Monday, 28 June 2010


I occasionally suffer migraines. It's a relatively new thing, I haven't suffered all my life and as I know the cause is hormonal, I also know it won't last forever. I hadn't, however, spotted the signals of an impending attack until I started to chat about it with my sister and a few of my friends.
One mentioned a difficulty speaking or thinking of words, which I've realised is something that happens to me. Tends to give me the giggles because I can at times talk complete and utter nonsense. (Although, some might say that was nothing new....) Another mentioned tunnel vision and whilst I don't suffer this, it occured to me that on Saturday, I'd noticed the vision from my left eye seemed strange, as though there was a thin piece of grey fabric across my eye. As the migraine developed in the evening and through the night, the pain was behind my left eye and down the left hand side of the back of my head. Interesting, I thought.
Just need to pay more attention now, so that I'm prepared for the oncoming migraine.

Whatever happened to Brownies?

When I was a Brownie, about one hundred years ago, we were allowed a little bit of fun as we learned to bake cakes, polish shoes and play a musical instrument. Only a little mind, if you had the misfortune to be in our Pack. I still have fond memories of my time as a Brownie, so encouraged both of my girls to join. Rhiannon left before she was ten and didn't want to be a Guide. Ciara however is now a Guide and is quite active in the Guiding movement. She's managed to get me involved too and as my friends Angela (recently Hoppy) and Louise are the Leaders of the Pack Ciara helps with, that's the Pack I help with too. I was invited to accompany them on Pack Holiday this weekend and agreed to go along, with a hint of trepidation.
On the whole, we had a good weekend. The bits I was dreading weren't so bad, the bits I wasn't prepared for and never imagined would happen were appalling. When did Brownies become so mischievous? Mischievous to the point of being vandals.
Within an hour of arriving, water was pouring through the ceiling of the dining room. I sped upstairs to find the handwash basin in one of the ensuite shower rooms had toilet paper stuffed into the plug hole and overflow and the taps turned on full. Water was flowing over the edge of the basin, onto the floor, soaking through the carpet, through the floorboards and through the ceiling. Why? Why would a Brownie even think to do such a thing? It turned out it was probably a group of three Brownies that were in the group of seven from another Pack invited to join us. One of the Three Musketeers then became very sick, her mother was called and she was taken home. Handy. But then fingers were pointed and blame laid and she became the scapegoat.
In the event, we could not name the suspects, because we had no proof, so in the end we decided that when the time came for the rest of us to go home, all parents would be gathered and the situation explained. The two remaining suspects must have told their parents their versions and whilst one pair were distinctly unhappy, the other mum was extremely calm and reasonable, and in private, they all agreed to contact the third parent and club together to cover the cost of the damage, should they be required to do so.
An unfortunate start to what was a lovely(ish) weekend, even though it did leave a dark cloud hanging over us. There were a few minor injuries, sleepwalking, a nose bleed and I had a major and extremely inconvenient migraine, but there were no other major incidents and then we all went home.
I was shattered and needed a glass of wine. Or three. Then I needed my bed.
Today, I really appreciated the peace and quiet.

Friday, 25 June 2010

The fruits of my labour


Actually, I can’t take a lot of credit for the vicious pink fairy cakes, thankfully.

In the background are jars of marmalade and I must say that freezing several nets of Seville oranges so that I can make marmalade when required is very clever, but the need to make was more a need to empty the freezer so I can do the annual defrost and clean thing, groan. I need the practice in the making of marmalade though, to find a happy medium between a slightly soft set, (ahem) and somewhat sticky. Practice makes perfect!

The torte on the left is in fact a Giant Jaffa Cake. It’s fab, even if I do say so myself, and compensation for torture, which I’ll get to.

The vicious pink fairy cakes were made by Ciara and Rhiannon, which I helped to decorate, a little. I confess, it’s my fault the icing is quite so, well, vicious. I was a tad heavy handed with the food colouring. I ended up applying it too, as Ciara couldn’t quite get the hang of it, so she sprinkled the sparkly bits. The Brownies will like them, that’s all that matters and that’s the torture.

It’s Brownie Pack Holiday this weekend, at Kilravock Castle, near Inverness. I don’t know how it happened, but I’d said I’d go too (Ciara is a Guide, but a Pack Leader at her old Brownie Pack, and I’m now a disclosed regular helper. Aren’t I lucky…)

So, really, all this productive activity was in fact just putting off the inevitable. The need to pack. Turns out to be mainly camping kit with a more comprehensible wash bag as we’re not under canvass.

Along with my collection of tents, seems I have a pretty extensive collection of sleeping bags, which I hadn’t realised until I washed the two wrong ones yesterday.

David: “I didn’t mean those ones, they’ll be too hot, I meant the yellow ones.”

Me: “What yellow ones?”

Aedan: “Do you mean these ones?”

David: “Yes!”

Me: “Oh. I dare say they need a wash too…”

It appears we have twelve sleeping bags and the colour referred to is on the inside. Of course! A bag for every occasion.

I’m still procrastinating, I’ll go.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Oh lummy, my memory's going

I know I was reading somewhere, maybe a blog, or a magazine, about a nifty little rubber gadget that clipped to the fly sheet, (or anywhere else for that matter) without making a hole, (looked like a suspender fastner, for want of a better description) that you could use for an extra peg, (or whatever).
I could do with one for Bill, just for less flap.
But... I don't know where I was.
Any ideas? 'Cos I'm clueless and frustrated.
(Nothing new there then...)

Saturday, 19 June 2010

Let me introduce you

For a while now, I've been collecting tents.

We have Aedan's tent, a four man Gelert Eiger 4, Topsy, which would only house four very small men, because it's a tight squeeze for four children!

We have a four man Wynnster Falcon Deluxe Vis-a-Vis tent, Terry, for the children again, for last minute decision camping to use alongside Maisie.

We have The Palace, our family camping tent, a Gelert Alaska 8, which is a roomy, four bedroomed detached number with a lounge/kitchen/diner. Great for space, waterproof, but fun if the wind picks up!

At The Sands, Gairloch, one of our favourite sites.

Fully equiped to cope with (almost) all eventualities. Quite impressed with that, you can't see the vast amounts of alcohol used to numb the pain.

We also have Maisie, a cute two man number, a Coleman Adrenaline 2, and possibly my favourite tent. She's lovely. Watertight, well ventilated, roomy and you can't lose her.

At another site we've used a few times, Rothiemurchus, a fabulous shower block, but the ground is stoney and the midgies are murder! This was when we walked home from Glenmore, through the Ryvoan Pass, Nethybridge, Grantown on Spey and up the Dava Way to Forres. When this photograph was taken, I had a raging migraine. Shortly after, I was in my bag.
David at Grantown on Spey Caravan Park, beer in hand. Lovely site, fantastic shower block!

And here we have our newest member of the family, a Coleman Kraz 1, Bill. Bill has been specially acquired incase I have to attempt my first TGO Challenge solo.

It would certainly be a challenge in the event that David couldn't join me! I'm quite confident that I could plod my way across Scotland with my no doubt huge pack, my navigation might need a little work, but should be ok, but I suspect I will be a nervous wild-camper, because I'm a wuss.
And David would have to trust me with a gas stove and matches.

I've been very keen to give Bill a whirl, so I pitched him in the garden. David came home from work, adjusted him, then said I should 'strike camp' because it looked like rain... I waited for another convenient moment yesterday and pitched Bill in the garden, only to have a the six year old from next door bombard me with questions, ("What's that?", "What's it for?", "Who's going to sleep in it?", "Why?") so I scuttled inside and and waited for dusk. Bearing in mind it's Midsummers Night tonight.

I retired to the annex at about 10.30 pm when I was fairly sure noone would be watching (we are quite overlooked here, but they know I'm barking) and I read for a while. When I cuddled down in my cosy bag, I realised I was missing essential equipment. In my pack, I would have had spare clothes and a small cloth bag to stuff and make a second, small cushion for my knee. I wriggled for comfort and realised I was missing something else. A slope! Lumpy ground! I'm not used to the comforts of a manicured lawn. I wriggled some more. By now, I was too hot. There was fairground noise in the background from the Summer Ball, a flashing light which I couldn't at first locate.

I gave up.

I need to take Bill into the wilderness for some peace and quiet. I have a plan, but I'm going to have to be patient.

Monday, 14 June 2010

What a mare!

Did you miss me? Probably not, but I've had an unplanned absence, due to a little computer virus I seem to have picked up. All sorted now, thanks to my lovely hubby, but what a pain.
Now, I've just got Jury Service to contend with this week. I just now my name is going to come out of that hat this time! So, things maybe a little quiet around here for a few days more.
Talk amongst yourselves...