Tag Archives: fun

Socially Distanced Scavenger Hunt

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A dear friend posted this on Facebook on Easter Sunday morning. Now, I’m pretty sure she meant it as an idea to support frazzled parents entertain their equally frazzled children during lockdown however….

Well, I like channelling my inner child.

As I set off for my daily wander, I had a screenshot of this to hand. Technically, I did have a child with me, Boy Child, but not entirely sure he qualifies any more LOL

Some items proved to be more of a challenge than others. Believe it or not, there wasn’t a bird to be seen! And an acute shortage of spider’s webs! ( I think the spider that spun the web we eventually found must have been drunk – not the best web! Spider’s webs are also extremely difficult to photograph in the sun.)

So, here’s what we found..

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Well, Laurie, how did I do? 🙂

 

 

 

 

Snow Stopped Play…..or did it?

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I hate snow! I hate being cold!

Love it or hate it, Mother Nature dumped  more snow than I have ever seen on the area a few days ago. In the end, a whopping 16inches fell on our garden.

The world ground to a halt instantly…. well the road had disappeared for a start (it’s in the background behind the metre stick in the photo…honest!)

Cue furious digging to excavate the cars in the hope that a snow plough would rediscover the road. Hours and hours of digging – and at that point we didn’t own a snow shovel. Boy Child worked tirelessly for most of the day digging with the garden spade, the garden fork and the giant outdoor brush. I couldn’t watch him struggle on his own so for several hours I joined him in his excavation efforts.

snow collage

This prompted a debate about the correct way to hold a fork or a spade. We were both holding it differently and it appears that I dig left handed, much to his amusement. Does it matter as long as it works? ha ha

The road still hadn’t been cleared and there was no way I was attempting to drive on the packed rutted snow.

Friday morning came….. there had been more snow overnight and the driveway we had cleared was white again. NO!!! We still couldn’t get out.

Cue more furious digging to excavate the car again and to clear the driveway in the hope the snow plough would clear a safe path out.

Eventually the snow plough arrived. We were free!!!!

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Saturday morning came….. a light dusting of snow overnight but we were still clear to escape. Thankful to be out of the house and the street I headed off to do the weekly supermarket shop. That turned out to be mission impossible due to empty shelves in the local supermarket thanks to panic buying and lack of deliveries due to the weather. I did my best. We weren’t about to starve. I failed on the bread mission but hey ho who needs toast!  I reached the conclusion though that some locals seemed intent on a diet of chocolate Easter Eggs judging by the number in their shopping trolleys!

Next on the shopping list was a snow shovel! Boy Child had only cleared two thirds of the driveway and we still had a fair amount of snow to dig out. Snow shovels were almost as rare a commodity as bread!

Feeling optimistic Girl Child and I headed to the local garden centre in search of a snow shovel.

Now the garden centre is across the road from the beach…..I couldn’t resist the lure of a snowy beach walk. The bay was virtually deserted. There was one lone fisherman in his waders up to his waist in the river and one dog walker. I didn’t venture far along the beach. It was knee deep in snow and too uneven to walk safely on. The small area of woodland wasn’t much safer underfoot.

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The picnic area was largely untouched snow. It was just begging for someone to leave a “snow angel” on it.

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I couldn’t resist. 🙂

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Sometimes you have to just channel that inner child and play in the snow!

We did  manage to purchase a snow shovel (once I’d figured out how to stand up without ruining my snow angel!)

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I’m still on a mission for that loaf of bread ……

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Pre Christmas Chaos – gotta love it!

Up to my eyes in lists, wrapping paper and general festive chaos. Why do we do this to ourselves every year?

On the plus side though, the house smells amazing as I’ve been burning my Christmas candles with zero complaint so far from the Big Green Gummi Bear! (He hates smelly candles)

Keeping things short and sweet this week – “complete blog post” was on the To Do list though so at least I can tick one thing off!

Here’s a short poem that I penned a few years back whilst in a similar state of pre-Christmas chaos.

Have a fabulous Christmas when it comes and thank you so much for all your support with my blog this year.

Festive Countdown

Turkey’s in the freezer

Wine’s in the rack

Veg is in the cupboard

And the cream’s in the fridge- almost forgot that!

Christmas is coming so fast

Presents in the wardrobe

Cards on the mantelshelf

Wreath’s on the door

The tree shines bright.

Christmas is coming way too fast!

Now where can I hide?……

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A Smokin’ Girls Night Out

This week the third bus – sorry concert- came along and in its own way this one was extra special.

This one fell the day after one of my best friend’s birthdays. Over the years (almost forty of them) we’ve laughed together,cried together, got drunk together and worked together  many times but, apart from a few musical evenings in the local pub way back in the day pre-children, we’ve never been to a gig together. I’ll be honest, it’s never crossed my mind to suggest it before now. However this one came along at an opportune time and seemed to be the perfect solution to the annual birthday present dilemma. (This particular friend has a habit of saying “I don’t know” when you ask what she would like as a gift. A habit that earned her a gift of a small box with “I don’t know” neatly written on a piece of paper inside it on one occasion)

I was secretly thrilled when she said she’d like to come along.

And the band of choice? – Blackberry Smoke, a southern/country rock band from Atlanta, Georgia.

Thursday, concert day, was one of those days where anything that could go wrong did. All thoughts of a relaxing day off work before heading out for the evening went up in smoke! By the time I picked my friend up, I was a frazzled wreck, running late (which for those who know me is a rarity and a national disaster in my book) and completely and utterly harassed. Somehow we made it to the station in time for our train and I collapsed into the seat with a sigh of relief.

As the train pulled out of the station we both left the stresses and strains of our real lives behind us for a few hours.

The venue for the evening yet again was Glasgow’s O2 ABC (think I’ve got a season ticket for it!) and, after a very welcome, very strong caffeine fix at my usual haunt across the street, we joined a very long queue to get in.  One that snaked up one of the steepest streets in Glasgow. The show was Sold Out. A beautiful thing.

As we climbed the stairs to the larger of the two halls, I debated silently with myself about where we should aim to stand. Near the front? (Neither of us are particularly tall so front is good) Near the back? (Perhaps less crowded and more personal space)

Over our coffees, my friend had confessed to never having stood at a rock show before and to never really having been to one either. Her education has been sadly lacking in this area but I’ll take some of the blame for that.

I guided her over to the merchandising stall and treated her to a purple Blackberry Smoke T-shirt to celebrate the loss of her concert virginity!

There was still space just off the barrier, so in for a penny in for a pound as they say, and we took our places.

The support act for the evening totally blew me away. It was Aaron Keylock, an extremely talented young blues guitarist. He’s been on the professional blues circuit for about four years according to his website bio. Doubly impressive when you realise he’s only 16 years old. Jimmy Page, watch your back! Dressed in vibrant purple corduroy flares and with a body like the gable end of a £5 pound note, this talented young man had me mesmerised for his entire half hour set. I only wish I’d bought his CD at the merchandise stall. Next time!

Bang on eight thirty, and after a mad dash through the 1300 strong crowd to the little girl’s room (sorry to anyone I may have trodden on or elbowed) I re-took my place beside my friend. The lights dimmed. The curtains glided back. Cue the start of ninety minutes of high class southern rock. We sang. We clapped along (well, as best as I could considering I have precious little sense of rhythm!) Both of us loved every minute of it, as did the other 1300 folk around us.

When the evening came to an end, as all good things must, the lights came up and we began to make our way to the exit. Everyone around us seemed relaxed and smiling. It really had been a great feel good show.

When we were almost at the door I found myself behind two concert-goers who had obviously enjoyed themselves. In front of me, along with their humans, were two guide dogs. From the tail whipping that my knees took, those pooches had enjoyed Blackberry Smoke as much as everyone else. Humbling.

I wonder if their favourite song of the night was “Sleepin’ Dogs”?

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Soaked, Shivering But Still Smiling…..what could I possibly be referring to?

 

If you’d told me a couple of weeks ago that I would voluntarily stand out in my back garden and pour three buckets of icy cold water over my head in the name of charity I’d have told you where to go. Fact!

However on Saturday I did just that and don’t regret a second – or a drop – of it.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a bucket you can’t have failed to notice the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge that is sweeping –or should that be flooding? – the world at present.

If you have missed the story, the idea is that you dowse yourself in icy cold water (usually standing in one bucket, pouring two over your head then stepping out and dumping the third over for good measure) and you nominate friends and family to rise to the challenge within 24/48 hours. If your nominees rise to the challenge they donate £3; if they decline then the forfeit is a £10 donation. ( if you’re in the UK that is- amounts vary per country) Simple.

But how did it all start? We’ve all been doing it or watching others drown and shiver but what was the trigger?

This all began in Florida in mid-July when a Mr Kennedy was nominated by a friend on the golf course to rise to the challenge. At that point it wasn’t connected to a specific charity but Mr Kennedy chose to donate to ALS because a family member suffers from the disease. He then nominated his cousin’s wife to take the challenge and the rest is history.

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is a form of Motor Neurone Disease. These incurable illnesses attack the nerves in the body called motor neurones. These are the nerves that control our muscles. It doesn’t affect every sufferer the same way but ultimately there is no cure at present and invariably sufferers pass away from respiratory failure.

Facebook and Twitter have been flooded with short videos of politicians, sports stars, rock stars and celebrities and a whole cast of regular caring humans all willing to suffer a soaking in the name of a good cause and to heighten awareness of ALS/MND. Some of these videos are hilarious, I’ll not deny it, but they also highlight the power of peer pressure beautifully. The vast majority of us who have been nominated or “called out” have succumbed. Age is no barrier here either- everyone from toddlers to pensioners the world over are being drenched of their own free will. Are you really going to the one who was nominated and didn’t partake?

I wasn’t.

And to the family and friends that I nominated shortly before my own icy buckets rained down on me, thank you from the bottom of my heart and proving you’re all good sports by rising to the challenge.

Here’s my #icebucketchallenge. Dammit, it was cold!

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The Ultimate Playlist – what should or shouldn’t be on it?

I love it when, out of the blue, you end up involved in one of those conversations that leaves you with tears of laughter running down your cheeks. These usually happen at the most inopportune moments and that’s exactly what happened mid-week at work. Having giggled my way through it, I now can’t remember exactly what innocent comment started it but a colleague and I ended up discussing the music we would like played at our funerals.

Both of us were singing from the same hymn sheet, so to speak, and agreed that funerals shouldn’t be a mourning of the person’s passing but instead be a celebration of their life and reflective of their personality.

My mum secretly wants a New Orleans jazz style funeral. As this was mentioned in conversation, I got my first fit of the giggles as I was struck by an image of Boy Child playing his trumpet at the head of the school jazz band leading the funeral procession through the local streets towards the crematorium playing “When The Saints Come Marching In”. (I later shared this vision with my mum who fortunately saw the humour in it.)

Anyone who knows me will completely understand that the 23rd Psalm and Highland Cathedral aren’t going to feature when my time comes!

I asked my colleague, who is fifteen years my senior, what he wanted played. “Anything by Guns N Roses,” came his instant reply. He quickly added that he wants to be cremated but that his wife has already vetoed “Smoke on the Water” for that part of the service. I lost it! – cue laughter and tears. I promptly suggested “Burn” as an alternative- cue more giggling from both of us! (sorry, work colleagues) Apparently “Another One Bites the Dust” is also off the playlist. His Good Lady Wife is however a huge ACDC fan so he may have a glimmer of hope of playing “Highway To Hell” …. I doubt it though.

I came home from work still smiling at the conversation and asked The Big Green Gummi Bear what he wanted played. “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go,” came his reply. I should be grateful it wasn’t the Goombay Dance Band!

It got me thinking about my own choices and, I’ll be honest, I’m struggling. There’s so much good music to choose from. It would be easy to go down a rather reflective rock route and select “Wonderful Life” or “In Loving Memory” by Alter Bridge or “The Crow and the Butterfly” by Shinedown. While it could be fun to play “Stairway to Heaven” it would be giving the mourners false hope and sending them on a wild goose chase. Chris Rea’s “Road To Hell” takes them in a more likely direction!

Perhaps “One Last Thrill,” by Slash should be played? Or Avenged Sevenfold’s “Requiem”? As I wish to be buried rather than cremated when the time comes, Iron Maiden’s “Fear of the Dark” may also fit the bill. Regardless, the celebration should include Garth Brooks “Friends In Low Places” and culminate in “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life.”

Now that I’ve got you thinking, hopefully with a smile on your face, what songs would you choose?

 

The dangers of letting my inner teenager out of the box

In the last thirty six hours I’ve discovered just how easy it is to unleash the inner teenager in me. Apparently it only takes three simple things –

The first was the release yesterday of a new live album I had pre-ordered. It was an online release so it was a long impatient wait with multiple email check-ins. Finally, around seven o’clock last night, my patience was rewarded and the link to download the new Todd Kerns Live in Vegas album came through from Pledge Music. It was promptly downloaded, synced to my iPod and blasted round the kitchen, accompanied by grumblings about the noise from the Big Green Gummi Bear.

The second thing was a UK tour announcement. Breakfast time this morning was flung into more chaos than normal by the news that Slash is touring later this year. Finally, all things going to plan, I’ll get to see the great man play live with the added bonus that Messrs Kennedy and Kerns will share the same stage.

The third and final thing was news of the release date of the new Slash album. I discovered this via social media at lunchtime. Perfect timing as the silly grin that had been on my face all morning following the tour news was starting to fade. Realising I could also pre-order this long awaited musical treasure ensured the silly grin remained in place all afternoon. (Apologies to my colleagues who had to put up with me all day.)

Who says women are hard to please!

I appreciate that these are silly trivial things in the grand scheme of life. With the doom and gloom that fills the news on a daily basis it’s refreshing to find simple things that add an element of fun to the day. Life without a bit of fun would be very boring indeed.

So what next?

Well the inner teenager has been squeezed back into her box (the lid may still be open a fraction) and it’s time to re-connect with the semi-sensible adult self and patiently wait on three things.

The first of these is the relatively short wait for the concert tickets to go on sale at the end of the week. (OK – confession – yes, I have already scoured the internet for pre-sale options and double checked my passwords for the various ticket sites. Can’t do the adult thing for too long)

The second is to watch for the postman arriving with the album that has now been pre-ordered. It’s only a few short months……checks the number of weeks on calendar….

And assuming that the first one falls into place, the third thing is the concert itself.

Wonder how early we’d need to arrive to get a space on the barrier……… CRASH goes the box lid!

A day out with the Big Green Gummi Bear, Dragons and a Bearded Lady

It’s an all too rare occurrence but the Big Green Gummi Bear and I went out for the day last Saturday. We’re really not very good at this “going out together thing” -you’d think after over twenty five years together we’d have got the hang of it!

With Boy Child and Girl Child left at home with pizzas to cook for their dinner and a cat nominated as the person in charge, we headed off to Glasgow to see Cirque du Soleil at the SSE Hydro. After some debate about where to park the car, we finally chose the science centre car park (my suggestion so I got to pay the parking costs). It was a beautiful spring afternoon and, as we walked across the footbridge over the River Clyde, I stole a moment or two to take a few photos. (I could hear the Big Green Gummi Bear growling under his breath). Note to self – it’s not a good idea to wear metal tipped stiletto heels when trotting across a steel bridge! I’m sure my “dainty” footsteps could be heard for miles!

The Hydro is a fabulous venue but, despite my enthusing at great length about it to the Big Green Gummi Bear for the last six months, he didn’t get to experience the sheer size of it due to the subtle lighting ( or lack of light) when we entered the “bowl” to take our seats for the show.

Large Chinese lanterns hung down from the roof creating a tranquil atmosphere. It felt like sitting inside a temple from the Ming Dynasty. Cirque do Soleil’s Dralion was a fantastically colourful show. The programme explained the theme as being a “cultural fusion where Nature and Man become one in a quest for harmony. With the Dragon (Dralion) symbolising the 3000 year old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts. In this magical world the four elements governing the natural order take on human form to defy the laws of gravity.” And defy the laws of gravity they did!

We were treated to a two hour extravaganza of acrobats, aerial pas de deux, single handed balancing, aerial hoop, juggling and the incredible crossed wheel. There’s so much going on out on the stage that at times it’s hard to know where to look. I could have watched the trampolinists all day – they really did defy gravity! The Dralions, Chinese Dragons each made up of two acrobats, were incredible but I’d have liked to have seen more of them. Like every “circus” show Cirque du Soleil has its clowns. I’m not meaning silly wigs, red noses and big shoe type clowns but more traditional clowning more akin to “Mr Bean” in some respects. The four clowns’ impeccable comic timing and forays into the audience added just the right element of humour.

We emerged from our Chinese temple back out into the early evening sunshine. Cue more loud “trotting” back across the bridge. On the way home we stopped off for a delicious meal and a very welcome glass of wine at a small restaurant overlooking Dumbarton Rock, a volcanic basalt plug on the banks of the River Clyde, and Dumbarton Castle.

All in all it was perfect day out – so how do you round off such a magical day? (Put that naughty thought away!)

We came home to Boy Child and Girl Child, opened a bottle of wine, sprawled out on the couch and watched the Eurovision Song Contest. Cheesy trashy pop music for over two hours – what more can I say! Quite appropriate though, that after our day at the circus, it should be won by the Bearded Lady.