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

The rain in Spain…

I know, I know.  There really is no excuse worth having.  But the gps were very hungry,  and when teens are hungry, instant foraging is essential.  The McDonalds just happened to be next to the Asda carpark when we stopped in Omagh for essential supplies (read alcohol) en route to Donegal.  (I’ve just reread that – I imagine that fine restaurant is always there, not just when we happened to be passing. )  Anyhow, into McDonalds we went. 

Burger outlets always provide me with something of a challenge as, if I eat gluten, it’s not too long before everyone else knows about it and is finding an alternative bathroom.   It’s definitely not recommended on a car journey.  The place with the golden M isn’t too bad as these things go as I can eat their burgers as long as there is no bun attached, and their fries aren’t coated with anything extra to make them crispy.  But just you try asking for a burger without a bun.  I generally lose the will to live quite early in the conversation and settle for the coffee.

This time, though, I thought “I’ll have a salad!” but decided to check its contents before committing myself.  So… Continue reading

Tri-ing hard

It was Friday morning.  The end of a glorious September week of sunshine, calm seas and early morning mists.  At about the time that you were all settling down to your desks with that first cup of coffee or struggling with the first class at the end of a long week, I abandoned my duties as an average mum, ignored the pile of laundry, spurned the siren call of the vacuum cleaner, forgot the data entry mountain and swam to Fidra.  And, you will realise, back.  It was fab!

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Now I’m not what you’d call an elite athlete.  In fact, those of you who know me will appreciate that ‘athlete’ is an over-generous term.  But over the last few years I have taken part in a number of triathlons.  No reason, really, except that, like Everest, they’re there Continue reading

Hair today…

“Have you noticed” said a notoriously tactless and insensitive male of my acquaintance, “Have you noticed that your hair’s rather curly?”  I sighed.  I tried to summon a suitably withering are-you-an-alien-from-another-galaxy glare.  Deep breath.  “Well, there are mirrors in our house and, oddly enough, I do tend to take a glance while I’m brushing my teeth in the morning.  Of course I’ve noticed, you ****”. 

But I suppose I’m gradually getting used to the wide-eyed stares and take-two looks from those who haven’t seen me for a while.  Earlier in the summer we went to big sister’s cottage in Co Donegal for a week’s holiday and all four sisters were there at once, which must be something of a record.  They (the other three) took one look at me and fell about laughing.  Sisterly love, eh?  Continue reading


botanic-gardens-belfast-small.jpgThe news from Ireland this week and Fearghal’s and Don’s blog have all conspired to take me back to the early 80s (1980s, that is; nothing to do with my age, despite my children’s opinions) when I went to work at the Ulster Museum in Belfast.  I have many connections with Belfast as it’s my mother’s home town and I was born there, so it seemed a completely natural move to go there to work.  I couldn’t understand why people kept saying to me “It’s probably not as bad as it sounds”.  I went and had a great time there for four years and still have many close friends in the city.

But it wasn’t all sunshine at that time. Continue reading