Thursday, August 09, 2018

Top Ten Thursday - Summer Time

This week, Tamara from Part-time Working Hockey Mom, has asked us to list the top ten things we did, enjoyed, read, ate, experienced,... this summer! It's been an amazing summer here in the Scottish Highlands with days and days of glorious sunshine - it would have been even nicer if I didn't have to work. Still, we managed to cram quite a few great things in over the past couple of months and I'm going to share a few of them with you now.

1. Not far from us is a lovely fruit farm and we, along with many other people, took advantage of their pick your own service, spending a lovely hour picking strawberries and raspberries. We ate some that night with cream and icing sugar, but the rest went in the freezer for use in smoothies.

2. On one of the very hot days we went to Carrbridge for lunch and then we watched some very brave lads jumping off the old stone bridge into the river below.

3. On visits to any beaches we did our bit for the planet and picked up any plastic we came across. We nearly always find shotgun cartridges no matter where we are.

4. Of course there were several visits to old graveyards and the overgrown ones look particularly lovely at this time of the year as they are very green and vibrant.

5. Like the big kids that we are we went to the circus when it came to town and sat in the front row. It was great fun and there were some very talented acrobats and strength performers.

6. For the first time ever we went camping for a night together. Yes we've done glamping but that's where everything is provided for you, so this was a little different. We quite enjoyed it except for the size of the tent - we couldn't stand up in it so maneuvering around was quite a challenge and we also had Bramble Jelly with us. I'd definitely do it again if we had a bigger tent.

7. We attended an art class together which was really interesting and fun.

8. Bramble Jelly Sassypants loves swimming so with the hot weather we've had she was even more eager to get in the water wherever we were. One day whilst I was at work even my beloved stripped down to his boxers and went in with her.

9. The brats, aka Lord Rocky Horror and Princess Cookie Cat, continue to provide us with lots of love and laughter no matter what time of the year it is.

10. The best thing about summer?? Being able to get out more in this beautiful part of the world with my wonderful husband - it's been a fabulous summer so far.

How's your summer been if you're in the northern hemisphere, and I hope those of you in the south aren't having too cold a winter. Before you go, make sure that you hop over to Tamara's Blog to see what my fellow bloggers have been up to this summer.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and lets all pray that the farmers in Australia get some rain.

Pamela & Ken

Friday, July 27, 2018

Top Ten Thursday Scavenger Hunt on Friday

The last Thursday of the month is Photo Scavenger Hunt time. Here are the items we were supposed to take pictures of, which are chosen by our host for this blog hop, Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom:
  1. Clouds
  2. Fly Amanita
  3. Sunflowers
  4. Peppers
  5. Native American
  6. Airplane
  7. Ice Cream
  8. Bridge
  9. Letters
  10. Bricks
1. Clouds - a beautiful sunset turned the clouds a variety of colours.

2. Fly Amanita - okay, who else just got a quizzical look on their face and wondered if it was an exotic airline company? After consulting Mr Google I discovered that it is the really pretty but very poisonous toadstool that looks like it's out of a fairytale. Thankfully I took a photo of some last year when we were in Glen Shee, and of course a friendly unicorn had to get in the picture.

3. Sunflowers - love these bright, beautiful flowers and they always make me smile.

4. Peppers - my first instinct was to take a picture of some capsicums, but then I decided that pepper jars was more original.

5. Native American - this gorgeously decorated motorbike was at last years Thunder in the Glens which is held every year in August in Aviemore.

6. Airplane - this is a really fun mailbox that is part of the novelty mailbox trail in Tasmania.

7. Ice Cream - blue icecream so I'm thinking it was probably bubblegum flavour or candyfloss flavour.

8. Bridge - there are so many old bridges dotted around the highlands that we are often pulling the car over so that we can take pictures and explore a little.

9. Letters - I love how the people who make snickers have put different words on them to make your enjoyment of chocolate a little humorous. This one makes me smile as miffed is such a great word. 

10. Bricks - when we visit really old places like this graveyard and the remains of a very old church, I always place my hand on the old bricks to see if I can feel any vibrations from the past. I also like to imagine all the things those walls have seen.

Hope you've enjoyed my interpretation of the photo scavenger hunt, and why don't you come and join us. Before you go, make sure you hop over to Tamara's blog to see what my fellow bloggers have come up with.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a wonderful week.

Pamela & Ken

Monday, July 23, 2018

The Tradition & Craziness of a Highland Games

On Saturday we went to the Tomintoul Highland Games, which have been held since the early 1800's. There is such a lovely atmosphere on any games day and there is a cacophony of sound that never lets up. Around the arena there are so many different events going on that you don't know where to look first. The first competition we came to was the highland dancing that goes on all day, with different age groups and different dances.

In the four corners of the field there were solo piping competitions where the lone piper had to play and walk at a very slow pace around the platform.

There were various track and field events going on like long jump, sprints, and the hill race. Towards the end of the day they had the novelty events like the sack race which visitors to the games could take part in.

There were a few pipe bands that would play and march across the field in the middle of all the action. I thought that the lone pipers deserved a medal just for keeping going with their own tune when a whole band was passing by them.

This is the Ballater & District Pipe Band.

We made the decision to leave Bramble Jelly at home and I'm so glad that we did, as apart from the noise, it was a very warm day and I don't think she would have enjoyed it. Here's just a few of the many puppy dogs that were at the games. Lots were hiding under chairs trying to get out of the sun.

Of course one of the things that everyone goes to see is the heavy events with men in kilts throwing large objects long distances. The rules actually state that they have to wear the kilt to compete.

In the picture below the man in the middle of the picture is running with the caber (very large wooden pole) and then he will toss it. The aim is to get it to flip right over, but whilst we were watching none of them managed to achieve it.

This picture shows the craziness of what is going on in the arena. From left to right you have highland dancing, tug of war, marching pipe band, and tossing the caber.

After we'd been at the games for a while we went for a walk down the main street of Tomintoul and stopped at a cafe to have a cold drink and a sit down (there weren't many places to sit except the ground at the games). I loved this carved wooden highland cow that was a feature in someone's front garden that we walked past.

This man was sitting near us at the cafe, and as you can see, his plaited hair was down to his bottom.

I'm just going to leave this here - it was on the wall in the cafe.

Earlier in the day when we had been watching one of the piping competitors we noticed this man having a very sound sleep on the ground beside the platform. How he could sleep with the noise that was all around him is incredible.

When we returned he was very much awake and busking near the front gate of the games, playing the electric guitar and the tin whistle. He's a bit of a dude.

One thing that I have to do at any country show or games is have a donut or two as there's nothing better than freshly baked ones covered in sugar - totally yummy.

Haste ye back. This is a sign that we often see on the way out of towns in Scotland and I thought it was lovely that it was on the back of the games sign so that you only saw it as you went out of the ground. In case you didn't realise, it means to come back soon.

I hope you enjoyed your visit to the Tomintoul Highland Games - have you ever been to one?

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and do something this week, no matter how small, that will help save the planet for future generations.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: I think this is the closest the brats have been without any hissing, growling, or general fighting going on. The reason, they were too focused on the birds outside the window as Ken had recently put bird seed out.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Top Ten Thursday - Mishaps & Clumsiness

For today's top ten Thursday, Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom has given the following instructions:

" This kind of sh** only happens to me" - like trying to push open a door that clearly says PULL. Or writing down your childhood phone number on an application form.

Today let's list your top ten mishaps and help me feel better about my own clumsiness!"

Now this is an area that I really excel at so the list was very easy.

1. A few years ago we hired a lovely little cottage in Portknockie (Scotland), and a few days in I fell from the top of the stairs to the bottom. Thankfully my (very padded) bottom took most of the brunt, but I had some spectacular bruises for a while.

2. One year when we were in Tasmania we went for a day out to Strahan on the west coast so that I could show Ken around. We parked the car, got out, and a few seconds later I tripped over a bollard and skidded across the tarmac on my hands and knees. So the main part of the town that Ken got to see was the tourist information centre where they had a first aid kit and my beloved patched me up. It was very painful.

3. Two years ago at work I missed the step about three from the bottom of the stairs and ended up sprawled across the floor in front of several centre visitors who were there to get support from me. I tore my trousers, took skin off my knees, and felt very embarrassed.

4. When I lived in Sydney, I tripped over my nephew's baby gate, landing very heavily and stylishly on my knees. Actually it's a wonder my knees still function with the amount of times I've abused them.

5. Last year as I was getting out of the shower I had a very spectacular fall, ended up in Accident and Emergency, and had to have three weeks off work due to torn ligaments in my leg and wrist.

6. One night in the nurses home when I was a student nurse we were attempting to put one of my friends in the bath fully clothed (we were a little crazy). Our first thought was to put her in the bath and turn on the shower, but when the shower didn't work, we put the plug in the bath and turned the taps on. Anyway, after we'd finished our shenanigans we all went to bed, and unbeknown to us the shower decided to come on during the night and the plug was still in the bath!!! We awoke to a very flooded third floor and some had leaked down to the second floor. The hospital had to get big industrial fans in to try and dry the place out and we had to live with the wet smell for ages. We also had to come up with a plausible explanation for the flood that didn't implicate any of us - I think we managed it.

7. When I was at primary school, for the school evening for the parents, my class was doing a gymnastics demonstration. I was meant to run, jump on the trampet, and then do a perfectly executed somersault over the vault. Instead, I ran, jumped on the trampet and then decided to sit on the vault before getting off and running off stage very quickly.

8. I am the person who asks the blind man if he saw something!!

9. I am the nurse who has had to go through the contents of a rubbish skip to find a pair of false teeth that had been thrown out with some rubbish. (I did find them so that made the stinkyness worthwhile).

And the pièce de résistance of my mishaps:

10. I am also the nurse who was trying to take an unconscious persons false teeth out, tugging on them very strongly, when the family walked in and asked me what I was doing as the lady had all her own teeth.

There you have it, just a few of my mishaps and clumsiness over the years - I could probably do a top 100 with lots of them being from my over 30 years as a nurse.

Before you go make sure you hop over to Tamara's Blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their list.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and I hope everything is going well in your world.

Pamela & Ken

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Top Ten Thursday - Soccer

As it's the world cup, this week Tamara at Part-time Working Hockey Mom has asked us to do our Top Ten Thursday on the theme of soccer:

"Could care less, love it, live it? What team are you rooting for? Who's going to win the FIFA World Cup 2018? Who's your favorite player?"

I'm not particularly keen on soccer so here are some random thoughts that I have around the so called 'beautiful' game.  

1. Australia - I know that they aren't good enough yet to win the world cup but I always support them and live in hope that one day it will happen. Once we got knocked out I was supporting anyone but England.

2. Scotland - poor Ken's country didn't make it to the world cup so he was also supporting anyone but England (do you sense a bit of a theme here).

3. Wimps - basically that's what most players are. They can barely get touched and they're rolling around on the ground as if they've been hit by a bus. I think this meme shows the difference between soccer players and other sports people.

4. Overpaid - on the BBC Sports Website there is a great calculator that lets you compare your salary to top footballers. Lionel Messi who plays for Barcelona would take only 14 minutes to earn my weekly salary and it would take me 729 years to earn his yearly salary. That just seems a little bit obscene when you think of how much could be done with that money.

5. Fans - I've never been to a soccer game and one of the reasons why is the fact that fans have to be seperated at the match and often get let out of different ends of the stadium at different times so as to not create any problems. As someone who has been to Aussie Rules Games, Rugby League, and Rugby Union games where everyone sits together and there is good natured banter throughout the match, this animosity towards the other teams fans just seems very strange to me.

6. Sweepstakes - at work we had a sweepstakes where you pay a couple of pounds and then draw teams out. Whoever has the winning team gets the takings. I picked out Uruguay and Denmark and then I cheated by looking and pulled out Australia - no one minded as they had no worries about Australia winning. Sadly all my teams are now out of the competition.

7. Jose Mourinho - when he came to England's Premier League as manager of Chelsea in 2004 it was like a breath of fresh air. His overconfidence, his accent, his fashion sense, and of course his smoldering eyes - I actually paid attention when he was being interviewed. This clip shows the infamous press conference which meant that he would forever be known as the special one.

8. The Offside Rule - several people have tried to explain this to me over the years with no success, except for one. This person ingeniously used the analogy of shopping during a sale with the till being the goal, and getting to the till part of the game. I can't remember everything they said, but I do remember it finally making sense to me.

9. Media Saturation - it really shocks me how much time on the news and space in the papers that soccer takes up. There can be Grand Prix races, the Tour de France, and other significant sporting events, and they may not even make the news and the papers may include just a couple of lines.

10. Diving - no, I don't mean the stylish kind off a high board into water. I mean when a soccer player suddenly throws themselves on the ground when they've barely been touched and sometimes not touched at all. The aim, apart from being a really bad role model to children, is to get a penalty or get a player on the opposite team sent off. There are some players that take their diving to Academy Award acting ability, and I really wish more referees would give out red cards when it happens.

So, have you been glued to the world cup or like me will you be glad when it's over. Before you go, make sure you hop over to Tamara's Blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their lists.

Until next time, have a great week, and I'm now cheering for Croatia to win.

Pamela & Ken