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Sunday, June 25, 2006

Monachyle Mhor

Today was sunny but windy so we set off in our old open toped car to find the restaurant of Tom Lewis, a chef I had seen on the telly competing to make a meal for the Queen's 80th birthday celebrations. We knew his hotel was just past Callendar in a tiny place called Balquhidder. What we didn't realise was it required us to navigate four miles of very precarious single track road along the edge of Loch Voil. It was a beautiful mountainous setting, ideal for hill walkers. The verdant green landscape was set off by a louring purple sky which erupted into rain toward the end of the journey. The downside of open top motoring.

However it was well worth the journey. The man himself welcomed us warmly and hung up our coats. I had a lovely Dalwhinney malt whiskey followed by breast of wood pidgeon, halibut with pinenut crust and apricot and almond frangipan with fruit sorbet. Earl Grey tea and home made tablet finished the meal. Yumm! Not hugely expensive and well worth the trip

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Close, but no cigar

Here are my babies, just back from the framers who rather sweetly described them as 'knitted art'. Think I like these better than their temporary black frames. Exhibition is next month then with a bit of luck I'll never have to look at them again!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Ohm Shanti

I've just been away on a fabulous yoga retreat and I wanted to share with you the most important thing I learned. Don't believe everything you think.

By the way, here is the pic of ladders at Millport pier blogger refused to upload last time. Guess that's a bit yogic too now that I look at it again. Two paths in life - the difficult direct one or the convoluted easier one one. Which one are you going to choose today? Pesonally I'm so exhausted I think I'll take the lift.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lock and load

When the sea state is slight (technical seafaring term - you impressed?) we often pootle over to the Millerstone Hotel in Millport on the island of Cumbrae for our tea. Sure beats slaving over a hot whatsit even if I do have to take my turn at rowing in. I was looking for an online reference for this hotel but the only one I could find was on the site of Pink Tank, the gay and lesbian scuba diving club. And it looks like such a quiet little place! Guess they must be the only gays in the village...

You will notice (or you would if blogger would let me upload the blinking picture!) that when you eventually reach the pier you have a choice of two kind of steps, vertical and diagonal. Quite often vertical is the only option if the pier is busy. These I have climbed in all weather condition, snow, ice, frost. On one memorable occasion it was me that became frozen, mid ladder, unable to move up or down. Dearly beloved eventually talked me round and I seem to have overcome my fear of vertical steps. Just as well really.

Dearly beloved himself is no stranger to disaster in the vicinity of these vertical steps. One never to be forgotten day the huge bunch of keys that unlock his life and the lives of several of our nearest and dearest caught on the steps, detatched themselves from his belt clip and disappeared into the depths. When he had recovered from his horror of disbelief we made a mercy dash back to the mainland, broke into our garage (no keys, remember?) and fished out the industrial sized magnet on a rope that was our only hope. We zoomed back to the pier and dropped the magnet where we reckoned the keys might be, like one of these frustrating fairground machines that lead you to believe a cuddly toy will soon be yours, only to drop it back with it's buddies at the last heart stopping moment.

The fairground gods were smiling on us that day and up came the keys at the first attempt. They no longer climb ladders with us. Dearly beloved is a man who learns by his mistakes. Wish I could say the same...I'm still using Blogger. Maybe it will embed itself in the vocabulary as a new swear word. Oh Blogger this for a game of soldiers!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

A mini adventure

I must have been awfully bad to get sent to the naughty chair....

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Night manoeuvres

This week's awfully big adventure was more awful and bigger than even before. It all began when dearly beloved bounced in at 9pm on a sunny Tuesday evening suggesting we spend the night on the boat. Our boat is not in the San Tropez class. It's in the caravan on water class. You can have a table or you can have a bed but you can't have both at once. But I'm short sighted and full hardy and willingly agreed.

We skimmed over the flat seas at sunset to settle in Rothesay harbour for the night. There were fairy lights in the trees and romance was in the air. We managed ten minutes in the first pub before closing time but soon found ourselves another open till midnight (or longer if necessary). Here we were introduced to a charming bull terrier name of Tigger in an impressive leather harness. He was standing outside the pub having a smoke when we first met him but came inside with us, amiably rolling over to reveal his belly.

At chucking out time me staggered back to the boat and chose the outside sleeping option. Long ago we had two mattress style cushions made for sunbathing (huh!) purposes. Ergo they are in almost pristine condition. Before leaving home I had instructed dearly beloved just to shove the bedclothes into a black bin bag. I retrieved said black bin bags and began to make up the bed in the laughingly titled sunbathing area. On went the the bottom sheet and the pillows and the bin bag was empty. Where's the duvet? What duvet? I told you pack the bedclothes. What bedclothes?

On the boat we keep antique sleeping bags. Relics of boy scout trips almost forth years ago and man, they smell like it! So with the aroma of 40 year old damp boy scouts in our nostrils we finally settle down in a Z shape as full extension was not possible.

In the harbour beside us were two Caledonian Macbrane ferries. We had been admiring these leviathans earlier because they were illuminated like Christmas tress. They remained illuminated throughout the night sustained by two powerful generators. It was like having four refuse removal lorries parked next to you. We tried to move into a silent Zen place within ourselves but ended up moving into the cabin to perch on top of the very uncomfortable table/bed. How do the cushions know to part themselves exactly where the jaggy point on your hip is?

At half past three the four fishing boats who were moored alongside prepared to go to work with much shouting and revving of engines accompanied by squalking seagulls fighting over last night's fish supper remains. (Not ours - the chip shop was shut). I gave up at this point, got up, got dressed, sat outside and read my book for a while. The fact that I was able to read my book make me realise suddenly it was light, despite being only four thirty.

I dragged a bleary and not entirely sober dearly beloved off the cabin table and persuade him it was time to go time. We zoomed back across the water as the sun rose. (see photo.) And you thought it was sunSET! Nope. I was definitely pointing east at the time.

By 5.30 we were stretched out in our fabulously comfortable and immovably permanent bed at home listening to the silken silence and muttering 'never again' as we slipped into blissful slumber.....zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Bring me a crocodile and make it snappy!

Ever wondered what a brand new lobster pot looks like, untouched by lobster hand (or should that be claw)?

This looks like a challenge for Digital Gran to me.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Squares and triangles

This is a little something I've been doing on the side. It's just granny squares destined to be a bag eventually. The sun was hitting it rather nicely this evening as it lay beside a dish handpainted by a relative of dearly beloved's in 1967. Ahhh, those were the days!

Holiday skin

Tonight I used the wonderful disperse dye contained in the even more wonderful roll-on deodorant bottles to paint up some papers that might have skin possibilities. My pallet was orange, scarlet and salmon. I see my tart as fairly gin soaked, with many a broken capillary. I'm sure we can manage that.

The marvellous thing about ironing these papers off onto pelmet vilene is you get two for the price of one. When you turn last night's very rosy torso over it reveals a paler version of its former self on the other side. Very useful. Perhaps our tart, in addition to her heart of gold, will have a pallid body to contrast with her ruddy complexion.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Vile bodies

Now that tens of things have been put away in my workroom and you can at least see the tabletop my thoughts are turning back to the collaboration. Rummaging through my samples I found these two bits of bodies resulting from a life drawing class to which I took my sewing machine. Not a huge success from the drawing point of view but I like the texture of these, particularly the top one which gives a whole new meaning to the expression 'fireside tartan.' I think this will be the start of my tart.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

It's enough to make you scream

I am a very, very messy worker. I never put anything any when I'm finished with it and by the end of a project my workspace is trashed. When clothes and shoes begin to mysteriously disappear, I know something must be done. But it's too ghastly to contemplate. So I work the ten items a day routine until it's bearable. You're not allowed to choose. Choice is paralysing. You just walk into the room, pick up the first thing you find and put it away. You have to do that ten times before you can leave the room. Eventually you start to get in the zone and ten things become twenty until serenity reigns once again. But nothing creative can happen until that time.

Went to do my ten things for today and took photos instead! I'm the past master of displacement activity.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Ready to plant a new project

The wallhanging is now complete with backing and hanging mechanism. They wanted it to hang from the engraved spade that turned the first sod when the school was built ten years ago. Above the legend 'Growing Together' the school's name is emblazoned but I blanked that out for the school's security and privacy.

Off to delivery it this morning - with a spare bag of googly eyes. They do tend to fall off rather and as it is to be hung where small, inquisitive hands can reach it, goodness only knows how it will fare!