Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The old head again

People who have read this blog longer than just a few weeks will know I have been suffering from headaches quite a bit. So, imagine my absolute delight when after my operation back in February I was headache free for weeks on end! Unknown I can tell you!!

Alas, it wasn't to last. The headaches returned and seemingly more vicious than ever. And even though I never called in sick when I had a headache, today was the first time ever I did just that. I called in sick on account of a headache. 

On Monday I had to do the garden. Rain was expected and the grass was long enough to hide any mice and voles Miss Oswin thought of catching/playing with. So, out I went with my mower and I mowed and mowed and mowed. There was quite a stiff breeze and it was fairly muggy outside as well. By the time I had finished (right before a shower), I was hot and sweaty and very red in the face! Plus I had the beginnings of a sun/wind headache. 

Unfortunately that sun/wind headache developed in a proper headache and I worked that evening with said headache. It continued yesterday and I had severe trouble keeping it together. Plus I felt quite sick as well. In fact, so sick that I stopped the bus on my last stretch (it was empty) and got rid of the sickness. Ie I threw up! And I decided there and then: if I still would have a headache today, I would call in sick! 

Which I did. I called in sick. Because the head is still hurting and knowing that driving will definitely make it worse, I will take it easy at home. Have another good night's rest and hope that tomorrow it will be gone! 

I do wonder now about the cause of the headaches. I know chocolate and coffee trigger it, so I have cut them out completely. I have a feeling cheese might trigger it, so I am cutting that out as well. But it might also be contraception pill related. I will have to go and see my gp soon about that anyway, so I might ask her/him (whoever is back by then) about it. Until then: a quiet day off today and hopefully back in full swing tomorrow!!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Summer is nearly over

Living in the country means I am getting my fair share of 'knowledge'. Yesterday I knew it was going to rain today, just by smell and today I realised that the summer is coming to a close. First you want to know how I could smell today's rain. Which is easy. 

In order for the farmers to have a good crop of grass/hay for their animals, they need to fertilize their fields. They fertilize with cow dung here and they do it the day before it will rain. Doing it while it is going to be blazing sunny and hot, will only cause chemical burning of the field, making the field useless. Yesterday several fields were fertilized which I could smell. (The fact that somebody had told me that rain was expected for today, is neither here nor there)

This morning as I looked out the window I saw a lot of swallows. I know there are quite a few swallows summering here, but this was a larger amount than usual. It was of course the youngsters trying their wings and making sure they will be strong enough for the trek south. They may not be leaving for another couple of weeks, but the sign that summer is coming to an end is there!

During the height of summer I can do without light in the middle of the night to get around my home, since it never gets completely dark. However, now I need a flashlight or I will be stumbling around like a blind person. Having a cat slinking her way around your legs while fumbling for a light switch is not good either! And before you ask: no, I can't turn the light on downstairs and turn the same light off upstairs. Which is quite a pain, but I have gotten used to it by now. When visitors are here during the winter, I will leave a light on in the stairwell, so I won't find a mangled body downstairs!

The first geese have moved south already as well. I saw a gaggle making their way south a few weeks ago, which I thought was very early and then another gaggle just last week. Yep, soon it will be autumn!!

Monday, 24 August 2015

Back to normal

If I could have taken the house back with me...
After a week of the adventures of Brom in Scotland, I am back to writing again. He will have (likely) two more chances this year, but I am not saying anything about that until. Of course I have been back to normal for a week already, starting work last Monday. Well, Tuesday really since I had Monday off!

A little 'I'm sorry'-gesture to Brom for forgetting him
Plus I felt rotten with a massive headache the day before
As you could read in Brom's posts I had a great holiday with my family. From the missing suitcase (the dopes at KLM) to the missing Tattoo tickets it was a good week. Not a bad word between us. Normally I would have gotten very antsy after only three to four days of spending every waking moment in the company of my family (and sleeping moment as well for that matter), but ever since my sick leave in February/March I have gotten a bigger respect for family and as a result a higher threshold for antsyness. 

Before the holiday
Not that I wasn't glad to be home on my own again (with suitcase, I knew the KLM could do it), because I was. And waiting at home for me was a very furry and bumpy kitty-cat! Because of her long hair, she will occasionally get stuff caught in it. Like baby slugs and twigs. Or poo. So, the first thing I had to do was play hairdresser and cut her hair! Good thing she has long hair: it doesn't show at all!

Even though it was pouring out, she insisted on going out
She was back soon!
Speaking of Miss Oswin, even though she still loves to be outside, it seems that she stays closer to me now. Sleeping on the couch with me, providing there is a piece of paper to lie on, sleeping in the basket next to my bed or even (like this morning) on the bed. It will probably fade, but it's nice while it lasts. 

Brom in the garden of Cawdor Castle
Since Brom was writing the posts last week, I had some time to do other things and I spent a fair bit of time on my ancestry research. I have at the same time a better and worse understanding of my grandmother thanks to some information given to me by my parents. I have finally made the link to Charles the Great online. I had it on my baby laptop and on paper, but it took a while to fill it all in online. There is still a fair bit to be done, but I have a more set plan of what I want to do with it all in the end. 

It's uphill finding everything out, but I will get there eventually!
I want to make a book of the stories I have found. The corrupt politician, the princess who eloped, the man with the red hair, my grandmother and many more stories. And that's just on my mother's side! Hopefully I will also be giving some information about the time they were living in and the circumstances they most likely would have lived in. Talk about a job and a half!!

Anyway, those are the plans. There is still work of course, plus several other things coming up and popping up, so it won't be as soon as I think or hope. A vel, it will keep me busy!

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Brom's Photo on Sunday 2015-28

Coocoo

This is the last post about our holiday to Scotland I had promised you to tell all about the kerfuffle that happened on the Wednesday, but it wasn't the only kerfuffle! The first kerfuffle was on the Monday, the day they LEFT ME BEHIND! Because Mara was suffering from a bit of a headache that day [an understatement, it was bad], not only did she leave little old me on the bed, she left her purse in her coat! And she didn't take the coat along. So, she didn't take the purse along. And she was the week's treasurer, the silly dope! Gera to the rescue though and the day was saved. Apart from me being stuck on a bed all day of course!

On Tuesday evening Mara told everybody what was going to happen on the next day. 'It's going to be busy in Edinburgh, be careful of your money, here's a list of things to do and see etc etc' and Gera handed two tickets to the Edinburgh Tattoo over to Mara (and Gera's) Papa. The next morning we all got in the car with our luggage and drove to the hotel in Edinburgh. About half way through Gera (who was driving) said that once we got to the hotel she would need to check if the tickets for Mara and Gera were in her bag...

Well, they weren't! The second silly dope of the week had put them in her bag and then she took ANOTHER bag!! So, Mara and Gera's Papa and Mama took the bus into town, while Mara and Gera drove back to our home away from home to get the tickets. And then silly dope number one realised that she had left the car papers at home all week as well! 

You have to wonder how two such silly dopes get through life...

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Brom's adventures in Scotland VI

Coocoo

This day was a special day. Not only did we go underground without going underground, but we got to meet Mr Chips [and Yamini, don't forget Yamini]!

First we took the bus into town again. We sat on the topdeck and I got to sit all the way upfront! I could see all the buildings and saw everything wizzing by. We got off the bus in the center of town and today it wasn't so busy as yesterday. But it was still early.

Mara's Papa and Mama took the bus up the hill, while Mara and Gera walked up the steep hill. They looked at some of the entertainment setting up, got a coffee and waited until we could go on the tour.

The great cuddler Yamini and me
The tour was through one of the old closes. A close is an old name for an alley and they were very narrow. There would be houses on both sides and they would be up to 10 stories high! And that was a long long time ago! We saw a cowshed and a kitchen, a living room and heard stories about how they lived that long ago. The lady even told us a ghost story, which was quite scary. I was glad Mara held me really close. Unfortunately Mara wasn't allowed to take any photos!

The haggis
By the time we got out, it was a lot busier in town. We weren't staying though, we were going back to the hotel to pick up the car and meet Mr Chips [and Yamini, don't forget Yamini]. We made it to the restaurant and had a lovely table for our lunch. And the food was yummy Mara says. Mara's Papa had haggis and thought it was scrumptiously nice. Mara tasted it as well and liked it as well, although not scrumptiously she said.

After our lunch we said goodbye to Mr Chips [and Yamini, don't forget Yamini] and drove to our next destination. We were going to see Baron and Duke, otherwise known as 'the Kelpies'. Mara had been there last year (on a holiday without me) with Yamini and wanted to show us. 

They were really really really big and impressive. And beautiful! They were shiny and did I say they were really really really big?

There was a boat on the top there!
Now, when we were driving to the Kelpies we had seen a sign for the Falkirk Wheel. Mara knew what it was, but thought it was at the same place as the Kelpies. It wasn't too far though, so after all the photos were taken, we got back in the car and made our way to the Wheel. 

Can you see the boat in the gondola on the right?
Mara says that boats couldn't go up the hill because the hill was too steep, so they made a thing that would carry the boats up the hill. It was like a merry-go-round with only two gondolas. If you came from the top, you would sail in the gondola, the merry-go-round would start and slowly you would go down. 

There the gondola would open, you would sail out and continue on the canal. I would have loved to go on a tour, but we were too late for the last tour. Perhaps next year??

Somebody had to take the photo.
And you know I am only small!!
Then it was back in the car and we drove home again. Another brilliant day!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Brom's adventures in Scotland V

Coocoo

On day 5 we packed our bags. No, we weren't going home, we were going to stay in a hotel. And the reason for that was the Edinburgh Tattoo. They had decided to drive to the hotel in Edinburgh, park the car and then take the bus into town. I didn't mind, as long as I was coming along!

Greyfriar Bobby
After a bit of kerfuffle (I will write about that soon), we checked into the hotel and then took the bus to the center of town. It was soooo busy! There were people everywhere. Mara said it wasn't only the Tattoo, but there was something called the Fringe! Artists, comics, living statues, and a lot more. 

There was enough to see
just get a leaflet of the show you want to see
We walked around a bit and we ended up seeing a really nice show. It had a lot of bubbles in it, something that made me very happy. There were a lot of children there as well, who jumped at all the bubbles. It was great fun and Mara took a lot of photos.

After dinner we made our way up the Royal Mile for the Tattoo. So many people were also going to see it. I was happy Mara had a good hold of me, because I wouldn't have wanted to get lost there. So busy. We made our way inside the stadium which was on the Esplanade of Edinburgh Castle and found our seats; Mara's Papa and Mama were already there. 

The show started and it was absolutely beautiful. The theme was East meets West and there were groups from the United Kingdom, the United States, Switzerland and China. Probably even more, but I can't remember all! 

There were bagpipes and drums, there were men throwing guns (didn't like that very much though, I don't like guns), there were violinists, dancers, Chinese dragons, singers, Swiss drummers and a pony. 

My favourites were the Chinese dragons and the Swiss drummers. The dragons were just a really fun show with lotus flowers and bees and such. The Swiss drummers did everything at the same time and it was just perfect!

The mascot of the Tattoo (I think)
At the end there were fireworks and balloons and everybody came in. It was great fun and I was so glad I had been allowed to come along. When it was finished, it took a bit of time to get out of the stadium again and to find our bus stop, but we made it back to the hotel around midnight. After a quick drink Mara and I went up to our room.

I dreamt of bubbles and Chinese dragons that night!

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Brom's adventures in Scotland IV

Coocoo

Well, I made SURE they took me along today. I wasn't going to miss out on another day. We would do the same route up north as they did yesterday, but we would visit a castle and perhaps see Nessie!!

The weather was a lot nicer than yesterday so I got to see the cargums [Cairngorms] with a lot of sun. It was beautiful! Mara drove the car and she stopped several times to take photos or let others take photos. She got a bit mad at her Mama and Gera though, when they saw antlers and didn't say so in time for Mara to stop! I didn't see them either, but they were far away and I only have one eye you know!

After the coffee stop in Braemar we drove on and it just got beautifuller. We went up very high and then went down and down. It was great. 

We even saw some big animals in a field. Gera said they were yaks, but Mara said they were Highland Cattle. Whatever they were: they were very big!

When we got to the castle [Castle Cawdor, near Nairn] we had lunch first. I tried some bread, but I prefer hugs, they are much better for teddies. And then we visited the castle. There were people living there, but only in the winter. 

Mara wasn't allowed to take any photos which was a shame, because there was a nice friend there! And the beds looked very comfortable as well. 

In the gardens Mara was allowed to take photos fortunately, because the flowers were very pretty. The first garden we saw had a maze in it, but we couldn't get in at all, which was a shame. 

The second garden we saw had a great birdfeeder. The birds weren't very scared of us at all and just kept eating their seeds. 

The day wasn't over though, we were still going to see loaknez [Loch Ness] and Nessie. Mara said we might not see him, because it is a very large lake and he might even be on holiday himself! Well, the lake was very big! And it looked very cold as well. I wouldn't want to live there at all. 

We stopped for coffee again soon after and then we saw Nessie. He looked very scary and angry, but I did get a photo of us together anyway! But a long way away from his head: I didn't want to get eaten!!!!

On our way home we stopped for dinner in a small village. It was really nice and from the restaurant we could even see benavies [Ben Nevis] until the clouds covered everything. We got home very late and it was already dark! It was a beautiful day!! 

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Brom's adventures in Scotland III


Coocoo

On Monday we all woke early, because we were going for a long drive through the Cairngorms and going for a visit at a whisky distillery. But when they left, they left me behind!! I was still at home when Mara left in the car! [oops, sorry again Brom, I guess I will have to tell today's story]

Well, as you gathered, I forgot to take Brom along and the bad thing of it was, I only found out about twenty minutes into the journey! Shame on me!!! Since it was such a long drive though, we didn't want to turn around again and get him, so we continued on our way. 

Braemar Castle
It was a beautiful journey. The Cairngorms is quite a haunting place. Not a lot of trees to block the view, the first of the purple heather was blooming and the road was quiet, even though it is a main road through the Cairngorms. We stopped off in Braemar to get a coffee (my parents need their coffee fixes at set points during the day) and something nice to go along with it. 

After coffee we contiuned on our way until we saw the signs for Glenfiddich: that was where we were going. First lunch and then a guided tour through the distillery to see how the whisky was made. 

The first thing we noticed was that it was hot, sauna hot! But we saw where the malted barley and the water were mixed. 

This was like an iceberg: most of it was underfloor!
We saw the big vats in which the yeast was added to the barley/water mixture to make alcohol. 

However, that alcohol would be absolutely undrinkable, so it needed to be distilled (twice, once in the small stills and once in the big stills). But even then it wouldn't be nice to drink at all: it needed to be put into vats to age. 

A marrying vat
At least 12 years at Glenfiddich, before the first bottles would be filled. There were a lot of storage rooms, but we only saw 2 of those. It smelled absolutely gorgeous inside, and in the end we got the chance to taste the gorgeousness of the whiskies. 

We had 4 different ones to taste. To be completely honest, I didn't taste that much difference, but they were nice anyway. My dad however, he could taste the difference and came away with a nice bottle to enjoy at home. 

On our way back home to Brom, I had decided to drive via Aberdeen, perhaps even with a little stop there. However, time was not on our side and by the time we got to Aberdeen, it was in the middle of rush hour. We only stopped at a supermarket to get some food for the evening, but no real stop to see the town. And then: home to Brom!