30 August 2023

The Edinburgh Military Tattoo

It was the turn of the Royal Air Force to host The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo this year so we thought we'd go and show our support.  It's about 14 years since we were there last.

Our friend Mr L was very excited about being able to tick it off his bucket list.  A Scot by birth, he had to admit to never seeing the Tattoo before.

We got the tickets from our son for Christmas, and made a weekend of it with friends.  It was raining just as we got to the castle, but thankfully the rain held off for the entire performance.

360° view of the esplanade.  Hubby on the left,  Mr L and Mrs B on the right.
The castle esplanade is transformed into an arena for the three weeks that the Tattoo is held.  That in itself is a huge feat of engineering.  It is perfect though, as the castle is the star of the show.

The show started with the Central Band of the Royal Air Force and His Majesty's Royal Marine Band of Scotland.

Followed by The King's Colour Squardon.  It seemed odd to me to be calling them that, as throughout my lifetime they have always been the Queen's Colour Squadron.

There were the Tattoo dancers

and The Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force Steel Orchestra and their dancers.

The Swiss Armed Forces Central Band

His Majesty the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway (who were excellent, and dare I say it, could give the KCS a few tips on drill moves!!)

And of course, the Massed Pipes and Drums which included The Scots College Sydney Pipes and Drums, The Scots College Sydney Old Boys Pipes and Drums and The Scots School Albury Pipe Band all from Australia.

Also making up the Pipe and Drums were The Band of His Majesty’s Royal Marines Scotland, The Central Band of the Royal Air Force, The Band of the Royal Air Force Regiment, The Royal Air Force Salon Orchestra, Royal Air Force Bands, 1st Battalion The Irish Guards Drums and Pipes, The Pipes and Drums of The Royal Highland Fusiliers 2nd Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, The Pipes and Drums of 4th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland, Combined Scottish Universities Officers’ Training Corps Pipes and Drums, Royal Air Force Pipes and Drums and The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo Pipes and Drums.

The Royal salute was taken by the Royal Air Force and was the first time I've sung God Save the King in public.  It was quite a moving moment.

I loved the whole thing and didn't want it to end.  I'm such a sucker for the bagpipes!!

Same again next year?

28 August 2023

Me on a Monday - 28 Aug 23

Oh Boy!! Only one more week to go then it's back to work.

I had my, back to work soon, haircut and got my grey coloured last week.  I also had a few layers put in and my hair feels so much better.  

On Saturday I went, with friends, to the Royal Court in Liverpool to see  A Greasy Spoon - a story about two cafe workers who have just murdered their boss!!  It was absolutely hilarious from the very start.  I wasn't sure what to expect as it's a long time since I've seen anything other than a musical at the theater, but it was brilliant.

The boys went for their weekly gun dog training and did really well.  Both boys went this week and each one waited patiently for their turn.  One advantage of this is, they sleep really well Saturday night, as they are shattered.

I had an offer from Hello Fresh to get 5 meals, for two, for £24.00.  Not being one to pass up an opportunity like that, I ordered five meals that looked easy to cook and they were delivered at the weekend.  Now I just need to cook them!!

Sunday was a bit of a driech day in the afternoon, so I set too sorting out all the odds and ends of wool I had lying about in various places.  I got the wool winder out and was surprised by how many colours I had in various bags.  I probably have enough for a few more baby blankets and possibly a scarf or two.

Bank holiday saw us at the Cheshire Game & Country Fair in Tabley, near Warrington.  It's not far from Tatton Park, the National Trust house we like to visit.  In true British summer tradition, it rained and got cold, but we were prepared with layers and waterproofs, plus walking boots.  We got to see the gun dogs, the steam engines, chainsaw carving, falconry plus loads more.  I was just a shame that the ground looked like we should be at a festival instead of a game fair.

British summer time = Never too far from a pair of wellies.

25 August 2023

Greyfriars Bobby

Greyfriars Bobby - His statue is outside the Kirkyard where he and his master are buried.

The story goes, Greyfriars Bobby, was a little dog who, after his owner John "Auld Jock" Gray died in 1858, stayed by his grave side for the next 12 years. Bobby slept under the stone table next to his grave and in the winter a local man would put sacking underneath to keep Bobby warm. The people of Edinburgh loved Bobby so much he now has his own grave stone in the cemetery and a monument in the street outside.

Other stories say that in 19th-century Europe, there were over 60 documented accounts of graveyard or cemetery dogs. They were stray dogs, fed by visitors and curators to the point that the dogs made the graveyards their home.  People began to believe that they were waiting by a grave and so the dog was looked after.  Jan Bondeson claims that after an article about Bobby appeared in The Scotsman, visitor numbers to the graveyard increased, which supposedly created a commercial benefit for the local community.  Bondeson also speculates that in 1867, the original Bobby died and was replaced with a younger dog, which explains Bobby's supposed longevity.

No one will ever really know the true story, but I like the idea that Bobby loved his master so much he didn't want to leave him.

As you can see from the bronze statue, people rub Bobby's nose for good luck.  I did too (followed by a large amount of anti- bac hand gel!!).

23 August 2023

A Close Encounter

Having a dunk after being stung.

All three boys had a major run in with a wasps nest last Sunday and it was not a pleasant experience for any of them.

Hubby and I had taken the boys to Gwepra Parc in North Wales for a bit of a swim and a run around the meadows.  Unfortunately on their first dip, they were so excited, and running around like lunatics, they must have disturbed a wasps nest.

Poor Innes got the brunt of them and was whizzing around in circles after being stung, Blue got away with a few stings and hubby had about eight.  Once back up the bank there was a lot of arm waving and swatting away of the pesky critters.

I got all the stragglers off hubby and we then checked out the boys.  Wasps apparently bury themselves in their fur so they can continue stinging.  We spent quite a while flicking wasps of them (even from the more delicate areas!!) and trying to get them to calm down.

We took them to the swimming hole so they could get rid of any that were still clinging on for dear life.  Poor Innes got himself so worked up he tried to climb out next to the waterfall, which is a shear rock face.

Eventually after having a swim and more fur checking, they seem to settle down a bit.  When we walked them through the meadow they did get a bit skittish about anything that touched them, but all in all they were non the worse for the experience.  A call to the vet and an anti-histamine later and all was well.  Hubby on the other hand was in quite a bit of pain, especially as he'd been stung on the side of the face.

Next time we're staying closer to home and going for a walk along the beach!!

22 August 2023

Me on Monday - 21 August 2023

Another week marked off the calendar.  

We made plans to go to York to see family next month.  Hubby's mum is just out of hospital after a brief stay due to Sepsis, and is planning a visit, so we are going over to meet them.  Unfortunately our grandson will be at his other Nanny's that weekend so we won't see him.

I had coffee and a catch up with my Aunt and Uncle.  Apart from their own children, I'm the only one from my side of the family who goes to see them, so it's nice to keep in touch.

There was a trip to the dentist.  Not good news.  It may, or may not be a tooth problem.  It seems it might be the a nerve problem.  This time I need to be referred to the hospital, so they can check it out.  Lucky me!!

The weather was sunny so I did the weeding in the front garden.  It always looks so much better once all the pesky weeds have gone.

I had my nails done as they were far too long and getting in the way.  I don't know how people have really long nails.  They must never get anything done!!

There was a lot of crochet completed and audio books listened too, whilst I carried on with my attempt to finish all those projects I had on the go.  The Hexie blanket is a whopper and will take much longer than I thought :0)

21 August 2023

Summer Photo Scavenger Hunt 2023 - Part 2


It's time to catch up with Mary Lou at Patio Postcards, for the second installment of the summer photo, scavenger hunt. 

2023 Summer Scavenger Hunt / Search Ideas

1. A Plant/Tree With Thorn(s)
2. A  Wordless Directional Sign
3. Something Netted or Webbed
4. Something Berry Berry Delicious
5. A Bridge
6. A School
7. Something That Dangles
8. Some Shadows
9. A Crack or Pothole in The Road or Sidewalk
10. A White Flower(s)
11. Extraordinary Water 
12. Summer Tools
13. A Sold or For Sale Sign (not necessarily a house)
14. Something That Rolls

Alternate A: Your Favourite Summer Taste
Alternate B: Your Choice

2.  A Wordless Directional Sign

Pretty self explanatory really.  From the car park at the local supermarket.

5.  A Bridge - The Swiss Bridge in Birkenhead Park

6.  A School - Where I work.

8.  Some Shadows - I saw this picture at the GYS.  It's made entirely from small pieces of extremely thin wood.  It appealed to me, as it makes me think of our troops in the desert.

11.  Extraordinary Water - The Ross Fountain in Edinburgh.  
Extraordinary, as the 122 piece fountain was first seen by David Ross, a gun maker, at the Great Exhibition in London in 1862.  In 1869 he bought the sculpture and had is shipped north to Leith, where it was assembled before being gifted to the city in 1872.  It still stands in Princes Street Gardens.

How did you get on this time?

18 August 2023

What's in a Name?

Have you ever wondered where Harry Potter and Voldemort got their names from in the Harry Potter Books?

Edinburgh is known as the birthplace of Harry Potter as J. K Rowling wrote some of the very first chapters of the books there. So, there are many places in the historic city that are thought to have inspired characters, places, and events in the series.

J K Rowling denies that the gravestones in Greyfriars Kirkyard inspired the names, but I’m thinking they must have had something to do with it as Scrymgeour is not a very common name hereabouts!!

The Kirkyard has a whole host of names that are in the book.  If you look closely enough you'll find a Potter, Scrymgeour, Moodie, Black, and Thomas Riddell (old Voldemort himself).  

A happy coincidence or just her imagination?  You decide.

(Harry) Potter (Main character)

(Rufus) Scrymgeour (Minister for Magic after Fudge)

(Alastair) Moodie (Professor with a magic eye)

                                       (Sirius) Black (Notorious bad guy and Harry's Godfather)

Thomas Riddell (AKA Lord Voldemort - All round bad guy)

16 August 2023

Crochet Update

It's been a while since I've done any crochet.  I just don't seem to have been in the mood.

I have about five or six things on the go and made the decision the other day to crack on and get them done.  

I finished a baby blanket that I was asked to make for one of the ladies at work.  Her niece is due a little boy in October so I had plenty of time, but thought it best to get it done and handed over.  Made with Stylecraft Special DK. It's an Attic24 Spike stitch pattern.

I finished a Christmas Elf for my DiL.  She'd a huge Leeds United fan so I had to go white, yellow and blue. Also Sytlecraft special DK. Pattern by Olga Chemerys

I'm also working on my Sophie's Universe, using the gorgeous Scheepjes wool I got with my Christmas voucher at Wool Warehouse. Pattern by Dedri Uys.

My Christmas blanket is finished but all those pesky ends need sewing in and she needs blocking, as she's a bit wibberly.  Stylecraft Special DK with several patterns.  Colours by Attic24. Granny Squares by Janie Crow, some bits by me and the border is by the talented Jen Tyler. 

A Virus shawl is finished.  Made with King Cole Curiosity in Mother of Pearl. Pattern origin unknown.

And an asymmetric, Boomerang Scarf ,which I've just finished but have no idea how to wear it!!  It's also King Cole Curiosity but in Creme Brulee.  Pattern by Annie Design Crochet

And finally the ongoing Hexie blanket which I started in March 2022.  This is definitely my Work in Progress blanket.   Stylecraft Special DK with pattern by Jen Tyler.

14 August 2023

Me on Monday - 14 August 2023

Half way through the summer holidays and I don't know where the time has gone.

Last week the boys had been with us a whole year.

They've grown slightly!!

10 August 2023

Great Yorkshire Show - Best in Show

We met a lovely group of wood turners in the craft tent and spent about an hour chatting to them.  

Darrell Rushworth, an old timer, made this absolutely beautiful bowl.  It's made from an Australian burl, like the one hubby uses, but he's turned it so it is extremely light and thin.  In my opinion it should have won first prize and for me was the Best in Show.

Darrell told us that you can enter as many items as you like, into the competition, but you can only win one prize.  I suppose that gives those who are just starting out, a chance to win against those who have been doing it for years.  I imagine in the past that the old timers won everything in sight.  Darrell got 2nd prize for the bowl in the top left.  

So many beautiful things and they didn't mind spending the time explaining to hubby how they made it.  He in turn gave them details of the wood supplier he uses.  Such is the nature of the craft.  Everyone is so friendly, and complimentary of each others work.  

They told us about a young lad, Freddie McGuire (in his early 20s), just starting out with his business.  Freddie makes amazing bowls and then decorates them with electricity (Lichtenberg Burning).  Due to using electric he wasn't allowed to demonstrate, but he did have a stall where we could see some of his work and it's just stunning.

I really hope his business takes off, as he really is very talented.

8 August 2023

Me on a Monday

Last week started off with a bit of a wobble and I felt like I'd gone back six years to when I wasn't well.  It was silly really, as when I sat and thought about it later, there was no need for it. Too much overthinking and dwelling on things I can't control.  At the time though it made me feel unwell and nauseous. It lasted for a few days and I only felt better once we'd got to Edinburgh and met up with friends.  Then it all faded away and I was back to my normal self.

Edinburgh was awesome.  Good friends and laughter is all you need for a great weekend.  Last weekend was a busy one in the city.  The Edinburgh Fringe is on, the Edinburgh Military Tattoo is on and also on Sunday morning the World Cycling Championship men's road race started there.

The Fringe - What can you say about the Fringe?  It is everywhere you go.  There are 300+ venues of comedy, music, musicals, plays, drag shows, wrestling, singing and dancing.  You name it.  It's there.  As well as the venues there are street artists every few feet.  It's definitely an attack on the senses.  If you're looking for a quiet weekend in Edinburgh - avoid August :0)

The Military Tattoo - This year it was the turn of the Royal Air Force to host the venue.  The esplanade of Edinburgh Castle is transformed into an arena that can seat 8600 people.  The main castle is used as a back drop for the show, with pictures being projected onto it.  And of course there are fireworks at the end.

This year we had the Band of the Royal Air Force, the Kings Colour Squadron, the Massed Pipes and Drums, Trinidad and Tobago Steel Orchestra, the Swiss Armed Forces Central Band, the King’s Guard Band and Drill Team of Norway and the Tattoo dancers and fiddlers.  It was an absolutely brilliant night, the rain held off and at least one of our friends got to tick it off their bucket list.

Cycling - We didn't realise until we got there, that the UCI World Road Race was starting in Edinburgh on Sunday morning.  It was amazing to see all the riders we'd been watching in the Tour de France, cycle past.  We didn't find out until later, that the race had been held up for an hourby protesters, on it's way to Glasgow.

All in all it was a great weekend.  Not even the hours train delay at Manchester, on the way home, could put a dampener on it.

7 August 2023

Great Yorkshire Show - Claim to Fame

On the last day of the show we went and listened to Peter Wright, from The Yorkshire Vet on Channel 5, chat about his time as a vet and what he'd been up to recently.

He's a former student of Alf Wight better known as James Herriot, and has been a vet for nearly 40 years.  He talked about the animals he's treated, the people he's met and the friends he's made.  He briefly mentioned that he's just cycled 170 miles and raised £33,000 for the Herriot Hospice  Wow!

He also talked about how amazing animals are in helping those with mental health problems.  Something I found very moving.

He has a new book out, which I might just have to put on my Christmas list.

All together a lovely, every day guy just going about his business.  Albeit with a camera crew in tow :0)

4 August 2023

Spam Calls and Emails

Did you know that this week alone I have won an Airfryer, two ring doorbells, countless vouchers for supermarkets, been in an accident and am due a refund from HMRC for my tax.

Not bad for someone who doesn't enter competitions, pays tax monthly and hasn't had an accident.

I have blocked the numbers that called and marked the emails as spam, but I have a feeling that they will be back.

My way of looking at it is.  If the person knows me, their number will be in my phone and their name will appear when they call or text.  If it's just a random number I don't answer it.  

At the moment though, I am having to answer the ones that say Unknown Caller as it's usually the hospital.

What about you?  Have you won anything interesting that you didn't know about or had any random calls recently?

2 August 2023

The Great Yorkshire Show Part 2

I couldn't pass up the opportunity to mention all the wonderful people who were at the show with their local produce.

We met so many lovely people who make so many lovely things.  

Lishmans of Ilkley, who make charcuterie in amazing flavours (according to hubby, who loves the firecracker salami). 

Cryer and Stott. Award winning cheesemongers with some amazing cheeses to taste.

Bee Natural.  For all your food wraps.  Definitely the way to go instead of using cling film or plastic bags.  Smells like honey, made from cotton fabric, is washable and lasts for about 18 months.

The Artisan Baker - I can confirm that the very large Cinnamon Danish are amazing.

There were so many more amazing stalls where you could taste the gin or the coffee, or the fudge, or the chutneys, but again, we just didn't have time.

Definitely next time.