Friday, 23 February 2007

Fit to drop

Anyone passing through Lochgilphead on Wednesday evening between 7.45-8pm would have been surprised or possibly deeply concerned to see a mixed group of men and women trolling up and down the pavement towards Ardrisaig, with eyes rolling back in their sockets and chests heaving and wheezing we alternately sprinted and slow jogged backwards and forwards along a 300metres stretch. What a fine sight to see the moderately fit being pushed right up to and way beyond their idea of a good night out. The more masochistic members of the group decided to extend the torture, because, well I am not too sure of the because, and we ran on down towards Ardrisaig for a while before heading back to contaminate the swimming pool with our sweaty bodies. That was Wednesday, Thursday I dragged along in Liz’s wake on a 6.5k run contemplating either staging an injury to get sympathy or just murdering her for being so perky and then hiding her body out in the woods. In the end I did neither but definitely trailed in last with legs protesting every step. Needless to say I then went riding and compounded the aching considerably. Only hope that Donald, my osteopath that I went to see Wednesday morning does not read this after advising no exercise until Friday apart from some gentle swimming….perhaps I misheard and it was ANY exercise as long as there is some gentle swimming (too) so that’s okay. Busy weekend ahead with the trec competition on Sunday (Garret and Toby upholding the pride of Claonairigh for us there), the girls will be thinking Brownies on Sunday in Furnace and tomorrow we are going to Lismore to look at a pup for Mum. Watch this space!

PS Garret has read (finally) the past blogs and feels that there should be a sincere, fine (sorry) apology to all the many businesses out there with Fyne in the titles so here goes…..ummmm sorry.
PPS As penance I will spice it up a bit (Reece).....Maybe..

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

Thought for the day or, never trust leather goods makers

In New Berlin, Ohio in the mid 1800’s a clever,but far too trusting man called J. Murray Spangler turned to a pal in the above mentioned job, this friend had no knowledge of electrics at all (but proved to be a whiz at spotting an opportunity), for help with his brand new invention…The electric suction sweeper. The pal was called W.H. Hoover and the rest is history. What saddens me about this small snippet from tales of yesteryear is that instead of “hovering” the carpet for 150 plus years we could have all been “spangling” it, far more pleasing.

Above fact obtained from “Made in America” by Bill Bryson.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

Spring has sprung in Mid Argyll

A beautiful, soft spring day here which has bought all the good,kind folk willing to pay for a bed to lay their weary heads on scurrying up here for a bit of peace, quiet and great scenery. Very welcome they are too! We spent the first day of the ½ term break with Lewis, and two of his friends. Toby did a bit of bareback on the-oh- so comfy Barra, which he greatly enjoyed…Toby did, I mean, not too sure on Barra’s thoughts actually. More of a sort of ambling, friendly acceptance than actual enjoyment. In order to get payback for having had time and attention lavished on them in this way we were off to Oban yesterday to shop, shop and shop. Garret, his faithful trolley (ies) and Lidl are not a fate to be wished on any tender offspring so we went book cruising whilst Garret indulged. An hour or so later after a pannini or two we crammed the children into the very small space left free of Lidl bags and headed for home. Garret and I managed to get a ride out together last Monday which is a first this winter. I thoroughly enjoyed the togetherness of laughing hysterically whilst a truculent Lewis ploughed Garret again and again through the afore mentioned (see Trec…Working for every horse and rider) branches whilst they had a lengthy discussion about cantering right round the outdoor ring. We then went for an amble to allow them both to stop steaming vigorously. We made our way down to the shore so that Garret and Lewis could complete the chilling off process by falling in a big hole concealed by the incoming tide, more chuckling was heard!
Today is a chill out day, I was supposed to be polishing my floor with my new polisher (got one!) but someone who thought they had polish did not have so shall have to postpone that exciting task to another day…I know you are jealous of the thrills and spills of my life but we cannot all be this to a golden Wedding tonight. Congratulations Duncan and Phyllis.

Friday, 9 February 2007

A wee rant....

After a busy night sampling the delights of the A83 from Inveraray to Loch Awe four times yesterday (a double run to Karate Club, in total 80 miles) I switched on the TV looking for a bit of mindless enjoyment at the expense of all the folks trapped in the snowy conditions in the rest of Britain (not here though, not so much as a flake has drifted to the ground). Obviously the presence of 10cm of snow represented the end of transportation as we know it, although to be fair there was not as much chaos as usual. We did get fair warning from the Met, advice that some, notably the powers that be in charge of school closures, chose to disregard until they actually saw the snow clogging up the roads at 6.30am. I don’t know why, it is not as if there were storms or mini hurricanes coming or anything* However, back to NEWS24 and the snowy, wintery coverage which suddenly became semi obscured by a red flashing banner informing us of “Breaking News”. This particular piece of news continued to dominate the round up of important news events for the rest of the evening. Forget Bird Flu, Global warming, cash for honours scandal (actually, please do forget that one). Hold the front page, Anna Nicholl Smith, a woman primarily famous for marrying an elderly billionanaire and by posing for Playboy has been found dead in a hotel room. Granted this is of passing interest to the odd playboy reader and maybe the afore mentioned billionaire's relatives (who must surely be celebrating pretty hard) but really not worthy of such intense coverage. I do note with interest that last night she was a “model and actress” (can you name one of her films? I looked them up and although I have heard of them it is not because she was in them but then maybe I am of the wrong gender) but today she has slipped a bit to “playboy model (subtle difference there) and opportunist floosie”.. That is not actually quite how they put it on the BBC but you could tell that they were all thinking it. Right, rant over.
Have very nice B&Bers staying (From Balloch), they have just booked in and partaken of a cup of coffee in front of the fire. I shall have to sack the resident woodpecker as he failed to fulfil his part of the bargain struck many a year ago i.e. we give you wild bird seed at huge expense suspended in a very attractive feeder thingy and you make yourself available to be admired by the paying guests whilst they munch on biccies and sip their tea/coffee..

* Obscure reference to the October 1987 Storm Chaos totally missed by the Met office that everyone still remembers and holds against them. We all choose to ignore that since then they have given several hundreds of thousands of accurate, helpful, relentlessly cheerful reports, as we stand arms folded across chests and say through tight lips “ that is as maybe but remember October’87).

Ps I also hate it (I lied about the end of rant bit but they do creep up unexpectedly)when news reporters refer to the dear departed (that is another one that I dislike) as having "passed away" Why can't we just say "dead"?. Please note that when I shuffle off into the hereafter you all have permission to say I have died, especially do not use late.Being a naturally punctual person I never am late unless forced kicking and screaming into it by Garret. I shall haunt anyone who does not abide by these my wishes. However as I am going to outlive you all I shall halt there and go do some ironing.

Tuesday, 6 February 2007

Yesterday's words. “Please proceed to checkout No.1 if you have ten words or less in your basket”.

Went to have bones Crunched
Drove Home
4pm-8pm shifted bones back driving kids around.

PS Yeah, I know there are 15 words but who hasn’t ever tried to sneak an extra couple of things through without the lady behind counting them over your shoulder.

Sunday, 4 February 2007

A trip with two bikes, one son and some ham sandwiches.

Whilst I wait anxiously with heart pounding for the ebay auction on my watched item (floor polisher…will the excitement never end!)to finish I thought I would distract myself with a few witty and well-chosen blog commentaries on life in Inveraray, Argyll, Scotland. Unfortunately I cannot think of any so I shall tell you about my day yesterday instead. Toby and I loaded bikes onto the back of the car, actually Garret did that after grumping on for several minutes about how no-one ever oils their bikes. This was met with blank, amazed expressions in a sort of “Well, excuse me but isn’t that why we have you” kind of a way. We also loaded the girls in without bikes and dropped them off to have a merry day in Minard, a village about 10 minutes from here right down on the coast of Loch Fyne. And there we left them by the side of the road to await our return some 4 or 5 hrs later, (we didn’t really, they went to a friends house to play but, poetic licence and all that). Toby and I trundled off to Lochgilphead, our local town, fortuitously positioned at the head of Loch Gilp, which is really a big bay off Loch Fyne. We spent an entertaining few minutes at the FyneSide Petrol Station (every business in the area has managed to amusingly insert “Fyne” into their name making the “F” section of the phone book very tedious reading indeed…in fact you get quite perky when you notice a business that is not Fyne…I wonder who was the very first person to be musing over the naming of their fledgling business at night over a whisky or two that suddenly leapt into the air shouting “Eureka! I will call it Fyne (insert name here)” only to be instantly copied by 50,000 other businesses within a week…but enough of this digression and back to the Petrol station) watching the counter girl puzzle over the prices of batteries. Exhibit one with 8 batteries in the little card thingy was £4.19 which I felt a bit steep (we needed them for Toby’s camera so he could capture stunning images for this very blog) upon my expressing very politely this view the girl reached helpfully behind her to get a similar cardboard package with 4 batteries in it. Obviously this would be cheaper but no, it was also £4.19. After several puzzled seconds on her behalf and a few rescans of both articles we pointed out the billboard high signs all over the shop (this might be a very small exaggeration) saying “Batteries 50% free”. I think that we made her day as we departed with over priced batteries in hand. Off we went to get our come uppance as we unloaded bikes and embarked on our happy plan to cycle along the Crinan Canal. Unfortunately as I had not read our local paper for weeks I was unaware that the first three miles or so of the canal had been drained of its murky contents and that the tow paths were shut. However, as the main road runs parallel to the canal we managed to regroup and rejoined the canal at Caairnban (re an e bay update 20 minutes and 12s to go..Palms are twitching now). Crinan was truly lovely in the winter sun and clear crisp skies, we ate a picnic alone on some rocks below the lighthouse and mused on how tasty ham sandwiches are when your legs are still twitching from a 14.5k cycle (bit of argument on that score as we had a slight diversion early on but I shall draw a veil over that). The cycle back was just as lovely and Toby regaled me with the latest plot from his Darran Shan book so I shall never ever have to read it. Amazingly this took us ¾ of the way back, I wonder what the folk we passed on the path made of the random snatches of conversations floating back from our fleeing figures “ Then the Grandfather smashed the gate into the girlfriends face” “ They blew up all the pressure pads and tracking devices” “ the old friend of the grandfathers was horribly murdered” etc, etc. I was grateful though as I managed to plan all my menus for next week and mentally clean the house. The evening was spent very pleasantly at Janice’s house (also in Minard) at a party (very tasty Chilli), luckily she has lovely soft chairs so those portions of my anatomy tortured by riding all afternoon without a saddle pad could gratefully relax. The children, we left with our lovely new babysitter, but not before threatening them with a reasonable amount of bodily harm should they misbehave after we left. In the way of all good parents I had my turn with the threats and then Garret resplendent in going out clothes and a Simpsons tie appeared to have another go (with, I thought, a very inventive selection of possible scenarios resulting from any misdeeds). Then we thought that we might be frightening the baby sitter so we left. So, anyway 9 minutes and 11 seconds to go, just time to spell check this and get my bidding fingers primed……. (9 minutes 11s later…heart still pounding from the pressure but sadly out bid, so if anyone has a floor polisher available let me know…and I don’t mean your Granny). If you have found the above somewhat tedious be very grateful that I decided not to treat you to “ An Essay encompassing a days shopping in Oban, a rounded over view and price comparison of Lidl, Bookers and Tesco”.