Wednesday, July 29, 2015

And then I took a flight....

To the Alps. 

I didn't actually tell anyone there that I was arriving, so I had a "quiet", "relaxed" trip across Europe , which included flight delays, via car, train, bus, wheelchair, plane, wheelchair, train, train and then arrived, rang the doorbell and listened to the surprised laughter, before I reminded my sister that actually entering the house would be good. 

Surprises are fun. 


Marge's garden was just bursting into life and the lupins were stunning. So many! And so many shades. I need to diversify. Or move to Switzerland and sit in my sister's garden instead. 
That might work. 


The first few days were damp. Actually, they were sodden. However, my sticks, camera and I took off to "play" along old familiar and very dear paths, and the wildflowers were everywhere. I am intrepid and water will not stop me....!

The Swiss know how to manage paths. They also know how many seats to put everywhere, and now I see that they have made all the paths I walked on wheelchair friendly too. In fact, remind me to tell you how wheelchairs work in the mountains. Just amazing. 


The grey skies can also bring with them wonderful opportunities to capture different kinds of views of the same thing. De Hanen looked great in grey and white. 


The rivers were full, and the sound of rushing water was ever present. And it was all so incredibly green. 


Up in "my" forest, I still moan about my missing bench. I cannot believe they removed it. What were they thinking ??  I am in mourning. I stood on the spot. Actually, I need to have one of those camping chairs on my back. I could go and plant it in the gap and sit there. Hmmm. Good plan. My sister will think I have lost my mind. 

One of those benches on the Klostermatt. I sat on every one, I think. I also carried a freezer blanket waterproof thing with me, so it never mattered if the seat was wet. I was dry. And an umbrella. I am so prepared.....


Sometimes, you just cannot quite record the green as it really is - vibrant and bright. I need to work out how to do that, without having to attempt filters. So peaceful. So quiet. And yet there were people around. 

You know, I just love the fact that I can do all these things alone, without much falling, or being isolated, with places to sit, places to get to without being dependant on others. It is all so freeing, and you don't need cars all the time. Mind you, time is one thing I have there - no crazy timetable to stick to, of course. The free bus through the village is great too. 

And so are local friends. we went to the Wasserfal for tea one afternoon with our friend, Anita - lovely to do something different. And there was plenty of water flowing that day. In fact every day I was there. 


That little tree growing on the rock in front of the water always makes me grin. Surviving in the most unexpected places. 

I was there for 2 weeks, and the sun did shine after the first week - and I also spent time relaxing with my spiraliser  - I introduced my family to courgette (zucchini)  spaghetti and they are all huge fans now - doing 1000 piece puzzles, being out in the garden, being a little creative and even managing to finish off WsIP which have been languishing there for years. More about that later. 

I will show you All. 

You have no idea how many photos there are waiting...............

Sunday, July 26, 2015

North of the Border, Part 2.........

The sun shone quite frequently while I was on the east side of Scotland. It rained even more frequently, but we will concentrate on the sun. And, to be quite honest, I really couldn't care about the weather, because Cheryl and I are always quite happy to be ensconced in front of the fire with stuff to read, puzzles to do, scrabble to play and laughter and endless conversation to keep us busy. And the food......


Outside the front door.....


this is the view of Loch Leven......


And up the road, when I took myself off on a stroll, there were some very nosey friendly cows. Especially this one in the middle. I christened her Daisy, and she led the charge of cows along the fence as I walked, and they stood there for ages as I walked down the lane. It was hilarious - passing motorists also roared with laughter. 

Ah, life in the country. 

I could live there.


If you look behind, me, you will see them all still bunched at the fence at the top of the road, watching me walk away. I kept thinking I would hear the thunderous sound  of cows barrelling down the road any moment. So funny. 

They liked me. 


Fields ploughed, scattered and presumably growing. They looked like corduroy. 


Sheep on the hillside....


And this is how we spent the quiet days - bliss. I just love spending time here. 


We all went for a drive to Falkland and St Andrews, then on around the peninsula on one beautiful day. 


It was lovely to see the sea and walk on a beach, and even the seagulls posed for me....


St Andrews was getting ready for the Open , and stands were being erected on the golf course. 

Such a lovely place. My children rode donkeys here on the beach in 1986! 


So many photos I could have posted. But it gives you an idea of why I love it so much. 


Wonderful friends. So much shared history. And a beautiful place to relax and rest.

Friday, July 24, 2015



So I went to Scotland. It has been way too long since I was last there, and I have friends on both sides of the country who were happy to have me to stay, so off I went. The trip up was the day after the general election, so the entire time travelling, listening to analysis and debate, was enough to make one contemplate emigration. To a desert island. Population One. Me. 


I stayed with friends just south of Glasgow (my grandmother was born and raised in Glasgow) and on the Saturday, they took me on a ferry trip across the water to Bute. I had never been there before, so that was very exciting. The fact that ferries tend to vibrate enthusiastically was unexpected, but we found a spot as far toward the bow as we could go, which was the least problematic. And if you keep moving, it helps. The trip wasn't long, and the scenery was so beautiful, so we rose above the disadvantages. 


I mean - just look at how gorgeous it is......



We drove along the coast to an estate - a beautiful stately home in stunning gardens. My friends went on a tour of the house, while I wandered a little outside and then sat in the sun. it was just lovely. I did take loads of photos, of course.


There was a regatta on at the time - plenty of yachts! 


I stayed on the west side of Scotland for a few days and I was introduced to the joys of The Whole Food store - I have never been in one before, and it was amazing! There are apparently a few scattered around the UK. I must search for one nearby to me as well. That may be London, though. We will see. It was great. So, with a trip to Ikea tossed in as well, and time spent in the village where my friends stay. It was just lovely. The weather was not great - but Scotland is beautiful in the rain too. 

So I set off to cross over to the other side of the country. I had a choice - going via Stirling, which I love - it has the most amazing castle ever or via The Kelpies. I wanted to see them too. I chose Stirling Castle. If you find your self in the UK and want to see a castle, bypass every single one and head for Stirling. Especially if you have children (of any age at all). Believe me, this one is the very best. There is nowhere you can't go. Roped off sections just do not seem to exist, and you can go into turrets, into cellars, everywhere. Even at the advanced age of 61, it excites me!


If, as I do, you love history, it is so easy to visualise how things once were.



Robert The Bruce




It was a trifle damp, but that was fine. I watched a costumed re-enactment in one of the halls, and then spent a huge amount of time, in the exhibition centre, where the time line came to life, together with the forensic examination of bones discovered, and how, using the kind of technology David is trained to use, they could even come up with real faces for the people. It blows your mind, people. 


I am glad I chose the castle. 

There will be time for the Kelpies soon. 

And so I set off eastwards to my friends - Cheryl and Robin. Cheryl and I met when we were 5 or 6 on a rock at Clifton Beach, Cape Town,  at a birthday party. We went through half our schooling and all our university days together, she was a bridesmaid of mine, and we have remained friends for a lifetime. Our friendship is one of those amazing kinds - nothing alters it. It just expands. But more of that next time.....

Did I mention that I love Scotland? My name has strong Scottish connections as well. 
One of my favourite places. 

Even when it rains......

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Hello, world, I am back......


Once you have stopped rubbing your eyes, and have picked yourselves up off the floor, and adjusted your specs, yes, it is me. Hello! (Waving from my study in Middle England). I have not been abducted by aliens, nor have I wandered off on an epic plod around the world (yet), but life has been a bit complicated. Time, as my mother always says, flies so much faster when you are older. Heaven knows I am older.

 However, here I am, and I have stories of Scotland and Switzerland to relate. And of village life. And of dreams, family, conversations, plans and who knows what else.

I confess that I have not been visiting much at all. Stuff happens, challenges arise, and day to day events expand to absorb each 24 hour period until you gather your wits and make a stand and screech to a halt.

So, how are you all? I think about you so often and seriously miss being here and a part of this world. Even if no-one reads, it is still being a part of a world we all helped to create a decade ago or so. Can you believe how long ago that was? I know. It staggers me too.

On the medical front, my GP left, locums were hard to deal with and we have now got new doctors - no lady docs, unfortunately, and life is a little challenging, trying to get anyone to actually manage CRPS. They say they know. Hmmm. No they don't. This complicates things. In fact, I am way past complications. Simplicity would be lovely.

Anyway, Diana is now well settled in her little house in New Zealand, and is busy at work, and has been doing a fair amount of travel as well. Her photos are simply stunning, and hopefully I will be there early next year to visit her. Missy is 6, has just finished her second year at school, and is a total delight. Tall, and so much fun! My sons and daughter-in-law are all well and happy, and working hard.


Creatively, I have started finishing off WsIP (works in progress) and finally finished David's memory quilt, which I started the year after Geoff died. That, my friends, was 9 years ago a couple of weeks ago. Nine. It boggles the mind. 

So, as you can see, it took a while. 

I managed Andrew's one straight away, but the others..... groan. We will get there. I also finished a couple of blankets, and have made shawls and the latest was a mouse costume for holiday club at church. Oh, there were also some quilts for friends, and for the summer decor around here, because, as you will remember, I like things to change. Out with the bright summer colours this year and we are all cream, mocha and pale blue. It looks lovely and peaceful and cool.

So many things to tell you. To catch up. my brain is shooting all over the place.

You know, this is hard. I write and delete. Write and delete. It is as if I don't know what I am doing here. I think it is going to take some time.


For the first year in a very long time, I decided to not spend all my spring preparing my garden, because this year, I wanted to be free to go away, to do things, and not to feel tied to it and the watering and tending, and it has been so difficult to actually let go and enjoy it! I came back from Switzerland in June, and the flowers were not the usual riot of colours together, rather one plant, one colour per basket, and it all looked so wrong. I had not grown flowers from seed at all. I can't remember when last I had a quiet spring, and it goes so much against the grain, let me tell you. The garden is growing, and looks fine, but it is not me. You know? I also scaled down the number of vegetables both here and at the allotment. Hmmm. The jury remains out on this new plan.

However, I acknowledge that the garden had become and obsession. And I do so want to move around - go to different places. Visit friends. Explore the new, and also the old.

So I went to Scotland - first to the west and then to the east and I had a wonderful time. But that is for tomorrow.........