Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Cee's Fun Foto Challenge: Hot or Cold?

Cee's fun foto challenge (CFFC) is a weekly themed challenge with a photo or photos from our archives or totally new pics - this week's theme was hot and/or cold. Rather than go for the weather I decided to go with hot drinks which usually means a latte for me, and yes I'm very sad and take photos of them. Here's just a few from over the years:

This beautiful creation was a honey latte that I had one lovely evening in Budapest - it was scrummy.

What could be more perfect but a latte and a teeny tiny coffee ice cream on the side - this was in Fortnum and Mason in London.

The next two are hot chocolates with fabulous artwork on top.

Very indulgent hot chocolates with the works on them - something I can't have anymore due to marshmallows generally not being vegetarian.

Speciality lattes. The one on the left is a gingerbread latte which they serve at Christmas time in Costa and there's always a little gingerbread man having a swim in your drink. The one on the right is a tia maria latte with a thick layer of pouring cream which is delish.

So there you have it, my interpretation of the theme hot - before you go, why don't you pop over to Cee's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with, click here to visit. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and treat yourself to your favourite drink as soon as possible.

Pamela & Ken

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Vintage Vehicles at the Highland Folk Museum

We've been having a bit of a heatwave here in the north of Scotland, with it getting up to 29 degrees on Friday - shockingly Ken even put his shorts on for the first time since we've moved to Scotland. Today it's back to normal being mid teens but still very sunny and lovely so we went went for a day out to the Highland Folk Museum at Newtonmore which is 47 miles from us.

It was vintage day at the museum with lots of old vehicles on display and of course Macbraynes buses were there - whenever there is an occasion for old vehicles, the Macbraynes will be there.

This was a heritage cooking demonstration of how to make that staple of past lives, Spam fritters. For anyone that doesn't know, Spam is a tinned meat that was first produced in the 1930's and gained popularity during the second world war.

All sorts of old forms of transport were on display, including these bicycles.

The first bike in the row above was used in Australia by sheep shearers travelling between sheep stations - the bike itself comes form Perth.

There were stationary engines in all shapes and sizes, which my beloved really enjoys looking at, and this one was of the small, almost cute, variety.

Around the folk museum site are recreated houses showing how highlanders lived from the 1700's to the 1960's. The homes are furnished with appropriately sourced furniture and belongings and this one below actually took me back in time as it smelled just like my nanna and grandad's farmhouse used to smell.

In another building they had this display which showed lots of different ways that butter has been made and churned over the years. On another table in this room were lots of paddles for shaping the butter and wooden stamps for putting designs on the butter.

This very realistic cow had teats so that people could have a go at milking. There were also chickens, ducks, sheep, and horses dotted around the museum with the cow being the only fake one.

There was a display of vintage tractors with the one here on the left looking like it needs a bit of love.

This beautiful kitty cat was curled up in the sun sleeping and wasn't at all bothered by all the people walking past. He's a little rough around the edges with quite a scabby looking head along with quite a few bumps that I could feel. I just wanted to wrap him up and bring him home with us as he looked like he could use some pampering.

One of the much older homes on the museum site - a black house which was common in the Scottish Highlands.

The school was set up really nicely and there was even a scary headmaster who was marking tests and ending up terrifying a child enough that she refused to enter the room.

Ken felt like he was back in his childhood sitting at one of the desks with his little chalk board.

Now, just for all you petrol heads out there, here's a few pictures of the cars that were on display.

This isn't the first time that this lovely purple car has made an appearance in our blog, a couple of weeks ago we came across it when we were out exploring ancient woodlands and graves.

Here's the inside of the church which was very peaceful apart from the piped in music of people singing which wasn't pleasant at all - it sounded more like someone trying to strangle a cat.

Here's a couple of really interesting artefacts that were in the church. This is a bottle of water from the River Jordan for Christenings in the 1870's.

This bible was used during court martials in 1857/1858 with all of them recorded in the bible.

After a lovely couple of hours at the museum we headed home but of course we had to stop for sustenance which we did at Boat of Garten and the fabulous 1896 Gallery and cafe.

It's a really nice place to stop for a break and enjoy the art and jewellery on display around you.

My choice - latte and a piece of pimms cake.

Despite all the beautiful artwork in the gallery the most wonderful thing to look at was sitting across the table from me - my gorgeous husband.

That was our Sunday out - I hope your day has been a good one. Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take some time for yourself this week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Look, my beloved has legs.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Top Ten Thursdays: Vocabulary

This week's top ten is words or phrases we know in another language, or several languages. Now I could cheat and count Australian as a separate language to English as there are many words that are very different, but that would be way too easy. Instead I've chosen the top ten of words I used during the year I worked in Saudi Arabia.

One thing I need to add here is that before I went to the middle east to work, the company I was employed by told me that up to 90% of the patients could speak some English - the reality was we were lucky if we got one english speaker a month. We didn't get lessons and just had to pick it up as we went along, which when you're looking after ill people is a little bit tricky.

So here's my top ten, and just to say, the meanings may be a little bit loosely fitting but when you're grasping for a word you sort of use whatever one fits your needs from your limited vocabulary. I'm not even going to go into the whole male and female versions of words, and how the context can totally change the meaning of something and how you say it.

1. Inshallah - God Willing. This is a really useful word that can be used in any situation where you don't really have the answer and is said a lot. For example, will the doctor be here soon? Inshallah. Can I go home tomorrow? Inshallah. How long until the food gets here? Inshallah not too long. It's a very good word to know.

2. Mumkin - Maybe. I probably used this word way too much with patients and relatives, but when you don't know all the little words that connect to make a coherent sentence, then maybe is a great replacement. I still use this one quite a lot as it stuck in my head and everytime I say it to Ken he replies with the word pumpkin - it's another of our silly little habits.

3. Bukra - Tomorrow. Another one that I used a lot with patients and families when they asked about going home. My response would often be Mumkin Bukra (maybe tomorrow).

4. Mushkila - problem. I've put it nearly in the middle of my list but I'm pretty sure this is the word that I said the most during my year in Saudi, and I still use it. When you catch someone doing something wrong then saying mushkila at them is quite useful. If it's a big problem then you say Kabir Mushkila and as I didn't know other words to go around it I'd say it very loudly and repeat it. I remember once when a visitor decided to sit in the royal lounge (it's not as fancy as it sounds, every ward had one in case royalty was admitted) I just kept repeating kabir mushkila, kabir mushkila until security came and were much more effective at removing him. Conversely, if something isn't a problem then you say Mafi Mushkila which came in handy when people would be saying there was a problem or something was wrong and then you just said mafi mushkila.

5. Haram - forbidden. This is quite a large step up from mushkila as Haram means something that is forbidden by the Quran (the Islamic holy book). I think I only used this word once during my year though the man at number 4 may have frustrated me so much that I may have tried to imply that the Quran forbid him to sit in the lounge. The reason I used it was when a male patient groped me so I yelled it at him quite loudly.

6. Malish - never mind. Quite a useful one when you're bartering and you decide that the trader hasn't reduced the price enough, so you say Malish and turn to walk out of their shop - this usually results in a further reduction.

7. Dagiga - wait. My favourite time of seeing this used was trying to cross the road in Taif, the town my hospital was near. The roads were a nightmare to get across, yet this very wizened up old man stepped out into the traffic whilst shouting dagiga and using hand gestures and walked across the road with cars swerving to miss him.

8. Muttawa - religious police. These were the bane of our existence when we went into the market, as if they were having a quiet day they would pick on the western females about having our hair uncovered. Where I was based we didn't have to cover our hair but it would still be something they'd annoy us about. We learnt very early on to tell them that we didn't have a scarf with us and we'd cover our hair next time.

9. Salah - prayer. Muslims pray five times a day, and in Saudi Arabia there is no way out of this if you are in a public place. The prayer call would come out of the speakers of the mosque and the Muttawa would round up all the men to make sure they went to pray. The first prayer call of the day is when the sun begins to rise, so in summer this can be as early as 4:30 in the morning and it still blasts over the tannoy system in the hospital to make sure everyone that can get out of bed still goes to pray.

10. Kalam showayya Arabee - very loosely translated was my way of saying I didn't speak very much Arabic.

Do you speak any other languages or are there words you've picked up that you throw into conversation without even realising it? Before you go, why don't you pop over to Tamara's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with for their top ten - click here to visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and I hope your week is mushkila free.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: As there's no pictures in this post I thought I'd share two recent shots of our two gorgeous furbies, Bramble and Cookie.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Cee's fun foto challenge: Gardens (of the quirky variety)

Yes, another challenge, but part of blogging is connecting with other bloggers and I love how differently people interpret themes given by the challenge setter. Cee's fun foto challenge (CFFC) is a weekly themed challenge with a photo or photos from our archives or totally new pics.

This weeks theme was Gardens and I have loads of pictures of these so decided to choose the slightly quirky ones to share with you.

This garden had loads of interesting creations in amongst the plants with this cheeky chappy catching my eye - I think with how big and red his nose is he may have a drinking problem.

This gardener has an interesting use for boots - very versatile planters.

Beautiful mini garden in a bathtub at the side of a road.

Seaside themed corner of a garden, complete with a fake seagull.

Before you go, why don't you pop over to Cee's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with to interpret the theme - click here to visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and enjoy some garden time this week.

Pamela & Ken

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cakes, a castle, and a monkey in a fez

This week our landlords gardener told Ken about a lovely coffee shop on the road to Grantown that we'd never visited, so today we remedied that very quickly. The Coffee Lounge at Dava School House serves Cairngorm Leaf and Bean coffee and very scrummy cakes. It's decorated in a really nice style with lots of natural wood and stone with quirky additions.

I loved this clock, with the missing piece of the face attached to the pendulum.

When we left the cafe we headed to Lochindorb which is a nearby loch with a ruined castle in the middle of it. It's a great place to see lots of bird life and in the picture below is a fairly well camouflaged grouse - I've zoomed in for the picture after this one.

I'm not sure if she was sitting on a nest or just staying still in the hope that no one would see her.

Lochindorb means Loch of Trouble in Gaelic and it is in the very desolate landscape of Dava Moor.

The castle in the middle of the loch was built in the 13th century and was inhabited by Scots and English during it's troubled life which ended in the 15th century.

As it's spring there were quite a few baby birds around including this family of ducks - there were at least eight babies and it's a good thing Ken didn't decide to record me as I sat looking out the window making oohing and awing noises for ages. I love baby animals as they're such cuties.

The other thing that we found really strange was the gulls that were nesting on the ground across the moor. I wanted to get a picture for you but everytime we stopped the car they all flew up into the air ready to dive bomb us if we got too close. As we looked across the moor there were little white dots where the heads of the gulls stuck up amongst the ground cover.

After a nice drive around the loch and communing with nature we headed for Logie Steading which is a rural shopping village. It has a great cafe and as it had been a few hours since the last coffee and cake it was time to refuel our energy levels. I had this delicious looking creation which was a mini banana loaf with caramel sauce on top of it.

There are lots of window boxes and plant troughs around the area and they are all gloriously in bloom - loved these as they were purple.

It's been way too long since I've been able to post about a nice toilet so was glad to find something today to share with you. These flowers were in the ladies toilets and they're beautiful as is the message with them. On the card about saving the bees it says; For the bee, the flower is the fountain of life, for the flower, the bee is the messenger of love.

There's a fabulous second hand book store at Logie Steading and I always go and see if there's any interesting books about cats, and yes I found two today, one from the sixties and one from the seventies. Ken found another great book for me and of course I had to liberate it from the shelves - it's a book of traditional Australian ballads which I've been trying to sing to Ken so it's no wonder he's just gone to bed.

The last picture I'm going to share with you is one of the  book ends on a shelf in the book store - it's a monkey, wearing a fez and a waistcoat, sitting on books and reading a book, and it's fabulous.

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

Pamela & Ken