Thursday, June 30, 2016

Baseball - monthly photo blogging challenge

Time for the monthly photo blogging challenge and June's theme is Baseball!! Not something we get a lot of in the Scottish Highlands so I was in a bit of a dilemma about how to represent it. My first thought was to take pictures of things you might find at a baseball game, but after Ken's suggestion of taking a picture of a cow because the gloves are made out of leather I poo pooed that idea. Another idea that we debated was finding things to represent team names but hadn't fully decided on this until we happened to drive past a laundrette called the Red Sock (see photo 3). We saw it as a sign (no pun intended) so this month I have learnt more about obscure Minor League Baseball teams than I ever thought I would.

Hope you enjoy my interpretation of the theme and I apologise to all the North Americans at my very limited knowledge of your nations sport.

1. Midland Rockhounds play in Texas and first played under that name in 1999 and apparently a Rockhound is another name for a geologist. The team has three mascots; Rocky born in 1999, Juice born in the late 80's, and Junior who was a stray??

Our very own rockhound on top of a very large rock
2. Boise Hawks play in Idaho and first played with that name in 1987. I have actually heard of Boise but I'm not sure why. The teams mascot is Humphrey the Hawk who was born in the Boise foothills.

Statue of a bird of prey in the Eastgate Shopping Centre, Inverness
3. Pawtucket Red Sox is a team that plays in Rhode Island that first played with that name in 1970. Pawtucket - that's a place I've never heard of and it's a very interesting (odd) name. The team has two mascots, Paws and Sox (very original). Paws is a boy and was born in 1999 and Sox is a girl and was born in 2001 and they are polar bears (because we all know that polar bears are native to Rhode Island).

Launderette in Grantown-on-Spey
4. Durham Bulls is a team in North Carolina which first played as the Bulls in 1913 and is a minor league team that I've actually heard of thanks to the film Bull Durham (1988) which starred the gorgeous Kevin Costner and the equally gorgeous Timothy Robbins. The team mascot was born in 1992 and is called Wool E Bull.

Highland Cow/Bull
5. Kannapolis Intimidators play in North Carolina and have played with that name since the year 2000. Personally I prefer their previous name which was Piedmont Boll Weevils which they were given after a public name the team contest - reminds me of the Boaty McBoatface incident earlier this year. Their mascot is Tim E Gator (see what they've done there) and he joined the team in 2009.

Our own little intimidator - she looks so innocent but she is definitely
the boss of the furbies in this house.
Now why don't you pop over to PJ's blog to see how other people have interpreted the theme - just click HERE.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take the time to learn something new this week.

Pamela & Ken

Monday, June 27, 2016

A highland hodgepodge

This weekend was a hodgepodge of mini adventures. First, I was working on Saturday as we had a kid's day at work - what do you think of the addition of pink pipe cleaners to my glasses? I also had purple pipe cleaners in my hair but I took them out before I forgot and went out in public with them.

After my day at work we called into the Culloden Battlefield visitor centre as they had a craft fair on, and who can resist one of those. In the pavement they have a lot of clan coats of arms and we found Clan Murray, which is Ken's ancestry.

Here's a picture of some of the stalls - it doesn't look like much but they were spread over such a large area that I couldn't fit them all in.

I did indulge and buy a few things including the gorgeous tea cup Pixie and magic wand that are pictured below (yes, still crazy). The pixie is a native of the highlands and loves collecting things, so I think I must have a bit of pixie in me.

Whilst we were having a sit down in the visitor centre I was quite fascinated by this wall hanging with a recipe for short bread. Firstly I was surprised to read that Scotland and England pounds are different, and secondly I was very intrigued as to what a mutchkin is. Of course I googled it and according to the Collins online dictionary it is: a Scottish unit of liquid measure equal to slightly less than one pint.

On Sunday we went into Inverness and managed to squeeze in a visit to a graveyard - how fabulous. The graveyard was around the Old High Church which is the site of the oldest congregation in the city. There are some really interesting headstones and despite it raining it was a good wander.

Below is a headstone for a Forbes family which is part of my ancestry - there were quite a few in the graveyard so I took photos of them all so that I can see if they match anyone on my family tree.

A couple of gravestones from the 1700's.

Interesting doors in the church - we're not sure what the top one was for as there's no way to get up to it. It's a door to nowhere.

The next two headstones have a hand holding a scroll - the scroll represents the persons life and the hand shows the angels holding the life.

After the battle of Culloden in 1746 the churchyard was used to execute prisoners and the headstone below was one that was used to line up the prisoners for shooting.

Interesting headstone with a plough on the bottom.

View from the graveyard looking over the River Ness and the pedestrian bridge.

Another 1700's headstone that has been renewed - obviously still important to someone.

Very impressive headstone for a military man.

 Final picture is my beloved in his new t-shirt that I had made for him. It has pictures of four things on the front that represent him - dog walking, cake, cars, and housework!! Before anyone thinks I'm being mean he absolutely loved it. Also, there is a hidden message printed inside the hem which I can't reveal but just to say it's something that Kath used to say to Kel in Kath & Kim (it's an Australian comedy). In case anyone wants to get one for someone, it's from not on the highstreet and there are loads of pictures to choose from.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take time this week to do something nice for yourself.

Pamela & Ken

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A hedgehog, midwives up a mountain, and a cookie shaped like a cow.

This post is a bit of a mishmash but sometimes that's what our weekends are like. On Saturday evening we found this lovely little lady in our garden - it's only the second hedgehog that I've seen in the wild. We've visited the hedgehog rescue centre of Tiggywinkle's outside London and loved seeing the little beasties wandering around the garden. I guess this is another benefit of the very long days in the highlands, we get to see animals that are nocturnal - I took this photo after 10pm with no need for a flash.

On Sunday we drove down to Fort William (the reason will follow in a moment). Fort William is where the West Highland Way finishes. This is a walk that has been on my bucket list for way too long and I suspect it will stay there for a long time in the future. It's Scotland's most popular long distance walk which is 96 miles/154 Kilometres long. Since we last visited the town they've changed the end point and made it much more of a feature - there are seats for the walkers and a statue of a walker resting his feet.

A really interesting feature in the town is the Recycle route which includes 13 painted bikes at various points around the town with interesting facts about recycling. I think anything that makes us think about what we're doing to the planet is a good thing.

Interesting pattern on the steps with a welcome message carved in English and Gaelic.

Now for the reason we were in Fort William. Ken's sister Jean and many of her midwife colleagues decided to walk to the top of Ben Nevis for charity. Ben Nevis is the tallest mountain in the UK and is 4,411ft 2in or 1,345m tall. These remarkable women (or crazy) went up the mountain in aid of two cancer charities, one of them being Maggie's Highlands which is where I work. They all inspire me greatly but especially Jean - she's like the energiser bunny, never stopping. This picture (courtesy of Jean's phone) is of the ladies at the summit of the mountain - Jean is on the right.

Jean just after she came down the mountain with her very well deserved bottle of prosecco - she wasn't actually drinking it but I think she was tempted.

Ken and his wee sister Jean - we're so glad we could be there to share that momentous achievement with the ladies.

On our way home we stopped at the Commando's memorial which was unveiled in 1952. 1,700 commandos died in the second world war and 8 commandos were awarded the Victoria Cross.

Since we last stopped at the memorial (quite a number of years ago) an area of remembrance has been created where the ashes of commandos from world war two have been placed along with memorial plaques to men and women who have died in more recent conflicts such as the Falklands, Iraq, and Afghanistan. It's a very poignant area as so many of the plaques are to very young people.

This is a view of the Nevis range from the memorial - Ben Nevis is somewhere in the clouds.

To finish here is a picture of my highland cow cookie that my beloved bought me - I'd given him the challenge of finding me a cookie shaped like an animal and not from a supermarket. I think he excelled himself.

Until next time be good, stay safe, and maybe challenge yourself to do something new this week.

Pamela & Ken

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Furbies make every day fun

I just realised that I haven't written a blog post for a while about the wonderful furbies we share our lives with. Animals are such an important part of days of fun and we wouldn't be without them. 

Any post about furbies has to start with Tiddles - she was my lovely cat that I got when I was 9 and she lived to be 16. She was such a lovely cat - a real cuddly cat who drooled when she was happy. These two photos were taken just before she died so that's why she's looking a bit scruffy around the edges.

The year that I worked in Saudi Arabia my friend Elaine and I sort of befriended a can whom we called B.C - the C stands for Cat, you can decide for yourself what the B stands for. Just to say he was a little bit temperamental and used to get very crabby with us when we were treating a wound he had with an aromatherapy cream that Elaine had mixed up.  He did have his moments and could be very friendly - I wished I could have brought him home with me.

The next furbie to feature has to be Bertie - our gorgeous springer spaniel who died in August 2014. He was such an important part of our family and we still miss him a lot.

So now onto the brats that are our cats - Cookie (grey tabby) and Muffin (black). They're now 12 years old and are a constant source of comfort and lots of moments of laughter. We've just bought them this new bed to try and pacify them for bringing a puppy into the house, and I've already had to order a second one as they keep fighting over this one.

Now to the said puppy. This is Bramble, or to be correct, Bramble Jelly Sassy Pants! She has a boring kennel club name but we prefer our version of it. Bramble is 11.5 weeks old and is growing rapidly. She has very sharp teeth and as she's teething she's trying to chew everything including our clothes and fingers. My beloved is really having his dog training skills tested. It is lovely having a dog in the house again though I don't think the cats agree with us yet. Bramble is a little slow on the uptake in that she still hasn't quite realised that if she didn't chase the cats she wouldn't end up getting boxed on the nose by them.

The brats think they own the place and Muffin's latest little foible is drinking out of Ken's glass when he leaves it unattended (it's only water). We normally stop her but I couldn't resist getting a photo of her doing it.

If we leave our bedroom door open the bed becomes the brats property as well - they usually sleep under the duvet but Cookie also likes to sleep right in the middle of the bed as if it's hers. I obviously need to by a third pillow that says 'Cookie's'.

When we were getting ready to bring Bramble Jelly home we had set up the puppy crate and bought beds for in the crate and outside it, and I think Princess Cookie and Muffin Monster thought we were really spoiling them - we were lulling them into a false sense of security. I made sure I sprayed lots of pet calming essential oils around before they met their baby sister.

When we first met Bramble she was only 3 weeks old and curled up with her two sisters and one brother. We were the first to get a pick of the litter and we both were drawn to her straight away - she's the one on the right of the picture with the white stripe down her face. At that stage we didn't know that she had white on her paws or belly as we weren't allowed to pick her up. We did get to meet her mum and she is such a lovely dog.

This was our visit to her at 4.5 weeks old and finally we could give her a cuddle - look at that face, how could we not fall for her.

With all this talk of our furbies I thought I'd just show my beloved being a hero again (if you read the previous post you would of seen him rescuing a bunny rabbit). We live underneath a rookery and lately the babies have all been fledging, with varying degrees of success. This silly bird decided that a good place to sit was on the road outside our cottage so Ken caught it and put it in the woods - hopefully it will survive.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting the furry members of our family and my challenge for the rest of the year is to try and get a picture of them together - wish me luck.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and say hello to the next animal that you meet.

Pamela & Ken