The heatwave is over, grey skies all day today.  I remain hopeful, still time for it to make a return, my cup of optimism runneth over.  But that is just me.
  I got a new iPhone.  After The Boy questioned why I still had my 5C I checked online and discovered indeed he was right, an upgrade offer was awaiting me.  I now have an SE in the rose gold.  I don't like the massive 6, so the SE is perfect for me.  Then I had to find a case and screen protector.  I'm used to the classy white leather Tech21 all-encompassing double-sided 5C case (proven to work after several drops) plus a flimsy flexible thin screen protector which would only ever stop scratches (which was good enough because the case was double sided).  Moving to the SE and a back-only one-sided case with a tempered glass screen protector involves me taking a massive leap of faith, and I'm not known for even minuscule levels of faith.  I have made my case and screen protector purchases, applied same, and await my first phone dropping disaster at which time I'll discover if the armour plating is worth the money.
    Meerkat News.  The Starry Towers Meerkat collection is complete again with Batman and Superman winging their way here.
    Our local theatre, the Howden Park Centre in Livingston attracts some amazing entertainment.  I've got tickets for some upcoming shows.  Michael Frayn's  Democracy, a political/spy drama/thriller play based on the true story of former German Chancellor Willy Brandt and starring Taggarts' Colin McCredie (DC Stuart Fraser), comedian Daniel Sloss and the Russian State Ballet performing The Nutcracker.




American Sniper

















  We're having a heatwave, it might end any minute now, but it's been predicted to last 2 weeks.  The exact same two weeks that I've taken as annual leave, perfect planning or just plain good luck more like.  On Scottish heatwave Day 2 at Starry Towers, it was so scorchio (thank you Caroline Aherne)it was Hammock Time and I attempted a little bathing in the sun.  Rather unsuccessfully, it becomes boring quickly, I'm rubbish at this.  I saw a Sparrowhawk attempt to take out one of my little Sparrow flock, it all happened so fast, blink-and-you'd-miss-it fast, and I'm happy to say the Sparrowhawk was unsuccessful too, but then, he's got to eat too, but these Sparrows were born and bred on the food I provide, it's an uncomfortable dilemma.  After the Sparrowhawk attack I started sharing pictures of my feet on the social media, to relieve the boredom. 
    An evening of Edinburgh Festival comedian stalking went well, I can happily report a 100% success.  We started with Gavin Lind at C Nova on Victoria Street.  Five of us in the audience with Friend H and I in the front row sitting on what Mr Lind referred to as The Voodoo Seats.  The previous evening a woman on said Voodoo seat had walked out, giving the middle finger salute, calling him a combination of some of the following...misogynist, homophobe, racist and not funny.  I had to fight the urge to get up and make like I was walking out flipping the bird, then returning to my seat, only kidding.  When I have these thoughts I remind myself it's not my show, respect the comedian.
    Adam Robertson AKA Haggis McSporran and previously AKA Dr Dan on River City, is doing a great job at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  I don't pretend to understand it's every complexity but I understand Adam's BBC sacking for voicing his political opinions at the time of the Scottish Independence Referendum (part 1)and the link to his choice of performing this play.  Haggis is a character with mental illness issues and a propensity to blame his upbringing, his country and his Scottish Independence views on all the ill will and bad luck that befalls him, for a simple hour of comedy there are multiple levels to this play...I think.  It's very One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest.  Adam's also a genuinely lovely guy, so friendly afterwards, signing autographs and chatting.  On EVERY night (he's had his one night off already) at C Nova on Victoria Street.  Also, he's got the legs for a kilt.
    Down to the Grassmarket after the comedy where we watched the Twirly Fire Woman stick her pants in the air and twirl her fire then dropped into Irish bar Biddy Mulligans for a couple of drinks before home.
    Movie Watch (spoiler alert).  The Husband and I watched American Sniper.  I get it, I understand the reasons, the reality, but I can't agree.  Peace be to all humanity, let there be no more rich men ruling the world with their greed and industry (oil and arms) and no religion controlling the masses.  We are each a tiny itsy bitsy cog in the wheel.  A human life is fleeting, but 70, 80 or 90 years, is far preferable to 20 or 30.  Think for yourself and stay alive as long as you can, therefore, no more bombs, no more guns, no more of your tribal shite, spot the bad guys and stand strong together, say no to throwing your precious life away for the benefit of the manipulating few.



London Has Fallen

  The Boy had a Happy Birthday and got Moonpigged with one of their newfangled concertina cards, very attractive little cards.
  The Boy cultivated my 5ft tall Mother In Laws Tongue many birthdays ago at primary school.  I accidentally broke a leaf off a few months ago so turned it into cuttings, today I repotted and discovered I've got a 3 out of 6 success.
    The Husband is taking this White Van Man shtick to extreme levels having obtained his own now.  From Directional Driller to white van man.  The feckin rulers of the oil industry and their devious underhand shenanigans have led to The Husband finding a completely new employment opportunity which happens to involve his love of the motorbikes.  Hence there's a white van in the Starry Towers drive.  He's loving it, it's all about the motorbikes, driving, pimping his ride and most importantly, earning a living and not sitting on his arse at home going stir crazy.  I'm struggling to cope with him messing up the house constantly and I really need to keep this monstrosity out of the drive.
    Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Disappearance.  It's French, it's tres bon.  Though I did guess correctly.
    Movie Watch (spoiler alert).  The Husband and I watched London Has Fallen.  Not enough damage to Westminster.  




The Drop



  Every year I collect Poppy seeds and early the next year I throw them around the estate.  And this is why...the insects love a Poppy.  Bees and Hoverflies and some other tiny flying-type creatures I'm no really sure exactly what they all are but I know they're all seriously important.
    The Husband put his life, all four limbs, his head and his neck at risk up a very tall ladder and removed a small lawns' worth of muck and grass from the guttering.  I'd been looking at four tufts of grass in the Starry Towers rone pipes for a while and today The Husband set out to houk them out of there while simultaneously staying alive.  He was successful.  Then I was left to clean up the appalling mess he dropped from a great height, splatting on the monoblock.  I can't complain really, I'd rather clean it up at ground level than be up the very tall ladder.  I go up a half size ladder and then if I move my head at all I struggle to stay focused enough to maintain an equilibrium, I believe the sensation is called vertigo.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Drop.  Haven't seen a bad Tom Hardy movie yet, and this is another good one.






















































  Pokemon Go.  I downloaded the game just so I could take screengrabs of any Pokemon I found lurking in Starry Towers, but due to age, I couldn't actually work the game.  The Boy was over this evening with The Lovely Girlfriend and got the game started for me, immediately there was a Pokemon on the sofa, with The Husband kidding on it wasn't there, they were basically holding hands.  I killed it with a ball, or I caught it with a ball, or something, the ball thing, I was successful.  My work there is done.  Or it was, then I got a bit carried away and found some more.  My work there is definitely done now, I've run out of balls and absolutely refuse to spend money on the game, Pokemon Go away.

  Starry Towers garden update.  All is flourishing on the estate.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  I watched Zoolander No. 2 The Magnum Edition.  I like it, I'm a fan of Zoolander, this is a nice return.



  An ASOS delivery on The Star Swag Blog.
  It won't encourage me to do any actual ironing, but the new Starry Towers ironing board cover is fabulous.
    The Husband states categorically that he left £13 on the kitchen table this morning.  Only he and I were in the house.  The money is missing.  What's most likely...   
    a) I stole £13 from The Husband
    b) The Husband is WRONG (sacré bleu!!!) and he did NOT leave £13 on the kitchen table this morning?
    (image created for effect, this is NOT the missing £13)
    I'm watching him closely for more early signs of Dementia.  The next morning he claims he found a ten pound note on the hall floor, indicating he believes I put it there recently to mess with his head.  Forgetfullness and mild paranoia are manageable, but the first time he pees the couch, he's out of here.
    Book Review.  Just had The Blade Artist read to me by a chap called Tom Dean Burn.  I really enjoyed the return of the Begbie, took me right back to 1993 and the joy that is Trainspotting.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Enemy.  We recommend you don't.  First Gyllenhaal movie we haven't loved.





















  My favourite pants on The Star Swag Blog.
  Congratubloodywelldone Mr Murray and Mr Reid.  Gordon Reid wins the inaugural wheelchair singles and doubles titles.  And of course, Scotland's very own Andy Murray has his second Wimbledon championship and cries tears, tears of pain as he realises that'll be him a Brit forever.
  iPhone Hijack News.  My iPhone was hacked, and by hacked I mean it was picked up from the table I left it on at work, buttons were pressed, the iPhone cunningly replaced where I'd left it.  I returned to find my cunny funt work colleagues had changed my wallpaper to a selfie they'd taken, prompting me to password protect my iPhone.
    Revalidation News.  I have revalidated.  The NMC has introduced a new system of proving you, as a trained nurse, are fit to practice.  Revalidation is a 3 yearly  declaration that you have worked enough hours, engaged in enough learning, received and/or sought enough feedback on your practice, reflected often enough on your practice/learning/feedback, are healthy enough, of good enough character and are financially insured to practice.  I put a load of work into achieving all of that and recording it in my portfolio of evidence.  Two months ahead of my deadline I submit online at the NMC website and revalidate my first and last revalidation (I'll be retired with a 1983-2018 career behind me before I have to do it again).  I was expecting a fanfare, or at least a wee congratuwelldone, maybe just a well done without the congratu, even just good for you.  What you get is a reminder that you owe the NMC £120 per annum (in my case via Direct Debit) and the not so kindly words..."please note this is only a copy of your online submission, and is not confirmation of your registration".  Aye well, cheers NMC and thank you for all you do for my £120 per annum...what exactly do you do for my £120 per annum?  When I was first a trained nurse the registration fee was £30 for 3 years, £10 per annum and they didn't make you do all of the above to earn your £120 per annums' worth of whatever it is they spend it on.
    Bin News.  You'll recall the news that the Starry Towers black land-fill bin is going to be replaced with a smaller version to encourage recycling, and that since this news arrived I've been taking proper recycling more seriously.  So seriously that I have a 80l Brabantia, in the white, for the paper/card/tin cans and clean aerosols refuse and have taken to strolling along Main Street with my glass for depositing in the glass bottle bank outside the Sunny D village shop.  However, I'm finding the glass recycling is a walk of shame, not for piles of empty alcohol bottles, but for the amount of empty Peanut Butter jars.  I love my Whole Earth Peanut Butter with Sunflower Pumpkin and Flax Seeds, and when I'm clinking along Main Street weighed down on one side with a bag for life full of jars I know I love it way too much.  It's sweet and tasty and healthy, and only 4.6g of carbs in 100g of peanut butter, problem is the temptation to fill a cereal bowl with it and top it off with a liberal skooshing of Anchor Extra Thick squirty cream (2.6 carbs per 100g).
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Bone Tomahawk.  We liked a lot, a western verging on a horror with tonnes of wry wit humour spoken in words of by-gone times and a tip of the cowboy hat to christianity.










  Bespoke silver SNP charm on The Star Swag Blog.































  There's bra news on The Star Swag Blog.
  While I'm waiting for Scottish Independence, here's me being all understanding and zen about it, the time will come, in Nicola we trust, she above anyone else has her finger on the political pulse, she'll know when we can go for it.  Meanwhile I'm calm and displaying the patience of a saint, aye #SaintCuntyMcFuckOff.  This is The Husbands' rather apt new mug, though I don't think I'll let him actually use it, it's more a display item.
  The Boy, at age 17, performed his civic duty as a jury member, despite spending an entire week in court he receives regular, approximately yearly, citations to do it again.  He has the right to refuse, and he exercises it, due to having done it already in the last 5 years.  I'm thinking perhaps he's not the absolute best person to sit on a jury, too kind you see, I blame the schools, certainly not a fault of his parents, we're both way more judgey.  Today I did well, I actually managed to eventually persuade The Boy that when Oscar Pistorius shot his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp FOUR times through a locked door in 2013 it was actual MURDER rather than a nasty but innocent accident. That if you wake up thinking there's someone in the house other than yourself, the first thing you do is turn to the person in the bed with you, if he/she isn't there in the bed with you, the natural conclusion is...ah, he/she's obviously went to the loo.  It is NOT the done thing to immediately get out of bed without noticing the whereabouts of your loved one, to go shoot the "burglar" who obviously must've needed a pee before setting about robbing the joint. Jeezo there's having an open mind and giving the benefit of the doubt, then there' just like to take the opposite view to your mother so we can have a heated debate don't you laddy.  And no, 6 years is not enough, legs or no legs.
  Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Kingsman: The Secret Service.  Likeable and excellent fun.







  My take on the Europe.  The Brexiteers (a too cool name for them, Brexiters would be more fitting) won the European referendum, sad face.  Scotland is solid, determined to stay in the European Union, happy face plus plus plus!  I'm not British so it's difficult to be upset at the UK being out of the EU, it feels to me that England is out of the EU.  When I woke up on Friday morning and saw the yellow Scotland and the blue England it was like the last general election Maggie Simpson map all over again, only even more so, I'm a happy little Euro bunny, England just handed us our country back.  I'm so very proud that the people of Scotland voted to remain in the EU and we have fewer racists and/or stupid people that didn't understand the question than we have decent people, while England and Wales (surprisingly) has more racists and/or stupid people that didn't understand the question than they have decent people.  I've never been so positive that Scotland will have her independence in my lifetime.  Oor Nicola, currently the only UK political party leader functioning at the top of her game (nothing out of the ordinary there) on the crest of a wave while her inferiors are imploding, will do what's best for the people of Scotland and that's staying in the EU.
    And then the amazing Iceland puts England out of the Euros 2016 resulting in England being a world-wide laughing stock, out of Europe twice in quick succession, the England football manager resigning, the Tory PM resigns, the Labour party killing their leader with long pointy sharp knives in the back in a Julius Caesar type way, and cool as you like Oor Nicola's away to talk to the EU.
    Happy Birthday The Dad.  Talking about The Dad, if he'd only hung on to his wee flock of Shetland Sheep for one more year he'd have come home with the Royal Highland Show Championship, Shetland ram Gareth, named by The Mum, won the top Shetland sheep prize.  Having said that, if The dad had won it would be me having to do the party catering for all the Shetland sheep folks at next year's show, so probably for the best.  I Moonpigged him with a concertina card.
    UNISON, the public service union affiliated with the Labour party gives a portion of the members fees to the Labour party.  Well no mine they don't, because I opted out of the political fund, if you haven't already, then please do opt out, the Labour party doesn't deserve a penny from decent working people.  So, I opted out and received a refund cheque at the end of the financial year, that was last year, and now I have another one.  Turns out UNISON continue to take the political fund fees every month and refunds them on an annual basis, how stupid.  I suspect they're up to no good.
    The Husband has taken to driving around in a van, he has become White Van Man.  I'm not going to comment any further, I'll just leave it at that.
    The Husband and I took a drive out for a bit of fish at our new favourite chippy, Maurizio's in South Queensferry.  Deep fried white fish with mayonnaise, from the bottle of Hellmans I've now taken to putting in the car when we go on a chippy trip.  I've turned into that person.  We stopped at the Forth Bridges View Point, unsurprisingly for a view of the Forth Bridges.
    Movie Watch (with spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Revenant.  Two hours and 20 minutes of nature and people attempting, and failing to, kill Leonardo DiCaprio.  Just die Leo, PLEASE!  Near choked to death by a Ree, mauled and ripped to shreds plus broken ankle by an angry mother bear then squashed by an dead mother bear, extreme pain and shock, riddled with infection, raging body temperature, freezing conditions, a smothering by Tom Hardy, partially buried alive,  swept down raging rapids, infested with raw meat worms and probably lice and fleas, endures a home-made sauna, attacked by native Americans, falls off a cliff, falls through a conifer tree hitting every branch on the way down, wakes entombed in and has to escape from a frozen horse carcass, treks 200 miles in winter conditions, frozen and starving.  One bowl of soup and a bath and he's ready to go again at full tilt, gets shot at then shares an axe and a knife in a man-on-man tumble.  Forget all the above, he should've died of hypothermia about 80 times. 
    Movie Watch (with spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Bridge Of Spies.  I admired the man the film is based on James Donovan, a lawyer who internationally negotiated for the release of a load of people in his time.  The telling of his story was too schmaltzy for my liking, the and I don't like Tom Hanks, he just doesn't appeal, too schmaltzy.










  Shorts on The Star Swag Blog.
  Blue Tit Baby News.  The nest box is silent, my 2016 baby Blue Tits have flown the nest, I miss them already, another yearly milestone passed.  Time is quite literally flying.
  When we recently took the New Lanark Mills tour the lady selling the tickets told us as The Mum worked at the mills back in the late 1950's we really should visit the Search Room where we could search and find The Mum's name in the records.  Not something we'd have thought of for ourselves, but the lady was so jolly and enthusiastic about it we went for it.  Hence we found ourselves back in the mills cafe on this day and The Husband eating Dead Fly Pie prior to the Search Room.  He denies ever knowing this is called Dead Fly Pie.  I secretly know Dead Fly Pie is my own name for it, others call it Fly Cemetery, Fly Graveyard, Fly Cake.  I think my Dead Fly Pie is the most imaginative and aurally pleasing, I recall singing...Dead Fly Pie don't bother me...obviously to the tune of shoo fly.
  At the Search Room we find that the lady who sells the tickets has a fundamental misunderstanding of what the Search Room is.  Yes they have some records, they don't have a record of every worker who ever worked at New Lanark Mills.  The Search Room lady is very helpful but it's useless, we won't be setting eyes on The Mums name in their files.  More records are held at Glasgow University and the Search Room lady promises to contact them and let us know what, if anything, can be found there.  After, we visit The Parents at home and I'm enquiring for more details of The Mum's New Lanark years.  She plays it down as having little importance then drops a bombshell.
    "I started in 1957, it was just a couple of years", she says, then casually, "I got sacked". Pick us off the unimaginable occurrence had occurred. The Mum and her best friend would play cards when the machines were running smoothly, to fill the time, everyone did, allegedly.  I'm going to tell people she was a card sharp, sacked for gambling. I'm duty-bound to repeat the whole story here...she was invited back because she was a good worker, but she turned them down.
    Baillie was his usual little bundle of energy.
    When you're the first person to arrive for the meeting #YourCoolStuffRulesTheTable.  Black saffiano leather MICHAEL Michael Kors Selma Stud Medium Messenger with silver-tone metalwork, Zebra Expandable Pen, Pepsi Max and Det Norsk spiral bound Notebook.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Program.  More interesting and thrilling than I could ever imagine it would be.  I remember reading David Walsh's disturbing story in the Sunday Times  back in the's very accurate, though I was mystified at the absence of Sheryl Crow, she's the girlfriend I remember seeing him with her in the mainstream media.  In fact, if anything's seriously missing from this movie, it's Armstrong's love interests and close relationships, his children get a brief podium scene, his then future-wife has 20 seconds to agree she likes Italian food and bicycles.  The lack of his women and children relationships does make him a less sympathetic character, it's all about the egotistical maniac side of him.
    The Husband and I watched Black Mass.  Based on the lives of FBI agent John Connolly and Irish mobster Whitey Bulger, fair enough.














  The Starry Towers Blue Tit parents are still working so bloody hard feeding the bairns, they're amazing to watch.  I took another delivery, 1kg of Mealy Worms for them today.  The babies must be about ready to fly the nest any day now, I'm hoping when they do, they might join the parents at the Mealy Worm feeder on the Starry Towers kitchen window.
    There's been some serious action on the mean streets of Sunny D.  I know the full story, from the horses mouth, but in the interests of seeing fair justice I'll just be telling what's kinda commonly known, no names.
    Someone has had a type of bomb (think household chemicals rather than semtex) thrown at their car over the space of several weeks.  Saturday evening there was another attack.  First we knew about it the police arrived, then more police, fire engines, ambulances.  Many many emergency service personnel were in attendance.  Once everyone was on site there were too many police vehicles and people to count, two fire engines, two fire major incident vehicles, two ambulances, two ambulance major incident vehicles and some regular cars carrying other emergency service individuals.  Main Street was sealed off with police tape and police people from just outside our gate up to just the other side of the village shop.
    Local people came out, Sunny D did rubbernecking with dignity and aplomb.  A while later activity peeked and emergency service people and vehicles slowly dispersed.  Though some police were still there when I went to bed.  Sunday morning on the way to work there's two police cars on site.  Later that morning the same section of street is again cordoned off and The Husband has a visit from a police person advising residents to remain indoors and away from the windows.  This lasted a few hours then they were all gone again.  Police Scotland has gathered available evidence, plain clothes have been to Starry Towers, just helping with their police enquiries.
    Then today an Armadale councillor, Stuart Borrowman, put this out on The Facebook...
    "POLICE REASSURE LOCAL RESIDENTS.  The police have notified an on-going incident in the Armadale area. Following intelligence received a search was carried out at an address in Armadale and Police have recovered what appears to be an IED.  Enquiries are on-going, however there is no need to evacuate the area concerned. The discovery has caused police to call out Army EOD personnel to assist.  Police say THERE IS NO RISK to the local community."
    I'm pretty sure there'll be no more home-made bombs in Sunny D, caught bang to rights.
    The Husband and I had an evening drive to South Queensferry for a bit of chip shop fish and an admiring look at our favourite bridge in the world.  Izinbard Brunell was a genius.  The iconic, beautiful World Heritage site the Forth Rail Bridge.
    Castle News.  The Husband and I took a trip to Castle Campbell.  This castle has loads of points of interest and much to like and attract the visitors.  First up, it's a MQoS castle, Mary Queen of Scots was here 9th to 12th January 1563, for a family wedding.  It sits on a hill, in among hills, the road to the castle is long and winding, there will be walking, up hill and down glen.  There's a To The Castle sign, at this point it's only pedestrians beyond this point.  Only it's not really.  I will explain...
    We parked up and started walking the mile to the castle.  We nearly drove past the sign, because I can't be totally trusted to pay attention to signs, but The Husband stopped, reversed, and read the sign.  Turns out it's a swizz, the signs, it transpires, are ambiguous, pedestrians only beyond this point is really referring to the river-side path through Dollar Glen, the left fork in the road.  Road vehicles are actually permitted on the right fork, it's single track with no obvious passing places we noticed, but it would've been a breeze for the Jeep.  We started walking, it goes up, and up, and more up, then up, up, up.  The view of the castle through the trees (see second pic below) was worth it though.  At this point there's a summer seat (a Scottish garden bench) with a memorial plaque dedicated to, it's unforgivable but I don't recall the lady's name, I do remember she died in her early 50's (my age range).  I'm imagining it was a heart attack right there.  On again, in the upward direction, we reached the pinnacle...and a car park.  We could've driven this far, but we're still not at the castle.  Now we have a seriously steep down-ward and curvy road to take us to the castle.  I also discover the path through Dollar Glen goes from the lower car park all the way up to the castle.  From the castle end the Burn of Care and Dollar Burn are flowing that-a-ways back to the lower car park so our journey back it will be mostly downhill saving us from having to climb the steepest part of the road.  Therefore, all in all, it's best not to drive to the top car park. 
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Deadpool.  We like a lot, will probably watch it again.























  The Starry Towers Blue Tits are proud and happy to announce they have 7 babies this year.  Their des-res is next door to trees which have a healthy supply of Winter Moth caterpillars and I supplement their diet with Mealy Worms they seem to enjoy.  The parents are working all day every day to feed their little treasures but I managed a quick peek now the babies are a good age, won't be long till they're leaving the nest box.
    Starry Towers v Scottish Power.  Starry Towers won of course and the work has been done now.  As I insisted, of course it was more cost effective to leave the Starry Towers stane dyke un-undermined, the monoblock with it's still-under-guarantee undisturbed and the garden with it's aged shrubs, flowers, rose bushes and bulbs unmolested and alive.  The cable came in through next doors moss-pit, I shudder to think of that trench ruining the Starry Towers front garden and the monoblock dug up.  A big bonus is the Starry Towers electricity supply is now totally independent, therefore we don't ever have to worry about anyone's supply other than our own.  We can go on holiday with no fret that Starry Towers would need to be broken in to because next door has a power cut.
    The Husband and I had a trip down the Borders to visit Melrose Abbey, paying respect to Robert the Bruce.  It is said his heart is buried in the grounds, I placed a kiss over the heart of The Bruce.
    From there we set off to find William Wallace, along the way we found Scots' View.  Nice view, it's no The Highlands, but still, rolling hills and lush greenness is always good.
    From there we set off again to find William Wallace.  I only just discovered there is a William Wallace statue in the Borders, and it's a beauty.  This impressive red sandstone 31 feet high statue which depicts William Wallace looking out over the River Tweed is hidden deep in the woods (a pleasant 5 minute stroll along an easy ambling path) of the Bemersyde estate near Melrose.  It was made by John Smith of Darnick commissioned by David Stuart Erskine, 11th Earl of Buchan, was erected in 1814 and is protected as a category B listed building.  An inscription at Wallace's feet reads:
    Erected by David Stuart
Erskine, Earl of Buchan
    We were then heading home, but a bit hungry we stopped at the first roadside eatery.  Flying a French flag Bony's Steakhouse & Grill at Glentress, Peebles serves nice enough food, but it's on the pricey side for what it is.  It's an unappealing ugly building, but we were very hungry by this time, the sun was still shining and importantly, shining on this veranda.  We ate two courses, sat at wooden tables and benches like garden furniture, with cutlery wrapped in napkins arriving in a wooden holder with the condiments, I swear I saw a bottle of tomato sauce being fetched to one of the other tables.  Ask for a diet cola, the question is medium or large?  It's on tap.  That's not a description of fine dining, its a truck stop missing a motorway, it's a holiday campsite restaurant with actual attached self-catering accommodation, and yet, my main course was priced at just short of £20.  I had many scallops and some prawns.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining about the scallops, I like scallops and prawns and picked the scallop starter immediately.  I did try to mix it up a bit, ordering grilled salmon for my main, but the salmon was off.  Only now checking online I realise, my starter was Scallops, Tiger Prawns & Black Pudding with Poached DUCK Egg drizzled with Béarnaise.  I wouldn't normally eat a duck egg, but now I have, though I didn't mean to.  The yolk was nice.  The white had runny bits, which is the worst thing you can do to me with an egg.  In place of the salmon I went with the sea bass (which came with prawns and scallops) asking them to replace the mash with a salad...always considerate of the carb content.  The favourite thing for Bony's to do with a meal is cover it with salad leaves, so I got a separate bowl of small leaf salad to go with my seafood hidden under more small salad leaves.  It was tasty enough, but it was an itsy-bitsy piece of fish, on first sight I'd forgotten it was there till I budged the rocket.  The food was enjoyable, just over-priced for the event.







  Starry Towers 49 : 0 Mice (2 new outside kills)
  Castle News.  The Husband and I visited Aberdour Castle.  This is a great castle, with the oldest ruins dating from around 1200.  It was extended in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, built from west to east.  It's one of the two oldest dateable castles in Scotland.  The newest part contains liveable rooms with furniture, one with a view out to their Saltire another has a surviving glorious painted ceiling from the early 1600s.  Then there's the church next door, St Fillians.  Picture book perfection.
    Dumbarton Castle is both a MQoS and a William Wallace castle.  Fabulousness.  And for when you've accidentally left your Saltire 557 steps below in the car, happily they've got one of their own atop the rock.  Mary was hidden safely here as a child prior to sailing to France and Sir Wallace was held prisoner prior to being taken to the bastards at Westminster to be wrongfully trialled as a traitor...which he wasn't, he had never sworn allegiance to the king of England, as if...then with brutal and inhumane torture, he was murderously slaughtered.  Aye, there's been a murder, one which will never be forgotten.  I hope he had a sense of his own historic greatness and legacy, a brave and selfless man.
    Next, Kilchurn Castle at the northeast end of Loch Awe near Dalmally in Argyll.  Originally on an island, the island became connected to the shore when the water level of Loch Awe was lowered in the 1800s, building began in the 1440s.  This entails a stroll, the ground is flat though, so no worries.  Hardest part is locating the turn off for the car park, satnav struggles with it.  I adore the To The Castle sign at the start of the trail and the tree trunk circles in the path.  I have no idea when Historic Scotland deems to open this castle to the public, I've been here twice now, both times it's locked.  There were a bunch of young student type lads trying to look inconspicuous, while actually looking a tad embarrassed as they watched one of their own locked in the castle.  This boy had obviously climbed and gained entry through a window, then was imprisoned for a while after he realised, no you can't open the door from the inside, the windows are all pretty far up from the ground and it's a hellava lot harder to climb down a vertical stone wall than it is to climb up it.  There were also a couple of newly-weds, I did a congratuwelldone to them, he in a relaxed kilt outfit and she in a simple cream hippie-style lace sheath frock, picnicking beside Loch Awe in the shadow of the castle, nice.
    Lagganbuie Farm Shop sold us fried fish, made with their own-recipe home-made batter of which they're rightfully proud, with a little leaf side-salad.  Wasn't expecting this, in the middle of beautiful nowhere ie somewhere in the vicinity of Stronmilchan, Dalmally, Argyll and Bute, Scotland.  Very cool.
    Imagine if I could combine my two favourite and much loved symbols, a Saltire and a star...well, now I can!  Check out the Scottish Flag of Independence #ScotIndyFlag.
    TV Boxset News (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Marcella.  Saved it for a box-set binge, complicated, surprising.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Mission Impossible Rouge Nation.  I love a Mission Impossible, only problem is I really don't like Tom Cruise.
    The Husband and I watched Dallas Buyers Club.  It's emotional, educational and amazing.  We love Matthew McConaughey.
    The Husband and I watched The Lobster.  Despite the practically constant screen presence of Colin Farrell, we wish we hadn't.
























  Wellies and slinky socks on The Star Swag Blog.
  Castle News.  Making a start to our Visiting Everywhere Mary Queen of Scots Was idea, The Husband and I visited Craignethan Castle and stood exactly where Mary would've been sat at the top table in the great hall.  Mary spent some time at Craignethan after she escaped from imprisonment in Loch Leven Castle.  There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that there would've been at least one dinner in the great hall.  Meanwhile The Husband was musing on which toilet she would've shit in.
  On to Bothwell Castle.  This 13th C castle takes us back to the Scottish Wars of Independence and William Wallace.  Bothwell was fought over, sieged and re-sieged and changed hands several times.
    The Husband and I had a trip out for me to buy a new laptop.  The old one was getting very noisy because the fans were burning up.  The one I was after could only be found in Glasgow so we headed to the Braehead Shopping Centre retail park place and the Currys and PC World Megacentre.  Where a very friendly and helpful salesperson called Michelle gave us one-to-one personal shopper type attention and service and sold me an Acer Aspire V15.  It's got a lot of fancy stuff making it a great laptop, should be too at the price.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Calvary.  An Irish surreal comedy, worth seeing.




  Luggage bag on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 47 : 0 Mice
  This one was in an outdoor trap, The Husbands' magic foam in the kitchen has thus far proven successful.
  This one was in an outdoor trap, The Husbands' magic foam in the kitchen has thus far proven successful.
  The Husband and I went back to New Lanark to take the tour of the mills, grabbing a picture of our favourite legend in Lanark on the way.
    I've known Lanark as the local area big town of my childhood, I went to secondary school at Lanark Grammar, the dentist of my first two decades was Dr Hutton in Lanark, the first movie I saw in at the Regal cinema was in Lanark, I had swimming lessons at Lanark Baths,  and yet, I've never considered Lanark to be interesting till now.  I saw William Wallace on practically every single high school day, on dinner breaks me and my BF would take a stroll down the High Street, I don't remember being aware it was the legend looking down on us at the time.
    The New Lanark Mills experience is surprisingly good, maybe I'm just getting old, or maybe it's because The Husband is old, or perhaps it's The Mum connection.  The Mum worked at New Lanark Mills when she was a teenager.  
    We were at the ticket bit when the lady on the desk said...child, adult or senior?  The Husband was like "what?"  As we came to understand (me before The Husband), I was proclaiming..."you're over 60 sweetieness, you're entitled to a senior discount!"  Turned out he wasn't happy bout it, but oh how we laughed, well, I did, he grimaced stoically.  A saving of £1.50, it all adds up, and like I told him..."we'll have to check out for senior discounts everywhere we go now, and even if some places might be over-65, you'll get away with it", he grew more grimacey and, perhaps verging on angry.  I was still in buoyant mood.
    We started off at the mill shop for an umbrella then had a salad lunch in the Mills cafe.  At which point we decided to go against our usual grain by sticking to New Lanark convention and do the actual tour, the Annie McLeod Experience.  Quite surprised to discover this is a ride, a sit on, ski-lift chair, sliding along, every bend revealing another small mannequin scene, a hologram or video, with audio, telling the tale of a typical New Lanark child circa 1820, hinting at ghosts and...slave labour.  Thing is, Robert Owen is credited with advancing the lot and rights of your typical British worker back then, but when you think about it, he was just like a farmer looking after his animals.  Everything he did for his workforce was with an industrialist mind, profit and loss, a business balance sheet to keep them working.  What good is a barn-full of sick or dead animals to a farmer?
    We headed up to Scotland's largest roof garden where I attempted to steal the frog from the central pond feature.  There's other pieces of nice little quirky public art up there too, a crow, a heron, a bird on top a wall and a couple of boxing hares by local artist Laura Antebi.  I say public art, I'm being over generous, more like garden ornaments to be entirely honest.  There's other exhibitions to see including the old machines, the current machines making New Lanark wool, the old school building, a wartime exhibit, the Mill shop and the village shop, workers cottage interiors and the old shop interior.
    My personal connection to New Lanark Mills is The Mum worked there, back in the 1960s, prior to my arrival, on floor 5 of Mill 3.  The ticket lady told us there's a Search Room containing archive materials including the names of every single person who ever worked at New Lanark Mills.  An appointment will be made and The Mums' name will be found.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Mud.  Wonderful movie, you can't fault Matthew McConaughey, he can do no wrong.  A quiet, peaceful, laid back drop, full of very personal, human, moving, emotional, intriguing, frightening drama.  Touches all bases of human life in a setting where most of the population blinked and missed it.  Top movie.




  Biker on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 46 : 0 Mice
  Significant progress in my battle with the vermin.  As my death toll hits 46, at last The Husband has a look at how it might just be possible to shut the mouse door and stop the critters at entry point.  The Husband's had a look behind the kitchen units kick boards (I suggested this a long time ago, was told don't be silly).  Behind a kick board...on the wall that adjoins next door at floor level...there were several gaps, now thankfully, full of that foam stuff.  This could herald the end of my reign of terror on the local mouse population.
  Castle News.  The Husband and I visited Crichton Castle on a grey overcast day.  Picture below was achieved on my iPhone using the Snapseed app.  Impressed?  You really should be, it's fabulous.  The Husband picked up a book here too "Mary Was Here" is the book of places Mary Queen of Scots lived and visited, I can feel many road trips quest coming on, to visit all the places Mary Stuart did, including the French bit.
    The Husband and I ate at New Lanark Mill Hotel in Mill One Restaurant.   We were attended to by a lovely waiter, think his badge said somebody Kerr, Paul Kerr I think.  I felt like I was in a politeness slam-down with him, which is actually a good thing.  I'll see your good manners and raise you a courtesy.  My dinner was sublime Pan Seared King Scallops with Cider Comfit Pork Belly, Candied Apple Puree and Black Pudding Crumb followed by Barbecue Pulled Pork Burger with Mozzarella Cheese.  I didn't eat the bun but did have the chips, the carb klaxon went off.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Sicario.  A gritty and interesting tale mostly great, but I couldn't get behind Emily Blunt's character, something just didn't ring true.  Otherwise good stuff.








































































  Starry Towers 45 : 0 Mice
  The Husband and I attended my ex-Mother-In-Law's funeral, to support The Boy, her grandson.  She was good to my boy and he to her.  Respect.  RIP ex-Mum-In-Law.
  MoodieVision3 has arrived at Starry Towers.  And more news in from Greg Moodie in The People's Republic of Torphican, the Gala Day committee of Torphican have approached Mr Moodie requesting that he pose naked with his Tam O'Shanter murals for their fund-raising Torphican Beefcake calendar.  Don't have nightmares.
  The Husband and I had another Andy Scott road trip, this time to Clackmannanshire.  Please, please, please, stop with the putting of the art on the roundabouts, I have to take photos from too far away or on some occasions, and fully risk assessed, I'm on the bloody roundabout.  It's quite embarrassing sitting on a roundabout with traffic circling you, I pretended there was no traffic, that's not easy either.  First up is This Journey's End (on a very busy roundabout I risk assessed as a no-go).  Next up is River Spirit (on a roundabout I was able to visit).  Lifeline is on another very busy roundabout in Alloa town centre, I had to take pix from the other side of the road.  I Can See For Miles is at the train station and the most easily accessible sculpture of the day.  Air Spirit, the companion piece of River Spirit, is next (on a not very busy roundabout) at Tullibody.  Fox Boy is in gardens at Menstrie.  Then on the way up to visit The Parents we skirted round to Motherwell and The Steelmen at Ravenscraig
    The Husband and I took a wee day out for a drive down the east coast.  First we got caught in a traffic snarl-up on the A1.  I checked with @TrafficScotland on The Twitter, they retweeted my pic then the East Lothian Courier used it on their news website.
    Castle News.  Onwards to Fast Castle.  The decision to visit Fast Castle shouldn't be taken lightly, this castle could kill you, there is hillwalking involved, and cliffs. There's an abundance of signs that should be heeded.  A 3/4 mile walk down to the castle is no biggie, just a little nerve-wracking as you worry about falling off a cliff.  On the way back up your imminent heart-attack and finding a safe spot for a helicopter to land, that's if you can get a signal on your phone to alert the emergency services, is all that's on your mind.  It's not the walking, it's the hills.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Everest.  Visually good and an interesting story, I didn't realise climbing Everest had become such a touristy business.
    The Husband and I watched Vikings season 4.  Via the Amazon Prime thingy.  We both love Vikings and season 4 is as fabulous as 1 - 3.  There's a little loss of visual quality with the Prime, I think in future we'll probably wait for the DVD box sets.
    The Husband and I watched The Hateful Eight.  Not even close to Tarantino's best and far too long.






















  Starry Towers 42 : 0 Mice
  The Husband had a birthday in Abu Dhabi, as you do when you work in the gas and oil industry.  Happy Birthday wishes to The Husband.  I sent a card to his Netherlands office, rolling out an oldie I've used before, one of my personal favourite Moonpig works.  It's hard work thinking up new photo-card ideas every year and Moonpig keep your old orders, so it's an easy click and go straight through the checkout, done and done.
  Both votes SNP today.  Happy voting like-minded lovely YES people and the rest of you, it's not all that important, don't worry, if you can't be bothered, just forget it, it's a nuisance having to get to the polling place anyway, and you know the weather will be shite, it's just no worth it.
  Starry Towers v Scottish Power.  Starry Towers Under Attack update...two gentlemen from IQA (sub-contracted by Scottish Power to bring a new electricity supply cable to the building) visited today.  The one I'd spoke to before was aww chuffed with himself..."I saved your garden" he says.  Bless him...I won the battle of the Starry Towers v the Scottish Power.  The new cable will come in undermining next door's crappy brick wall, digging up their moss pit and breaking up their crumbling tarmacadam path.  An added bonus is that Starry Towers will then have a completely separate supply, and therefore, no future worries of a lock-smith/Police Scotland/Scottish Power break-in in the event of a lecky emergency situation next door and us not being around.  Result.










  The Husband was home for a minute.  His suited and booted, globe-trotting, high-flying, business man job in Holland is keeping him busy so when he gets a chance to schedule meetings in Scotland and/or even England, he has to take the opportunity, to vote and reacquaint himself with bonny Scotland.  And so, I tactically set his postal vote papers out on the kitchen table, though there's about as much a chance of finding an honest Tory, Labour and/or Libdem as there is he'd be voting any other way than #BothVotesSNP.
  The Husband and I had an Andy Scott road trip in the Glasgow direction.  Details and pix added to The Public Art Gallery.  We started at the Glasgow Business Park in Easterhouse with a sculpture I've seen many times.  In usual circumstances all I get is a quick glimpse of the 4.5m tall Clydesdale as we drive past on the M8, but that just doesn't give this  Heavy Horse the credit it deserves.  From there we head to what's it called? Cumbernauld!  To check in with my old friend Hamish, who is currently back home at the Highland Colour Coaters factory and is yellow.  I've seen him red, blue and now yellow, perhaps yellow for #BothVotesSNP.  Onwards and miraculously The Husband finds Arria.  Travelling on the southbound carriageway of the M80 we pass The Angel of the Nauld on our right then have to double back into the village of Balloch then Eastfield, and next to Eastfield Cemetery there she is.  We head towards Loch Lomond seeking sustenance and a walk on a beach.  Fuel for the Jeep is also needed so while The Husband fills the tank at Lomondgate Services I'm over at the nearby roundabout.   What's with the putting of the sculptures on the roundabouts? A beautiful stag sculpture, shame about the traffic and lamp posts.  Our next sculpture road trip is to Alloa and Clackmannanshire, where apparently every available space is filled with an Andy Scott.
    On to Loch Lomond and Purdie's of Luss, a restaurant and museum, for a spot of food, my treat, and that's not a common occurrence.  Fish and chips, basic no frills, slightly over-greasy fried battered fish and skinny chips, with a slice of lemon and sachets of sauce the only accompaniment.  Was alright, the fish was very white, fresh and fluffy, but for the same price a side salad or peas would normally be expected.  As this was now a definite carb day I went for ice-cream too.  I asked for half rum and raisin and half cookies and cream.  I expected the same size small tub The Husband had with a scoop of each. I got a huge tub with two scoops of each, only it was 2 scoops rum and raisin and 2 scoops raspberry ripple.  I don't even like raspberry ripple.  I should've complained, not great food, poor service and order errors, I certainly didn't tip.  There's wifi but not for customers, I was told "sorry, it's just for our till".  As there's no phone service in Luss, free wifi for customers could be a major attraction, it's becoming an expectation in most places.
    The Husband bought me a handbag at Luss.  Never trust a husband/bag/Luss combo, stared at me from the dashboard all the way home (it really is a handbag, called Hamish).  We also had that walk on the beach.
    Come evening time on the way home, under the watchful eye of a Highland cow, I grabbed a photo of The Queensferry Crossing from the car, not great photography, but my, the 1.7 miles of what will be the longest three-tower, cable-stayed bridge IN THE WORLD and also by far the largest to feature cables which cross mid-span bridge IN THE WORLD is looking good, very close to finished.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Unbroken.  Both blown away by this movie.  The incredible true story of the life and times of Louis Zamperini.  Fantastic life story, told brilliantly.  Jack O'Connell...I'm already a fan...putting in the best shift he's ever worked, congratuwelldone Jack and respect to Louis Zamperini and all his fellow wartime comrades.  Astounding all round.
    The Husband and I watched Run All Night.  Bit obvious, OK, a lot obvious plot-wise, but entertaining enough if you, like us, are rather fond of the Neeson.  Enjoyed his joking references to the size of his real-life famously large, erm, body part.










  Forever21 on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 39 : 0 Mice
  I went to Hamden.  Happily it wasn't on a football day, but a couple days after the old firm matches recommenced their bigoted assault on intelligent decent central belt Scotland.  I don't hold it against the venue.  I was attending a work related symposium in an upstairs conference room and never set eyes on a blade of Hamden grass.
  Did see loads of freebies.  I got loads of notepads I'll never get round to using, a measuring tape, x2 mugs (I'll never use), a multi gadget charger cable,  x2 pocket mirrors (can't imagine using), a tin of "leisure mints" (I'll give to The Husband, he looks like a man who might like a mint while he's at leisure), x3 spectacle cleaning sprays (I gave one to The Husband and fully intend to try to remember to use the others), soft squishy rubbery animals...2 pigs, a sheep, a cow and...a light bulb, a pocket first aid kit, keyrings (I'll never use), magnetic 2016 calendars (already causing me stress imagining them stuck to my fridge freezer), lip balms (I'll shy away from unknown chemical content)and 31 pens I'll probably not live long enough to write that much.  What have I learned?  Freebie branded tat is just tat, with branding.
    Bin News.  Bin day has changed, from Monday to Wednesday, I think I'll prefer the Wednesday, and word is our black land-fill waste bins are to be replaced by smaller sized black bins.  This is to encourage recycling, a smaller landfill black bin will mean it's not big enough to throw everything in.  I already make good use of the blue paper bin but I wasn't fastidious.  I am now.  I thought about the reasons why I don't put every little bit of paper into the blue, instead, throwing little paper/card bits and empty tins into the kitchen bin which goes to the black bin.  It's because I have nowhere in the house to store the paper/card/tins prior to taking out to the blue bin.  I need a paper/card/cans bin in the house to facilitate more dedicated thorough recycling.  I got the Brabantia 60l Touch Bin in white.  This is for blue bin waste.  It's rather nice in white and the wide top makes it easy to throw in 2 litre bottles and all sorts.  And fabulous bin bags.
    The Boy bought car insurance and I got a Brian from  I never had my heart set on a Brian but now it's here, I quite like a Brian.  Still want Batman Meerkat.  
    Starry Towers v Scottish Power.  I'm taking a stand against Scottish Power.  Starry Towers is one half of a building which was previously a four apartment block.  Only very recently we discovered the electricity for the whole block comes into the ground floor of Starry Towers.  Apparently this is a thing that was common in the olden days. Next door upstairs has just been sold and some electricity issue has come to light.  Scottish Power want access to sort it, I don't have a problem with this, I'm a very nice person.  Then the man tells me Scottish Power want to bring in a new supply cable through Starry Towers to next door upstairs...bring it in...from the road, under our new stane dyke, under my garden, under the monoblock.  I was practically having a mixed-metaphor panic attack, the kind that looks like a swan/iceberg, this calm small thing visible, this mad paddling huge deadly thing under the water.  I stood clutching my iPhone to my chest, breathing slowly, deeply, non-perceptibly, staring out the window at the garden with an occasional darting look at his face.  Speaking in a monotone, I explained the money and effort that goes into my garden, the importance of my garden to the Dechmont insects, the years it would take to replace these shrubs, how my biggest and bestest prize rose is slap bang on their planned route.  I told him no. I told him to bring it in under next doors shit brick wall, dig up their moss-pit of a lawn, then their tarmacadam path. He says if Scottish Power decide its most cost-effective it could go that way...I told him, cost-effect yer's going that way. He took note of my concerns and photos of the area involved. He says he's not promising, but he's hopeful it'll go under next door. I told him I know it will. Compare and contrast pix below, they'd destroy my garden but could only improve next doors.I told him no.  I told him to bring it in under next doors shit brick wall, dig up their moss-pit of a lawn, then their tarmacadam path.  He says if Scottish Power decide its most cost-effective it could go that way...I told him, cost-effect yer's going that way.  He took note of my concerns and photos of the area involved.  He says he's not promising, but he's hopeful it'll go under next door. I told him I know it will.  Compare and contrast pix below, they'd destroy my garden but could only improve next doors.  Seems a no-brainer to me, look at what they'd destroy coming through my place compared to the dog-urine-burned moss pit next door *face-palm* and d'oh!Seems a no-brainer to me, look at what they'd destroy coming through my place compared to the dog-urine-burned moss pit next door *face-palm* and d'oh!
 the wee blue flower time in the Starry Towers gardens.  This time, as I wait for the Tulips, it's mostly blues, and purpley lilacy blues.  The super surviving Cowslip keeps rearing it's yellowness, every year I let it carry on doing sunny-side-up before digging it up and taking it round to the back garden and every next year there it is again, springing up from some nodule of root I missed.  It's a born survivor.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched WAZ.  I liked it, he wazn't so keen.






  Nail stuff on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 38 : 0 Mice.  This one was outside in the vermin trap station, which is good news, I much prefer they give into peanut butter temptation outside on the estate rather than in Starry Towers.
  The Boy Court News.  The Scottish law courts really like The Boy, he just received his 4th jury duty citation, he's already spent a week on actual jury duty and he's only 22.   I've been called twice, spent a morning each time listening to the outline of the crime and meeting (well, setting eyes on) the accused, and watching my number not being picked out a giant fish bowl. But The Boy's already done his duty, they're just abusing his good nature now.  Because he's already done it in the last 5yrs (in 2013) he can request to be excused.  He, or rather, I, have to find the application form online, print, fill out & get the form to them within 7 days. Shouldn't they know already?  It's a bit infuriating this is his 3rd time having to tell them.  I suspect once these 5yrs are up they'll be pulling him in again...for rest of his life.  I've been called x2, never got picked, but my poor laddie, maybe just not enough upstanding honest folk in W Lothian.
  SNP News.  This is how it went...I'd seen pix on The Twitter of this #BothVotesSNP phone charger.  I checked at the SNP online shop but it wasn't there.  I became aware that some people were obtaining them from their local SNP hubs, then eventually, ages too late, I tracked down a Peter Murrell tweet offering a flash freebie offer.  Ever the chancer, I emailed Peter Murrell, the Chief Executive of the SNP and husband of Oor Nicola, on a Sunday evening acknowledging that I was far too late but here's my name and address just in case, thank you very much.  Within a couple hours he email responded saying he'd put it in the next day's mail.  How chuffed I was when I received this package of SNP freebie goodies.  A phone charger (as requested), a See Me I'm SNP badge, the much sought after shopping trolley coin keychain, an I'm With Nicola pen, a boxed Nicola For FM commemorative 8GB memory stick and a fun smiley-faced hand-exerciser (?) squeezey yellow blob thingy, reminiscent of an M&M, which can only be a good thingy.  I'm delighted.














  New earrings on The Star Swag Blog.
  Was Wine and Whine last night with Friend M.  Always good, great catching up and having a good old chin-wag.
  The Boy took me out for a drive to show me he really can drive a car and announces "no photos Mum".  So here's his driving face reflected in the glass thingy on the bit next to the driving round thing.  Sneaky pic.
    I've got my #BothVotesSNP windaes on for the 5th May election and have been rewarded with one of my photos being used on the @SNPwindaes Twitter account header.
    I like a Scottish thing and I like a signed Scottish thing, I got this Scottish stamp first day cover signed by Alex Salmond on the eBay.




Black Gold


















  H&M on The Star Swag Blog.
  Car News.  One good news and one bad news.  The Boy passed his driving test and got himself a white car.  When I say this is good car news, I'm not totally convinced bout this, I worry, I'm a Mum.  The bad car news is the Zed, my beloved Zed is no longer a Starry Towers car.  Our much-loved and much-enjoyed BMW Z4 M Series has been sold.  It's gone, away to England.  Rats.  So I've commenced a mind-control programe, leaving subtle little triggers around the house, this is a Jeremy Clarkson quote on the front hall notice board.
  I snapped the original pic of The Boy's car on my iPhone while waiting for my lift to work about 7am one recent morning.  Immediately above is The Boy's white car via Snapseed.  An impressive amount of options and filters for a freeware photo editing iPhone app.  This grunging of The Boy's car was my first Snapseed, took me approx 30 seconds.
  The mice  have been and I can't stop singing...I wanna hold you, but my senses tell me to stop...venomous poison, you're poison runnin through my veins, you're poison.  I think I met a poisoned mouse this morning.  Out to feed my Wood Pigeons this dozy mouse isn't afraid of me, running around being fearless.  Last time I saw such bravado in a mouse, it was a poisoned mouse.
    These vehicles arrived on Main Street in full blues and twos sound and vision.  I was out the front door with my diamonds, hard drives and Jarvis Cocker signed photo, but turns out there was no actual fire fighting to be done.   I'm guessing either a malicious fake emergency 999 call or the householder or the fire had been dealt with by the householder while they were waiting.







  A star basket on The Star Swag Blog.
  I've got two new poppy garden ornamental thingies.  These cast iron red poppies are garden decoration and can be used to feed the birds, I'll let mine collect rain water and the birds can have a drink.  The dish measures approximately 15cm in diameter, 3cm in depth and the pole measures 72cm in height.  The pole is of metal with a double spike at the bottom to ensure they stand straight and strong.  £16.99 (though I had a discount code which knocked them down to £13 with free P&P) for two from East2Eden.
    I've certified it and it's definitely dead.  A totally really seriously dead little bird came down the it a sign or a hex?  Or an unfortunate accident?  A big bird did it and flew away?  Yes, probably that.  Then I had to move it, which I did with vinyl gloves, a plastic carrier bag and a shudder.  When I moved it I spotted a spot of relatively fresh red blood on the other side of it's light as a feather little empty shell of a carcass, it neither died in the chimney nor from the fall.  No sign of soot or smoke but all the flesh gone, could a big bird have eaten it and dropped the remains, per chance, down my chimney?  From what I know and have seen of hawks, they take the head to eat the brains, this little one hadn't been beheaded.  I don't know for sure.  I lit the fire, just checking that all was well in the chimney, no big birds were nesting up top.









































































  A starry dress and some H&M items on The Star Swag Blog.
  Happy Eostre Day everyone.
  Ailment News.  I have a couple of ailments troubling me right now.  Contact dermatitis flares up at times, since last Summer it's been particularly badly effecting the back of my hands, my wrists and forearms.  I had been thinking it was plants in the garden as it erupts hours after gardening, but these last two times out in the garden there's hardly any greenery to touch me.  I'm sure now it's the gloves I'm wearing to garden in, I should've realised sooner.  Of course I'm latex free, so I thought I was using safe anti allergy gloves, but a bit of researching today, turns out some people can be allergic to nitrile gloves too, seems it's the chemicals added during the production process, accelerators, that cause the nitrile glove allergies.  I get my gloves from Lanark Market via The Dad, the brand names change, this latest batch are my problem.
  This is type IV hypersensitivity reaction contact dermatitis, it's a delayed hypersensitivity reaction and in my case with the gloves, occurs on the back of the hands, the wrists, the inner arms, where the skin is thinnest, but can stretch to the backs of my forearms and in between my fingers.  At a cellular level it's extremely complicated, the biology science is way over my head, it goes like inflammatory reaction is initiated by mononuclear leukocytes, it's a secondary cellular response, which appears 48-72 hours after antigen exposure, from an immediate hypersensitivity response, which generally appears within 12 minutes of an antigen challenge.  These reactions are mediated by T cells and monocytes/macrophages rather than by antibodies.  There's a load more to it and I spent a long time reading about all this cellular stuff, I'm none the wiser.  This started 3 days ago, I'm taking a daily oral anti-histamine and applying hydrocortisone cream, anti-itch cream Eurax and moisturisers.  At it's worst, not only was there the itchy red urticaria and swelling and tightness to the directly effected arms/hands but also my feet, eyes and areas of skin in contact with jewellery (ie my platinum stud earrings and wedding ring) became itchy and red too.  I'm being careful to moisturise the effected skin regularly because experience has taught me it's likely to develop into dry, itchy, flaky, broken, cracking, bleeding and unsightly skin if not doused 20 times a day in a vat of olive oil and Vaseline.
  Simultaneously I'm  experiencing congested nasal passages alternating with a runny nose and sneezing and I was assuming these were caused by a cold bug The Husband picked up in any one of his recently visited countries and unkindly gave to me, but it could easily be part of this.  I have Perennial Allergic Rhinitis anyway, it all ties in.  I recall that day in the garden with my gloves on, I was having to wipe a constant drip off the end of my nose, it was particularly bad and persistent. 
  When Mia Wallace snorts heroin in Pulp Fiction...that was me first time on the MENTHOL Otrivine.  I know bout the problems of Otrivine so I'm very careful, only using it when I've got a cold or hayfever and usually just at night to try to get some sleep.  So when this allergy and/or cold hit me I was searching all over the house, couldn't find any so had to obtain Otrivine in a rush.  I got it on Amazon (with Prime delivery it arrived next day), I didn't realise it was the menthol version.  This stuff...for a split second I thought my head was exploding.  It does a really good job though, clear nose immediately and lasts for hours & hours.


  Curling lashes on The Star Swag Blog.
  Religious Zealot News.  Paris and Brussels.  Everybody stop with the religious delusions, be honest about your murdering atrocities #OwnItPricks.  Suicide = death = The End, there's no heaven, no paradise.  Stupid, stupid, stupid.  Expendable cunts.
    Breaking News.  The Husband buys himself a cool tie.



























  A(nother little) bag treat on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Husband and I took a drive to The Torphichen Inn for lunch and some serious Greg Moodie Tam O'Shanter mural action.  Seven murals on the walls of The Torphichen Inn's Burns Bar.  I'm a Greg Moodie fan, got the books (signed), got the Je Suis print (signed), get The National every day hence I get the Greg Moodie Monday cartoon strip every Monday.  I have all of them too, I'm one of them crazy people who collect newspapers and pile them up.  Two of the cube storage box drawer options in the Starry Towers Ikea units are nearly brim-full of Nationals.  To be honest I don't know what I'm going to do with them in a few weeks time when both storage boxes are absolutely full.  I won't stop because two reasons...
  1. I will always support Scottish Independence and The National is the only Indy daily newspaper.
  2. I'm an OCD completest.
  I guess at the inception of The National I knew it was important to support it's success but also, I kinda didn't think it would be so enduring.  I'm ecstatic it continues to spread the news from a political viewpoint previously unprinted in a Scottish daily, but I had expected to have the entire collection by now.  The irony is, I don't even read newspapers.  The Mum says it's a fire risk, I say it's not.  It could just as easily be some books, that's the amount of actual paper we're talking about, so no good reason to stop and loads of reason to just find a new place to store them.  Starry Towers has a big attic and the only arduous task will be carrying them up there.  I'll put them next to my complete VOX music magazine collection, Oct 1990 - June 1998.  By the way, if anyone knows anyone who would be interested in purchasing my entire Vox music magazine collection (with all Record Hunter supplements, give-away cassette music tapes and CDs) please do get in touch.  I'll be chuffed to bits that eventually, at long last, my decision to keep every Vox music magazine plus all freebies...see naysayers...I knew all along!  I was right!  And The Mum will be grateful you've helped reduce the fire risk at Starry Towers.
    When I heard that Greg Moodie has made seven murals on the walls of the Burns Bar at The Torphichen Inn that was a Sunday dinner invitation right there.  I'm well impressed, loving the murals and the Inn, if this was my village pub I'd probably have more evenings out.  I had a quick photo-op with the murals and a chat with owner Kenny, then we sat down to dinner.  There was a strong sense of being amongst good like-minded people amongst our fellow diners.  Good food, friendly welcoming staff AND Greg Moodie wall art. 
    The Husband and I attended the Frankie Boyle Hurt Like You've Never Been Loved tour at Glasgow's SECC on Monday evening.  It wasn't like any previous time I've been to an SECC gig.  In the past we've arrived, milled around, got drinks, food, it's been a relaxing congenial space.  This night there's queues outside, though we arrived just as the doors opened so we didn't have to wait long.  As we're queuing the instructions start over public address tannoy system, telling us what we won't be doing, about leaving and entering the show, you can not enter late, you can go to the toilet but you can't come back in, all boiling down to one basic will not enter the show once Frankie Boyle is on stage.  Fair enough really.  Inside we had time to get drinks and The Husband got two, TWO, chilli dogs.  We headed in for the supporting act, Francesca Martinez, I admire her but I'm not a big fan, I don't find her very funny, but supporting act in a huge venue can't be easy.
    Frankie on the other hand had me from the get-go, very funny and no offence taken.  He swears liberally, he talks of paedophiles, Westminster, bigotry, the Independence referendum, he tells the truth and he's hilarious.  There are still a few people who heckle at a Frankie Boyle gig...what kind of an idiot would you have to be, extraordinary.
    The power of The Twitter.  The Husband is thinking of selling Jeepy McJeepface due to having recently purchased a cheaper-to-run Volvo for business travel purposes, the Vulva he calls it, I call it the car which can replace Jeepy and we should keep Zeddy McZedface because an BMW M series Z4 is special and I actually love Zeddy.
    Back to the story...The Husband's not home often or long enough to do selling a car by any other means so he went to We Buy Any Car (WBAC) as the best option for least fuss and bother and getting the job done.  Just putting out the feelers.  WBAC guy tells him they use ( claims to be "the most trusted and reliable car history check for complete peace of mind").  WBAC guy says that has a (blatantly and obvious nonsensically wrong) erroneous mileage entry on the vehicle record, no, that's wrong, not THE vehicle record, their record of the vehicle...a subtle, but extremely important difference.  WBAC guy even agrees it's obviously an error.  The error is...the record goes...miles, a wee bit more miles, a little more miles, a MASSIVE EXTREME MULTIPLICATION of the miles, then reverse...back to a normal wee bit more miles and so on in a pre-blip way.  The WBAC guy explains to The Husband that the blip means £1000 is knocked off the price they're willing to offer.
    The Husband obviously feels caught up in a Kafkaesque cars and con-men world and comes home in Jeepy.  I jumped to it and tweeted to  They take it to direct message (in private) asking for the vehicle plate and a phone number, which I give. phones The Husband to tell him it's sorted, from tweet to problem-fixed is approximately 30 mins, free of charge.  Next day The Husband goes back to WBAC...they maintain their grand short offer regardless.  It's difficult to know who the scam artists are in this situation, but someone is.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Il Divo.  The life, shenanigans and skullduggery of former 7 times Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti.  Very good and I found it particularly interesting having recently read The Blue Demon by David Hewson, a book of Italian crime fiction with threads leading back to Italy's Years of Lead.









  Dressing table decorative items spotlighted on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Husband now works for a Dutch company, based in The Netherlands.  Since the last time I saw him he's been in Holland, Abu Dhabi and Not Moscow...I got a bit excited when I misheard him on the phone, I heard that he was going to Moscow, "no no no, Muscat" he says.  From then on Muscat is known as Not Moscow at Starry Towers.  
  He's home for the weekend so we took a drive to our favourite beach, Seacliff Beach and I took along my favourite flag.  We had a little adventure, walking around the rock and climbing up the steep side to the high point for the first time.  Easier than it looks when you first stand on the top looking down.  My tip...the bare rocks are not slippy but the seaweed is out to kill you, avoid the seaweed.  Other favourites, Bass Rock, my favourite rock in the world, and Tantallon Castle, my 2nd favourite Scottish castle.
    When The Husband is in Holland he lives in a cute little B&B house-let in a ladies garden.  It's a stunning shed/cabin type affair with all home comforts and a high-end spec.  This is it with car #3 parked at the door.  The car is something called a Volvo.  On the road, it's invisible.  I'm used to people turning their heads to check us out in the Zed or the Jeep, in this...nothing, it's massive, and no-one notices it. 
    While The Husband was away he absolutely needed official forms signed, there was a time-limit, these forms needed his signature.  Pressure was applied to me to sign them, forge his signature at his insistence (so I'm not sure it's forgery if the forger is made to do it by the forgeree).  The Husband scanned and emailed me copies of his signature.  His signature is the extreme opposite of how I write.  He writes in an old fashioned flouncy, curvy free-hand scribbly swirly way, I write in a more modern neat tidy way, pretty much unchanged since my high school days.  His writing is all grown-up, mine is OCD teenager.  I practiced his signature many times, nothing like it.  His signature doesn't even say his name, it says a bit of his name and a squiggly bit.  My brain couldn't compute, my brain to hand mechanism failed spectacularly.  I took the papers to work, looking for a colleague with a similar type writing style, no joy.  Eventually, out of the blue I suddenly determined I could do it and with no practice I put pen to paper.  I signed two arguably not dissimilar but certainly not identical signatures on the forms.  Snapped a pic with my iPhone and sent it to him with the's you're new signature...practice it.
    Upcoming events.  As Eddie Izzard has fallen from grace ie taken to supporting the Indyref NO campaign and being associated with Liebour and actually turning up in Scotland in the company of Jim Murphy (oh Eddie, what were you thinking?) he is no longer my favourite go-to stadium comedian.  This role is now filled by Frankie Boyle and (at some time in the future) Kevin Bridges, much more politically correct, as in they're political views are correct and sensible and good.  I have tickets secured for the Frankie Boyle Hurt Like You've Never Been Loved Before tour at Glasgow SECC later this month.
    Also, tickets have been purchased for the Dundee Rep Ensemble's The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil, the "glorious revival of what’s arguably the single most important show in the whole history of Scottish theatre’ (Joyce McMillan, The Scotsman).  This musical drama tells of the exploitation and economic changes in the Scottish Highlands throughout history, from the ruthless evictions of Highland crofters making way for the more economically viable Cheviot sheep in the 18th century, to the development of stag hunts in game parks in the 19th century and finally the exploitation of resources during the North Sea Oil boom of the 1970's, in the form of a Highland ceilidh, with song, humour and drama intermixed.  The stars mark our seats, front row centre Grand Circle.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Spectre.  Not the best Bond movie, in the world, ever.  And the song isn't the best Bond movie song, in the world, ever.  And Daniel Craig isn't the best Bond in the world, ever.  And the female lead really shouldn't go about in heels if she's expecting to have to be running around and fighting, it's ridiculous.  It's all a bit too easy, formulaic, I know, it's a Bond movie, of course it's got a formula, but this lacked all pizzazz and excitement, nothing fresh or awesome.  Or perhaps I reached maximum Bond limit at Casino Royale.
    The Husband and I watched La Haine.  Or rather, we watched approximately 15mins of La Haine.  We'd thought what with it starring Vincent Cassel that it would be a good movie.  It's not.  It's just so much rambling noise.
    The Husband and I watched Locke.  Or rather, I watched Locke.  The Husband lost interest and wandered off.  The entire movie is one long drive with many phone calls and is much better than you could ever believe that could be, I enjoyed it.  Proving yet again that Tom Hardy is a great actor.







  Some easy to wear H&M on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers decor swag on The Starry Towers Blog.
  Happy Anniversary to The Husband and I, 6 years married and 11 years together.  This relationship just matched my all time longest relationship.  I managed 11 years (in total) with The Boy's father, or Husband #1 as I refer to him.  Husband #3 is doing really well, I foresee a record breaker...if we can both just play nice for one more year.
    I found a silver frame for the signed Greg Moodie print Je Suis.  The smooth and simple aluminium fame with mount, A2 for A3 size, from House by John Lewis.
    Twitter News.  Pleased to announce Frankie Boyle unblocked me.  I will say no more...saying something was what got me blocked in the first place.







  My most expensive bag purchase ever on The Star Swag Blog.
  I was taking a look through the books of Greg Moodie...Greg Moodie Versus The Union and Greg Moodie's Election Dissection...the Scottish Pro-Independence artist and cartoonist at The National, deciding which cartoon I'd like signed, framed and on a Starry Towers wall.  I went with Je Suis, clever and appealing to me on many levels.  Available at gregmoodie.  Just have to find a frame good enough for Je Suis now.







  There's bag charms on The Star Swag Blog.
  Starry Towers 0 : 37 Mice
  Still coming in despite the traps in the garden.  Perhaps The Dad will have to bring the poison, which I'm reliably informed, once the poison kills one, the rest find out through poison traces in body excretions and don't come back this way.
    The Boy has passed his driving tests, theory (passed a wee while back) and now, most importantly, the practical.  Congratuwelldone The Boy!  Now the worry for me begins, my wee boy, on them big bad dangerous roads.  There will be summit talks of perspective car purchase now.
    How very very cute, The Step Grandson kissing and/or sucking-the-nose of his Jellycat Cordy Roy Fox while wearing his Tigger Onesie.  Two of my gifts, there's more interesting onesie pics to come...I do love an interesting onesie.  I found it relatively easy to purchase the interesting onesies, wasn't so easy to part with the fox.  The Jellycat fox is adorable and something I could've got one for me, but there was only one available, and I still found it deep within myself to gift it.  My usual gifting involves buying two, something I find that I want, so I buy one for me then start thinking who I know who would like one too.  I don't know what my usual gifting tactics say about me, but that's the way I do it.  I still miss the Jellyfox Fox...I just hope The Step Grandson appreciates my loss but I know he's too young for now...years on from now, I'll probably tell him.







  Bag and new style Ray Ban Wayfarers on The Star Swag Blog.
  You know that thing when you love an item of clothing so much you buy more than one...only me? surely not?  Well certainly not The Boy, he currently has one pair of his evidently favourite jeans, and me...(after a 13hr shift) I just bought The Boy two pairs of his favourite jeans so I don't have to wash and dry in time for him going out tomorrow (!), at very short notice, after a 13hr shift, so bloody often.  Jeans drying on the living room door due to the good advice that you should never dry denim in a tumble dryer, you just shouldn't.
    Scotland from space 27/02/2016. Picture by Tim Peake @astro_timpeake, the British ESA astronaut and test pilot currently living and working on-board the International Space Station.  Scotland looks bigger from space than it does on a BBC weather map.  They say he's British, he sounds awfy American to me.  340 days in space, what an experience, he'll be home in a few days.


















  The big Starry Towers Decor Edit on The Starry Towers Blog.
  Starry Towers 0 : 36 Mice
  Warning.  I swithered over showing pictures of my dead mice, but believe me having had to steel myself to get the gloves on and remove the recently deceased to ensure my home doesn't become a stinking vermin-infested infection-riddled cesspit I've already been forced to cross the line.  Of course, you may still be on the undead side of the line, the happy place of zero pest control experience, if so, do not look down.  Warning over.
  Yucky!  Had to deal with a mouse situation actually IN the house.  Usually I cut them off at the pass but I haven't been so diligent with the outdoor traps for a while now.  This is what happens if I don't get them out there, they come in here.  I was cleaning the kitchen floor and removed the kick board under the sink to let me wash below the plastic trim, and spotted a few little hard black pellets, the sure sign of a Mouse.  Makes me feel sick having to deal with pest control, but a girl's got to do I done.
    I set up the mouse trap with peanut butter, mice can't resist peanut butter, and left it behind the kick board over night.  Next day the little infection control hazard is dead and in the bin, #35.  I re-set the trap, I'll take every gad-damn last one of them out. 
    Few days later #36 in my killing spree.  The trap is reset.  And the Mouse Trap Station is back up and running outside on the estate, hopefully no more mice under the kitchen sink.
    I never thought I'd see the day but Starry Towers has garden gnomes.  There, I've said it.  But these aren't just any garden gnomes, these are the Starry Towers garden gnomes, rock gnomes Scandi style.  I just find them very appealing, they're similar to my new Scandi Xmas gnomes, it's the long hats and bulbous noses that do it for me.  I'm garden gnome out, proud and stylish.
    The frames for my recent Stewart Bremner art have arrived.  The King and Queen of Hearts are cards, I mean actual cards as well as being depictions of playing cards, £2.50 each and the A3 print Gang Dry is £27 from Indy-Prints.  The Hearts are in copper 8" x 10" Nkuku frames £12.99 each from The Hut and the print in a custom copper metal Arun frame from McFrames.  I get my ice white custom mounts from eFrames.
    More Stewart Bremner.  Attracted back to his webshop by his new range of greetings cards I spotted his book The Early Days of a Better Nation, a graphical history of the Yes campaign and a manual for #indyref2 which is currently on sale at 20% off.  I tweeted Stewart to ask if he could possibly sign my book, so I now have a supply of greetings cards and a signed book, happy customer.















  Kiko cosmetics trial run and Lottie brushes on The Star Swag Blog.
  Valentines Day 2016.  I expressed my love for The Husband with a Stewart Bremner Indy Prints Rabbie Burns quote card, the Gang Dry.  And because he lived a lot of his adult life in Holland and speaks the lingo fluently I did it Dutch style with the help of an online translator, so I hope I wished him a happy Valentine's Day and told him I love him.
    Starry Towers Job News.  The Husband Job News to be exact, my job is solid, been doing it 30-odd years, I'll be doing it another 2, then I'll retire.  Back to The Husband's job news.  What with the global oil industry slump Halliburton Norway laid off their directional drillers.  The Husband was home for an extended period of time as he job hunted.  It wasn't always the best of times, but not really the very worst of times, it could've been worse, I could've divorced him.  He doesn't do lack of work well.  But hurrah!  The Husband has been headhunted and has accepted a new job, my marriage is safe.  I made him a wee badge he can wear around the office or wherever.
    Following on from Appendicitis and Peritonitis The Husband had undergo a Colonoscopy.  The medics wanted to find out if there was anything sinister related to the appendix problem. Now, The Mum has undergone Colonoscopy without sedation, I went without sedation, and of course The Bro took sedation.  The Husband and The Bro have a good going bromance where there's great admiration, mutual respect and fondness, but also a healthy dose of competition, so The Husband suffered his Colonoscopy without sedation.  It's better in the long run because soon as they're done you're up and out of there with no sedation aftereffects.  Once again the NHS has been wonderful and The Husband's results show nothing to worry about.
    A Twitter friend I met at a Alex Salmond book signing @IndyP put out the cry for help.  She'd purchased The Sunday Times for the Alex Salmond article in a magazine, got home to find the newsagent hadn't given her the magazine.  I felt her pain and immediately and selflessly offered to send my copy to her.  Next day I packed it all up in a poster tube.  She was awfy pleased, so pleased she sent me a wee thank you.  Wee chocolate Lindt bunnies and a Marilyn Monroe tin, which was sweet.
    Twitter News.  I was purchasing some new Indy Prints cards and noticed Stewart Bremner's book The Early Days of a Better Nation was on sale price, currently down from £20 to £18.  I tweeted him requesting he sign it, he tweeted me back, it's a done deal, pictures to follow.
    I'm so pro Scottish Independence I purchased two bare root Rosa spinosissima roses last year, they arrived in November looking pretty dead.  I potted them up because my plan is they will be, in the long-term, show-stopping exhibits out front of Starry Towers as clear indicators of my political leaning, along with the massive Saltire.  The good news is they've survived, new growth is budding on the Starry Towers Little White Roses of Scotland.







Gang Story


Stuart: A Life Backwards





















  Block heel shoes on The Star Swag Blog.
  The Parent's little Pomeranian dog Leo has died after a short illness, age 11.  He was much-loved because he was a darling little dog.  He's a big loss.
  The Boy is 22 years old but luckily we kept his pram in storage up in The Parent's attic.  I work in a stress/distress (previously known as challenging) behaviour unit for ladies with Dementia and doll therapy as a meaningful activity is often very beneficial with good results in engaging and calming patients.  My ward was needing a pram for our doll therapy.  The Dad got the pram out the attic and on the ward one of the Activity Nurses took all the fabric sections to the laundry and cleaned up the hard pieces, the frame, the wheels etc.  But first, The Boy had his first look at his baby pram in his living memory, he'd naturally forgotten the last time he saw it.  He was sad I was donating it to the ward.  He's a big boy now, he got over it, but I was smiling when he suggested we should keep it because how cool would it be for his (imagined future) son to be pushed around in the same pram he was.  Back in the real world, several ladies have taken to using the pram, it's proving very successful, which is nice for them and me.
  Twitter News.  There's Starry Towers Twitter News.  I was 3/4 of the way through Black Widow by Chris Brookmyre and felt the need to tweet him how much I was enjoying the experience.  He only read my tweet and responded!  I've also had Twitter interaction with one of my two favourite comediennes, Janey Godley (my other favourite is her daughter Ashley Storrie).  I tweeted a response to a Janey tweet, she replied AND she followed me back.  Which is nice because I'm currently reading her autobiography Handstands In The Dark, I'm pleasantly surprised just how interesting and good a read it is.  Purchase your own signed copy of Handstands In The Dark here.  The final piece of Twitter News is Frankie Boyle has unblocked me.  It's been an all-round good Twitter News week at Starry Towers.
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Partisan.  Surprising, in that, not what we were expecting, different, good movie.  Interesting, it depicts cult mentality and sociopathy exactly.
    The Husband and I watched Gang Story.  Excellent French movie.
    The Husband and I watched Stuart A Life Backwards.  So very good.
    The Husband and I watched 99 Homes.  Very well acted and emotional, the emotion is sad, I couldn't deal with the old gentleman being evicted, I short scene in the movie but the one that effected me the most.  Absolutely despicable what happened to the victims.
    The Husband and I watched The Martian.  Entertaining and so very sciency good vibey.  When David Bowie skin was tingling.  I did think too much about how much money was being spent on saving one man's life on Mars when the USA and China don't particularly give a toss about millions of other human lives here on earth.







  Saw this Star Apple Feeder and had to have it for the Starry Towers garden birds, they're worth it.  Put it out 4 days ago with a juicy Gala apple, no peckers yet.  They take a little time to get used to knew stuff, but bleeding heck, come on you birds.  They took a little while to take to the caged feeders, now they all go in like it's perfectly natural and not a cunning trap.  This is the Garden Bird Feeder For Seed or Nuts With Star Shaped Apple Holder In Green Finish from Gardens2You.  Currently with 40% off, costing £5.39.  I won't put seed in the tray, it's just for the apple.
    I've got an electric toothbrush but I'm forever letting it run out of battery charge and usually use an ordinary manual toothbrush.  Therefor I was interested to read an article which claims there is a toothbrush which is better than an electric toothbrush.  I'm persuaded by their arguments.  I got the limited Edition stylish option, the Curaprox Ultra Soft 5460 Black Limited Edition tooth brush.  The argument is the softer the better causing least trauma to the gums and enamel surface and the dense filament packing is more effective at dislodging plaque.  Very reasonably priced, less than a fiver.
    I'm now fed-up looking at the massive white on white rose canvas which takes centre-stage in our bedroom, so I took it down.  Removing the hanging screw was relatively easy, but then I ran into the problem of a rawlplug deeply embedded in the brick and plaster wall.  I got it out with pliers, brute strength and created a large bullet hole while I was at it.  I had it filled, sanded and painted by sleep time.  Now I've got a large white wall I need to think what I want there.








The Monk










  Over to The Starry Towers Swag Blog for the first swag of 2016.
  Snow and a dry sunny day at Starry Towers encouraged me to go outdoors and build an Independence Snowman in the style of Angry Salmond #SexySocialistSnowman.
  It's Winter, it's Scotland, I just had a week off work with annual leave.  Not much happening here apart from a snowman. 
  Oh, there is a Product Of The Week.  The first floor of Starry Towers required a dust-sucker to save me carrying the Miele upstairs and downstairs on a regular basis.  The Dyson V6 Total Clean is now charging in it's convenient  and tidy docking station on the wall of the Walk-In-Wardrobe.  I'm very happy with it too, excellent performance, great little sucker and battery provides enough to do all upstairs in one go.  It's brilliant for the staircase too, and for skirting and little nooks and crannies, fabulous.
    Encouraged me to clean under the bed, sucking up the dust and polishing, then I changed the bedding.  A bit of pre-spring cleaning here, I'm ahead of the game.
    Boxset Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched The Bridge season three.  I love Saga.  This was worth the wait, how long do I have to wait till the next one?
    Movie Watch (no spoilers).  The Husband and I watched Trainwreck.  Very funny.
    The Husband and I watched The Monk.  A French reader starring Vincent Cassel.  Good.
    The Husband and I watched The Night of the Sunflowers.  Different levels of badness makes it difficult to like any of the characters.




  Happy New Year all.
  Starry Towers 11 : 0 The Bloody Squirrels.  I told them, stop eating my Tulips, would they listen.