Sunday, August 31, 2014

the dreaded lurgy

Bacteriophage Virus Digital File Crochet Pattern Amigurumi Adobe Pdf
You can crochet your own bacteriophage virus (why not?) using this pattern from Ooh Look, It's A Rabbit.

My horrible day of puking at the start of the week turned out to be the beginning of some horrific virus-type thing rather than a short and not-sweet stomach bug.  It lulled me into a false sense of security, making me think I felt better apart from one insanely hot cheek, and then it gave me some innocent-seeming cold symptoms and destroyed me!  Ugh.  I've pretty much been sleeping since Thursday evening.  Surely it must be over soon?  Here's hoping.  Poor Dulcie has had it too (her first ever experience of vomiting - how sweet) but she seems more resilient than me and quite happy NOT TO SLEEP AT ALL if last night is anything to go by.  Yawn!  Graham has not succumbed, claiming it only affects the very young (Dulcie), the very old (not him) and the "infirm" (me).  Cheers, Graham...

So not much else is happening, obviously, but I'm hoping another afternoon in bed will shake this off and then I have a couple of days of annual leave booked and maybe I'll actually manage to do something with them?  Probably not anything that blog-worthy, but certainly more blog-worthy than snoozing.

Hope I haven't breathed in anyone's general direction this week...

Friday, August 29, 2014

story teller

Part of Dulcie's new and improved bedtime routine now she's settled in her own room is listening to stories as she falls asleep.  I still have to stay in the room with her, but, since the introduction of story CDs, I am allowed to sit in a chair rather than kneel by the bed while she clings onto my hair!  If she wakes up in the night, I put the CD on for her then too and am trying to encourage her to do this herself.  We're getting...maybe not THERE, but SOMEWHERE.

A year or two ago I found a bundle of old Story Teller tapes in a charity shop and bought as many as I could carry, even though they weren't that cheap and I know from bitter experience that tapes from charity shops don't always work.  (Yes, I'd been burned by Story Teller tapes before!)  Anyway, these tapes did work and my dad, in his retirement, started transferring them onto CD for Dulcie and my sister's children.  The project got kind of out of hand and he ended up scouring eBay for the missing volumes.  We now have them all and my dad is still busily transferring volume two.  He even records a little message at the start of each CD, some of which are most amusing and occasionally the way only a grandfather can be.

Since starting the great Story Teller tape conversion project, we've discovered some kind person has actually uploaded all the stories to YouTube already.

The Great Big Hairy Boggart (shared at the top there) is one of my favourites.  I also love The Shoe Tree.  But really all the stories are great and told so brilliantly.  You just don't get voices like that these days!  None of your squeaky James Corden types here!

My sister and I used to listen to story tapes every night and I can still remember sections of some Story Teller stories word for word.  Putting Dulcie to bed is a great nostalgia trip now and I love sharing some of my childhood with her and the fact that she's getting so much out of listening to the stories.  She often picks up on little turns of phrase and asks me questions about things.  She's going to be a linguistic genius at this rate!

The other CD we've been loving, also transferred from an old tape, a dodgy copy of one I borrowed repeatedly from our local library in the late '80s/early '90s, is The Furry Haggis Stories.  They are bloomin' amazing (and so Scottish) and Dulcie LOVES them, but I can't find any reference to them anywhere on the internet.  If my memory of the tape's cover serves me correctly, they had originally been broadcast on radio (BBC Scotland I thought, but maybe not?) but I have no idea who they're by or where they've disappeared to.  Does anybody else remember them?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

aberfeldy 2014

 Just to prove we are not totally heartless parents, abandoning Dulcie at the first whiff of a weekend away, here are some pictures of the week we all spent in Aberfeldy earlier this month.

We were in the local charity shop so much we realised Dulcie thought this shop WAS Aberfeldy.  Dulcie loved it in there - they had loads of toys on a bottom shelf, so she played happily for ages while we browsed the rest of the stuff.  I don't think we made any amazing finds this year (we usually do) but we all got some good books.
 Most of our time was spent hanging out at the swimming pool and play park, or drinking delicious coffees and eating cakes, but we did manage to make the most of the scenic circular bus for a day trip to Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre near Comrie.  We all had a fantastic day and I couldn't recommend it more highly for a day out with a small child in tow.  There was so much for Dulcie to see and do and plenty in place for entertainment had it not been such a glorious day.
 The setting of the place is absolutely beautiful and it was great to lunch surrounded by such gorgeous scenery...
 ...and crisp-loving peacocks!
There was a great outdoor play area - fun for all the family, as you can see!
 Aw!  See?  She loves him really!  (She doesn't always like to show it.)
 There was a giant sandpit and tunnels to explore.  Poor Dulcie came a cropper while trying to join in with the big kids, tripping over a slightly bigger little girl and landing face first on the pavement.  She had a gigantic bruise and graze on her forehead and skint bits by her eye and on her chin.  She was a brave soldier, certainly braver than her dad about it!
 After a brief recovery spell, she was all set to tackle the soft play area and we had to drag her kicking and screaming to the last bus home.

Animal highlights included tickling a lemur's armpit, seeing a surprisingly cute baby goat, holding fluffy little chicks and explaining what that appendage on the horse was...
 Here are some snaps from our wanders around town.
We like these fish.
 I convinced Dulcie this golfer was Cruella de Vil.  She's never seen 101 Dalmatians but we like to sing the song and realised we could get Dulcie to move much faster (when tight for time for a bus, for example) if we pretended we could see Cruella de Vil following us.
 On the Saturday we bussed it to nearby Logierait to visit the monthly market.  Dulcie had been wanting her face painted for weeks (after seeing it on TV) so we were happy to pay £2 for the experience.
 Dulcie chose to be a ladybird and was very pleased at first...
 ...turning into the bad-tempered ladybird shortly afterwards!

Dulcie has been going through a contrary phase lately and it really reached its peak while we were on holiday.  Oh, the screaming...  Every choice she made caused a huge strop, with Dulcie allegedly wishing she'd chosen differently.  And screaming.  And screaming and screaming.  She screamed and screamed about wanting the face paint off (this was after screaming about wishing she'd been a clown instead of a ladybird) and then screamed and screamed about wanting the paint back on once I'd caved in and set about her with a baby wipe.  Ugh.  But this was less than a fortnight ago and, touch wood, a lot has changed since then.  We've made some major progress with her sleep issues and, possibly connected, the screaming seems to have taken a back seat again.
Last but not least, I finally found and read this message from past-Graham in the Watermill guest book.

Ah, the joys of holidaying in the same place every year, a la pensioners!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Berlin, baby, yeah!

Something exciting is going to happen soon.  Graham and I are going to Berlin for a long weekend!  Dulcie is spending the weekend at home with her grandparents!  Can you believe it?   This is big wow!

Graham and I are not really a travelly couple and have never been abroad together except to visit my sister.  And we've only ever spent one night away from Dulcie before, when we went to Newcastle in January.  But some genius put a giant map of the world on the wall of the kitchen at my work and it gave me itchy feet and made me realise how close all of Europe is to us, so I went on Easyjet's website, found destinations for direct flights from Glasgow and gave Graham the choice of Paris, Amsterdam or Berlin.  Within days we had booked flights to Berlin and soon(ish) we'll be offski!

I spent a few days in Berlin many years ago and LOVED it, but wouldn't say I know it at all well.  Graham has never been.  I was wondering if any of you had any tips of must-see attractions or nice places to eat or just meander?  We've already got a place to stay - Singer 109 "where four of Berlin's most fascinating trend districts - Mitte, Friedrichshain, Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg - meet."  Apparently!  Beyond this, we haven't got anything organised and I'd like to have some sort of skeleton itinerary in place before we go so we can make the most of our short time there.  So, please, hit me with your Berlin recommendations!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 16)

[In-game screen]
Sorcerer's Steps, apparently.  I don't remember this game.  It would have been on the Spectrum.

2nd May 1988 One week till birthday
[lots of scribbles]
Ecuse the squiggles.  Granny invited us out to lunch.  I made a robot.

3rd of May 1988
I was playing Sorcers Steps on the computer and I was playing scrabble on the computer.  Tonight is the last night I am slep slep sleeping up in the spare room.

5 5 5 rock rock 4th of May 1988
1 Oh no the terror tomorrow we
2 have to go back ba back
3 to s sc school.  We decided
4 that on Saturday we are
5 going to get a car instead
6 of the jeep.  Tonight I was
7 using the word prossesser.
8 Metro car is Metro car.

5th of Mayke
I went to brownies.
I went to school.

6th of May 1988
Today I worked hard today at school and at dancing.  It's very hot.  I discovered I love Alan.  Well sort of.

7th Maybe 1988, 7th of May maybe
Today I got two birthday cards.  I went to a Brownie revel.

8th May 1988 Tommorrow is my birthday
Today I wrote a story on the word prosseser called Polly the Wally.  Kerry and Mum made my birthday cake.

Monday, August 25, 2014

ugh... green...

This is how I look today.  To be fair, I always look quite like the Wicked Witch of the West with my pointy chin and triangular eyebrows.  Today is different, however, for today I am also green.  Dulcie woke me up at 2.30am, from a lovely snooze, and I realised I felt slightly squeamish.  I couldn't get back to sleep and, by the time I'd got up and showered for work at 6ish, I had a full-blown dodgy stomach and had to phone in sick, thus ruining some poor English colleague's bank holiday, no doubt.  Urgh.  Oh yeah, and we had no toilet roll in the house, of course.  Graham said he felt like Richard Gere, coming back from the Spar with a four-pack of Andrex.  What a guy...  Here's to feeling better tomorrow.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

greetings from moscow!

Greetings from Moscow!  No, not that Moscow.  Dulcie and I are in Moscow, Ayrshire,* visiting my mum and dad's new house for the first time.  We're having a lovely time.  We've been spotting wildlife in the garden, mainly - frogs and butterflies and bees (and bees and bees and bees) and a hedgehog who's been so close to us all weekend that he's just been taken away by the SSPCA for investigation, the poor wee thing.  Other than that, I've been reading my book in the conservatory and exploring nooks and crannies and going for a lovely walk down a country road.  I've also had tea and a scone at a wee farm shop/garden centre/tea room.  Dulcie's two favourite stories at the moment are the one I tell her about the time the goat ate my mum's skirt (because it had tasty-looking flowers on it) and The Billy Goats Gruff, so she was very excited to get up close and personal with some real goats before eating her locally made ice cream, although she was a little worried they might eat her clothes...understandably.

There's something so nice about being in my parents' house that was never my house, it feels much more like a real visit/holiday, somehow.  Plus it takes minutes (30-odd minutes) rather than hours to get here.  And do you know what's even better?  While we're relaxing here, Graham and his dad are busy wallpapering our hall at home!  Hopefully (touch wood x 100) that will be done and looking lovely by the time Dulcie and I get back.  And I won't even have lifted a finger :)

* I'm told the "lonely cottage" where the infamous murder took place is, in fact, my mum and dad's house!  No ghosts are apparent and last night I had the best sleep I've had in years, so I think it's OK.  That said, a somnambulist murderer was suspected, so sound sleep may not be such a positive thing...

Thursday, August 21, 2014

haiku #2 - my life as a cyborg

Pacemaker? Really?

I'm not sure a haiku should be this repetitive or have such short sentences, but I'm allowing it since this is an almost exact transcript of what an insensitive security person with a dreaded metal-detecting wand recently said to me IN A VERY LOUD VOICE when I asked her not to scan me.  To be honest, I was pretty upset at the time, not least because she had caught me at a very inopportune moment when I'd only just managed to stop crying about my heart situation en route to the venue, but even if I'd met her while in fine fettle, this would have been more than a little insensitive, no?

Anyway, now I've written my "haiku", I'm over it and I thought it might be a good time to revisit the topic of my heart device since it's been a good long while since I had it fitted, almost 18 months, I think, and I realised this morning that I feel very differently about it these days and I've not mentioned it here for ages.  Hopefully some other young pup (I can still call myself a young pup in the scheme of things, can't I?) awaiting a similar procedure will stumble across this and feel soothed in some way.  I know I would have loved to find a youngish person's positive perspective on this when my own procedure was looming over me.

The device I have is called a CRT-D.  It's not the type of pacemaker that your average elderly type might get.  Unlike a bog-standard pacemaker, its main function is to resynchronise the two sides of my heart (which beat out of synch because one side is stretched and bigger than it should be) so that it can pump blood more effectively.  It also does more traditional pacemaking and has an internal defibrillator built in so that my heart can be shocked back into a normal rhythm if it starts behaving in a way that might cause sudden death, something that people with hearts like mine are a bit more susceptible to.  Dulcie can explain it quite well.  She calls it my magic machine and says that my heart used to go wobble-wobble but the magic machine makes it go boom-boom instead.

So, here's how I feel about my "magic machine" now the dust has settled.  First and foremost, I really believe the device has improved my health.  There's no definitive way to prove this, but certain symptoms changed quite noticeably as soon as it was fitted - I stopped getting pins and needles so badly in the middle of the night and I no longer felt like I was about to drop down dead while out and about.  This might just be because the pacemaking element of my device helps my body to cope with the low blood pressure caused by my medication, but I now wonder if I should have been more worried about those near-death feelings while I was having them...  Anyway! 

Six months after getting my CRT-D fitted, I had some tests done and was advised to go on the heart transplant list because things were so bad.  (I realise I never blogged about this - it was ridiculously traumatic and I am only just beginning to come to terms with it really.)  That very same day, coincidentally, my pacemaker was fine tuned while my heart was scanned to make sure it was operating at optimum capacity.  For weeks after that I had all sorts of weird twinges, like my heart muscle was actually tired, in a way that reminded me of having braces tightened on my teeth as a teenager.  Anyway, four months later, my tests were repeated and I was told that things had improved enough that I wouldn't even be allowed on the transplant list now and that my heart had got a bit smaller too.  This could have been caused by one of many factors, but I do hold my pacemaker partly responsible and I LOVE IT for that reason.

(I'll add, for total transparency and since I don't want this just to be some weirdo pacemaker propaganda post, that this hasn't been a miracle cure, far from it.  Things are still very bad with my heart, but I did not want to have to face a heart transplant and, for now, I don't have to.  This is so good.  Go, pacemaker!)

When I was waiting for my pacemaker to be fitted, I wanted to know what it would look like and every picture I found on the internet made me think it would look VERY BAD INDEED, but I have no visible lump/bump from the device at all.  I don't know if that's to do with my "pouting bubbies" (I'm reading some historical fiction at the moment, sorry!) but in most positions that your man on the street might see me in, the actual box can't be seen AT ALL.  It can be felt, but, given its pouting-bubbie location, nobody who didn't already know about it is likely to be touching me there!  

Sometimes it's not that comfortable.  For a while (and I mean quite recently rather than when I was healing) it itched like mad, but that seems to have calmed down.  It used to make my diaphragm twitch, a bit like deep-set hiccups, but that has also stopped happening.  It took a lo-o-o-o-ong time (I mean over a year) before I could comfortably lie on my left-hand side.  Sometimes, if I've been walking around a lot, I'm aware of its weight and it feels kind of bruisy.  It's pretty uncomfortable if anything touches the lumpy bit (battery pack?) at the top of it, agony if Dulcie accidentally grinds her entire body weight into it.  All that said, 90% of the time, I'm not even aware it's there.  It's definitely settling in!

18 months on from having it fitted, my scar is still decidedly visible, although slightly smaller than it used to be.  Its position makes it harder to hide than I'd imagined, but it really doesn't bother me these days and I don't usually care if people can see it so it doesn't stop me wearing whatever I fancy.  Sometimes I catch a glimpse of it in the mirror and think it actually looks pretty cool.  Who'd have thunk it?!

I guess the only other thing to mention is my feelings about my defibrillator.  This was possibly the scariest aspect when I had the thing fitted at first (remember how I used to go to the cinema on my own so I could get over the fear of being zapped while out alone?) but now it is nothing to me.  In fact, not nothing, but a GOOD something.  Thus far it hasn't shocked me and I think I've done pretty much every activity that I would have worried might set it off.  It took a while to get my head round it, but now I really do feel it's a little safeguard, something that probably won't be needed, but will be there (thank goodness) if it ever is.  I'm glad to have it.
Phew!  I think that just about covers it.  If you're still reading and considering joining the pacemaker/defibrillator club (or even if you're just nosey) please feel free to fire any questions you have my way, either in the comments or by email.  I'm happy to answer whatever you might care to ask.  Here's how my pacemaker consultant answered one of Graham's questions, just for starters - "I don't know what it is you're planning to do, but you'd have to be pretty damn impressive to cause the defibrillator to go off."  Har! :)

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

fabulous freebies!

Thanks to Marceline's timely reminder, I managed to nab a free swatch of eco canvas from Spoonflower.  I wanted to choose something I could actually use in a project, but didn't have any small-scale projects in mind and there was so much to choose from and so little time.  In the end, I opted for this button fabric by Heidi Kenney, which I love, but that doesn't mean I'm not stressing out over all the lovely button-based designs I didn't choose this time.  Dulcie spent £1 of her holiday money on five old buttons last week (go on, yourself, Dulcie!) and I've been wondering where to put them, so I think I'm going to make her a little pouch from this for her to store her new collection.  The swatch is 8 inches square, so it should be a fine size for a beginner button hoarder :)
I think the free swatch offer is open until 4pm today, but don't quote me on that - I find time zones very confusing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 15)

I didn't do Highland dancing, as you'll find out, but I always kind of wished I did.  I snapped this photo at the Aberfeldy Highland Games six years ago.

25th April 1988
Today I went swimming. Yet again I swam a length.  Julia and I made a secret code.  This is A [three scribbled out pictures then a picture of a cloud with a crescent moon peeping out from behind it].  P.S. DO NOT COUNT SCRIBBLES

26th April 1988
Dear donna,
I would like to thank you for being my diary.  Today at singing I had to play the melodica and Emsy had to play the xylephone to the sun has got his hat on.  I had to have an extra practice for tap and ballet.  I can play the melodica without a piece of paper.

[This was way more exciting to me than I make it sound - I had been dying for my turn on the melodica for years, or so it felt, ever since my sister had her shot.  Whoever was having a turn was allowed to take the melodica home after school and I practised my little bum off.  I still get excited at the sound of the melodica to this day.]

27th April 1988
Dear Donna,
I am writing a story about a beaver that goes to the dentist.  I did some sums.  Dad gave me a calculator.  Our project is about the dentist.

28th April 1988
Today I was dancing at a coffee evening.  First it was highland but I don't do that then disco I don't do that either then ballet then tap.

29th April 1988
Today there was no dancing.  Tonight I am sleeping in the spare bedroom up in the playroom part.  Kerry is sleeping in the actull playroom itself.

[I wish I'd written more about this because usually our nights of sleeping upstairs were filled with carefully scheduled events such as farting and burping competitions and throwing iced gems up in the air and catching them in our mouths.  Did such shenanigans take place on this evening?  I guess we'll never know.]

30th April 1988
It is the last day of April.  Gails niece Louise and Gail and Peter came to visit us.

1st May 1988
It is a new moth month of the year.  It is the month of my birthday.  Granny and Finlay and Grann and Flora and Lyndsay came to see us.  I was singing to Lyndsay.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

just don't do it

 I took photos of these trampoline safety posters when we visited the aquarium back in May and just realised I forgot to share them.  Please also note the name of the trampoline company - Super Tramp Trampolines.  Chortle!
This one is my favourite.  I bet you couldn't do this if you tried.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

work in progress

 Dulcie's been in her new bedroom for about four weeks now, but there's still plenty of finishing touches to be made.  Here, at last, is a picture of the curtains I made.  Pretty swell, huh?  I seriously love them.  Want to know my top curtain-making tip, one that I discovered myself and wish I'd known earlier?  If you want curtains that touch the floor, make them a few millimetres shorter than you actually want them.  I painstakingly hemmed these by hand so that they were just glancing across the carpet, only for them to sink down as they settled in, only a millimetre or two, but enough to make their hang not quite the thing of beauty it was initially.
I've started hanging pictures and putting in all the bits and bobs.  I'll share more photos soon, but here's a (very bad) picture of Dulcie's wall of many wonders in the meantime.  I've been collecting cards and prints for her over the last year (or more) for this purpose and I'm so happy to see them in situ at last.  I hung these while Dulcie was at nursery one day, thinking she'd be really excited when she got home.  When I showed her this, however, she burst into floods of tears instead.  Turns out she had wanted to help me to hang them.  Heartbroken would not be an exaggeration.  She cried for ages until I ended up crying too.  Sometimes it feels like I can do no right...and I only want to make her happy!  Waaa!
Anyway, I think I'm going to be getting a gold star for interior design soon (if only I was still at Brownies so I could boast about my interior design badge) but perhaps not for interior-design photography.  I've already got lots more in place that I want to share.  Hopefully I'll manage to do it justice soon.  If I can get a better picture of the wall of many wonders, I'll add some links to let you know where some of the prints/cards came from.
I love Dulcie's bedroom!  I'd love it even more if she'd actually sleep through the night in it...

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 14)

Such grace and elegance!  No, really, I can't believe my posture was ever this good.  This is not how I generally dressed for ballet.  I think I only wore a tutu about twice in my life.  I wish I did have a photo of myself in the ballet cardigan my mum knitted for me.

18th April 1988
Today I went to swimming at about 11 o'clock.  In the afternoon I did gym.

19th April 1988
I went for a practice at tap and ballet.  We got it right every time.  At school we had singing in the morning.

20th April 1988 [freckly face with a cheesy grin drawn here.]
It is Wednesday.  Julia came over to practice tap and ballet.  I was wearing ski pants [whoot-whoot!] and a checked blouse with a Micky Mouse jumper on top of it.

21st of April 1988 of of of of of f f f
Tonight I went to brownies.  I finished off my mat.  I didn't do much else because Percy [cat] sat on my knee all day.

22nd April 1988
Tonight I took Kraig [dog] for a walk with mum.  I practised ballet and tap for an hour.

f 23rd ff April off 1988
Today I went to Aberdeen to do some shopping.  I got a Gordon The Gopher. (GTG).  I have a sore toe.

24th April 1988
Today I went to church.  There were only four people at Sunday school.  I made a tie for Gordon.  Kerry and mum went to see a lamb being born.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

there's got to be more to life than committing suicide*

Like I said yesterday, we didn't see much sport during the Commonwealth Games, but we did make it along to one of the accompanying "festival" events - an outdoor screening of That Sinking Feeling in Kelvingrove Park.

It was great to see the film again in this setting since parts of it are filmed in Kelvingrove Park, and the park was just a pretty amazing setting in its own right too.  The trees behind the screen were so massive, the weather was glorious and seagulls were wheeling across the sky.  There was also a bar on site, so we enjoyed a pint from a local brewery along with the American hard gums we had smuggled past security.  (Security is a whole other story...  I feel a maudlin heart haiku brewing!  Ha!)
The bandstand has just recently been refurbished and looks great. It's lovely to see it back in use. After the film, there was a band on too. Fun, fun times.  Hooray for baby-sitters!
* Please don't stage an intervention - this is one of the rather amusing lines from the film!

Friday, August 8, 2014

bikes in the rain

On the very last day of the Commonwealth Games, the road race very nearly passed by our front door, so I took some annual leave from work and Dulcie, my mum and I headed down to cheer on the cyclists.
Shortly after arriving, the rain began and it ended up being that oh-so-Glasgow brand of particularly soaking rain.  After half an hour or so, we headed home, all of us wet right through to our pants...and beyond!  Ooh-err, this paragraph sounds v dodgy.  Sorry about that.
Dulcie seemed to enjoy herself despite the weather.  She was stamping her feet and singing, waving at every cyclist or police escort who went by.  She also made friends with a lady from a distant land who kindly shared her umbrella.  I enjoyed it too and was glad to have seen some sport while the Games were in town, but was more than happy to head home and watch it on TV, listening to the helicopter flying overhead at each lap.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

fabulous felt shop

Artist Lucy Sparrow reads a felt edition of the Guardian.
Have you seen this amazing hand-stitched corner shop/newsagent?  Wow!  It's been made by Lucy Sparrow and can be visited (if you're in London town) for the whole of August.  Full details here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

dulcie's day out

Dulcie and Graham are still enjoying the bike seat and have been venturing a little further afield.  Last weekend they went to Erskine, cycling over the Erskine bridge (famous suicide you can see!) to visit Graham's parents.
Dulcie had a great time.  Granma's house is full of "glitz and glam" (as Granma herself would describe it!) and all the sorts of things Dulcie mysteriously loves, including this giant leopard.

Dulcie came home full of beans and news about her day.  The bike seat has really been a great addition to our family life.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

time-travelling tuesday (part 13)

11th April 1988
Today I went back to school.  To my horror.  We had those tiddly orange seats.  I wrote a letter to Kim.

12th April 1988
Today I wrote my spellings in my very best writing. [Very neatly written!]

I am a genius. 13th April 1988
Today Miss Murial Mickey came to visit us.  She is learning to be a teacher.  She is Margaret's cousin.

14th April 1988
At school we had a fire practice.  I went to brownies.

To you
From me

15th April 1988 25 days until my birthday
Today I went to tap and ballet.  I had a very boring day.

To Donna
From Laura

16th April 1988
There was a film on TV called Splash it was very good. [Still love that film!]  Mind you I have seen it before.  Some people came to look at the our house.

17th April 1988
At Sunday school we got at juice and biscuits.  I fell over.
Made willie warmer for dad.
PS It did not fit.

Monday, August 4, 2014

goodbye, games

It's been fun having the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, not that we saw very much SPORT, per se (just a wee bit of the men's cycling road race yesterday) but the general atmosphere has been nice and I've been most entertained by seeing our town on the telly every day.  

I don't think this Marks & Spencers biscuit tin is an official commemorative item, it's more Highland games than Commonwealth Games, but it will be our souvenir of this very brief time...or that's what I used as my excuse for buying it anyway!  Mmm, shortbread :)

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Recently, a lady in our neighbourhood turned 100.  As part of her birthday celebrations, she had these display boards on her fence, one for each of her ten decades, explaining what was happening in the world at that time and what she herself was doing back then.  In her 30s she was fostering Jewish children during the Second World War, for example.  Pretty amazing to think someone who's still around today was doing that back then - makes you realise how recent all these things really are.  The boards even had little devices to play sound clips, so you could hear things like the hymn that was played at her wedding.  It was really sweet and interesting and lots of people were stopping to look.  Such a nice idea :)

Saturday, August 2, 2014

swim challenge!

Art Deco Print // Swimmers print // Papercut Print
This lovely swimming print available here.  Yes, I seem to have lot of swimming-related Etsy favourites!

I've mentioned recently that I've been trying to swim a bit more.  Exercise is very important for my heart condition.  Fortunately, I walk pretty much everywhere, which means I'm regularly doing something active, but I've been getting increasingly frustrated with myself for not managing to take a more focussed approach.  The amount of walking I do is better than nothing and keeps me ticking over, but I really want to try to use exercise to IMPROVE my heart function.  I was trying to find a way for somebody else to keep me on track and tell me off if I started flagging, but the NHS wouldn't provide anything and hiring a drill sergeant at the gym wouldn't fit in with the rest of my life.  I felt like I needed some structure or goal, though, in order to keep me going, so I came up with a little swim challenge for myself. 

I'm aiming to swim the equivalent of the Channel in six months.  This sounds pretty pathetic when you think that people generally swim the Channel in a oner, but it works out at an average of 52 lengths per week, which seems like a good amount for me - just enough so that I can't skip swim sessions for no reason, but not so much that it's unachievable if I genuinely can't make it along some weeks.  I'm one week into the challenge so far and have actually managed an impressive 96 lengths this week - got to make good use of the temporary live-in baby-sitters while we have them!

I can see that having the "official" challenge is already working in the way I'd hoped it would.  I wasn't feeling great yesterday and every length was a struggle.  Ordinarily, I might have allowed myself to stop after 10 lengths on a day like that, but I was thinking how I'd be away for a week soon so I had to make the best use of the time I had, and I ended up doing a much more respectable 44 lengths as a result.

Frustratingly, I'm not really in control of my own health.  Most people would be be able to expect to see some cardiovascular benefit from something like this, but not so me.  I had my regualr exercise test recently so I know what my VO2 reading was.  It hadn't changed since it was tested four months earlier and I'm hoping, when it's tested again in around four months' time, that I'll see an improvement and be able to give myself an official pat on the back, but I know this is not really something that's in my control - it might get worse despite all this and, even if it improves, that might have more to do with my medication and pacemaker doing what they're meant to (but don't always) do.  I'm trying to look on it in terms of doing something has got to be better than doing nothing and I need to try to do everything I can to stay well.  The possible lack of real results is why I think it's so important for me to have these other artificial goals to work towards.

Anyway, I've set up a wee ticker thingy so that I can keep track of my Channel-swimming progress.  You'll see it if you scroll down to the bottom of my blog.  96 lengths down, 1264 to go!