Friday, 29 July 2011

Emergency Post

To those whom it may concern;

Belinda's had a nasty fall off the 8ft 6inch climbing frame at Fenton Barnes. She's broken her ulna (arm) at a 14 degree angle and has been at the Sick Children's Hospital (Edinburgh) all day. It's borderline whether they operate or not so she's going back for 8 o'clock tomorrow.


(P.S. For anyone wanting to wish her well, this is one place to do it.)

In which I visit both the Beach and the Zoo...

Suddenly everyone is here, and busy arranging stuff. The first part of the holiday passed in a bit of a stupor and I think it is now trying to make up for it. Consequently things are happening faster than I can be bothered to write about them. As for photos... those previously on my computer seem to have gone walkabout, and naturally I keep forgetting to bring my camera anywhere. Epic fail.


...had her leaving party *sad face*. North Berwick beach (which turned out not to actually be North Berwick beach) found itself rather crowded on tuesday, when a decent-sized chunk of fourth/fifth year piled in.

We then...
Wave Jumped (failed to jump over any waves, but became considerably wet after going through quite a few).
Searched (unsucessfully) for William's lost wallet- now listed MIA* .
Set up barbecues (one reasonably terrible and one altogether failed).
Roasted the things we should have barbecued but were refusing to cook over the first barbecue, on the bonfire which was the result of the second.
Dried off and ATE.

All highly exciting stuff- but you had to be there.

Several people I've met since appear to have caught sunburn.

Sarah & Co. had been planning a boat trip around Bass Rock, to which I had been invited. Unfortunately, no spaces left when we rang... but half an hour and Flora comes to the rescue...

One of the things included in our summer plans had been a visit to the Zoo, and today Flo's wee sister was going with a friend, so she rang me to see if I was around to go aswell.

As it happened I was, and we set out promptly- Flo's mother Debbie being nice enough to drive us all in.

We wandered up and down (though it felt like mostly up) hill, peering into the enclosures, occasionally seeing someone we recognised... naturally, ice-cream followed. But not for long, 'cos it was hot.
I understand that of course, the Zoo doesn't not have unlimited space/funds to expand, but I was still a tad miffed at the lack of space in some of the enclosures. Those of the big cats bothered me particularly. Fair enough, some of the smaller creatures might have been quite comfortable in that sort of area, but for animals of that size they seemed horribly cramped. And whilst they extended up a bit allowing them to climb, there was certianly not enough space for them even to trot (do cats 'trot'? Well, something similar). I don't know if they ever get taken out and say 'exercised', but I'm guessing probably not. At any rate, the thought of them spending hours cooped up like that I find a tad upsetting.

Aaanyway that's not to give the impression I didn't enjoy it all (I did, Flora, I did!). Watching the penguins was certainly a high point, particularly that one which reminded me strongly of the mad scientist in 'Back To The Future' (yet again, I forgot my camera so this is not my own picture but nicked from the internet in order to illustrate my point).

I end the day by hitching a ride with Flo & Co. back to Gifford, where I meet everyone preparing to tuck in to dinner at the Goblin Ha'... mmm, Brie and Beetroot tart....
* Missing In Action

Thursday, 28 July 2011

A Tale of Two Dinners

Oh dear... where to start? Two consecutive birthday parties (as usual, synonomous with massive overeating... ouch), Rosie (16- today) and Belinda (8). For Rosie's, the plan was to hop into Edinburgh to see the new Harry Potter. I had managed to hold back from going to see it before in anticipation of this.

I think a trailer is appropriate here:

I think that by the time I came to watch it, I had already seen so many trailers that I had a fairly accurate idea of what to expect from the film... What surprised me though was that they managed to make it really very good, without necessarily being particularly funny. Still trying to decide whether or not this is a Good Thing (Personally I'm never averse to bit more comedy). Anyway, clearly it worked...

Following our stint in Edinburgh, we scooted back to Rosie's, on the way to which Beth recieved an unexpected text from Louise (who had just left us), and declared to a shocked audience that Amy Winehouse had died. We had all been fairly cut-off from the world in general since midday, so this news came as a complete surprise. Although I don't think any of us is a particular fan of Amy Winehouse, it is bizarre and sad to think that she is no longer there...

Back at Rosie's, we walk Clover (the residing dog- you might have guessed) and EAT. The table is covered in all manner of small edible snacks, and as we remain sitting there and talking a good few hours, we steadily pick away and eventually discover that the table top does indeed actually exist. We migrate to the 'sofa/TV area' of the room, and allow 'Mock The Week' episodes to run in the background as we chat, comment, and devour MOAMs.

The Very Next Day...

Having spent the best part of the night in various discussions with Ailish, I wake up brutally early, feel stuffed and eventually get sat on.

Still feeling stuffeed and now also reasonably squashed, I hitch a lift with Beth back to Haddington, and another party (ie, opportunity to overeat).

By the time I got back everyone had already arrived (everyone being Sarah -aunt-, Michael -uncle-, Honor, Belinda -cousins- and Caramel -hamster-) and the operation to get lunch out was well underway. I was permitted to sit and drool a while whilst these continued, then finally all was ready and with the table threatening to buckle, people sat down and dug in.

Papa and Sylwia arrived a bit after we'd finished the main course- their bus having broken down just outside of Fort Kinnaird.We had however managed to save them some, and pudding (jelly, cake, meringues and ice cream- albeit not simultaneously) seemed to go down well with everyone...

I go to bed begging to be spared dinner and feeling painfully overfull for a second night in a row (I never learn).

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

The Pigeon... oh and possibly one or two other things.

I think this wee guy is a tad perplexed by his company...

(Oi! Mum! Bert's gone funny...)
On a serious note, I'm steadily clearing the house of couscous.

And Beth, Angie and I have decided and are coming up with plans to buy a well, tap and etc, for a villiage... in Africa... I think... through SCIAF (a.k.a. Scaff)... just coming up with various ideas to raise the money, but should be fun! (And useful too, of course.) It's actually surprisingly inexpensive (well, relatively. It's... £557 I think, so several cake stalls in the center of Haddington should do it ;) Hopefully also a car wash -although this is just an excuse to point a hose at Beth- ).

I suddenly feel quite bad...

Having become carried away and thoughtlessly sent dear Бабушка Larissa an essay (561 words in all... although our dear English teacher Mr Edwards did strongly imply he would string us up, -quite possibly by the ears- if we ever dared hand him an essay any shorter than 600 words... sorry, back to the topic) of a rambling email to decipher; in somewhat less-than-perfect-English. Smiley (and otherwise) faces included... Sorry Бабушка...

For some reason, the font just changed. Irritating.

I have also just noticed that of all the Labels, the most frequent is 'food-related-matters'. I'm fairly sure this doesn't actually reflect my everyday existence, and would just like to take a moment to clarify this.

Having ploughed through some of my prescribed Physics for this summer, I have now given myself permission to feel smug for a while. *feels smug*


Being absolutely awesome, Sylwia gets selected by the Photographer's Gallery as as having done some of the best graduate photography last year...

Monday, 18 July 2011


Somehow I have managed to misplace all the images stored up on the computer, so I'm limited to those taken in the last week or so....

I had taken some better photos of my rock-painting, but it looks like i'll have to do with these.

My room is fast becoming a geniune, first rate DEN.

The decorating the walls have undergone is rather more extensive.

(The overlap with the side-bar is unfortunate but necessary because there are so few alternatives for image size here >=( )

And yet more sailing...

The Most and Least Eventfull Day... (Not sailing, but stuff still happens...)

Nice conditions so far. A couple of fairly breezy days, powering along under skillfully hoisted sails. Classy stuff.

However, a day trip planned down the Forth for Thursday, and Sod's Law ensures a day of absolute calm.
Out with the paddles.
On with sore arms.

But for the tide (in our favour) we probably wouldn't have got anywhere much. As it was, we admitted defeat with our objective teasingly in sight, and settled instead for a nearby beach.

*Proceed "Attack of the Flies"*

Sitting on the beach proves unbearable and we take refuge instead on our grounded 'Fevas'. 

I collect rocks and shells.
Wilfred* collects trash. 
Anna (our much abused Instructor), spends a significant part of lunch shouting variations on "Wilfred! NO! Put that down!"
Rest of the group remains highly amused.

Finally, we escape Insect Island. Wilfred bids a tearful goodbye to his manky toy push-car and plastic crate. I hastily stash some last shells in his generously proffered lunchbox, and a weighty, unauthorised bag of rocks in our Feva's cockpit.
Inscentive is offered in the form of a Mars Bar** each for the crew of the first Feva to the slipway. It doesn't really appeal, nonetheless Michael and I paddle hastily and ceaselessly back to base.
The day's adventure was over. Nothing more could possibly occur that day.... or could it??? =O

Approximately two hundred yards from the harbour's wind breaker and my arms already anticipating freedom. Suddenly, mid-stroke I find myself very nearly deposited headfirst into the -very cold and damp- drink as the boat pitches violently and Michael gives a startled shout from the helm.
Naturally I turned around to complain, and was confronted, with THIS.

Now, I might have nabbed the photo off the internet (not having had a camera handy). But I assure you, this is exactly what it looked like. And not two metres from our boat. A tad disconcerting, but by the time it had followed us a hundred or so yards, we were seriously contemplating keeping it as a pet.

Goodbye to All That

4pm Friday brings with it an end to the course *sad face*.

Take a final shot of the harbour on the way out....
(Not that I remembered to get many others).

And another hour of  'peoplewatching' on the bus home (i.e., staring through the window).

A souvenire from the week;

Sunburn at the foot of my feet, ropeburn at the head (well, hoseburn anyway...). Quite a fetching combination, could be the start of a fad (patterned feet, not the hoseburn- that's just painful.).

(P.S. This photo comes with a HEALTH WARNING. - DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. -  Its soooore! )

* One of us six burgeoning sailors of group RYA Level Three (cool stuff).
** Still watching the mail for mine.  >=(

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Sails, Ropes and STUFF

Rightio... well despite the best intentions on this front, I haven't been able to bring myself to exercise my grey matter in writing about sailing before, having not quite recovered from it yet...

Start at the Beggining (I HATE early mornings)

In which I alternately drown, or die from dehydration.

You'll no doubt be pleased to hear I shan't be giving a blow-by-blow account of the week, just passing briefly over the highlights.

Crawling out of bed at an unGodly hour of the morning certainly wasn't one of them. However it did form an essential feature of my week (as I began to fully appreciate on Thursday, having only barely caught the bus two days running). Yuck.

Always a little apprehensive meeting the rest of a group. Having to hang around them all week has the potential to be problematic depending on how we find each other, or if -god forbid- they already all know each other.
No nightmarish situations here however. All that carefully prepared apprehension is wasted as everything is hunkey-dorey from the off.

Fellow sufferers (sorry, sailors) are; Johnny, Lauren, Michael, Robert, Wilfred and The-Guy-Who-Never-Showed-Up.
(^ In alphabetical order. Oh Yeah.)

I forget the details of the first few days; essentially, everybody could indeed sail (excepting perhaps the instructors- they kept motoring about in their RIB, very suspcious), and no-one was killed. A veritable success.


I can't in all honesty be expected to pass an entire week without food, and I'm happy to say I didn't have to. I shall now take a moment to mention it....

Inside 'Karinka's Kitchen', one of the Marina's two lovely cafes, and the one we took to sitting outside each lunch, having hijacked the benches (although the -first? second?- day, Wilfred, Johnny and Robert were scared off by the terrifying elderly people at the next table, so we migrated and ate elsewhere. OAPs aside, we were uncompromising).

What Else? Aaah yes...

Many thanks to Papa for sacrificing sleep (and peace) to ferry me to and from Port Edgar every morning and afternoon.
Talking of commuting;

Don't you just love those wonderful traffic jams? A hot thursday afternoon and all I wanted was to get home to food and a cool drink.

Cruelly (and following on this vein);

People handing out free, COOL Lemon Iced Tea as we're stuck at the lights. I WANT SOME!!!

I've found rather a lot to write about, so to avoid an extremely long post, I'm spreading it over a couple of days. Watch out, World.

Monday, 11 July 2011

I have been Walking

... and as I was walking, I decided to take some photos, depicting the most Interesting and Noteworthy things (currently) in Haddington, for the benefit of the future burgeoning traveller or interpid explorer.

Item 1.  Dangers at every turn, a warning sign erected by thoughtful natives.
Item 2. Some berries will sustain an adventurer (but all the rest are poisonus).
Item 3. Weather is turbulent and unpredictable. Unadvisable to be caught in a rainstorn unprepared (without a bike).
Item 4. The wildlife is typically reclusive (spot the frog).
Item 5. Artwork is heavily indulged in by minority groups of locals.
Item 6. Help is at hand.
(N.B. the sign is damaged)
Haddington, a.k.a., Land of Adventure.

On a historical note...

I've been neglecting writing; to be honest, it's just been too nice outside and sitting at at the computer hasn't appealed.
Anyhow, due to a sailing course that's managed to get itself scheduled all across next week (I'm not complaining) I doubt I'll get another chance to type for a while, so here goes.

I'm not in the least patriotic (only evidently incredibly Cool ;) ), but I just came across this song and remembered how much I like it (I was reading up on Bonnie Dundee- spot the references) so I thought I'd post it up.

I've also just finished (re-)reading this book;

'Troubadour' (which is better than the cover might suggest), a historical novel which gives an overview of the Albigensian Crusade (1209-1229) instigated by Pope Innocent III to erradicate the 'heretics' (Cathars- denied certain aspects of Catholic beliefs, but a pacifist people) in Languedoc (now southern France).
Definitely one of my favourite books. I find Mary Hoffman's style of writing to read effortlessly and the events of the period fascinating.
I always associate 'Troubadour' with 'A Tale of Two Cities'. The most glaring connection is that both are set in France, at a time of civil war aimed at persecuting minority groups (the aristocracy, the Credentes -Believers- or Cathars). As well as this, both books begin and end in a similar fashion - and both, in my opinion, take  a couple of chapters to really get going properly at the start.
Well... I really like it.