Monday, 14 April 2014

Home Report.

In Scotland it is still a legal requirement to have a Home Report done by a surveyor before putting your home on the market.

And you have to pay for it before it is carried out.  Over £500 this time.  Three years ago we paid just over £200 for our previous 7 bedroomed half an acre garden property.  Hey ho.

What you get is really quite hysterically funny.

The chimneys and the roof and the gutters are examined with binoculars.  (I have yet to see any surveyor with a pair ....)  There is a lot of "Unable to view due to floorcoverings"  "Furniture"  and "Loft insulation."  Oh really?

Then there are the scary HINTS.  Possible woodworm activity.  i.e. the staircase in this house is the same age as the house built in 1870 so it is bound to have wood worm.  

It really is money for old rope.  

Fortunately, having gone through all this with our previous home we are quite good at seeing through all the doom and gloom on prospective properties.  Flat roofs are prone to collapsing without warning.  Apparently. Even when they have just been put there.....

Then you get the energy report.  Which tells you about loft insulation (got) thermostats in radiators (got) etc. etc. how much you could save on your energy bills if you did .  Havent actually noticed to be honest.

The biggie is that the surveyor values your house.  At which point you kill him.

Deep breaths, not easy with shot lungs.  

And a partner with an infected throat,  he is banished to the spare room.  

We look round and see what needs doing to present our house in its best possible light.  Well, I have wafted a paint brush round.

On the left behind the fireside tools, is where the plumber made a very large hole.  Now boarded back up and after much scrambling round in the garage I found the tin of paint which matched!!!!  Why do I never write on 'kitchen', 'sitting room' et al?  Also covered up all fat splashes round cooker and skid marks from cats sliding down from windowsills.


Then one looks at the potential future home.




Tuesday, 8 April 2014

The Gas Man/Plumber Cometh - with apologies to Flanders and Swann

In our case it was THE PLUMBER.  After two years of topping the boiler up with water to maintain pressure and have heat from the radiators, and the list of plumbers who never turned up or did and then went away never to return, we finally got one.

Who found the leak.  Or thought he had.  And then disappeared.  Head in hands, gnashing of teeth.  But he came back!

I had to vacate the premises owing to dust from floors being removed.  Apparently at one point the plumber disappeared under the floor.  Bit like the cat did after his first visit when he left us with a cat size hole. 

 I had a pleasant few hours.  Told to wait ten minutes to buy a bottle of wine as it wasnt ten a.m. yet.  So I went for another trawl round the supermarket, fatal, 

I got a full set of windscreen wipers fitted.   I can now go out when its raining.

And had lunch at the lighthouse museum.  Doing trustee business.  But still had to pay for me lunch.  AND did half hour stand in in the shop and front desk for staff training to be done.

So far quite an expensive day.

After a suitable interval I returned.  The pipes had not gone the way the plumber thought they should.   So a bit more floor had to come up.  So I escaped down the shedudio and bit my nails to the quick.

Now our floor is quite expensive, top of the range laminate flooring, not your B&Q stuff.  It was also discontinued.....  I went to check the house insurance.

This was the culprit.  The right hand nut was the wrong size for what it was fastening on to so water was pumping out, and had been for some very long time.

Once replaced everything went back.  The floor, you cannot tell its been up.  What a relief.

Now with a clear conscience we can put the house on the market.  We need to as after today we need the money.

So I leave you with this.  Many of you will be too young to remember.  I hope you all enjoy.  And empathise.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Happenings in the Broch and surrounds.

Yesterday and today saw the Scottish Kite Buggy Championships on Fraserburgh (the Broch) beach

The beach is quite something.  Beautiful golden sands with a backdrop of dunes..

The biggest of the dunes is called Tiger Hill.  No-one is clear as to why the name was given.  I always thought it looked like a sleeping tiger from where I viewed it (the car park).  But of course dunes move around a bit so it may be significantly different to when it was first given the name.  

The beach side cafe is called Tiger Cafe.

It must be quite difficult to harness the wind, to ensure you go in the right direction.  Though the DP did say it all seemed quite chaotic!

People surf here every day.  And we have the Surfing Championship some years. 

 Now who would have thought that happened in the North East of Scotland?  

What really p****s me 0ff is that no-one knew this championship was happening.  Absolutely no publicity whatsoever.  One despairs.  Here are we trying to promote the area and all it has to offer.  Aaaaargh.

On the agricultural side of things, equally if not more important, we are now seeing lambs.  Probably later than elsewhere in the country.  But you never know what the winter is going to throw at you..  This year there has been a lot of supplementary feeding as we, like everyone else, had so much rain.  We havent had any snow which is very strange.

When the sheep first give birth the small field at the top of our road becomes the nursery.  And they are gathered into it and get their bums painted , with a number, as I went past today I noticed that number 6 ewe had three babies with 6 on their bums.  Once everything looks to be all well they are moved to a big field.  Hope number 6 copes.

Any field that doesnt have livestock in it is being ploughed.  Where the sheep were across the road from our house has been ploughed.  The sheep had all gained the required weight eating neeps....and had gone off to the abattoir.  The field to our rear has also been ploughed.  That has had Barley in it since we came here, whether there will be a change this year remains to be seen.  Where we lived before it would have been Oil Seed Rape but just 12 miles away they dont seem to go in for that.

On the home front.  It has taken me 4 weeks to 'do a bit' of decluttering.  No photos as I was so ashamed.  I can now visit the loo in the night without falling over stuff.  Floor cleared.  Bag to charity shop, bag of rubbish, bag of rags.  Plus lots of other shall I shant I in bags and then stashed away in the wardrobes.  Neatly of course.

This morning I also got so fed up of waking and wanting to go straight back I did a few of my physiotherapy exercises.  It worked.  Allelulia.


Friday, 4 April 2014

Back to the drawing board.

After the excitement of earlier on in the week I have been  trying to carry on with recovering and TAKING THINGS STEADY.  Because thats what everyone is telling me to do - whilst asking me to do things......

School holidays commenced so Kids Activities at the Lighthouse Museum next Thursday and the following Thursday.  This time last year we had over 80 kids at each session.  Pirates being a popular theme..

 This April/Easter we are doing Castles.  Our Lighthouse is built on top of a castle.

So all things Castles.  I have amassed a great pile of cereal boxes.  These will be piled up together with lots of bits and pieces and double sided sticky tape, and the challenge is to make a castle from all said bits and pieces. ..... 

We also have shields, tiaras, dragons, helmets, crowns, etc. to be made.  The only thing missing will be ME.  Banned by my g.p. (doctor) from hordes of snotty nosed kidsHuh.

Done all the planning, obtained the bits and pieces required, can't even tell the story at the end.  Not fair.  One real plus is we have the wonderful Adele who is to be me.  She is at University and learning how to be a teacher.  She is also one of the Lighthouse's seasonal guides and has leapt at the chance.  Hmmmmm.

Anyroads I finally got my mojo back.  After not lifting a paint brush for four weeks I was really worried I might never want to paint again but then out of nowhere I wanted to paint my granddaughter.  Now I am crap at people, prefer a four legged beastie any day, but I just wanted to okay?

The DP had caught her in this reflective mode which I loved.  So I had a go.  Its not finished by a long way.  But when shown the picture, she said, "Thats me."   I nearly wept, well I am quite fragile at the moment......

Then I did a bit more to the lurcher sitting in the middle of fallen cherry blossom (just so you know what all the pink and white bits are).

AND THEN I saw these...

Photos taken by Kenny Buchan, a local photographer, not the DP for a change.  Wow .

So back to the drawing board.  Oh, and I am raising a glass of red wine, for the recovery and taking it easy of course.....

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Who is reading your blog?

You just never know do you?

Some weeks back I was contacted by a researcher from the......

Who told me they had been reading my blog and really liked it.  Could they speak to me on the telephone?  As I had just realised I had yet another chest infection I asked for them to leave it a week.  Ha ha.  Four weeks later I realise I am not about to die, not just yet, but in betweenst I manage to speak to another researcher and found myself agreeing to be interviewed.  

A documentary is being made about the Independence vote in Scotland.  As someone passionate about the North East and an incomer to boot I am an 'angle' . Well there you go.

The lead person, presenter or whatever they are really called is that intrepid rambler, among many other achievements, finalist in Celebrity Master Chef, a Loose Woman, ex editor of the Independent , etc. etc. Janet Street Porter, who is tramping Scotland and finding out what the ordinary people think about Scottish Independence.

So today I tootled off to the Lighthouse Museum and met the team.  Naturellement the Lighthouse Museum was my idea, what better place to a) get some publicity, and b) how photogenic!

 So here we have, two camera persons, one I think was also a director, a sound man, a researcher and an assistant researcher, who also looked after JSPs handbag.  NO make up person, I fully expected the works, a make over, apparently Oil of Olay my usual wrinkle filler was fine...  

Now the sound man.. You have this thing you drop down your cleavage, the top bit is stuck inside the top of your frock or whatever and the bottom is stuck into a square effort which is latched onto your rear waist band.  At one point I had to go to the loo and the sound man was very concerned I would drop the square effort in the loo.  I assured him I wouldn't and then got very worried he had the sound on, he assured me he hadn't.

After a lot of sound checks, light checks, researchers pretending to be me and JSP we were finally off. 

When asked a question, none of which I was expecting, there was no rehearsal, I have a tendency to look above, away from the questioner, this indicates I am thinking....They didnt like that, I had to look at Janet.  Then she was told she hadnt asked enough questions so we had to do it again anyway.  But we got there in the end.

I have to say that having met and talked, not just in the interview , to Janet Street Porter that I really liked her.  She is what you see.  And she is really pretty..... huh.  She is sitting down in the photo as she actually is about twice my height.

So there you go.  The documentary should be out at the end of May and may be throughout the UK, not just Scotland.  I will let you know.

So! Who  is reading your blog?


Thursday, 27 March 2014

No-one and nothing is indispensible

Daughter and granddaughter now gone home.  But whilst here they helped sort through all the toys that live in the garage for more than 11 months a year.  Decisions were made to drastically reduce.  After all when grandchildren come visiting they are oot and aboot climbing lighthouses, playing in parks and running along beaches, so a tad silly really to have 3 large boxes of stuff that rarely see the light of day.  Plus sit and ride thing, kitchen with sink,cooker and washing machine,depending on which side you go in.  Always worried me did that.  I had visions of some helpful child shoving washing into the  real  oven and the roasting tin into the real washing machine...

And watching Neve help sort I remembered that the favourite toy was always a box of some sort.

Daughter and Granddaughter were quite ruthless.  All I was left with was the car which I wouldn't dare get rid of, though there may be some sharing lessons coming up......

As daughter pointed out I provide craft and art activities out of virtually nothing which is far more fun.

The two girls spent a happy time going through the box of photgraphs and albums I had created,  Identifying Mums and Aunties and Grandmas and Granddads looking very strange.

Grandma was once a baby!!

The toys are now all packaged up and are being collected at the weekend to go to the charity shop for the New Arc near Ellon, which rescues animals and birds.  We had a duck from them some years back.  Plus bags of games, I never did like Monopoly. Have kept Scrabble, Boggle and Articulate.  Jigsaw puzzles are going, we have loads, tho we have had to do them all to make sure they are complete.  Not me, the Dawn Patroller is wading his way through them.  

The DP has been magnificent. He is washing stuff, drying stuff, cleaning stuff, cooking stuff, tho I aint eating much of it, and shouts at me if I head in any direction other than the bathroom.  

On Thursday, hey up that's just yesterday, it was realised I was deteriorating agin.  Doctor out.  The neighbours probably think I have a toy boy by now.  The chest infection has gorn from where it was but has now reared up in the pleural cavity.  Now taking one antibiotic bomb a day plus strong pain killers. Pleurisy hurts.

So I am looking at my diary.  I contact all by email and find everything I had to do has been sorted.

I am dispensed with.

Monday, 24 March 2014

Living life vicariously.

Whilst I recover and wobble about wafting in the breeze, granddaughters still have to be entertained.

Saturday,  the Dawn Patroller drove off with Daughter number 3 and said granddaughter.

They drove past Aberdeen Harbour, where you are almost guaranteed a dolphin sighting from the Torry Battery, which is t'other side of the harbour from us.  And were not disappointed.

 Further South down the road was
 Doonies Rare Breeds Farm, Aberdeen, has one of Scotland's largest collections of rare and endangered farm animal breeds. The farm is nationally recognised as a breeding centre for rare breeds. There are currently 23 rare animal breeds on the farm.
Doonies farm is now operated as a family run business; however the farm used to be owned and operated by Aberdeen City Council and is run as a working farm, although it is open to the public. Due to council cutbacks it has been earmarked for closure in the summer of 2008, however there have been many petitions and protests to persuade the council to save Doonies, and an agreement may still be reached.
Doonies farm stands on the coast, just passed the old fishing village of Cove in Aberdeen, Scotland. Aberdeen City Council had ownership of the farm for some twenty years, until in 2008 budget cuts faced potential closure for the farm. Recently, the farm's manager of fifteen years had taken over the business as "Doonies LTD." This means that the farm is no longer Council run, but a family business establishment.
The farm holds a number of endangered and rare breeds of pigs, cattle, sheep, horses, chickens and ducks. During the Easter time of year, new arrivals can be seen such as lambs, calves, chicks and foals.  Wikepedia.

 "Now who wants feeding?"


Being a sad  person I own two books.  One is called Know Your Sheep, and the other is called Know More Sheep.  As no-one thought to look for a label I finally discovered this panda look a like was a Kerry Hill.  Mainly the Welsh borders and Midlands, and the Netherlands.  So very rare for up here.


At some stage in my past I lived in a town called Tamworth.  Apart from a castle the best thing about Tamworth was its pigs.  This is a Tamworth pig.  I didnt need a book for that one.

This is a foal, a horse, which has four legs, one on each corner.  No idea what breed.  In my teens I avidly read Horse and Hound and other horse related stuff, even owned an Irish Connemara pony for a while but it isnt one of them.

So there is my vicariously lived outing.