Life’s a beach

I spend most of my life in, on, under, beside water of one sort or another,  so Water as this week’s theme for the Gallery seems particularly apposite.  It is raining at the moment. It has been raining non stop for about three days.  However, it has not all been rain this summer and so to celebrate the fun days I thought I’d show you some of the watery things I’ve been up to.

Common Dolphins in the Sound of Canna – they have to bring a smile to your face! There were seals and puffins on Skokholm, although I swam around underwater wondering if it might be one of the last dives I would do. It won’t be but I was feeling particularly mortal at the time.  And then it rained in Edinburgh. Torrential rain, hailstones, forked lightning over Arthur’s Seat, thunder and lightning every few minutes for over an hour, floods in Morningside. We sat outside the dive shop waiting for the rain to ease so that we could sprint across the road.

It might have rained in Edinburgh but it was sunny in Donegal when we dashed over for a few days. Continue reading

Onwards and upwards

Life has moved on in the Guineapig  Household this summer.  In fact, I was wondering if it was time for a name change but I’m really quite attached to Guineapigmum so I think I’ll stick with it for the time being.  The biggest change is that Number 1 son, GP1, is now in residence at one of those institutions where teenagers practice sleeping, drinking and spending their parents’ money.  Yes he’s now at university. It’s not quite as far afield as originally planned. He got cold feet at some point during the summer (it may well have been the point at which he hitched up with a new young lady) and changed his UCAS options. He’s now in halls somewhere on the outskirts of Edinburgh and learning to cook, drink (did I mention that?), run up phone bills and play. And he’s home almost every weekend.  Well, you get fed at home, don’t you?

He didn’t work quite hard enough during 5th year Continue reading

Up in the air

shadowlandsIt’s one of the best sort of Saturday phone calls to get.  “Are you doing anything this afternoon? Would one of you like a balloon ride? There’s a spare place!”  (I was just typing “Someone’s dropped out” but thought that might not be too appropriate.)  Four of us into one place. Hmm.  GP1 wondered why we might even consider that he’d be interested and so then there were three.  “Why would I want to do that?”  To be fair, he truly hates heights.  Well, I gave in and just pulled rank. Someone had to make the decision, tough though it was.

Pete, partner of our diving friend Sue, runs Alba Ballooning and was planning on flying – or should that be floating? – from the edgballoon-colourse of the Pentlands that afternoon. And what a glorious, clear, sunny afternoon!  We took off from near Easter Howgate, to the east of the Pentlands and flew east and northish across Midlothian. There were spectacular views of Edinburgh and Arthur’s Seat, the Firth of Forth, the Pentland and Lammermuir Hills and across East Lothian to Berwick Law and Bass Rock.  It was quiet and still as we drifted along. Quiet, that is, until Continue reading

Family matters

We’ve had something of a family weekend. On Friday night we met my sister and her surely-will-be-famous-soon daughter for a meal at Mother India in Edinburgh.  Great meal, we’ll be going back there again.  It wasn’t quite long enough to catch up on all the news but we did hear a bit more about the impending permanent relocation to the Irish cottage and the difficulties of getting onto the Irish teaching register.  Having to provide every address where you have ever lived throughout your whole life, for instance, is probably a whole lot easier when you’re 22 and home has always been in one place than when you’re 50 something and have lived all over the world.  And she’s not quite sure of the relevance of all the units in her architecture degree, taken some 30+ years ago, even if the University can fill in the blanks, when she has been successfully teaching Design & technology or something like that for quite a number of years now.  

As an aside, as we were leaving the restaurant the boys spotted an off-duty teacher, Continue reading

Royal connections

We went to the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood earlier in the summer and had a very pleasant afternoon in the sun.  Yes, the sun shone, a rare event this year.  We didn’t chat with the Queen but did pass the time with some friends we bumped into.  I didn’t eat the cucumber sandwiches but did procure a plate of gluten free goodies – the organisers have clearly done this sort of thing once or twice before.  I didn’t wear a hat and noone seemed to mind.  I didn’t take any photographs because GPD made me leave the camera in the car; after all, the invitation firmly forbade cameras.   We enjoyed the bands and marvelled at their cunning scheme, involving flags and flag poles, that allowed them to coordinate their playing from opposite sides of the park.  There was pageantry and there were spectacular outfits.  All in all, a very pleasant, very British afternoon.

And then, towards the end of the school holidays, GP2’s football team went off to Edinburgh to hobnob with royalty.    Continue reading

Tutors – help!

School’s out.  It’s the last day of term.  Yay! 

But there’s a small problem, and I know I’m probably too late to post this.  Everyone’s suddenly on holiday but we need to find a tutor for English Higher for next term.  Can anyone in the East Lothian/Edinburgh area point me in the direction of anyone?  So far I’ve only drawn a blank.

Breaking the habit of a year or two, here’s my email in case anyone has any bright ideas:-

christine at amisfield1 dot fsnet dot co dot uk

Her Majesty and I

A thick, luxurious, cream coloured envelope stamped Buckingham Palace arrived in the post today.  It’s an invite for GPD and myself to the Royal Garden Party at Holyrood Palace at the beginning of July.  Why me? I’ve no idea. I shall make enquiries.  I suspect, though, that Her Majesty must surely have encountered this blog in her wanderings around the web, and wishes to make the acquaintance of the talent that undoubtedly lurks behind the posts.  I’ll have to ask Mother Soup what she thinks – it was her turn last year.  A more mundane explanation might be that she’s working her way along our street.  What do you reckon?

Meanwhile, I feel a shopping trip coming on.  Oh the choices; my wig or my fresh new crew cut? (On second thoughts, maybe it’s a crew grow rather than a crew cut. )  A hat?  A hat and my wig?

Photo credit: goforchris

4916 chocolate brownies

choc-brownies-at-london-borough-market.jpgPhoto credit: Pille Nami-Nami

This post is an unashamed copy of Pig in the Kitchen.  Hope you don’t mind, Pig; sincere form of flattery, as they say.  But you might be able to adapt the recipe to your own needs.

And no, I haven’t eaten that many chocolate brownies this week.  4916 was my finishing position in the Great Edinburgh Run a couple of weeks back.  Over 1000 people finished behind me, so it’s not as bad as it sounds, or so I like to think.   6 minutes and c. 900 places slower than last year but I’m not complaining; Continue reading

The Glass Menagerie

venetian_animals.jpgMy birthday is in January and this year, in celebration of my advancing years, we thought we’d go and play at being grown ups for an evening.  So we went to the theatre – and it’s not even the Festival!  Yes, we had to remind ourselves that there is theatre in Edinburgh outside the Festival.  I used to love going to the theatre as a child when my mother would take various of her offspring to the Theatre Royal in Brighton but, in recent years, we’ve more often had trips to the cinema.  And, having children of a certain age, we rarely see anything more advanced than a 12A.  We could, of course, have gone out for the evening on our own but thought we’d like a family outing and would take the children to the theatre with us.  Whether or not they would appreciate The Glass Menagerie at the Lyceum in Edinburgh was, of course, another question entirely.   

January is by now almost lost in the mists of time.  But Continue reading

Guineapigmum goes running

business_woman_walking_hamster_wheel_hg_wht.gifSo it’s done.  “Done” may be stretching the truth a little – “started” might be a better description.  The Great Edinburgh Run (5th May this year) has my entry fee and I’ve set up a fundraising page on JustGiving.   All I have to do now is go and do it.  Easy, eh?

I’ve decided to raise funds for the Maggie’s Centres, which provide support for anyone affected by cancer.   Two reasons for this.  First, they do a fantastic job.  Second, if I’ve got sponsors I will definitely do the run.  Even if I walk it.  No backing down.   Lynne, I’ll see you at the start line!

If anyone from Ross High happens to be reading this, GP2 is doing the Junior Race on the Saturday so I’m sure you will feel duty bound to sponsor us.  No pressure, but he’s in your class Mr Meldrum.  And for everyone else reading – it’s all in a good cause, so go on.  You know you can.  Just click on that badge on the right.

The fund raising page may be the last rip in my veneer of anonymity but never mind.  Most people probably know who I am by now anyway and the sky hasn’t fallen in.   In fact, now I think about it, I might just put the blog link on the JustGiving site.  Oh why not live dangerously?

Image is borrowed with thanks from  Nienke Hinton 

A secret handshake?

Littlemummy, Mother at Large and Guineapigmum met up for coffee today at Victor Hugo’s.  Perhaps there should be a special handshake for the secret – or very public – world of bloggers.  It was fun to meet the faces behind some of the blogs I read and yes, we do have names as do our children.  We chatted about this and that and, well, why?  We may well meet up again – maybe we could become a complement to the Edinburgh Coffee Mornings (those photos do look very male dominated, by the way!), and advertise our next meeting in advance.  The Coffee Break, perhaps?   Today (or maybe yesterday, by now) was serendipity. 

We’re off to the Isle of Coll later today; GP1 thinks it will be the most boring holiday on the planet, but he’ll love it once we’re there. Says Mum.  As a consequence it will be very quiet in this corner for the next week.  At least this time silence will be due to physical absence rather than the gloom that descended over me during the latter stages of plaster incarceration, that precluded any sort of positive spin. 

And please, please, please let it be sunny!

Anyone for coffee?

Photo of shop frontI’ve just been having a chat with Mother at Large over on her blog, where she suggested a Bloggers Fest to add to all the Fringe fun.  This is not so much a bloggers’ fest, nor even an Edinburgh Coffee Morning, more a blogging mums’ coffee break.  The Guineapiglets are playing tennis at The Meadows this week, and Victor Hugo’s does very good coffee, so we’re meeting there 1230ish tomorrow.  Would anyone care to join us?  It’s not compulsory to be a mum.  Or even to write a blog.

I’ll be the one with the pegleg…

Round Edinburgh the hard way

BUPA Run.jpgAnother of those pleasant, restful weekends with lots of time in the garden?  I wish!  Instead we spent Saturday morning cheering our youngest round the Meadows on the Junior Great Edinburgh Run and I spent Sunday morning pounding (or should that be plodding?) the streets of Edinburgh on the grown up version.  My run was the result of one of those good ideas that are so easy to have, so difficult to wriggle out of.  Youngest son’s run was because, for the last couple of years, he has wanted to enter the Great North Run and Edinburgh seemed more immediately accessible.  Having entered him, it seemed only fair that I should do my bit too.  So he managed his 2.4km in what seemed a very speedy 9m 51s; my more elderly legs took rather longer over 10km – 1hr 2min 30sec to be precise.  As I’ve never run 10km before, I was quite happy just to finish.   One success was a friend’s son, Hamish from Longniddry Primary, winning the Mini Run (8yrs & under) on Saturday; he came away with a trophy nearly as big as himself and a grin to match.

The 10km run was a great tour around the city of Edinburgh, taking in most of the sights.  From the Meadows to Tollcross, along Princes Street, up the Mound then down the Royal Mile to Holyrood Palace.  From there, there was a long, windy, but very scenic slog up through the park to the Commonwealth Pool, then down the Pleasance to Cow Gate, with a headwind through the tunnel, and the Grassmarket, fretting about all the hard-earned height we were losing.  Sure enough, the hill up past the Art School is very steep, but by then there wasn’t too far to go and I could begin to think that I would make it round in some sort of more or less respectable time.  And if only I hadn’t walked for odd bits up the steepest hills – not the Mound, I managed that – I might have got in in under an hour.  It was a great experience, running in a river of people through a wonderful city.