Archive for January, 2009

Blast from the past

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

Okay so first I am happy to report that we returned to the hospital on Saturday and Lucas let me hold him without crying.  He didn’t even be sick on me, that honour was kept for his Grandad!  There are more photos on my Flickr page and on Bryan’s too.

After visiting I zoomed down to visit my parents as they needed some cheering up.  I was hoping to go to Mum’s cousin’s funeral this Thursday and see them there but had forgotten we have a lunch thing on at work so I can’t.  They didn’t have any guests in the hotel on Saturday night so Dad cooked us a lovely bit of roast beef and Mum opened a nice bottle of wine and we chatted till bedtime.

The next morning Dad and I set too with clearing out some of my stuff from the attics.  Apparently I moved out several years ago but left enough stuff that it doesn’t seem like I’ve gone at all.  I must collect some of my stuff every time I go down there from now on.  Otherwise if they retire and move there will need to be 2 removal trucks, one to their new place and one to my house!

This trip it was decided to concentrate on teddies as there had been a bit of a mouse issue and some casualities were to be expected.  We got them all out of the attic and started sorting through them.  Did you know that mice like to eat teddies eyes?  Sometimes that’s the only bit.  Makes very scary toy bags…  Anyway I shall not think of the gore, just concentrate on being happy that Ed the Duck and Gordon the Gopher puppets are alive and well.  There was a Flounder beanie so he’s moved into the Little Mermaid themed spare room.  Various other less remembered characters are now headed for a charity shop.  I seem to have enough teddies for several families worth of children, bit of a waste!

In one of the bags there was a plastic box, still partly wrapped with the stamps and address on it.  In the box there was:

Hamish HaggisHector Haggis.

Now Hector arrived several years ago with a letter of introduction which he has agreed I can share with you:

Hector’s letter of introduction

And now I find him, complete with the letter he sent back:

Hector’s letter of reply

How cute is that?  Miss you Grandad, and your beard.

Babies just do not like me!

Saturday, January 10th, 2009

Last night we went to the hospital to meet baby Lucas.  Unfortunately the maternity bit of hospital wasn’t where I thought it was so we missed the first half of visiting time.  As I walked in the wee one started crying and continued right through me holding him until Bryan took him.  This is not the first time I’ve made a baby cry unfortunately.  Seem to be much more an animal person, most animals seem to love me!

Anyway, Nicole is doing fine and looking gorgeous (although tired!).  Ray is doing the big puffed out proud Daddy bit very well, and Lucas – well he’s just gorgeous and lovely obviously!  Apparently he has a very strong grip as you can see in one of the photos – think he liked Uncle Bryan!

Not long after we arrived Lydia joined us.  Her friend had a baby yesterday morning but when she went to visit she had gone back into surgery or something so Lydia spent her whole visit (she got a bit lost on way there too!) with us which was nice.

I was just about to ask for another try at holding him and the dratted buzzer rang to say we had to leave – doh!  Can feel another visit coming on….

Anyway I know you only want to see the photos, so here goes, just click on each to see it bigger!

Ray’s the Daddy!Bryan works his magicUncle Bryan and LucasI ain’t letting go of Uncle Bryan!Lydia has a cuddle

BABY News!!!!!

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Ray and Nicole have had a baby – hurrah!  Only 8 days late he finally arrived at 1.33am today weighing 10 pounds and 1.  Ray texted us some photos and it looks like Lucas Ray Nick Robertson is absolutely adorable!  Can’t wait to meet him but I think they’ll all need some sleep first as Nicole was in labour for about 2 days, bless her.

Aunty Maria is veeeeeeerrrrry excited!!!  Hurrah!


Sunday, January 4th, 2009

I got an email today that really struck a chord with me so I’m going to share it with you.  It will upset some people possibly but I think there’s a great deal of truth in it and I’m entitled to my opinion so apologies to those who don’t like it and I’ll happily listen to your opinion in return.

Just to explain why I feel this way – bear in mind that I was born in England, to an English Mum and a Scottish Dad who were working down there.  We moved back to Scotland when I was eight but obviously my accent was quite English by that time.  Kids can be cruel and I did get teased, and occassionally hit, for bring “English”.  These days I refer to myself as British, its easier and less controversial that way.  Now, I never asked people to change to suit me and I know how much it hurts to be told to “go home”.  Ask me why I’m so scared of SNP getting into power and it’s still because when we did a pretend election in my school the SNP candidate told me in no uncertain terms that his policy was to send all English back to England.  I should maybe add that the guy talking was Spanish…

I didn’t think of myself as English, it was just that was where my parents were working when I was born so being sent back there was not something I relished.  Not that I have anything against England, I just prefer living in Scotland with its lochs, mountains, snow, men in kilts and bagpipes.  On Boxing Day it came up in conversation that Dad wanted to drive Mum to Scotland to give birth but she didn’t really fancy the drive (we lived in Devon…).

Anyway these days everyone goes on about how we have to look after miniority groups, and they usually mean foreigners.  I’m British and the government never looked out for me.  I think that people should be allowed to choose where they live and that they should then adapt to fit in with the environment they have chosen.  If you don’t like British culture then don’t live in Britain.  I wouldn’t choose to live in a muslim culture as I quite like showing off bare skin – but if I went to visit a muslim country I would respect their culture enough to cover up whilst I was there.  Same as I choose to live in Scotland, and so will put up with the occassional comment about the English.  Luckily the bagpipe player at my wedding was happy to leave off the usual inclusion of Scotland The Brave, without me needing to explain how much the added word “B*****” hurt.

It still sickens me that one place I worked said they didn’t have any spare rooms they could have as a wee sick room – somewhere to go if you felt ill and needed a wee lie down (we had an epilectic staff member who would have really benefitted from this) or somewhere for the various diabetics we had to go and do their tests and injections (would benefit them and everyone who had to use the kitchen which is where they sometimes ended up using, not the most hygenic).  Then one muslim came along and suddenly there was a room she could have for her prayers.  The space was empty when she wasn’t praying and only she was allowed in it, yet there couldn’t be a sick bay for the use of anyone.  Hmmmm, limits guys.

Anyway I will stop waffling and just share the email I was sent.

I think this really sums it all up.

After hearing that many cities did not want to offend other cultures by putting up Xmas lights, so DIDN’T!

After hearing that the Birmingham council changed its opinion and let a Muslim woman have her picture on her driver’s licence with her face covered.

After hearing of a Primary School in Birmingham where a boy was told that for PE they could wear Football League shirts (Aston Villa, Birmingham, West Brom etc) but NOT an England shirt as it could offend others !

This prompted the editorial below written by a UK citizen.
Published in a British tabloid newspaper.


Take It Or Leave It. I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on London , we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Brits.

However, the dust from the attacks has barely settled and the ‘politically correct’ crowd begin complaining about the possibility that our patriotism is offending others.

 there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand.

This idea of London being a multicultural centre for community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity. As Britons, we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of wars, struggles, trials and victories fought by the untold masses of men and women who laid down their lives and one of the millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Lebanese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language! ‘In God We Trust’ is our National Motto.

This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women, on Christian principles, founded this nation, and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools.

If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home, because God is part of our culture. If St. George’s cross offends you, or you don’t like ‘ A Fair Go’, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet.

We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don’t care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, OUR LAND, and OUR LIFESTYLE, and we will allow you every opportunity to enjoy all this.

But once you are done complaining, whining, and griping about Our Flag, Our Pledge, Our National Motto, or Our Way of Life, I highly encourage you take advantage of one other great British freedom, ‘THE RIGHT TO LEAVE’.

We didn’t force you to come here.  If you don’t like it GO HOME!!

You asked to be here. So accept the country YOU accepted. Pretty easy really, when you think about it. I figure if we all keep passing this to our friends (and enemies) it will also, sooner or later get back to the complainers, lets all try, please.

No matter how many times you receive it… please forward it to all you know

Lifetime achievement

Saturday, January 3rd, 2009

Well, many of us spend our lives looking at calendars, or deciding which celebrity or cute beastie we want to look at for the next year.  Few of us get the chance to actually be on one of those calendars.  Today I am happy to announce that I have made that amazing leap and can now be enjoyed for 31 days in December 2009 by whoever may wish to.  And don’t worry – my eyes won’t follow you round the room.  Nay!  For my face ain’t on it – just my BUM!  My Dad will be so proud, or something.  Do not worry, I have not turned to seedy means to make money to cover Benson’s vet bills (although that may come soon!), nope I am just guilty of having fun online.  And yes, that is my work’s library in the photo – but it was lunchtime, honest guv!  Anyway if you want to hear the full story of how this happened you need to venture to Kevin Yezbick’s blog, which is also where you can download it if you want to share in the joy!

Whilst I’m here I will update on Benson as he was at the vet’s for a check up this morning.  He seems to be doing ok so we now start to reduce the amount of medication he’s taking.  If this goes well we reduce further and further, if not we have to get him back to the vets and increase it again, or try the one last drug that might help.  If non of that works there is one more option but its a bit severe and we hope not to have to go down that path.  Basically he has chronic cystitis and there’s no cure for that.  It’s not as bad for girl cats as it is for boy cats as it can cause the willy to block (this has already happened twice to Benson) and then they need a cathether to empty it out and it can be dangerous as if it doesn’t get treated quickly it can lead to renal failure – ie death – ie very undesirable.  So the severe option is to give him a sex change – cut off his willy and then it can’t block.  Ouch.  There are other complications so we’re hoping not to need this but it is something to bear in mind, bless him.  We were thinking we might consider letting him outside to see if that helps but from what the vet says it won’t help the condition much, whilst adding in the possibility of being hit by a car or being out when he gets blocked and us not knowing and so he doesn’t get treated. 

So at the moment we just have to keep medicating him and see how he gets on.  Will keep you posted but in the meantime you might like to see the gorgeous new photos Bryan has taken with the lovely new camera lens he got for Christmas.  Newest ones are at the bottom.

End of year wrap up

Thursday, January 1st, 2009

Happy New Year!  Hurrah, 2008 is over and done with, lets move quickly on!

Didn’t get round to blogging for the last month, got tied up in preparation for Christmas – which suddenly loomed large!  Think I’m prepared now though, what?  Its over?  Oh well, guess its too late now then!

Benson has been keeping me occupied and away from blogging or organising myself for Christmas.  Poor wee guy actually spent whole of Christmas in the vetinary hospital.  It’s now confirmed he has chronic cystitis which means he will be ill for the rest of his life.  His bladder has now blocked twice – both times meaning several days in the hospital with a catheter and lots of drugs.  He’s now on a special diet and we’re looking for other ways to help him so we’re now growing trays of grass for him to eat, we bought a covered litter tray to give him privacy, his Aunty Nicole has given him a water fountain so he has fresh moving water which he is more likely to drink.  Might have to let him out but will see how he’s getting on at his next check up.  Obviously changing food and stuff affects George too but he’s being quite good about it all, just gets jealous when Benson gets his “special hugs” three times a day.  He doesn’t quite understand that we are just giving Benson drugs and that its not something he should be jealous of so we have to wrap him in a blanket and turn him upside down too!  Anyway if you have pets learn from our mistakes – if you take out cheap pet insurance it is only likely to cover the first year of any condition – this is bad if your cat then gets a chronic condition.  Luckily he’s covered so far but we’re well on the way to the maximum payout – yikes!

So what else did I do in December?  Well I took part in a criminal justice experiment that Robert Gordon University was running.  Obviously if I told you what it involved I would have to kill you but it was quite interesting to be part of!

I had a night out with Donna and Lydia who I went to France with in the summer.  It was to be a girly Christmas night out but for various reasons we ended up with just four of us.  That was actually lovely as there was only one new person who’s name I needed to remember and we could all hear each other talk over the table!  We had a nice dinner in Saigon’s and then went to a couple of bars before calling it a night.  I treated myself to a new dress for it – now that I’m down to a size 12 I was looking for an excuse for a new frock and a night out – and a 30% off voucher for Monsoon – seemed to suit!

Donna’s Christmas night outMarianne, Donna, me and Lydia        New size 12 Monsoon dress!New dress!

I was lucky enough to get asked to review this year’s Panto so I was able to take Donna and the two of us returned to our youth screaming “he’s behind you” etc!  It was a fab show with fireworks and Peter flying over our head, I really enjoyed it.

Still trying to get in the mood for Christmas preparation I went to see Four Christmasses, again with Donna and Lydia.  It was really good – but I still wasn’t kicked into Christmas mood!  Next it was down to Edinburgh for the Scottish Law Librarians Group Christmas Networking Meeting with Jenny.  We got the train down and back in the same afternoon, managing to fit in time for a go on the carousel and dinner at TGI Fridays whilst we were down there.

Maria on the carouselGeorge the carousel horse!     Dinner with the Law Librarians in Edinburgh!Librarians can party too!

I was supposed to go to an enchanted forest thing with lights and music in Aboyne but that day Benson took ill again and I went to the vets instead of the forest.  We did make it to Ray and Nicole’s for Sunday lunch, possibly the last time I’d see them before the baby arrives – so exciting!  I spent the evening of the boy’s work night out with Nicole as well – and felt an elbow or knee moving in her belly – most surreal and amazing!  Still waiting for the baby to arrive, I’m at the stage of jumping whenever the phone goes – but then it is due TODAY!!  Exciting!

Ooh after the Sunday lunch at R&N’s we popped into Bryan’s Dad for a wee visit.  As it turned out brother Lee was also there with his family so we got to see them all which was lovely.  Bryan took some lovely photos of them as well so that was cool, we don’t see our nieces and nephews a lot so it was really great to spend some time with them.

One more night out before Christmas was with Gill and her friends James and Corrie.  We had dinner in our local pub and then a few other folk (including Gill’s poorly hubby) joined us for a drink.  We all had a good natter and a laugh.

Gill and Stuart Gill and Stuart – the couple we bought our house from – who’d have thought we’d end up as buddies?!

My work closes at 1pm on Christmas Eve and is shut until Monday 5th January so I’m having a lovely break.  We managed to see a few friends and family on 24th, Stephen and Lee popped by and then we went down to Reg’s.  Was nice to spend some time with him and Sasina, we chatted through Santa Clause 3 and ate chocs. 

Christmas Day was spent, just the two of us, as is our tradition.  It was a bit sad knowing that Benson was stuck in the hospital whilst we were all at home, George enjoyed all the attention though and loved being spoilt.  We put the tree up for the day so we could open our presents underneath it and George was quite bewitched by it.

George loves the pretty treeGeorge   

We got some lovely pressies between us as well – thanks to all contibutors!  This year’s lunch was to be goose, Bryan loves to do something different – and he did it very well!  There was lots of food and it was all gorgeous. 

Table laid readyTable laid out ready            Roast Goose and all the bits!Food all set out, roast goose

Boxing Day we left poor George all on his own and went to visit my parents for another lovely lunch – the traditional turkey this time!  It was lovely to see my parents – and to get more pressies obviously!

Dad, me on my rocking horse, and Mum  Spending Christmas with my parents and hubby  Dad, me on Firefly and Bryan

The next day we were able to collect Benson from the hospital and bring him home.  We’d had a problem after the first day because he smelt funny to his brother George and there was a lot of hissing and ignoring so this time we were careful to cuddle him lots in another room first so as to rub some of the hospital smell off.  It did take them a while to accept each other but it wasn’t as upsetting as last time.  We’d kept the wrapping paper for them to play with as they’d loved that last year but I think they are too old for such frolics now so they didn’t seem to enjoy it in the same way.

Benson comes home

The last day of the year was spent: at work (Bryan), out for lunch with Gill and the kids (me)!  I also got my last competition win of the year in the post – a Carling t-shirt.  I expect I entered to win a fridge full of beer or something exciting but still, Bryan can never have too many tops! 

As for Hogmanay, well we just enjoyed having our family back together.  Benson is on a lot of medication so he sleeps a lot at the moment but we had a game with Bryan’s new remote control General Lee and all had lots of cuddles.  Bryan cooked haggis with mash potato and roast butternut squash for our dinner and we watched some tv and nattered the night away. 

I’ve been trying out Twitter an online communication tool, and was messing about on that during the evening.  I ended up getting involved in a Tweeplay which was quite fun and has been recorded on my Twitter friend’s blog.  Different but entertaining none the less!  I also took the following piccie for infobunny but I won’t bother explaining why as you really needed to be there to get it!

George with some whisky

After midnight I went outside with a sparkler, inbetween trying to persuade the cats that the fireworks outside and on the tv wouldn’t hurt them.  We watched the fireworks and listened to the bells and bagpipes in Edinburgh.  Midnight on Hogmanay is the one time I miss our flat in Edinburgh – we used to be able to stand on our balcony and watch the fireworks whilst being able to see and hear the same fireworks close up on the tv – best way to do it – no crowds, no being jostled by foreigners, clean toilets, warmth and whatever food or drink you desire!

And so we’ve seen the back of 2008 – hurrah.  Here’s hoping that 2009 brings happy times for one and all.  Have a good ‘un!