Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Mull holiday

May 2015

I have been lucky enough to be included into a group of friends weekly meet-ups over the last year or two. A couple of them I already knew and was friends with. Anyway it had become a bit of a mainstay for me.
Recently it was one of our pal's 50th birthday and she decided that in celebration she'd like people to join her in a holiday on the isle of Mull in a rented house.  As many of us as were able said yes and so quite a few discussions and arrangements had to be made, ferry booked for the vehicles we would be taking, food bought and loaded into the van, music, DVDs, binoculars, cameras and, of course secretly, presents and menu plans. Cooking roots and sleeping arrangements agreed, and funds collected and the day of departure came.

It had been agreed 3 hours would be enough to get to Oban for the ferry, although I did rather tentatively (unfortunately) say I was doubtful it would be enough time for any leeway.  So we all actually just got there in time to be put into the standby queue because we missed check in time - the naughty queue - huge relief when we were allowed on.

At last out to sea and even in pretty poor weather it was a blast to be back out on deck again.  The rolling of the ferry in slightly lumpy sea - it wasn't at all massive - but just that wee bit of roll was so good, the air, chilly and damp add it was, and the big sky and sense of space - it was like a release, to breathe again.

So finally the first eight arrived on Mull with a car and a large van, including Millie the dog which made 9.  Birthday girl, van driver and Millie's 'mum' (!) and I travelled in front of the van which was an intense experience due to Millie's extreme and unconstrained excitement - she is not a small dog - but hugely lovable and affectionate. She obviously knew that this was an exciting and important journey, and wanted to see every bit of it!

The house was magic - i already knew the house from the road, having passed it on my way to Iona so often down the years, but never been inside. It did not disappoint, in fact we couldn't have asked for better.

The weather started off quite wild, but in a day or two calmed down to milder temperatures. 

We were on the Ross of Mull, fairly near Carsaig Bay.  The movie "I Know Where I'm Going" was filmed around here and at Carsaig, and this telephone box features in the film as well!

the old jetty at Carsaig

 looking down to the bay
Golden Eagle - we all became obsessed with spotting Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles were just common!!

There were loads of walks to go on and cooking to be done although I was allowed off cooking duty due to my lack of abilities.  There were wonderful views from the house over the loch, and sunsets to die for.  

An old graveyard enclosed by a stone wall

Milly among the bluebells

Ben More looking up the loch from the house 

Ben More was climbed by a few of us - not me though! Quite a good climb, apparently.

We also had a trip to Staffa, which I will post later.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

home, away and home again

since the last post i've been home and then away again to Dorset this time, visiting family.

I was away for the election.  It was very interesting and a bit depressing seeing it all from the South of England - well, England really.

As I took many walks around the area I noticed with surprise how many 'Vote UKIP' posters there were, but also with surprise and hope quite a few 'Green' posters.  Obviously a lot of conservative ones - a given really for that part of the world i suppose, although all my family are firm Labour voters.

I talked to people in shops etc, always asking about Scotland and the SNP etc., and was quite disturbed to find how much misunderstanding there is about what is going on up here.  Apparently Nicola Sturgeon is more or less 'evil' - a shock to hear - I have no idea about that myself, she just seems to be bright and speaks clearly - but 'evil'? wow. so who's psychic? I'm afraid the media's propaganda is by and large quite often believed.
So more often than not I found myself having to put a bit of perspective into people's ideas, thoughts, beliefs of how people in Scotland are feeling, as far as I could and being as objective as possible, and including the fact that not everyone who would vote SNP would be doing so for the same reason and that probably quite a few people would still vote Labour .. etc..

Then the actual election (I had a postal vote) happened and we all woke up to all that blue. I am afraid Scotland is being blamed quite a bit for the massive conservative take over, because of the SNP surge.  It is actually quite a big blow for Scotland as well, I think.  Personally I had hoped to have much more of a hung parliament with a few parties' voices and much less of the conservatives.
Couldn't be more wrong.

Here is an interesting article in the New Statesman, worth a read ..

On a slightly cheerier note - one of my walks view

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Looking at my drafts I find a post I wrote while still house sitting but had not finished or published. So putting it up now, although it ought to be slotted in before the last post.  Putting it up anyway!

28th March
In Fountainhall again, annual visit to house and cat sit for J&R while they're away.
Snowed last night, bit unexpected!
Elderly cat Thistle peed on the floor - very wobbly and forgetful, her daughter cat Brinjal pointed it out to me so I could clean it up, she gets quite worried about her mum.
Yesterday a small fan heater gave up the ghost, which isn't great when it belongs to someone else. Then I found the fridge had gone off.  What!
Also noticed recently the birds weren't coming to the feeders very much - such contrast to their mobbing them till just recently. Started to get a bit of a complex - breaking electrical things, frightening away the birds ...
Good pal M popped in the back door for a blether and pointed out I had switched the fridge off the night before by mistake when I thought I was switching off the outside light .. duh ..
plus, getting warmer, birds probably finding other things to eat..

We went for a walk. Feeling so 'banned' from normal wide range roaming by the New Borders Railway, wondering about ways round or through, i had noticed that if you climb over a barbed wire fence you can get under a railway bridge which goes over the river to one of our walks which have been blocked off, so we tried it, well M tried it!  She thinks it can be done, a bit of a long way round so one for a longer walk.

Then we came across this jacket hung on this small tree - very incongruous. What happened - did the wearer get so excited and delirious they threw off their jacket while running through the field; did the wearer get hot and annoyed and chuck it off in irritation; did the wearer go fishing hanging it there but forgetting it or did they just decide they didn't want it anymore and hung it there for another walker to find, thinking they might like it.  hmm. none of it seems all that likely. Perhaps it is a secret marker for something...
anyway this is it..

Ive had a bee in my bonnet about this Borders Railway for a while now, because of having lived here in the 1980s and on and off visited over the years, especially over the last few years to cat/house sit, so I have been seeing what they are doing to the place and places along the way.  The idea of reinstating the old railway is a great idea, should be. But as time goes on you start to wonder who exactly this is for. A lot of the old stations are not being reinstated but the people living in the old station houses have been moved out, houses demolished or boarded up, pathways to and from the bus stops blocked off so people are made to walk a long way round to and from the bus adding to difficulties for those who have mobility difficulties and don't have cars. It is a 15ish minute walk to the bus stop. Apparently if you don't have a car you 'shouldn't' be living here - what a bloody cheek! And a lot of the walks have been blocked off, I suppose that is a bit inevitable though. 

And maybe I am becoming what I never thought I would become - an old person resistant to change! 

And how much has changed here - everywhere - since the '80s, which doesn't seem that long ago! Imagine we were once without mobile phones, didn't have a tv for years, no central heating or double glazing, our cars were usually falling to bits and just scraping by mot tests. (Still don't really like these all closed in cars where you can't hear the outside, I'm sure it gives a false sense of security).  And we all visited each other much more often. 

And maybe I am becoming what I never thought I would become - an old person going on about how things were in the past!

When we were much younger we thought we knew all about life, love and everything.. old people knew nothing and were always harping on about what it was like when they were young and - oh so boring! 

The seven stages of man/woman, eh. The inevitability of it all, round and round, the circle of life.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Back from another cat and house sitting stint in the Borders, not too strange to be back really, but times are generally a bit strange these days anyway. Not that it's such a bad thing - just changes going on and a sad death of a friend - a special friend of a special friend.
This March has been really chilly even quite cold, and the wind over the last few days gale-like.
The stay was a good one though, being able to spend times and talks and walks with M, and visiting J&J a few times was good.  Once again sleeping in the lovely attic bedroom with its view to the stars and trees - magic!
The elderly wobbly puss not peeing all over the place any more thank goodness, but very affectionate and at times quite needy.  The younger one allowing me to pet her more often without running away.

Walking to morningside to pick up a prescription I went along the canal for a bit - changes going on there - resurfaced part of the path and some pick up machine seemed to be digging up large bits of stone from the canal bottom!?
I also saw this bird which was a shock as it looks like a cormorant or a shag - on the canal??! Then walked under the bridge only to see a heron flying overhead and wandered along head in the clouds wishing I had my camera, tripped up the steps to the road looking totally doolally!
So - back to town and I see two birds unusual, actually the heron's not unusual, except it's usually on the Water of Leith, never seen it on or near the canal.
No photos yet, this won't connect to them on the iPad.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

I found this post in 'drafts', and it is now 27th March, 2015! Thought I should publish it but the post needs editing.  * Edited and added bits in blue type

It is 2015, the day before the last day of January.
I've been in the new house now for one year and 20 days.

Having joined the Green Party I feel a bit more in touch with things but I have found a couple of things I am not sure about. I guess you're never going to agree with everything a party wants to implement is thinking about implementing?.

The thing is, it has made me think about those - one of them being to have a blanket 20mph limit on (as I understand it) all roads - presumably not motorways. While this works very well on Bermuda, a small island where no one is allowed more than 1 car and only below a certain size and 'power' or whatever it's called, and the roads infrastructure is set up for it - I am not quite sure how it would work here, unless it was implemented only on appropriate roads, for example only in villages, towns and cities. 

The other thing is abolishing the monarchy. Have since heard Natalie say that this is a question for the people to decide.  I have struggled with this question for ages. I don't think I actually know anyone who would want to keep the monarchy. Now I think I know one person who considers it! I usually keep quiet on the question because I am so unsure. The thing is we tend to look at them and think they are all spoilt and have too much money and so on.
Well I have no idea what they are actually like - only whatever the media decides to brainwash us with. As for money and property - yes, but don't presidents manage to amass rather a lot, cost the tax payer a lot?
The other thing is hereditary. Ok, but - Who - what sort of person would choose to put themselves up for election as a president? How corrupted would they become once in the 'machine' inevitably, quite possibly not having the psychological wherewithal to withstand all that. We would never really know what was going on behind the scenes - again only what the media fed us.
Yes we can vote them out and get another one but I don't really think that answers anything. Maybe it is just the fact that we can vote them in and out that people want. I understand that, but I just think we'll be swapping one thing for something not any better.  Remaining undecided about that.

And another thing - abolish the House of Lords - actually I am not sure the Green party is suggesting that, but it is an issue being discussed generally.  Abolish hereditary membership of the Lords, just have elected Lords, because I think we need a second House, and some of the Lords who came up from the Commons are actually people who have worked in the 'real' world and have a lot of experience and knowledge in their fields.

End of rant!