Sunday, 31 August 2008

A short problem

When we were away on holiday, Jo, Ken's sister, was discussing her short hair-do. When I first met her, her hair was past her shoulders and it is now short. Her husband is not too happy but tolerates it as he loves her. Just as well.

I had my hair short (really short) when Ken and I started going out and he didn't like it at all. We made an agreement that he would keep his hair short if I grew mine long. Ken, like many men, prefers long hair on women. That is okay, except that he doesn't have to put up with washing it, drying it, remembering to tie it up when going out as I hate it blowing around my face. It's not practical on rescues. It looks dull when just tied in a pony. I don't have time to do anything interesting with it. It gets in the way when I sleep. It is hot in the summer.

Answer - cut it off. Don't tell the hubby until after it is done and hope that he can cope.

See below.

Friday, 29 August 2008

Back to reality...

We are back from our hols. Since June we haven't really stopped and it is so nice to know that all the Scouts camped, the guests are returned, the family stayed with and we can start to resume some semblance of normality.

Angus has certainly had a super time as he really enjoyed having his cousins Callum and Evan staying with us and seeing them again when we had a clan gathering in Scotland. He keeps asking where Evan and Gumgum are - I think he misses them. Both Ken and I have also noticed a big improvement in his speaking over the last month. His vocabulary is widening, his pronunciation is so much clearer and he is now using two and three word sentences.

Last week we were in Mallaig in Scotland. It is a small seaside town that was built on fishing and acting as a port for sailing to the near by western islands. Skye is just over the water and there is usually a clear view of the Cuillins. Eigg and Rhum are also easily visible. The beaches there are wonderful and full of fine, white sand more reminiscent of the Caribbean than a typical Scottish beach. We spent several days on the beach and although it wasn't warm, it was beautiful and Angus built and destroyed lots of castles! We also took a boat to Eigg and walked to the top of the fin. Enjoy the pictures. We certainly enjoyed ourselves, and it only rained once.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Guess who has taken up climbing?

We have two of the four American nephews staying with us, and, despite having some seriously good outdoor climbing near us, they have decided in their teenage wisdom that indoor climbing is better. So on Sunday we all went to a climbing wall, and Angus naturally decided that he wanted to go too. The gym had a really tiny harness small enough for him and this was the result.

Look out Leo Holding!

Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Serious Gardening 3

And what was Angus up to while we were gardening?

Helping of course!

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Serious Gardening 2

The finished product! Doesn't look much in this light, and the plants need to mature a bit more. But hopefully there will be a lot more colour and variety. The larger plants at the back will need to be trimmed in the Autumn and that will help it all look a bit less "Little and Large" and to be honest, the plants are already filling out since these pictures were taken. Anyone fancy a visit?

Monday, 11 August 2008

Serious Gardenning

I decided that the garden was in need a radical overhaul. The problem was that just before we left for Germany, the garden was really getting on my nerves. There was a rockery that led to the steps. They were so big that the previous owners of the house had placed concrete paving slabs on them to reduce the amount of ground. This left and narrow path, then edging stones, then paving slabs and no where large enough to place chairs and a tab at the back, with steps up the middle and these two huge flower beds on either side of a pathle to sit out on. Or large enough for a child to play on.

So we changed the shape of the flower beds. It wasn't too difficult - just hard work. We reduced the size of the beds by drawing a semi circle from where we wanted the centre to be and shifting the edging stones to there. Then moved the paving slabs to fill a more useful location and the shrubs had to temporarily relocated so that they weren't in the middle of our new sitting/playing space.

Problem - the shrubs were all randomly relocated. There were bare patches where the slabs were moved from, crowded patches where the beds were made smaller and none of the shrubs were trimmed or pruned while we were away! As there were three hydrangeas, the garden was somewhat overgrown in places!

Solution - I spent a day with a lovely lady called Rebecca who came and sorted out the mess. You know how you meet someone and you are immediately on the same wave length? That is what happened. My garden was mainly green fir trees, these huge hydrangeas, some yellow things and a few other smaller plants. The effect was not pleasing and there was no colour until about late July/early August. So Rebecca and I planned. We had a tight budget so she said that I could work with her digging and replanting, and she would provide the knowledge. PERFECT!

It was not the right time of year to prune hydrangeas - we just dug one out altogether instead!
We also dug out some of the large fir trees, and other plants that were just too large, or that were not to my taste, moved other plants and had the whole garden cleared by lunchtime. We then went to a garden nursery, chose plants for eventual size, colour, leaf shape, when they flower, and so on, came back and had the whole garden finished and tidy by 7.00 (except for one pile that needs shredding for compost.) Pictures below:

The front of the house. With large shrubs, fir bushes and lots of weeds.

The back garden - can you spot a rather green and yellow theme? Oh, and lavender.

After pictures tomorrow - have to wake Angus up.

Friday, 8 August 2008

Okay, so I haven't written in ages. What have we been up to? The list includes exam marking, report writing, taking an exam myself, closely followed by a somewhat wet and eventful visit from friends from Germany that culminated in a trip to London (see The Duffys' Blog) and a few days in Germany ourselves. I did then have a few days of peace, if you can call an increasingly belligerent toddler peaceful, but that was all shattered by 12 days of rain, canvas and smelly Scouts. Yes, the annual pilgrimage to Scotland for Scout Camp. Sadly we have few pictures of said camp due to my husband's belief that we should use rechargeable batteries, and my camera's belief that they really aren't worth the insertion. But I have attached a few pictures for perusal.

It was Ken's birthday in June. He has been restoring this car in his "spare time" for a while. I arranged for it to be insured, serviced, taxed and MOTd for his birthday. Here he is with Angus proving that it really is a perfectly sensible car to own as car seat and buggy do fit in! Angus loves it and they went for a short jaunt around Macclesfield that evening just because they could.

This is Scotland. Yes, the sun does shine in the Britain sometimes, and yes, it really was warm enough for Angus to go skinny dipping. Just try telling him that he can't play in water! He ended up wading in up to his waist and splashing anyone close enough, including the dog. Oh, where were we? Loch Ken!

This really is the best way to have a bath. Hot water courtesy of my brother's steam engine, tin bath from his old caravan (over 100 years old caravan) and sunshine from up above. As you can imagine, Angus was very happy and played until the water was cool and he was shivering (don't tell the Germans!).

My Dad being a very proud Grandfather, with Angus at the controls of my brother's steam engine, Queen Victoria. She is over 100 years old and is still fully functioning having had a complete rebuild this winter. We were at a steam engine rally for the weekend and Angus loved it - tractors, engines, model steam trains to ride on, fair ground rides doting Grandparent, sunshine and beer! What more could a little boy want.

One of the few pictures from Scotland scout camp. This one is more typical of Scotland, sadly, as this was one of only three days when it didn't rain in a twelve day camp. You can see that we have erected drying lines for obvious reasons! We had a lot of fun but it was a bit too long in the rain under canvas and difficult to keep Angus happy and entertained. But, he was happy 90% of the time and we had a couple of wonderful scouts who liked playing with him and I think the entertainment was mutual!