The hunt for photo id

GP1 is flying to London this evening, for an American visa for his impending trip to the States with BUNAC. He will have to leave his passport at the US Embassy and needs some photo identification to fly home again. Yesterday we took the house apart looking for his student rail card to book train tickets for a trip to Newcastle on Wednesday. No joy. Today we took the house apart looking for his driving licence. Of course he has known for weeks that he needed some id for this flight. Of course he has known for days that he didn’t know the whereabouts of his driving licence.

We didn’t find the driving licence but I did find, down the sides of the sofas, the following:

  • Several male nail clippings;
  • Approximately 10 assorted pens and pencils;
  • The remains of a party popper;
  • Miscellaneous bits of Knex;
  • A few playing cards;
  • 25 Spanish pesetas;
  • £10.74 in loose change (all mine, as I was the one who bravely stuck my hand where no man would dare);
  • A lot of stuff too disgusting to describe.

After I’d excavated that lot he discovered he could use his old, recently expired passport for identification. His driving licence will have to wait a few ore days.


I now know that I am a heathen. Possibly a blaspheming one. I recently came across this passage, an extract from a  learned tome by Pope Benedict XVI.  Read it all, no cheating.


The appearances that we read of in the Gospels are manifestly different. On the one hand, the Lord appears as a man like other men: he walks alongside the Emmaus disciples; he invites Thomas to touch his wounds, and in Luke’s account he even asks for a piece of fish to eat, in order to prove his real bodily presence. And yet these do not present him simply as a man who has come back from death in the same condition as before.

One thing that strikes us straightaway is that the disciples do not recognize him at first. Continue reading

On Angels

I was at a fundraiser last week where, amongst the various attractions, there were several women giving massages of various types.  (Now stop thinking that, it was all highly respectable.)  And there was a lovely girl doing Reiki and reading cards.  “Why not?” I thought.  I’ve never had a card reading but it was all in a good cause! And so she read my Angel cards.

I do find it difficult to take these things seriously and keeping a straight face was most definitely a challenge.  But I took it all in good heart. She told me various things about myself and, as with all these things, it’s always possible to find something to relate to amongst the generalisms.   So apparently I’m very caring and would make a good counsellor. Hmm. Not sure about that one.  I should make more time for myself.  Now that I like but so, I imagine, would most mums.   And I should be more decisive.

More decisive.  MORE decisive.

So, I wonder, does that mean I should turn from Bossy to Bully?

Ladies who lunch – or not

I had a phone call from Outer Mongolia the other evening. It was so faint it certainly sounded as though it was from the furthest corner of the planet but I did decipher someone closer to home.  Did I want to meet for coffee, asked the distant voice from another world?  By now I’d figured it was one of my occasional running friends.  I’m sure we all have friends who we meet in one context but rarely in others, so this invite was slightly unusual but very welcome.  I work at home, you see, so I’m always up for being disturbed by not-to-be-missed social events.  Call in for coffee any time you’re passing, I say to people, but they rarely do.  “I wouldn’t want to disturb you if you’re working”. 

Anyhow, we arranged to meet for lunch today, midday, in a local bookshop cum cafe.  But I work at home, and the phone rang just before I left with a call I had to take.  So I was late, about 7 minutes in my estimation.  I looked round the cafe: noone I recognised.  I browsed in the bookshop. Still noone I recognised.  I ordered coffee and sat with the newspaper.  The place was still full of strangers.  Had she been and gone, I wondered, because I was late?  But I wasn’t really that late.  So eventually I phoned her.  “I’m in the kitchen” she said.  “But we arranged to meet for lunch!” I said.  “Didn’t we?  12 at the cafe?”.  Continue reading

To do. A list of things.

This morning’s list:

  1. Send off forms for school travel passes (oops – should have been on last week’s list.  Oh well).   😳    
  2. Book our holiday.   😉    Started.  And we’re probably going here:  Dolphin Bay Divers (among other things)
  3. Tax the car   🙁     Why is the simplest thing never simple?
  4. Go through tender application.  A big one. It has to go out tomorrow. There’s a whole bunch of us working on it. I’m near Edinburgh.  They’re in Edinburgh, Weardale, Pembrokeshire, Dublin, Galway.  The world becomes small with email and phone conferencing.  8)
  5. Rearrange podiatry appointment for GP junior.  He’s now hobbling after every football/basketball/tennis/whatever session.  🙁  Good job he likes swimming. 
  6. Wonder if hubbie’s health insurance would deal with it more quickly.  And how do I find out? Arrange it? Find a decent podiatrist? Will it cover follow ups?    😕  
  7. Book our holiday.  Still not done that.   😀 
  8. Finish the next section of my current project. It’s already overdue and time’s running out.   😯       
  9. Find accommodation for September survey. 
  10. Start on next tender for a job in north west Scotland.
  11. Book our holiday     😆   
  12. VAT return.    🙁 
  13. Start (and finish) report for Menai Straits last year.    🙁 
  14. Go for a run – Great Edinburgh Run this weekend.  😯     I’m not in Mud’s league but you do what you can do.  I’m aiming for under an hour this year.  She’s tagged me, by the way – I’ll get round to it soon.  Put in on next week’s list perhaps.
  15. Nag.  When they come in from school, of course   🙄      
  16. Pay credit card bills  🙁     
  17. Hang out the washing.  We escaped for the weekend so there’s a backlog and yes it rained yesterday. 
  18. Wonder why the front door bell’s not working.  Had three different lots of people wondering how to break in yesterday.
  19. Book that holiday   😛      
  20. Displacement activity – write a blog post     😈    

Must dash.  Things to do, you know.

Why do some smilies work sometimes and not at others, she wonders?

Oh, and there are lots of entertaining blog posts to read in my spare time, in another blog carnival over at Mothership.  Do drop by! 


School shoes.  2 pairs and maybe some grown out of rejects that have escaped the bin.

Messing around after school shoes.  Scaffy trainers, 2 pairs.

Trying to be cool shoes.  White (yuck!) trainers, but they will insist.

Going to work everyday shoes.

Going to work smart shoes.

Wearing with a dress shoes.  One pair.  Although there might still be some discards at the back of the wardrobe.  Come on, have you ever seen me in a dress? Continue reading

The Auchenstary Aspirants

I’ve been tagged by Lynne to tell you seven things.  I’m not sure there’s much you don’t know about me, as I’ve already dumped a large proportion of my life into these blog pages.  However, prompted by some old photographs I came across the other day, here goes (and apologies if you’re heard most of this already):

1  The first alcohol I ever drank was Red Stripe beer. It was in Daphne’s bar, a roadside shack with reggae blaring out, somewhere by the road between Cow Bay and Kingston on the Jamaican south coast.  We used to dive at Cow Bay every Saturday morning and stop on the way home at Daphne’s for escoveitched fish, sourdough bread and ice cold Red Stripe beer.

2  I was the 2nd woman to land on Rockall – by 5 minutes.  The first woman went on Woman’s Hour to talk about it!   But GPD and I are pretty sure we were the first people to dive with sharks at Rockall.

3  I did the Nevis River race in 1979 or 80, with a crazy bunch of mountaineering friends.  We had to hurl ourselves into a raging torrent clutching a lilo,  shoot the rapids and jump over the waterfall Continue reading


I am wondering if that is the noise that a Russian crook makes when he’s helping himself to the credit in my bank account.  I went on line to pay a bill the other night to find our account looking rather more pink than it should at this time of the month.   Closer inspection revealed cash withdrawals from an ATM in St Petersburg.  Hmm, I thought.  That’s where Andy Murray is playing tennis this week.   Actually, I didn’t think that but what I did think isn’t really printable.

It wasn’t such an enormous amount of money that our account had been entirely cleaned out.  However, it would have paid for 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

Extreme reading No 2

I’ve just spotted this on The Fidra Blog, who in turn borrowed it from Steve Augarde’s blog.  Enjoy!

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 Steve Augarde, by the way, is author of the Various trilogy and, when I looked at his website, I realised he also wrote The Tractor Factory, Lifeboat to the Rescue and a number of other delightful books that I once knew off by heart.   As to my present reading, I rarely read books twice now that I’m past the stage of Katie Morag, Busytown, Burglar Bill and other such classics, all of which I could probably still recite if tested.   But I’ve just read It’s not about the bike by Lance Armstrong and I turned from the last page straight back to the first to read it again.  Perhaps it’s not the greatest literature but it struck the most enormous chord.  More about that in a future post, I hope.

To boldly go

Read in younger son’s physics homework the other day:  “The bench moves you fastly to the start and then slowly back through the…”

Nothing to do with hadrons or black holes, fortunately.

Me:  “There’s no such word as ‘fastly’.”  😆

Him:  “Yes there is.  What’s wrong with fastly?” 😎

Me:  “The word’s ‘fast’.  But that doesn’t really work there; you can use ‘rapidly’ or ‘quickly’ but not fastly.” 🙄

Him:  “‘Slow’ and ‘slowly’ are OK so what’s wrong with ‘fastly’?”    😛

Me:  “It’s just not English.  Perhaps the DofE had a point when he asked if you could read and write.”  😈

The conversation progressed on those lines.  I eventually won. 

It reminded me, though, of some other ‘…ly’s and various dislikes.   Continue reading


If you look carefully on the State Theta website, you’ll see a picture of Guineapigmum indulging in an arcane Pilates ritual.  I’ve been doing Pilates with a local teacher over the winter; just what I’ve needed to get my much abused body back under control.  Anyhow, Audicia is planning to hold a series of classes – various activities – in her brand new, very beautiful Ormiston studio over the summer, so do take a look at her brand new, equally beautiful website.   The classes aren’t yet on the website by the looks of it, but they are on posters displayed at various locations locally.

And the guitarist Gordon Giltrap is playing in New Winton village hall at the start of June.  I think there are tickets still available if you’re interested. 

Mind-bending time bending

buzz_med.jpgWe’ve just been watching a Horizon programme about gravity.  Newton, apparently, got it wrong; if you calculate his formula the moon should be about 10m to the left.  As GP2 said “That’s like getting 99 1/2% in a test and being told you have to try harder”. 

How do they know all this?  Buzz & Neil & Co left an 18 inch mirror on the moon and scientists somewhere in America spend their nights – or is it days? – aiming a laser beam at this mirror – 18 inches square, remember – via a telescope and calulating how long it takes for the protons (I think it was protons) to come bouncing home.  The only thing is, it’s not quite as reliable as carrier pigeons Continue reading

Life goes on

In fact, it goes on at such a pace there doesn’t seem to be time to write blog posts.  And that’s with no significant work to do for a week or so.  Bliss!  Christmas shopping and meeting fellow bloggers without feeling that there’s something else I should be doing.  Make the most of it.  It won’t last.

So, in the last ten days I’ve had my second round of chemo, which was no problem, although I think it took a little longer to get over than the first.  I did manage to get myself along to the EduBuzz meeting but was feeling slightly spaced out so I’m not sure I contributed anything coherent.  In fact, I may have agreed to write something; it’s rather akin to agreeing to something at a party or with a pint in your hand.  You wake up the next morning thinking “I said I’d do what?”.  Anyhow, as I’m fairly certain I haven’t said I’d swim the channel for charity, I’m sure it’ll be fine.

I also met up with fellow bloggers Helen, Vanessa and Erica at an Edinburgh coffee shop and then visited the Children’s Bookshop in Morningside.  Continue reading

Time for coffee?

I know everyone else is working, or living somewhere more exotic than Edinburgh, but my desk is clear for the first time in years.  So Mother at Large and I are meeting for coffee tomorrow at the Cafe Grande in Bruntsfield.  1030 if anyone else can organise a skive.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to wander up to visit the new Childrens Bookshop    which I haven’t yet seen.    Short notice, I know, but do come along if you can.

Whacky science

Salmon and Inland Fishing - Varanger.comI’ve just read Salmon fishing in the Yemen which should, I think, be compulsory reading for all scientific civil servants.  It was certainly compulsive reading, and very funny, with its descriptions of a whacky project to establish a North Atlantic salmon run in the Yemen desert, the inevitable political machinations that arose and the talk of big money.  Running through it all is a sad but funny story of a sterile relationship and a career obsessed woman for whom the glass ceiling is merely a skylight in her penthouse suite.  I charged through it in a couple of days and it set me thinking about strange projects I’ve been involved in over the years.

Suspend disbelief for a moment whilst I tell you that the Lost City of Atlantis lies just off the north coast of Ireland in Rathlin Sound.    I know this is true as Continue reading

It’s good to talk – Part 2

Nuns get it, apparently.  Non-smokers get it.  Ovarian cancer, that is.  I can make no claims to anything in the nun department, despite the nunhood clearly being my destiny at 7 years old.  Seven year olds are notoriously fickle, though, so by the time I was 8 I had the medical profession in my sights.  Given recent events, I suppose some might say I still do.  But smoking, that’s another matter entirely.  I was such a boring wuss  as a teenager I wouldn’t even try a cigarette, not even the ones that created the strangely scented cloud that enveloped all teenage parties in Jamaica, home at that time.  Although, if I were a politician, I would probably have to admit that I’d inhaled.  Apparently Jamaican villagers gave (?give) crying babies spoonfuls of ganja to lick; the West Indian equivalent of a baby bottle filled with Irn Bru, perhaps?  Did you need to know that?  I have never smoked.  Not once.

We saw the oncologist on Thursday, Continue reading

Life in the raw

If I had taken a camera with me yesterday, I could have shown you one of our beautiful East Lothian beaches – blue sky, golden sand, glittering sea.  Gullane BeachToday, now my sister has gone home, I went for a dose of Vitamin D along the path behind the house to the woods.  I should have had a video camera today, as I watched a real life action movie of a stoat chasing a rabbit to the death in a field of stubble and then dragging it off into the hedge.  It was quite a fantastic sight, with the stoat lolloping and bounding above the stubble so that it looked as though it were flying whilst the rabbit squealed in terror.  No video camera, so this YouTube clip will have to do.

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