Sunday, July 12, 2009

Home again, home again . . .

I really didn't want to leave. If I hadn't been preaching yesterday, I'd have tried to negotiate another few days at Clashview. There's lovely caravan in the grounds that I wouldn't have minded moving into. As it was though, we had a good journey home at a stately pace as befits people travelling in a monster Mercedes that can actually do 0-60mph in 7.5 secs. Thanks, dear Bill, for lending it to us!

Looking back on the holiday, and how stressed Rob and I were when we arrived, it was just what we needed. It was fun to have the family for a few days and let them cook for us and keep us entertained, but when they departed and peace and quiet reigned, it was therapeutic to have no responsibilities. Hooray for holidays!

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Next Stop Canada

A visit to Cape Wrath is all a bit of an adventure. The bus-ride in the ricketiest bus imaginable along a tiny, narrow road with grass growing up the middle is definitely not for the faint-hearted! You really feel as if you're at the ends of the earth. Cape Wrath is the most north-westerly point on Scotland and the next land-mass to the west is Canada. Standing by the huge red fog-horn and looking down at the waves crashing onto the rocks and sea-birds whirling and screeching below was something I'll never forget. Wow! Jess enjoyed herself too and hopped on and off the boat like a real sea-dog.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Yet another picture of my departing backside! This time on the beautiful beach near Durness. It's just one of several wonderful beaches in the area. with stunning white sand and blue water. I had a paddle but there were people swimming and it was quite warm. I wish I'd had my cozzie! Afterwards we visited Cocoa Mountain and Smoo Cave. A great day.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

On holiday

After the excitement of yesterday, we set off early to make the long journey to Kinlochbervie in time for dinner. Got the 10.00am ferry and arrived here at 7.40pm with only two short breaks. The last fifty miles were amazing - fabulous scenery on a single-track, uppy-downy, twisty-turny road which should not be attempted by those prone to car-sickness! Anyway, here we are and it's sheer heaven. The picture shows Jess and me exploring the hillside above the house. Ah bliss!

Friday, July 03, 2009

Civil Partnership

Well, my boys are hitched and it went pretty much without a hitch, save for the deluge of rain that ensured we all arrived soaking wet! The ceremony was lovely and the words well-chosen. It was just their best friends and immediate family who attended but we made a good crowd in the small marriage suite. Afterwards there was a party at The Pier where the grooms were only slightly upstaged by baby Dylan who'll make a fine spin bowler when he's older.

Thank you to everyone who sent good wishes and prayers for today. I couldn't have been prouder *huge silly grin*

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Triple Whammy

They say bad things happen in threes, but good ones do too if yesterday was anything to go by. First I bought a new little car - a Hyundai i10, which is one of the new high economy, low emissions jobs. However, for a very modest price, this one comes with all kinds of toys not usually associated with basic models, and a five-year warranty to boot. My one is a black ex-demonstrator, six months old, with only 4000 on the clock.

Then the minute I got home, Michael and Charlie arrived all breathless with good news, that they've arranged to get married on July 3, just before we all go away, so that it'll be like a honeymoon! It's to be a very small civil ceremony, close family only and their two best friends as witnesses. We're hoping Charlie's granny will make it. A blessing has yet to be arranged, but will happen some time later in the summer I think and will be an excuse for a bigger party.

And finally, my dear friend Doo phoned up to tell me I'm a great-godmother to a little girl, Charlotte. The boys have chosen to get married on what will be Doo's sixtieth birthday, so it all ties up rather nicely, doesn't it?

Monday, June 01, 2009


Look what Jonny found as we came down the hill through the bluebells and bracken this morning. He can only be days old. How fortunate that spaniels are gentle with other animals (except pheasants) and apart from giving a curious sniff, left him be so that I could photograph him.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Puppy dog tales

Alas! Jonny's epic is no more and is but a medium length tail with a plastic syringe cylinder and a blue bandage on the end.

The vet removed about six inches of tail yesterday because the blackened end of it was necrotic tissue that was beyond saving. He also has a bandage on his paw where a split and infected claw has been removed. Poor old boy - he's had a bad week!

He seems none the worse for the loss. In fact he's definitely much happier.

Jess has been flaunting her own perfect little tail. She gets her come-uppance on Monday when she goes to the furdresser for a number two all over.

Monday, May 25, 2009


My swim yesterday made my muscles sore - yowee! I think it must be to do with not warming up or cooling down because I was pushed for time - a hapless exam candidate awaited me at nine o' clock. I usually swim eight lengths slowly to warm up, then sixteen at full throttle (which for me is still slowly but with more oomph) followed by eight slower ones again. That way, I don't feel a thing the next day. Yesterday I just swam twenty lengths going all out because I wanted to have time for my breakfast before school. The feeling of still being slightly damp in my clothes reminded me of the old days when the wee wifie who handed out the towels would make you a mug of Bovril for a penny so you didn't catch a chill going home.

And talking of ouch - poor Jonny has a very sore tail which is probably the result of an unwise wag. It's going to need a trip to the vet's I think.


I feel as if I've been in a Susan Howatch novel these last few weeks. Difficult times cause strong emotions and strong emotions can wreak havoc if you're not careful. Well, havoc has been wreaked but healing is well on the way, thanks to a lot of arduous and difficult work. It's still not there because there are a couple of final bridges to be crossed but I'm still hopeful.

I just had to write a sermon about the Holy Spirit for Pentecost. It seemed rather apt really.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The 'S' Word

'I'm sorry' is such a simple little phrase - two wee words. Well, two and a half if you're going to be pedantic, and yes, you need all of them - 'sorry' by itself doesn't quite do it. And yet they're incredibly powerful. They have the power to change the direction of mood - turn anger towards reconciliation, hurt towards healing, coldness towards warmth. They can express strong emotion or else be merely polite, but I believe they're vital. I'm not much good at linguistics, but the word 'vital' was chosen carefully to express something I believe strongly. Those two little words have life. They can restore life and make it worth living again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Walking Theatre the Cowal Way

After what has been a pretty grim couple of weeks for Rob and me, we had a real treat at the weekend with the arrival of Jetta who was coming for the launch of her latest book, The Cowal Way, in Glendaruel. The entertainment was provided by the Walking Theatre Company and took place in the woods on a nearby hill. The play was about Rabbie Burns' time as an exciseman and his relationship with Highland Mary and took place during a guided walk in gorgeous dappled sunlight through a wood carpeted with wood-sorrel and bluebells. Characters jumped out at us periodically throughout the walk, including one chap who appeared to be one of the punters and was deep in conversation with Jetta when he suddenly leapt into action. It was pretty enjoyable after the initial nonsense about health and safety and signing declaimers which held up the beginning interminably and seemed pointless since we'd already signed at the village hall. Actually, the small terrier that accompanied us was the most entertaining of all.

The book-launch itself was sweetly old-fashioned in Glendaruel village hall with tea and cakes and a speech by a local politician. I feel as though my life is at last back on track.

Fidelio's had her bottom anti-fouled and is ready for the water. She goes in on Tuesday - yay!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Lizzies and bluebells

Tomorrow is Liz's funeral. It's fitting that she died in May when the bluebells are out. Mum - also Liz of course - died in May too and the bluebells always remind me of her. Now I'll be remembering both Lizzies in the prettiest month of the year. Both suffered a long illness that they made light of and both were 'different'. They were both rebels and rejected their parents' way of life, living life to the full on their chosen paths. Both suffered feelings of guilt for this rejection. Both lit up the room when they entered and shone like stars. Both held themselves in low esteem. Both died too early.

So come tomorrow when we say goodbye to Liz, I'll be remembering her namesake as well. Rest in peace brave souls!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Today is sunny and the garden calls me - mostly for damage limitation - serious weeding will ensue! The swimming pool also calls me as I've not been for my regular swim for nearly three weeks and I miss it. However, I made the decision to use the energy I'd have used up swimming to clean my dirty house since visitors are imminent, and now it's all shiny and sparkling and it's still only 9.30. Good decision, Di!

Decisions can change everything, can't they? I've begun to lose faith in my decision-making recently after some disastrous ones which have resulted in people being hurt. But now I've made another one, and that's to stop stewing about it (I can stew for Scotland) and get on with doing the best I can under the circumstances.

Now, weeding or dog-walking first?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

casting stones

The Holy Spirit has been distinctly hard pushed round here lately. She's still around but her opposite number's on the loose as well. I'm having a hard time reconciling my loyalties.

Casting stones was never a safe business, and now one pebble lobbed into the pool is spreading outwards inexorably.

Friday, May 01, 2009

All is well

I don't seem to have much to say, do I? It seems I've not blogged since Christmas! Maybe two or three blogs a year is it. Actually, life has had a few downs since then that haven't really left me in the mood for reflection. But, dear reader, if you are out there know this: all is well.

I'm just back from leading a Cursillo weekend at the Cathedral of The Isles on the Isle of Cumbrae. I say 'leading', but it was really a team effort with eleven others who all worked their socks off to give a group of folk the experience of living in a Christian community of love.

All this relentless loving inevitably proves too much for some, but I think the majority get the idea that the 'Cursillo experience' gives us a taste of what things could be like if all of us supported and looked out for each other all the time instead of pursuing our own selfish ends. And boy, can that be exhausting, but it sure is worth it. Because it means you always have a source of strength.

During the 'weekend' - three days actually - there were plenty of strong emotions flying around. Many were both constructive and cathartic. Some were destructive and left people wounded, but the strength of the group as a whole was enough, if not to heal them straight away, to begin the healing process.

When you're wounded, you rely on the strength of others. That's something I've come to realise over the years and once again over the last few months when things have been tough. There's always enough strength to go round. It's called the Holy Spirit in Christian circles.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Oh dear

As you can see from the picture, my goddaughter and her mum know me all too well. With the huge choice of TV viewing options available now, I wonder if today's teenagers have the same passions for TV characters that we had in the sixties. Watching the Man From UNCLE was the absolute highlight of my week and had to be planned carefully since it involved ingratiating myself to my friend's (now said goddaughter's mum) parents so that I would be welcome for tea and then making sure all homework was completed before the big moment arrived when the TV would be switched on and the insistent sixties beat of the theme music would make my stomach fill with butterflies. The reason I had to be at my friend's house was of course that we had no TV set at home. My parents quite rightly assumed that it would interfere with homework, and other activities such as 'playing out' and reading which were my main forms of distraction would also suffer. They still suffered, particularly the homework which gave way to long involved stories of Napoleon Solo and, in particular, Illya Kuryakin, who was just the most romantic Russian spy imaginable. If there had been an A-level in the Man From UNCLE I would have been in heaven. As it was, Thursday evenings came pretty close.