Sunday, January 29, 2006


Steven and I have just come back from a party. I made a cake today to take with us, a chocolate Malteser cake. Mmmm! I think I actually like the baking more than the eating though - is that weird? The only thing I don't like about baking cakes is lining cake tins. I'm too much of a perfectionist for that. Anyway, here is the finished result:

Steven goes back to Belfast tomorrow, very early in the morning. And I'm flying home tomorrow afternoon to spend the week doing research for my dissertation. Time for bed now, methinks, or we'll never manage to get up. In fact, Steven's fallen asleep on the sofa, I'll take that as a hint. Good night everybody!

Trying to make it up to you

I've been a bit crap this week. I've spent my time freaking out slightly about my dissertation, and not really doing enough work on it. But as a result, I haven't posted anything on here for a while - and because of that, I've had fewer and fewer hits which, inexplicably, makes me feel guilty. Am I letting you down, people-on-the-internet? Am I boring you? I'm sorry. Well, to make it up to you, here are some of the photos that I've taken in the last week.

Here is one to prove that I have actually been working. Except if you think about it, all this actually proves was that I've been taking pictures of myself at the library. Hmmm.

This is next to where we park the CHV minibuses and every time we've walked past recently, the smell of the flowers is gorgeous. I quite like the new Beetles (the fact that they come with a little vase in the front has a lot to do with it), although I wouldn't want a silver one.

These are a couple I took on camp: of the kids with their light-sticks after our night-walk; and of some lichen on a branch.

And finally, this guy was in front of us when we were stopped at some lights in the minibus, and I thought his whole set-up was really clever!

There, I hope that's better, even if they are a bit random. I promise to try harder in the future. Am I forgiven now?

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Personal History: week 4

Birthdays in our house were always special. Because my birthday is the day after Christmas, my Mum made a big effort to differentiate between the two, and developed a sort of birthday formula which was followed for everyone.

The birthday girl or boy sat at the head of the table in the Birthday Chair, a tall, very high-backed wooden chair made by a Norwegian exchange student who stayed with us when we were very young. The chair was decorated with balloons or streamers, a Happy Birthday banner was hung across the kitchen and there was a birthday hat, often made by Mum. The table was set for breakfast, with a big bunch of birthday flowers in the middle and our presents all laid out. And there was a special box of birthday cereal - something sugary that we wouldn't normally get.

Mum still does a lot of this for us but since I've left home, I often miss the others' birthdays, which always makes me feel bad. I suppose it's just a part of growing up, birthdays aren't really such a big deal anymore. That's fine, but when I have kids of my own, I hope I can make their birthdays as special as mine were.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Recovering from camp

Phew! I've decided that CHV camp must be like childbirth - your brain wipes over the bad bits, gives the rest a lovely rosy tint and files it under 'Rewarding Experiences'.

It's not until you find yourself on your next camp, in the middle of the night, 4 hours drive away from home, pretending to be in control of 6 defiant teenagers with the most offensive vocabulary you've ever heard, that you realise you knew all along that it was going to be like this and once again you've been fooled by the images of beautiful scenery and smiling, compliant, happy children.

Yet even though I've worked this out, I already seem to be forgetting the difficult bits of this
weekend and thinking instead about how I actually felt quite sure of myself when we were horse-riding, with snowy hills on both sides and the kids sitting in slightly nervous awe on top of the horses in front of me; or the night walk we did through the middle of a forest with the kids clutching brightly-coloured glow-sticks and shrieking whenever anyone touched them or mentioned the names of scary films; or the photos I have from after the night walk, and from when the kids got hold of my camera, including some lovely shots of my face as I tried to get it back.

Perhaps I'll volunteer for our week-long summer camp this year. Why not? I'm sure it'll be a very rewarding experience!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Have a nice weekend

We're away on CHV camp for the weekend, to an outdoor centre in the Highlands. I can't wait. The area is really beautiful, so I'm hoping for some good photography weather. It's fun to get away to places we wouldn't normally go and for the most part (kids' behaviour permitting) camps are good fun. We're meant to be going horse-riding tomorrow, which could be interesting - especially since these are the same kids that yelled 'Look at that big broon thing!!' when we passed a cow near Loch Tay while on camp last year!

It's a three and a half hour trip from Edinburgh, not including the hour it takes to drive round and pick all the kids up. Steven's driving the minibus, so at least that means I get to sit up front with him to keep him company and control the music. No matter how sleepy they get on the way there, it's a given that the kids will go nuts the minute we get into the centre and we won't get to bed until well after midnight.

Wish us luck!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Ooooh, look!

There's a little shop near the University which sells all kinds of cool jewellery, and they're having a sale. The magpie in me couldn't resist - I did stop at 3 for 2, but they had loads of things I liked. I love these, they make smile!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Personal History: week 3

Steven and I met in Tanzania on our gap year four years ago and have been together - mostly long-distance - ever since. Here is the earliest picture I can find of us together - taken in Moshi in April 2002, messing around to use up the film before I developed it to send home to my mum; along with the most recent - taken on Sunday, out for a walk up Blackford Hill in Edinburgh. Written on the back of the first picture is a note saying that neither of us was happy with the way we looked in it, but both of us thought it was a good picture of the other. Since then, we have both grown a lot in self-confidence and are a lot happier with ourselves - something which I think has a lot to do with our being together.


Blackford Hill

Sunday, January 15, 2006

My 'magpie tendencies'

Steven calls me a magpie.

I am easily distracted by things which are brightly coloured or shiny. If Steven and I are out anywhere, walking along the street or on the bus, our conversation will be dotted with exclamations of 'Ooooh, look' or just short silences as I lose track of what I'm saying because something has caught my eye. Nowhere is safe: the cook shop up the road has a red enamel colander in the window; a baby clothes shop further on has cool stripy hats, the flower shop has dusty pink gerberas sitting in buckets outside. Yesterday, Steven took me to a computer shop to buy more RAM, but while we queued I was much more interested in the little red mouse on a top shelf. I covet that mouse now, although I have no need of it. It's not just colours though, it can be anything - a cute baby, an old car or someone with stylish shoes.

Lots of little things make me smile each day, but by the time I get home and get to speak to Steven, I've invariably forgotten what they were. One of the purposes of this blog is to document the things that have made me happy: conversations overheard, people observed, bright colours and shiny things.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

He's here!

I've got my boy back! He arrived yesterday evening, having escaped the evil clutches of his geek exam the day before. And already he has fixed and tidied many things, including the wardrobe in the hall that won't stay closed - which, by the way, I'm convinced is haunted.

My hero!

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

Personal History: week 2

My personal history in books: a selection of some of my favourites from 22 years of reading (or being read to).

See other Self Portrait Tuesday-ers here.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Good start

It's the first day of a new semester. This semester I only have one class a week, a class which happens to be at 9am on a Monday morning. And today I am ill - I have a sore throat and not much voice. Lovely. I think I'll stay home tomorrow with my hot water bottle and some Lemsips and read Jane Eyre (for my literature course) and/or work on my dissertation. Hopefully I'll be better by Wednesday, because Steven's coming over, and I want to be able to go to CHV.

In the meantime, for something to look at, here is a picture from the holidays of Bella looking picturesque under the Christmas tree at home.

Saturday, January 07, 2006


I wasn't really happy with yesterday's post, I was tired and I couldn't think of anything particularly interesting to say. But I've just realised I forgot to include the funniest thing that happened to me yesterday.

My flight had been called through to departures in Kirkwall, and I was in the queue for security behind two little boys who were travelling by themselves. They got as far as the scanner and the woman kindly told them that they could go back through into the main airport and wait for someone from British Airways to come and take them to the plane. So far, so normal. Then it was my turn. I handed her my jacket and started to hand over my bags and she said, 'Oh, are you travelling by yourself too?'

Well, it was nice of her to be concerned, but I've just checked this out, and 'unnacompanied minors' are generally between the ages of 5 and 11!

I didn't really want to embarrass her by telling her I'm 22, so I just smiled and said yes. I know I'm small, but do I really look that young? The funny thing is, I hardly ever get IDed for buying drink or seeing films. How wierd.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Honey, I'm home!

I got back to Edinburgh this afternoon. I came down on the plane, laden with all my Christmas and birthday presents. My little pink suitcase weighed 20kgs! They had to put a 'heavy' sticker on it.

I had tinned soup and oatcakes for dinner because our cupboards are bare at the moment. Not for long though, we've a Tesco delivery arriving tomorrow (thanks Mum), so we'll be fully stocked and ready to go. Someone remind me that the Tesco man takes plastic bags back to recycle, I think our collection is plotting to seize control of the flat!

Right now though, I'm going to make a cup of tea and chill out. Unpacking and work - and hopefully something slightly more interesting to blog about - can wait till tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Good Luck Steven!

Steven left this morning. We spent Christmas with our own families and then he came up to Orkney for New Year, although he didn't get to have much fun because he had so much course-work to do. He's gone back to Belfast now, for some big important hand-ins on Friday and an exam on Tuesday. But after that, he's coming to stay with me in Edinburgh for a while, yay!

Good luck Steven, see you soon. x

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Self Portrait Tuesday

In my explorings of other blogs before I got up the guts to start my own, I found Self Portrait Tuesday. I like the idea of this, so I think I'll give it a go. Photos of me generally don't come out very well (this has been commented on!) but maybe if I practise, I'll work out any secrets there are to it. The monthly themes should give me a bit of creative structure too.

January's theme is Personal History. I haven't had a chance to come up with anything inspired, but I've found one of my favourite photos from when I was little. This is me, Hannah and Alexander aged roughly 5, 3 and 1, at an old go-cart track we used to ride our bikes on. It doesn't exist any more, someone built a hotel over it. My first proper bike did well though - we all learned to ride on it and as far as I know it was still going strong a couple of years ago!

Monday, January 02, 2006

New Year's Day

Yesterday I went for a walk with Mum and Alexander and the dogs. I lagged behind for most of it, taking pictures. I got some good ones, Orkney sunset and then some pretty sky colours before it got dark.


We didn't have a very happening Hogmanay. Steven and I went down the street for the bells but then it only took about 10 minutes to say Happy New Year to everyone that I knew, so we went for a wander with my camera. Took a few photos, but the [large] glass of wine that I'd had meant that most of them were pretty useless. The stained glass window in the St Magnus Centre came out quite well though.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year everyone!

I got a new camera for my birthday and so as another part of my birthday present, Steven's helped me set up this blog. I'm going to use it to show off my photos and hopefully to keep in touch with my friends. I might post about other things too, we'll see.

All the best for 2006 everybody. x