Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Look where I've been...

OF Mice And Men

Last tuesday saw Dodie, Percy, Lyovka and myself pressgang poor Sylwia into a trip to the Lyceum theatre. It had long previously been decided between us that our visits to such cultural venues were become too infrequent, and some action must needs be taken!

Lyovka appears bemused. Nothing new there...

Dodie wrangled us the loveliest seats. First balcony, slap in the middle and for Lyovik, Sylwia and myself, also at the front. The only problem came in the form of peril faced by those seated below, in the very probable scenario that I uppend the ice cream balanced a tad precariously on the ledge...

This my real reason for attendance. I have priorities.


Over the past few weeks I have been terrorising Scottish natives by turning up unexpectedly all over the place, under the pretence of the fabulous pursuit which is Rambling. This Sunday my attention was turned on 'Pebles & Surrounding Area'.

They had no warning. There was nowhere to run.

Roughly 30 miles away (or so I'm told), we were so high we could spy Edinburgh. And through a gap in the hills, across to Fife and the Lomond hills we scaled the previous week. The ascent was 680 metres. Oddly enough, I really feel it for the first 5 or so minutes, but after that it's mostly almost like walking over level ground. Our route took us all along a horseshoe-shaped ridge. I had prepacked cheese and tomato sandwiches. They were yummy.

Good thing I had prepacked them, actually. So Sunday was mother's day, therefore I reckoned I would get up niiiiiiiiice and early, in order to prepare everything and not have to rush. I had nearly, nearly been late to the Ramblers the week before, and was not planning to repeat this!
From the 'Trail' guide for Ramblers, I read the previous night 'B Walk... blah blah... 9.00am... blah...' Ok. It seemed reasonable to set the alarm for 8.20.

The following morning:
*Smiling unconcernedly, gets up, stretches, yawns, etc.* 
"I know. I'll just double check the booklet, see that I haven't missed anything...."
Booklet: 'B Walk... blah blah... 8.30am... bl-'

I made it.

On time.


In Further News...

Following my epic excursion (which I began to appreciate properly after recovery from my nasty shock that morning), I hitched a lift into The Burgher from a kind (and very patient) fellow Rambler. I proceeded to terrorise P&S (or did they terrorise me? This does get awfully complicated.) for a number of hours.

As a unit we all decided to terrorise a studio, which worked well, since it meant that I could stop worrying about which of us were suppose to be the terrorise-(ors?ers?ists?) and terrorise-ees due to us all being able to terrorise an innocent third party together... but I digress.

There was a reason behind the madness this time being that Sylwia, in her capacity as a photographer, perhaps understandably seemed to fancy a spot of photography. I was to be a guinea pig. Or hamster, if you like.

Now if that doesn't look threatening to you, I don't know what does.

Then again, it could possibly be this. Whenever Papa looks this happy, you can be certain that something singularly terrible is going down.

... and finally a photo of myself, looking just as angelic as ever (although the halo does tend to help a bit).

Thursday, 15 March 2012


I've started going, well rambling, with the local Ramblers (walking) group every sunday. It's great stuff- previously, all my solitary rambling  has been pretty much confined to Haddington -which is not a little limiting- however having tagged along for a mere three weeks already I've got to see some amazing places I didn't even know existed. It's really great finding out about all these little, obscure, beautiful places roundabout.

This sunday I went on my first 'A' walk (in the Northberwick/Haddington group they're graded 'A' down to 'C'), so I admit to having been a tad apprehensive; having been along on the 'B' and 'C' walks (not picky, I just take whatever's going) I'd heard a lot about how the 'A's were much further, steeper, faster and -oh the horror!- with fewer tea/coffee stops. Also not helping my confidence was the fact that it seemed everybody going along on the walk were those people who had clambered over most of the Monroes an odd dozen times...

We headed for Fife and the Lomond hills. This is a terrible quality map, but really the best I could find- ignore the blue line, nothing to do with me. T'was really great , the other ramblers are a wonderful lot, the walk was incredibly exhilarating and oh so beautiful... even the more developed sections such as the reservoirs we passed towards the end were really quite something.

A funny thing was the number of gliders we spotted. Especially at the top of the hills (West Lomond particularly) they would really creep up on us. Their being so silent, you could turn around and find one... gliding... not fifty metres away. We saw them getting towed up by small planes aswell. Tell you something it looked not a bit fun; that's something else to try now...

That's the view from the top of West Lomond. You could see all the way to Dundee. Really quite breezy though- fortunate that we were coming up the west side of the hill at the top because we were practically blown up the entire way. Falling backwards was not an issue.

Something I think Sylwia will like specifically (but am unable to put up on twitter) is a wee video I took. One of the ladies (my ride) brought Zoe along. Meet Zoe:

'Tis a bit shaky, I know, sorry. Having quite a time clambering along at a speed and trying to keep the camera aimed in roughly the right direction. But I think you get the general picture. It was so funny watching Zoe bouncing over the bracken.

One of the best pictures I got was near the end of the ramble when we passed Drumain reservoir. I took a couple of angles on this, but reckon this is the best.

I haven't changed the image at all. It was such a beautiful day (if a tad breezy at points), that all these amazing colours were right there naturally.

N.B. That in the background is West Lomond.
I don't think this was even the most beautiful part. Quite difficult to tell from the photo I reckon, but it's only little. Ten minutes after this we entered a small wood which has to be one of the most breathtaking places I have ever been.

I've been trying to think where it reminds me of, and just realized that it looks awfully like the description of Mirkwood in 'The Hobbit'! We didn't find any wood elves... ='(

Unfortunately though I couldn't halt long enough to take a really proper photo and the light wasn't always great for the camera. Still this photo reminds me oddly of a tapestry of a forest hanging in the Datcha (Babushka's house), so I quite like it. The only thing missing is a bear.

I do intend on going back.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

New Library

It's opening tomorrow (that's the John Gray Centre). Rosie and I happened to be passing so I waved in at a librarian I know. A minute later she pops out of a side doot and invited us to take a shufti! First 'members of the public' *proud*.

I have pictures!

All new books apparently. There are absolutely tons; it's quite a bit more extensive than the old library (though that was nice too). Which reminds me, I have some books out at the moment; maybe I'll be able to keep them?... Possibly not.

And there are lots and lots of comfy chairs and stuff too! A coffee/hot chocolate machine! They're gonna make a fortune off me... And opening every day of the week- I don't think I'll ever leave.

Wow, heading for geek overload.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

One Year Down

On the 6th of March.... Exactly one year ago... I began terrorising people via the Internet.

In other words, This blog is now a year old!

Yaaaay. Woohoo. Woop.

I think that's all there is really to be said on the matter. Along with my sincere apologies for dragging it out this long.

... I shall leave you in the very capable hands of these cool singing Aliens.

In case you wish to sing along, here are the words *winks*:

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear *awkward silence*...
Happy Birthday to you!

... I'm nothing if not thorough.

Monday, 5 March 2012


Right, well this year I've convinced myself to make some sort of sacrifice for lent- not because of any sudden religious impulse, but rather in solidarity with Bethie who each year appears to be suffering alone for a solid forty days.

Admittedly I'm not prepared to go to quite the lengths which she is. My self-denial will be that of chocolate, whereas Beth is abstaining from chocolate, sweets, in short practically everything except sponge cake. As I don't really eat sweets anyway giving them up seems a tad pointless and also deprive me of anything on which to binge in the case of an emergency.

Now roughly a week and a half in and I have been pushed to the edge of endurance. With no chocolate around my task is really quite easy, however people have been attempting to sabotage me right from the off.


Wednesday (Day 1)
Percy and Dodie buy a Thorntons Chocolate cake. I am under the misconception that Lent does not being until tomorrow. It does not end well.

However since this is clearly the fault of Lent for starting before I was aware of it, I'm studiously ignoring this small discrepancy.
In short, it doesn't count.

Saturday (Day 4)
Percy buys a packet of Revels. I immediately exit the house, insisting that they be gone when I return. No fear on that score.

Wednesday (Day 8)
I return home from school absolutely knackered, only to find that Dodie has saved me a blindingly gorgeous chocolate chip cookie. I go to eat it, then realisation hits. Hard.

Sunday (Day 12)
Having walked c. 7 1/2 miles with the Ramblers I come in truly desperate. Dodie offers me the chocolate cake she has just baked, which Lyovka and some friends are halfway through consuming. I point out my problem. "Okay then, well have some Celebrations instead. Oh...". Yep 'Oh'.
I substitute with a scone. I am envied by no-one.


Despite this I am resolutely holding firm. Only 28 more days....

Thursday, 1 March 2012


My new piano piece. As of today.

Very much looking forward to all the scales, but some of the stretches going quite hard on my hands at the moment. Ouch =(
I must say though, I enjoy tryng to play it slightly more vigorously than whoever is doing so here.