“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ....Oscar Wilde

Friday 16 May 2014

Shake your tail feathers

The strangest thing happened in the park yesterday.
Now that sounds a little like..."a funny thing happened on the way to the theatre" doesn't it? 
McMufftypup and myself were taking a stroll in the park whilst enjoying the beautiful warm spring morning...Muffy oblivious to everything going on around her as usual, but for the immediate smell under her nose. But I became aware that two crows were acting suspicious and were very interested her. So much so that they came hopping over the lawn towards her. 
I began to worry that maybe they were interested in her eyes. 
I know that they can peck eyes, but I thought that would only be in something that had actually died...but what else could it be? 
They came closer and close...but each time that Muffy looked at them the nearest crow crouched down. 
"Curiouser and curiouser" said Alice
But then I realised what the crow was trying to do when it began to peck poor McMuffy. Not her eyes but her tush!
Or more precise...her tail feathers! 
The crow tried to nip in and pull out some fur
 (or should I say hair as Shuh Tzu's have hair not fur). 
Muffy was most indignant! 
"How very dare you...?"
Obviously the crows spotted her swishy tush and thought now that would be brilliant for our nest!
I just wished I'd have know what was happening and I'd have taken a video. 
Nature never ceases to amaze me...there's always something going on. 

Well it's Friday and I've got a full weekend planned. 
I've an exciting outing on Sunday and next week I'm away on a girls break. 
I'm not sure how much time I'll have for blogging, but I'll no doubt have lots to share with you sooner or later. 
Enjoy your weekend
Toodleloo for now https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1508618.gif

Wednesday 14 May 2014

What's on Your Work desk Wednesday...#258

Hello remember me?
I know it's been so long since I joined in with the WOYWW gang. 
I can't think what I've been up to which has kept me away until now, but not to worry, I'm here now. 
So what is WOYWW I hear new visitors ask? 
Well it's the lovely Julia over at Stamping Ground idea. 
So if you'd like to know more then click here and all will be explained. 

I haven't anything arty to show you this morning, but it's beginning to look hopeful. My desk (shared desk with my daughter) seems to be settling in slowly, although I'm not so impressed that we have scaffolding covering the window. 
Usually people put blinds up don't they? 
Don't worry I have ordered blinds, but they seem to be taking an age to appear. 
I think once the scaffolders start working out there with their radio blasting (on a radio station not of my choice), banging, crashing and generally shouting the banter back and forth between them, then I'll probably move to the kitchen table for a while. 
I'm keeping my entry brief today but one thing that has been in the forefront of my mind this week, is that I've found out something I didn't know...or had forgotten. 
My sister and her hubby came to visit us a few weeks ago and whilst we were in the middle of one of our many, many natters she mentioned about my Dad's drawing. 
Now this came as a blot from the blue to me...I know I'm five years younger than my sister but I just couldn't remember my Dad drawing. 
I've tried desperately to picture him with a pencil in his hand but I can't see it. 
We lost our Dad when I was 16 years old, so I'm thinking that maybe I was too young when he had did any art to remember. My sister says she would ask for a picture and went to bed only to find it there perfectly drawn the next morning. 
Thinking about it, it was probably the only time he was free to be creative...whilst the kids were in bed. 

Oh how I wish I could see him doing that now or even to see something that he'd drawn. 
I knew that I'd got my love of reading from him, but I didn't realise that the artistic side was from him too. I know it definitely wasn't from my Mothers side. 

Here's one of our favourite photos of my Dad doing one of the things he loved to do... 

Yes we're on the beach but he's fully clothed...looking like a French model in my eyes. 
Gorgeous isn't he? 
Oh how I miss him Emoji 

Have a wonderful Wednesday everyone...enjoy and thanks for stopping by...it's always great to see you! 

Friday 9 May 2014

Crathes Castle

Are you free to visit a castle today?
How about a magical turreted castle with stunning gardens, magnificent grounds and woodland, amid rolling hills and glorious countryside? 
We couldn't resist either, especially as we had been living in a cloud of fog/haar that had stayed around for far too long. 
It was time to head inland from the coast to hopefully find sight of a little blue sky and if possible some sunshine. And what do you know?... we were lucky... we found both. 
As we drove out of Aberdeen on the A93 to Crathes Castle, the mist began to clear and the sun broke through.
Crathes castle and grounds are presently owned and managed by the National Trust of Scotland and are open to the public.
Crathes has always been one of my favourite castles to visit in Aberdeenshire. 
It's within easy reach and there's lots to see and do in and around this magnificent 16th Century tower house, that you're sure to have a memorable experience if you get the opportunity to visit. 
The land was gifted to the Burnett family in 1323 by Robert the Bruce and you can still see their badge of office, the ivory Horn of Leys, hanging in the High Hall. You can also see the horn above the large window to the left of the tower in the above photo. 
The horn symbol was added to the family coat-of-arms and it can be seen throughout the castle. It's also carved onto the Laird's bed.
The coat of arms of the Burnetts of Leys contain a hunting horn and three thistles.
The actual Horn of Leys remains in the ownership of the Burnett family and is on display at the Castle. If you'd like to read more about the Burnett family then click here.

We chose to walk around the gardens whilst the sun shone before entering the castle. 
The famous gardens feature massive yew hedges that were planted as early as 1702. 
Every time I see these hedges I imagine them moving and dancing around like something in a Disney movie. Aren't they amazing?
The walled garden is really eight gardens ranging from the formal to the modern, so there's something for everyone to enjoy. 
It's a little early in the year to see the gardens at their best at the moment. Especially the colourful double herbaceous border in full bloom... which is quite exquisite. So I'll just have to nip back in June to capture them in all of their glory.
If you look into the photo to the left below, you will see two stick domes. These are supports for the plants. If I remember rightly they were made from willow and there are workshops to show you how to make them. I much prefer the natural look of the stakes than the plastic alternative. There are a few workshops throughout the year which some include the head gardener giving a tour of the gardens.
It looks like the weather is changing once again...
So let's take a look inside the castle shall we?
Watch your step when ascending the tower stairs because there's a 'trip' step...I'll not tell you which one as the helpful National Trust volunteer will do that when you visit. It was intended to disconcert attackers climbing the staircase. 
Amazingly, there are some rooms that retain the magnificent original painted ceilings. And if you feel a chill in the air in one particular room, then that could possibly be 'The Green Lady, Crathes' own ghost!
This view is from an upper window of the castle overlooking the crochet lawn, some of the formal gardens and greenhouses. As you can see unfortunately we've lost the sunshine. 
Further afield, the 240 hectare estate offers six separate trails to enjoy. 
If you click here you will be able to see the walk that my daughter and I enjoyed one frosty November morning. 
At the property there is a cafe, gift shop, adventure playground for the children, the North-East's only 'Go Ape' tree top adventure and the Arting Around studio.
So all the family can enjoy the outing. 

Just one point before I finish...
I'd like to state that I haven't received any remuneration for this post but when I did join the National Trust during the Easter break, my name was entered into a draw. I didn't pay much attention to the details at the time, but when the postie arrived at my door with a large parcel I was thrilled. My name had been drawn and I won a fabulous high spec pair of binoculars! 
Have a great weekend everyone

Thursday 1 May 2014

Living in a cloud... or should that be cloud cuckoo land?

Sometimes the weekend can just take it out of you...
We've certainly had a busy time and there's no let up on the horizon yet but hey... that's what makes life interesting doesn't it? 
We had visitors come to stay... the first since we've been back here, so it was both lovely and terrifying all at once, especially when the dust was still landing from yet more rubbing down of paintwork the afternoon my guests were due to arrive. 
Seriously, where does that dust come from? I'm sure it's shipped in! 

Not only was the interior of the house covered in white... but also the outside was too due to fog. Or should I say 'Haar' which is a coastal fog that occurs in this part of the country. 
(Haar is typically formed over the sea and is brought to land by wind. This commonly occurs when warmer moist air moves over the relatively cooler North Sea causing the moisture in the air to condense, forming haar. 
Sea breezes and Easterly winds then bring the haar into the East coast of Scotland and North-East England where it can continue for several miles inland. This can be common in summer when heating of the land creates a sea breeze, bringing haar in from the sea and as a result can significantly reduce temperatures compared to those just a few miles inland)
So not only are you visibly impaired by this phenomenon...you're also freezing, whilst just a few miles down the road it can be glorious. 
It is amazing to see the haar come rolling up the hill.
We've been living in a cloud for nearly a week off and on. 
I really thought I'd done so well getting through the winter unscathed. 
I hadn't grumbled too much about the temperature and wet weather (had I?) but when further down the country they have a least 20+ degrees more heat than you...then I'm afraid I'm not such a happy bunny. 
Thankfully, just a few hours before my guests arrived the sky cleared and the sun shone, so at least their welcome was a little more cheery...but then it took a turn for the worst once again. Talk about Scotch Mist!
But it never stopped us doing what we wanted and even managed an afternoon when the thermometer touched 34 degrees Celsius... I kid you not... but then it was in full sun. 
(this photo only shows 30 but believe me it did reach 34 and without a match involved as someone suggested!)
Well that's just typical of our British weather I suppose and it's what keeps us on our toes and constantly talking about it.  
So enough about our weather...

Now this part of the post is where the internet left me last night...it just went phew and disappeared, so this post is a little disjointed plus I've had a humdinger of a day today.
I will spare you all the gory details but one of the main factors is that I put the wrong fuel into my car! Now I wish I could blame someone...anyone...but I can't. I was very skilled and proficient in this action even ignoring the fact that the nozzle didn't fit correctly! 
I KNOW...you can't say anything more than I've said to myself already...plus I know you're possibly doubled up with laughter and at risk from falling off your chair, so I'll move on swiftly! 
I'd just like to say in my defence that apparently it's quite a common occurrence according to the nice chap in the garage... so there you go... I'm not alone. 

I'm being distracted by a tap, tap, tap on my new windows as I type. 
Is there no let up today? I seriously think I need to take myself off into a darkened room. I'm just not safe.
The tapping is from a 'willy wagtail' flinging himself at the window. 

He's working his way around the whole house leaving his little marks behind. 
On my new windows too! (deep breaths...in through the nose...out through the mouth!)
At first I thought he was catching insects but he's wearing himself ragged, so it must be a territorial thing and his reflection is a threat in his eyes.
I remember we used to have a robin constantly flapping and pecking at my wing mirror on my car when we lived here before. He spent days trying to defend his patch and so I decided to intervene in the end to save his sanity by putting some kitchen paper around the wing mirror every time I parked on the drive so he couldn't see his reflection. 
It worked thankfully but I can't do that for the wagtail with all the new windows! 
There's 36 of them for goodness sake! 
We've also had surprise visits from white doves over the last two days. 
Firstly only two arrived but this morning five landed. 
Obviously they've passed the word on that our five star bird feeders are a must! 

(the ladders are from the slater fixing our roof slates...so don't worry if you see a dodgy slate...he hasn't made it to this side yet)

Now what else has been happening...oh yes, we did visit a castle over the weekend, so if you'd like to come on a little tour then come back soon. I'm just editing later today...
In the meantime I'll sign out with yet another sunset... I just can't resist them.
I'm off to go to that darkened room!
At this rate I'll never get to do any artwork which reminds me... the studio is coming along nicely and there's even creative work being produced in there. 
My daughter has settled in well and at least she's creating which makes me very happy. Hopefully I'll be able to join in soon. 

(Psst...I've not forgotten that I've not got back to your emails and comments...I opened my inbox yesterday and there were 203 unopened waiting for me. 
I've seen everyone of them, but just haven't got to answer them yet...but I WILL!!!!

Have a great week and just a tip from me... take a second look at that petrol/gas gauge before you continue! Eek...
https://secure.quebles.com/content/hotmail/emoticons/1511763.gif xoxo
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...