Archive for the ‘gardening’ Category

RSPB Bird Watch

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

This weekend we are, in effect, house bound.  Well, kind of.  You see before Christmas Owen suddenly asked to “pee in toilet” and has been doing it on and off ever since.  So we decided it was time to toilet train him.  After reading Gina Ford’s toilet training in a week book we set to work!  Well yesterday we got through 9 pairs of pants, today we’re only up to about 4 or 5.  I think this is progress.

Anyway it coincides nicely with the RSPB bird watch weekend so I thought we might as well take part.  As we were eating lunch a jackdaw and a magpie came into the garden so that was that – our hour had started!  We all spent most of the next 60 minutes by the window eagerly watching for more.
George and Owen help with #rspb #birdwatch by pointing out a blackbird

By the end of it we were able to record: 2 seagulls, 1 of each of the following: jackdaw, magpie, wood pigeon, robin, blackbird.  Results are submitted and I feel a bit helpful or something.


Monday, August 4th, 2008

Gladioli flowersI planted bulbs and the plants that grew are flowering!  I’m so proud!!

Photo texting game

Thursday, July 31st, 2008

A few of my pals and I exchange random text photos from time to time, it’s a great game that I love!  Anyway I thought I would share some of the coolest photos I’ve received recently.

Jo’s blokey works on a farm, he’s taken me out before to see the cows but now I live up north its not so easy to go visiting so when Jo was out with him she sent me a picture of this year’s moo coos:

Jo’s cows.  They are so cute and mooy!

I met a lovely man at a party who works on a farm and sends me piccies of his pigs and things, this one’s a lovely one of the view at the farm:

Doug’s pond on the farm.   So hard to look at lovely photos like these when you’re stuck in an office but at the same time nice to remember that there’s life outside the office!!

Next up is a picture that filled me with joy as it was from Bryan and it was of a pressie for me – the best pressie I can get!

Bryan’s Kit Kats for me

Of course I have to find things to text back ad there was no question on Sunday of whether I should share this wee chap or not as he’s utterly adorable:

Lorna’s kitten.  His name is Sonic and he’s just moved in with my Mother in Law and her family.  There’s two of them but the other one wouldn’t pose for me quite as splendidly!

Now I’m onto the subject of cats of course I have to share my little chaps, or rather just the one as he’s been cute and lovely in his super blue bucket:

George in his bucket.  I hasten to add that it wasn’t me that tied tissue paper round his neck, I merely commented on how nice the red set off his blackness!  Bless him!  To keep it fair, here’s one of Bryan’s photos of Benson, the poser!

Benson posing

As I’m sharing, I would also like to share the gorgeous and lovely flower buds on the plants that I have grown from bulbs. I’m very proud of myself for getting to this point.  Bryan even had to stake them up for me cause they are so big they were getting floppy, very exciting!

Gladioli growing flowers!!


Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Today’s blog has two different main news items.  The first is to report my visit’s to this year’s Word Festival (intellectual growth) and the second is about my recent gardening exploits (plant growth).

So, Friday night I went to see two events:

Stuart MacBride Book Launch
Sponsored byWaterstone’s Bookshop
4.15pm, Elphinstone Hall, King’s College £5 (£3)
Stuart MacBride is the latest tartan noir sensation. His series of crime novels featuring Aberdeen detective Logan Mcrae began with Cold Granite, and here he launches the fourth in the series, Flesh House.

Irish & Scottish Poetry – Michael Longley, Robert Crawford and Sinead Morrissey
In Association with the AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies
7.30pm, King’s College Centre, King’s College £5 (£3)
Michael Longley has won the Whitbread Poetry Award, the TS Eliot Prize and the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His Collected Poems stand as a towering achievement. Robert Crawford is Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at St Andrews. He has published seven collections of his own work (four of which have been Poetry Book Society Recommendations) and a Selected PoemsSinead Morrissey is part of an exciting younger generation of Irish poets who came of age in the 1990s. She has won the TS Eliot Prize.  She is Lecturer in Creative Writing at Queen’s University Belfast, and her latest collection is The State of the Prisons.

Stuart did a session recently in our library so I had heard some of his chat before but it was still really interesting and good!  I’d chosen a seat in the third row but the first two rows were reserved for “Friends of Word” and as only one turned up I was in effect in the front row!  Stuart spotted me and threatened to “name and shame” and I got all embarrassed.  Not sure what I’d done that was shameful, other than maybe being his main Librarian Stalker – surely something that some authors can only dream of having?!

The poetry session was good, especially one called Genetics which Sinead did.  I went to this session with Eilidh Scobbie who is the Library Conveyer at my work.  She is a Friend of Word so got me cheap tickets for all the events, which was rather super!  So I have to admit to only choosing to see Stuart, all the others were her choice.  However this is a good way to broaden your horizons and learn of new wonderous things, and she does have rather good taste!!

Saturday’s program of events was as follows for the two of us:

The Beast is Beautiful
11am, King’s College Centre, King’s College FREE OF CHARGE
One of the University of Aberdeen’s greatest treasures is the Bestiary, a richly illuminated medieval manuscript – beautiful, yet intriguingly incomplete. Chaired by Sunday Herald editor Alan Taylor, a distinguished panel including Dr Jane Geddes will discuss this collection of moralising stories about animals – its meaning and source and the mystery of its creation.

Alasdair Gray
12 noon, King’s College Centre, King’s College £5 (£3)
One of Scotland’s best-loved and most truly original novelists makes a long overdue return to Word and will read from his latest novel Old Men In Love, of whichWill Self writes “Only Gray can be fecklessly sexy as well as insidiously sagacious… He’s the very best Alasdair Gray we have, and we should cherish his work accordingly.”

Peter Davidson & Andrew Greig
2pm, King’s College Centre, King’s College £5 (£3)
Peter Davidson is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Aberdeen and is also an accomplished poet. His investigation into The Idea of North has been hailed as amajor work. His new poetry collection is The Universal Baroque. Andrew Greig is a prize-winning poet and novelist who has also written a bestseller on golf! His poetry books include Men On Ice, and a selected poems, This Life, This Life. Non-fiction includes Preferred Lies. Novels include In Another Light (winner of the Saltire Prize) and the recently published Romanno Bridge.

The Bestiary was definately my favourite session of the weekend as it really is beautiful, and has so many lovely stories attached to it.  The two ladies telling us about it were very knowledgeable and interesting to listen to.  They also demonstrated the version that is going online soon where you can actually turn each page and look at the book as if you were being allowed to touch the glorious thing!  There is a website about it at the moment but it will be even better once the new version is online, very exciting!

Mr Gray didn’t actually read from the book the description told us he would but he did act out some bits of a new play he’s writing, with the aid of a young man with a lovely voice!  He seemed to be a lovely old man, and certainly someone you wouldn’t mind being locked in a room with for a period of time as he was very entertaining.

The last session was half disappointing (Peter) and half really wonderful (Andrew Greig).  I’ve already added some of the latter’s books to my Amazon wishlist for the next time I win vouchers!  He read some lovely poetry as well, one of which is available on the website for the Scottish Poetry Library.  He had one of those voices you could listen to for ages, and obviously loves what’s he’s written, you can hear it in the way he reads it aloud.  Anyway there’s my new literary love from the weekend, and my own personal growth!

Meanwhile, back at home, our garden is doing quite well.  I have included some photos to demonstrate this.  I love our cherry blossum tree, so pretty – even though it is pink!  The birds seem to love it to and are eating me out of house and home!  I got mixed seed the other week but they have eaten the whole bag already so I need to buy more!  At least they have peanuts to keep them going in the meantime.

Lively gardenThe garden in May

I got hugely excited on my way to Word when I noticed that one of the bulbs I had planted had managed to grow into a bit of a plant.  Then got even more excited when I realised it wasn’t just one!  There are 7 wee sprouts in my front border, although one is much bigger than the others.  I’ve never grown anything “from scratch” before so this is all very exciting.  Now if I can just keep the neighbours’ cats off the border so that they can all grow I should get a wonderful spread of dark red and black gladioli, or is it gladiolis?!


Just at the side of that photo you can see a bit of the Clematis we got for Christmas from Aunt Kathleen and Uncle John.  It’s not looking terribly happy at the moment but it has had flowers on it and it did seem to cheer up once I cut it back a bit so hopefully I’ll keep it growing.  It was a lovely coincidence that they choose a clematis for us as I had been meaning to get one.  I’m not really into plants and flowers (well unless it’s lovely red roses from my hubby!) but I always loved this big pretty climbing thing that my Grandad had outside his house and then his flat.  When I got a garden I’d asked Mum what it was and declared I wanted one.  So now I have one and its next to my front door so I see it whenever I come home and have a constant reminder of Grandad.

They’ve done it again as well.  For my birthday they sent a Pieris Japonica Passion.  Now the link there could be seen as the fact that the roses at our wedding were all “passion” but further to that is the fact that when I was a tiny baby my parents bought a house called Japonica, and it had a Japonica by the front door!  Unfortunately I can’t copy that totally as the Clematis has already claimed that spot here but I have planted it in the back garden.  Most of our garden at the front and back is lawn so we don’t have a huge area for planting things but there’s a big bush beside the fence to the side so I have put it next to that. 

 New plant

Now I just need to concentrate on getting the lawn to only have grass in it and we’ll have a perfectly lovely garden!  Although we did have some friends round last night who told me that it’s about time I trimmed my bush.  There was a bit of giggling which accompanied this statement but they do have a point – will have to send Bryan out with the hedge trimmers soon.  Not now though, there’s football on and I’ve been told to “shh”.  Luckily blogging keeps me quiet!

Well this is quite a long blog so I really should close now but I just have to share one more photo of one of my gorgeous but mad beasties.  We’re not sure what they are doing when they do this but it looks like they are trying to clean the glass in the lounge door.  Mad beasties indeed!

Mad cat

Naughty me

Monday, April 21st, 2008

Ok so I get new blog, I get all excited and post some stuff.  Once there’s a wee bit of reading I announce it to everyone..and then I get too busy to post anything for ages and it seems a bit pointless!  Sorry!  Have smacked myself and will try and do better in future. 

Anyway today is a lovely, free from work, public holiday so before I go and get stuck into the gardening I thought I would do a wee catch up!

We now have an extractor fan in our bathroom so don’t need to shower with the window open.  To be a bit environmental I demanded that it be on a separate switch from the light so that one nice light mornings I can leave the lights off and just have the fan on.  Is also good for those pee stops during the night, you can put the light on without waking everyone up with the fan!   Not sure what the next house project will be, probably decorating the spare room as there’s a big white patch where the old storage heater was.  Can’t decide what colour to make it though, I like the light blue that it is but if one day it needs to be a nursery for a wee girl, that’s not “right”.  Of course I rarely do things “right” so might just stick with the blue anyway.  I had a blue blanket on my crib when I was born and it hasn’t hurt me much!

I organised an Author Event at work.  I had been thinking that it would be a good way to bring attention to the lovely library they own and I managed to talk a local crime fiction author into doing it.  Unfortunately when I asked Stuart MacBride to sign my copy of his first novel Cold Granite, I still had my book mark in it so he told me off for not finishing it before the event.  Rookie error!  Am pleased to say I finished it shortly after and throughly enjoyed it.  Had bought 2nd and 3rd ones to dive straight into but decided I needed some light hearted stuff first so am reading a Mike Gayle at the mo.  Event went really well though, Stuart did a couple of readings and told us about his research – anecdotes about abbatoirs and bondage – what a mix!  Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves so that was fab!

Stuart MacBride in my library!

As you know, we moved to Aberdeen last year.  Bryan and Ray have friends Stephen and Hugh and all the gents now have wives.  Nicole and I decided it would be good to have a wives night so we could all get to know each other as individuals rather than just “my husband’s friend’s wife”!  Unfortunately Emma had the flu so it was just 3 of us but at least we’ve got to know Linda better – and we got pizza in the deal!  Just gives us an excuse to send the boys away to Ray’s again soon so we can try again!

This weekend Nadia was playing in the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra concert so we kept her man Gary company whilst she rehearsed and then went to the concert with him.  It was really good, as it had been last year.  So nice to hear traditional Scottish music, and see lots of men in kilts of course!!

Last night I contrasted that with a Nizlopi concert.  Like Nadia one of them plays the double bass but they do folk music, and instead of the lovely Music Hall we were in the rather darker venue of The Tunnels.  I did take a couple of quite funky pictures for my flickr page outside.  I was the band’s street team which means I stand outside and ask people going in to give me their email address for the band’s mailing list.  I’ve done street teaming a couple of times now and got to know a couple of the bouncers so its actually quite fun standing chatting to them.  I got given a t shirt so I wore that and was telling people they could buy it when they got inside – not sure I’m really a good model for selling clothes but at least I tried!  And it is a lovely totally organic tshirt – so soft!!  I got to meet both the band members too and they were totally lovely!  Luke came along first and wanted to get me a blanket (yes I was so dedicated I was wearing the tshirt and no jacket!) but I explained that it was good marketing and he had to let folk see the tshirt.  Then I met John and he said I needed a coat too!  Bless them worrying about me when they’ve been on the road for over a week in a wee van and had to entertain us later that evening! 

The gig was totally awesome, they were out in the crowd to start with and then moved onto the stage.  The place wasn’t packed out so most people had a seat and some of us were right at the front sitting cross legged.  Was so cool.  Unfortunately I still haven’t got the hang of my new camera so my pics aren’t too great, one of them is at that link above though.  We were all up dancing towards the end.  It’s fun dancing with random people that you don’t know, you can just enjoy yourself and be free, not needing to worry about what they think of you!

John from Nizlopi

They played The JCB Song at the end and then the encore was my favourite song Extraordinary.  I got a bit carried away with excitement and found myself sat on the front of the stage filming Luke singing, he looked right into the camera and sang a couple of lines.  If only I had the camera the right way round, me so thick!  Luckily I have a laptop so can just turn it on its end and watch it over and over!!  Maybe Bryan can fix it for me if I ask him nicely…!

Luke of Nizlopi

Anyway that’s pretty much my life up to date I think!  Should get out in the garden and see if I can work the mower and stuff!  Hope all is well with you and yours?!