Saturday, 31 May 2008

She's Back!!!

£3,500 and 10 weeks later.....Luckily Peugeot picking up the tab so delighted to be reunited although it may be weekend leave only as one of the back doors doesn't this space.

PS Liz and I did the Auchindrain/Furnace run on Friday 6 miles in a slow time but 6 miles nonetheless so the total is 10 miles. Hopefully no problem upping that by 10% next week.

Monday, 26 May 2008

Testing, testing...still some static on the line

A quickie run whilst the children were at athletics club served to reinforce the decision of yesterday...I HATE HAVING ASTHMA!!!! Did 15 minutes out (time out for a call of nature and putting dogs on leads so they did not take off after golf balls...these two events were not connected in any way time wise) and 15 minutes back, according to Sanoodi mapping I did 4.3 miles but wheezed most of the way and was praying along with the Great God Ventolin like the unwilling but true disciple I am.
Incoming News Flash....a new way to try to pretend I am really training...a weekly running total...Oh dear, I really am very sad indeed.
Total so far this week:-Running 4.3 miles

Saturday night,Sunday morning

Well, the day of the big exam that I had crammed so hard for and dreaded arrived at long last and I was still coughing away like a 40 a day girl and so sadly had to leave the rest of the family to bring home the honours. More of that in a minute...
Photos...a get together at Dalchenna with bonfire,Beer (well, wine in my case)and Burgers. it was great to have a chat and a bevy. A novel way was discovered to toast several marshmallows at once to keep up with demand and Garret proved that men can multi task by carrying on a conversation with his drink and burning his bottom at the same time. And can anyone find a more spooky tree than that!! Very Sleepy Hollowesque. The next day came far too soon for Garret and he duly competed in a very warm and windy (sand in yer face on the beach bit!) finishing in one piece in 1hr and 49 minutes. The children did really well too with Rosie getting round 2k with great style and overtaking 6 or 7 11-14yr olds on the last lap. Toby and another boy battled it out in a very exciting finish for first place with the other chap making it by a hairs breadth. Freya also took a prize as second girl home,3 or 4th overall in her packed 1k race. So it was just me that let the side down and of course I am feeling much better today...Psychosomatic or what!! We stopped briefly on the way home at Westport Beach for Garret to soak his blisters....

Friday, 23 May 2008

Boo Hoo

Suffering currently from low spirits and a low peak flow.... I have had a sudden cold for the last week with a lingering cough that is taking it's time to shift. This means low peak flow and increased ventolin, and increased risk of not running Sunday.....On the plus side had another lovely week with Beddies with far too much time spent chatting to some great folk. Had some friendly Australians who love Tolkien and Winnie The Pooh (you have to check out the rooms to get that one). They had even visited Tolkien's grave and so we gelled more or less right away...not that I am keen on graves or anything. Howard and Myrna were here too on their last week of riding, we will miss them! However they have promised to call in for a Corner fix and we shall see them later on in June.

Monday, 19 May 2008

"Mighty things from small beginnings grow" John Dryden

Well, these are very small beginnings, and a very messy polytunnel (there are only so many hours in a day that can be spent in the tidying and cleaning mode...well, there are for me anyway). Mighty things may one day appear if I continue to hold off the armies of mice and their henchmen and partners in battle, the slugs. The white bits all over the soil are egg shells, in plentiful supply thanks to many hearty breakfast eaters. Apparently slugs do not like to get their tunnies scratched, I am with them on that one. The ugly plastic bits round the plants are chopped off plastic bottles which attempt to provide an extra barrier to the aforementioned attacks and also act as a mini cloche. I am driven to scavenging bottles from wherever I can (it can become an obsession!) as even one planting of peas can take a lot of bottles but we are getting there. I have just looked at the photos as I have downloaded them onto here, and yes, admittedly the outside stuff is on the tiny side, there are lots of potatoes lurking just under the ground which is why it looks very bare at the far side. But hey, look at those radishes in the foreground! You will all be envious of those in a few weeks......All that digging will be well worth it then!!!

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Snuffles, Daisy and Snowy Go Forth

A big adventure today for the rodents who were released into the Wide World.. this is relatively speaking, It was actually a space far larger than their hutch and with soooo much more grass. Wall to wall grass as far as they are concerned with dog security officers to boot (don’t turn your back on Lucy though, Snowy Rabbit). Whilst this was going on I was tending veggies. Freya planted out her courgettes and I hoed round the peas, sweet peas, carrots and oh so minute parsnips. We had some very baby spinach with tea, plus some lettuce. I hear it is now very trendy to grow your own, and for the first time vegetable seeds have overtaken flowers. In our own very modest way we are trying to do a bit of Good Life stuff with salad stuff, the inevitable tomatoes, the aforementioned, potatoes, nasturtiums for salads, basil, parsley and cucumbers, asparagus (which is lovely)radishes (for Peter) and strawberries from Garret’s Granddad’s allotment. An ex miner, Alf had an allotment for many, many years and cut quite a figure cycling up every day to tend a host of gorgeous veggies and chrysanthemums. He supplied local shops when such a thing was permissible without H and S and Uncle Tom Cobbley poking their noses in. He was well into his 70’s when I first knew him and was very tolerant of my reckless enthusiasm for picking his precious crops when small (and hence delicious) “Eeh lass, what a waste, tha should wait for ‘em to grow ta proper size” he would be revolving nineteen to the dozen six feet under had he known that his carefully tended bolt hole and second career is now under the A1/M1 link round Leeds.

Friday, 16 May 2008

Run Rabbit Run

All panic stations are clanging their klaxons and banging their metaphorical sauce pans as the 1/2 marathon approaches and insufficient miles have been pounded under trainers, hmmm, no change there then. Managed a 7-8 miler today with Liz (not too sure of the route to map and get the exact distance.) Wasn't very fast though and although I could blame Liz this would not be very honest as I was just feeling slower! We did see this little church like building just by the track past Minard Castle, I have never heard tell of it before.
Another lovely day for the happy tourists and those who have to wash copious amounts of bedding...

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Too hot for a walk in the Hills so we found a stream and did what kids do best.

All one (very nice) nighters last night so a big changeover again this am. Luckily Toby set too and helped with a willing heart so we could get out and about which we did despite soaring temperatures. This walk is the extension of the one I sometime start on Karate nights but was VERY hot today. On Photo 3 which is taken on the return journey you can see our return path winding away on the right hand side (just) and Loch Awe in the distance.


Another gorgeous day dawned, and a busy one too. Lots of lovely guests, and they were lovely too to breakfast and see on their way before setting to to do those rooms and get them ready for more lovely guests. We scurried away in order to be able to get to the Seafood Fair at Loch Fyne Oysters where the Inveraray Parent Council had a tea and coffee stall (Posters courtesy of Rosie), strictly in the interest of making money NOT being healthy at all. We did a 2hr stint and I spent more money on all the lovely food surrounding us than had I made a donation to the school and kept my two hours! No matter, we had fun and ate well. We all worked away with Garret on urn duty…a very important position. After sorting guests and children Garret and I left Rosie and Toby watching “The Great Escape” in the tender care of Grandad and made our own “Escape” (spot the seamless link there!) down to The George where we downed a couple of chilled white wines/tequilas and shared a couple of starters. Peter had driven us down there but for the return journey I ditched the high heeled boots into a back pack and we ran the 3.5 miles home (we did not start to run until at Inveraray outskirts for decency sakes). Ohhh that ice water in a bowl felt good when ½ hr later we reached home…..and here is the real rub…The Great Escape had not even finished!! I dreamt of sore feet all night!!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Piggy Wisdom

Garret is getting into a roll (not of the bacon variety of course (oooh an endless supply of piggy jokes coming up)) with the pig project as the hut is slowly taking shape, of a sort. Ably assisted by Freya (for about 10 minutes) the walls are slowly growing up towards the arc roof which proved a good shelter today from a wee shower during tea break. We have been consulting the God of Self sufficiency, John Seymour re the intricacies of Pig keeping for the average small holder. I have been dipping into John Seymour for many years so to speak after buying the first book at a car boot whilst still living in a through terrace house in Harehills, Leeds and dreaming those dreams. My store has slowly increased with the gardening books and Forgotten Household Tasks tome (less useful but very beautiful that one) and a fascinating source of valuable information from the three crop rotation through making pasta (“they are all spaghetti under a different name to me”) and of course pig keeping. John is very dispassionate, down to earth as you would expect but tongue in cheek at the most unexpected places. This is the culmination (almost…we get find out how to butcher the animal just after) of the pig section…..

“ Lure your pig into the killing room, put a little food on the floor, and then shoot the pig with a .22 rifle in the brain”

This raises two questions, outside an abattoir who the hell has a killing room in the average house, and well, at least they get to re use the food scattered as the last supper.

PS Run with Liz am (3 miles 35 minutes...4.8km 7.2 mins/km) then a swim.

PPS Happy Birthday Aunty (to distinguish from running Liz) Liz!!

Thursday, 8 May 2008

A short but sweet run

Another glorious day for the west coast. How shall I sum up my doings today....
1. 6 breakfasts
2.A short interview at school with two examiners about Tom the Janitor who is up for Janitor of the Year Award, he is through to the last three. so, I spilled the beans and now he has been, we gave him all the praise he thoroughly deserves...go get 'em Tom!
3. Liberated the peas from their " place of acclimatisation" to the garden.
4. Welcomed and made refreshments for guests thirsty for a cuppa after their drive
5. Picked asparagus for Garret from polytunnel and jealously guarded it from the children who have had most of it so far.
6. Encouraged Garret from afar as he begins to lay a base for our new impending arrivals...Two piglets....I am sure there will be photos.
7. Deemed it cool enough to water the peas etc...get that they needed watering! That means it has not rained for days now!
7. Omlettes made with Guinea fowl eggs for tea..there's a novelty. They are lovely, very hard shells.
8. Children to Karate and me for very slow run during which I discovered several blisters from last night...but hey look at that view!

Hot, Hot,Hot

We have had a glorious weeks weather with temperatures getting up into the higher 20's, so good drying weather for all those sheets. Given the high temperatures I therefore,obviously embarked on a strenuous 5 miles (8km 43.39minutes/5.4minute/km)run with the jogscotland group last night. The route went from the golf course at Lochgilphead over the hills (note that over the hills) to Achnabreac on the Oban Road. This is a glorious track and would have been well worth looking at had one not been toiling along red faced with sweat dripping into both eyes rendering a slightly hazy view of everything.Coupled with a wheezy chest, I lent Liz my running belt for her water bottle which also held my inhaler and my mobile I had my attention firmly on the end of the run for most of the run. Luckily all was well re chest with a kindly lent inhaler. The temps once back in the car at 8.30pm was 19'C so no wonder my face was red!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Furnace quarry run

Finally a training entry after a sedentary w/e spent running round after guests and children instead of up and down hills (well, they are hills in my mind anyway) Liz and I met at 12 midday and managed a 6 milesish run in 1hr and 17 minutes...not great but we did walk quite a bit and it was sooooo hot. This run is not very shaded and I am not a heat person, the car was measuring 24'C when we got back and later 27...I was certainly a lot hotter than 27 by the time the run was finished. A wee bit of exercise tonight,very wee as I cycled to a friend's house for a coffee and a chat and then cycled home, through the woods with a gorgeous darkening sky above, and the call of an owl as I neared home...lovely.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Teenage Tantrums and Treehouses

Well, following up on last nights entry I think that Rosie became a fully fledged member of the Teenage Party last night at approximately 8.54pm just as Voldemort was terrifying poor Harry in the graveyard. An horrendous fuss ("You always take her side" " It is always me that gets shouted at" and my personal favourite "It's not Faaaair") suddenly erupted over a small plastic dog in a small plastic kennel owned by a small plastic person that Freya was holding. Harry is now in limbo as the film abruptly halted and all combatants retired to bed.
Today has been gentler. More nice guests last night (we only have the nice variety here) to be fed and watered this morning and then the girls mucked out the Guinea Pigs and Snowy bunny while I did the double room. We then moseyed on down to the Oyster Bar and Tree Shop taking the dogs with us. We walked up a well worn, mostly gorse flanked path behind the Oyster Bar to a tree house which is an old favourite, although Ginny was not so sure. She did not make it up the steps. This afternoon Freya and I sowed more seeds, carrots, courgettes and radishes. I dealt with the latter on the reasonable grounds that as she will definitely not eat any she could not possibly take any pleasure in sowing the seeds. Now we are waiting for more guests who are all booked in, our first full house since January. The scones are made and we are ready!

Friday, 2 May 2008


Ittey Bittey day today with a bit of this and a bit of that. Two guests arrived lateish last night and were very appreciative of the house and the cuppa of tea in the dining room. They were a young couple, she from Derry and he from Aberdeen on their way to visit his grandma in Cairnbaan. They had one of the most noticeable cars we have had here, a bright yellow Ka with advertising for their local rugby club. Come to think of it he looked like a rugby player. I have been married to one for long enough to tell the signs. I had thought that those days were over but for the first time in a couple of years Garret has yielded to his younger ( more reckless)instincts and is playing Rugby sevens tomorrow in Oban. This is not without trepidation on his part but he is “sure he will enjoy it once he starts”. Perhaps with the end of the skiing season the body is craving adrenaline. Now starts the grand hunt for rugby boots not seen for two years. Back to today, Freya needed to visit the Dr for a persistent non exercise related cough with no other symptoms. She now carries the label of “viral cough” or “ I don’t really know so off you pop and get a bottle soothing medicine dear”. Having delivered her back to school the garden and poly tunnel beckoned, I pottered doing a variety of small jobs rather than one huge and unrealistic project as usual. I have started to try to reveal the stones I laid along by the forest road a few years ago as an edging to the border which are now almost invisible under the inevitably creeping grass and weeds. This is slow work as the bending makes my back creak in all the wrong places. Tobes is at friends’ house tonight and so it’s a girly night with the fourth Harry Potter and popcorn….we might let Garret join in if he promises to be good and brings his own popcorn.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Duty calls re bike.

Have crawled to the computer for a report after the first proper road ride of the year. This is not my favourite part of Triathlon training, not because I don’t like to cycle but it does horrible things to my neck which is a bit trying. Anyone who knows me knows that the annual local triathlon renders me bug eyed and fearful with nerves but still I persist. I keep hinting to my osteopath that maybe he should say that my cycling days are over but he steadfastly refuses to throw me this honourable discharge from the dreaded saddle (don’t get me started on the saddle…thank goodness for padded saddles, and I don’t give a fig for the “extra weight handicap” etc, lets face it I carry enough of my own weight handicap to be able to laugh in the face of hysteria re extra ounces).
This year I have decided (well, I decided this today several minutes into the ride) not to try to ride the statutory 20k each time I go out fretting and, to be honest crying with frustration at my consistently poor times. This time I have decided to go for 20 minutes, see where I get to and try to beat it the next time…this is a great plan for the first ride but not so great from there on in as I am sure we will discover. Today I managed 7 km out ( and surprisingly 7km back) but a positive split on the way back of 57s. This means it took me longer to get back…well, the hills are steeper on the way back (always the one with the excuses) so the plan faltered slightly on the 40 minute deadline but hey, until I get a better plan I am sticking with it. The more exciting highlights of the ride were almost catapulting over the handlebars as with leg and shoulder muscles bulging giving it their all and trying to be clever with the gears (which after 4 years and lots of miles I still don’t really get) I slipped the chain and came to a very, very sudden halt. Disaster was similarly narrowly avoided on the return trip as my right shoe lace…unaccountably longer than the left (will get the spotlight out and interrogate Ginny later re this), caught on the chain and I almost had an unplanned landing on the verge of a very nice part of the road with a small stream gurgling away in the main trajectory pathway.

Training update from yesterday:- 2.5 miles with jogscotland…anytime from 24 minutes to 27 depending on how long we waited for those who knew the way to catch up where the road diverges.