Friday, 26 February 2010

Talk about missing the bus!

I despair sometimes.

If this dapper chap had pitched up on time, a month ago, along with the yellowhammers, goldfinch, collared doves and moorhen that also missed it, my Big Garden Birdwatch for the RSPB would have been far more interesting.

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Sunday, 21 February 2010

Glorious day for a stroll

Yesterday, David and the boys dropped Ciara and I at Roseisle Forest and we walked home. It was an absolutely glorious day, not a breath of wind, clear and crisp.

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Hot chocolate stop

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The way we came

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The way we’re going

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Cromarty Firth

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It was a lovely walk, 6.5 miles and very little up to speak of in a little under 2.5 hours.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Anyone for a cheap date?

I made an excellent decision this morning and left the car on the driveway to take a stroll into town. I only had a couple of minor jobs, pay a cheque into the bank (our daughter’s a winner! £25 on the premium bonds. She won’t share….) and pop to the health food shop in search of a wheat bag. No heavy load on return, so I really couldn’t justify the car for a 5.5 mile round trip on such a glorious day. I even turned down the offer of a lift twice, once on the way there and secondly from the same incredulous acquaintance on the way back. It was snowing by this time, somewhat unexpectedly, so I can understand her puzzlement, but I was dry and snug and happy, happy, happy.

Ben Wyvis and other  hills I have yet to identify were snow capped and glowing golden in the winter sun in the distance, there was a distinct chill in the air, but there were only a few grey clouds, high and non-threatening, so all was well with the world.

As I strolled into town this morning, a letter I’d read in the TGO came to mind. A chap was telling a tale of how he met a group of walkers on the mountainside on Skye that, despite the glorious views available, were discussing the qualities and benefits of their latest gear, amongst other things, but not their outstanding surroundings.

I’m a cheap date  because you can plonk me in the middle of the countryside, give me a fantastic view and a bit of wildlife and you’ll have me reduced to a quivering wreck and I’ll be yours for life. (Well, actually, I’m firmly taken, but you get the gist.)

You might well ask what made me feel like this, what made my day today?

A red squirrel, in the park in town, and a stoat in ermine!

I’d noticed what I thought was a piece of rubbish, floating about the grass, then realised there wasn’t a strong enough breeze. Bouncing along the verge ahead of me he was, then he stopped and peered at me and I got within about six feet of him for a really good look! No camera of course, but it was truly awesome.

Yep, cheap indeed.

(Let me lull you into a false sense of security before I mention the Chanel No5 and a penchant for Tattinger…)

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

A little about not a lot

It was a beautiful day to day, so I went for a stroll. Only a short one admittedly, one of my regular local walks, but pleasant all the same. The birds were giving it laldy from the treetops, the sun was shining and the snow has more or less all disappeared, despite another  desperate attempt at winter yesterday.

The quote of the week came from our twelve year old son, “Oh no, not more snow!”. Made me smile.

Speaking of yesterday, I’m sure there must be someone out there, somewhere, waiting with baited breath to hear about my trip to the soft tissue physiotherapist.

There must be, someone. Somewhere….

I’ll tell you anyway. I love my physiotherapist, she has healing hands. Along with an unending supply of photocopied exercise sheets. I’ve got a different one this time, with three exercises and no fun equipment. (I had a large, red, elastic band to treat my weakened rotator cuff muscle…) Easy. After a little manual manipulation for my soft tissue impingement, (trapped nerve), I’m on the waiting list for further treatment and all I have to do is complete my exercises daily, wait a month and phone back if I need a follow-up appointment, otherwise it will be assumed I’m fit and discharged.

I have faith, my physiotherapist is wonderful. With any luck, I might finally be rid of the pins and needles sensation in my left index finger, as well as the pain in my neck and shoulder.

Feeling so much better already, I’ve started to plan the summer holiday with the children. Yey!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Yet another break in my stride

It has come to my attention that, every time I get organised and into a rhythm of walking regularly, there will be a technical hitch to foil me.

This time last year, Aedan, poor wee soul, had shingles, followed by Ciara being of school, so that was about a month’s worth of interruption. Lengthy school holidays have always been a bit of a nuisance whilst the children were small, but that situation is improving. Then I was mown down by an overly sturdy golden retriever, causing damage to my Achilles which slowed me down, then we had ridiculous amounts of ice, although if that happens again, I have the technology to overcome the problem!

Now, I’m struggling with the reoccurrence of a problem that struck me down about two years ago. A trapped nerve in my upper back, somewhere in the region of my left shoulder blade. This time, I’m taking action earlier and have my self referral form filled in and ready to hand in to the physiotherapy department at the local hospital, but I’m still finding the pain debilitating and quite depressing. It’s dull but persistent, until I do something silly and get a huge jolting pain, it’s even spreading round my rib cage to the front this time, which is a new trick. Yesterday, I managed to spill scalding soup into my lap and burn the insides of my thighs too, just for added entertainment. Muppet!

My friends came to the rescue last night however, as a select group were invited to Hoppy Angela’s for a soiree and we had a really good natter and a giggle, such a tonic. David was a star as he played taxi driver, seeing as I can’t drive and looked after the children too.

So, here I sit, with a hot water bottle down my back, hoping I can get an appointment this week. I need some sleep. I do wonder if someone somewhere is trying to tell me something…

Thursday, 4 February 2010

What’s the next best thing to baking?

I’ve been baking, again, (it is a bit of a habit and I think David would regret me getting a job because there wouldn’t be homemade soups for lunch and nice cakes and puddings and stuff to eat!) and I’ve discovered that there is something better than baking. Baking with your own homemade ingrediments*!

I’ve just made Martin’s oat and mincemeat bars with my own homemade mincemeat and they smell lush!

I’ll have to wait for them to cool down before I can sample them, sadly, but David’s out for lunch today, so I can snaffle some in private. I’ll go for a walk whilst they cool, to make some space.

*Flowerism: words used within ‘The Family’. There are many.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Keeping myself occupied, but not enough

I am at least getting into the habit of walking, if not everyday. Whilst I’ve been waiting for my computer to backup, I’ve been occupying myself with things like making a spreadsheet for my weekly walks and reviewing the spreadsheet of my kit list to reduce the size of my pack. I’ve got it down to just over 23lbs, yey!

Apparently I’m averaging just over 15 miles a week, which is pants, but I have only just got back to walking regularly, what with the weather being the way it has, so I shall be kind to myself, till next week.

Sadly, whilst I was softening the chopped onions yesterday to make a chilli con carni, I occupied myself by separating the herbs and spices in the cupboard and then putting them into alphabetical order. David said that was OCD.

Maybe he has a point.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Have to get up early to get one over on me…

Well, the birds do at least.

And they did try, dear little things.

I did my BGB for the RSPB on Sunday morning because I was too busy watching/drooling over James Martin on Saturday Kitchen. I did my hour and had four blackbirds, a robin and two sparrows to show for it. This was just not on, it’s not a true representation at all of the birdlife in my garden. So, I did another hour later in the day and picked the list with a better representation of my garden and ended up with four blackbirds, a robin, two sparrows, a rook, a blue tit and thirteen chaffinch. This is definitely closer to the truth, but I did notice the yellowhammers and collared doves were back yesterday. Typical.

The woodpeckers were drumming again yesterday as Louise, Lyn and I stumbled around our usual Monday walk, in the snow. Yes, we had more fresh snow, but this was really pretty, even as it fell heavily upon us as we stumbled along. Hoppy didn’t join us. We tracked animals in the snow and tried our best to identify them, I still have some research to do on that, but the roe deer were unmistakable. We saw a mixed flock of tits, including long tailed, great and coal and Lyn was sure she saw a jay, but I missed it. They are present in the wood, so she could well have done. She saw a red squirrel too, lucky thing. I may have been too busy gassing at that point…