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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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Jul. 22nd, 2014

It's a sunny, hot day today. Went to the horse this morning, had lunch and I just got back from walking Tess. Linda wants to clean out the garage room today but I'd just assume leave it for another day, maybe when it's cooler. We did some of it yesterday... It's a case of moving all the stuff out that we had put in there when we were cleaning out other rooms. Things eventually end up in the attic after going from room to room for a while. We want to get a sofa bed so we can make that room into a nice guest room and a kids playroom (and second grandkids bedroom... when they get older and are both staying overnight...). I'm like "let's put up more shelves" so we can store things better, but Linda isn't a big fan of shelves for some reason.

Jun. 2nd, 2014

Work has been slow for about a week... Have had a few places to go to, but have had to wait for confirmation before I went. Well, got confirmation today so I'm going to Newcastle tomorrow. Will be back in the afternoon.

This weekend we had Adam and Ayla staying overnight Saturday. Played a bit outside Sunday (after having mowed the lawn earlier Saturday). Tess had fun chasing a ball around with us. It's good when Tess gets exercise like that. She's gettin' old.

Ayla actually stood up by herself here Sunday... her legs were kind of wedged against something but she was standing without her hands on anything. That was a first (that we've seen).

That's about it. I'm way behind on my hardcopy journal (volume 92), with stuff to put in as usual, so I'm hoping to work on that a bit today while I have some time off. Never enough time for things anymore.... But Linda wants me to fold clothes and empty dishwashers as well. Hmm.

Ayr County Show

We went to the Ayr County Show today... stayed at a B&B in Ayr last night so we could get an early start. Took Tess along. We watched the horse judging so that Linda could get a good idea of what it's like and what she needs to do... she's going to enter Meggie in the Dumfries agricultural show later on this year (for the first time).

May. 1st, 2014


We had a little birthday party for Tess today. Got her a little vanilla ice cream and a cake. She's 15.


What's been did


So, we drove down on Friday afternoon. Braithwaite's only about an hour and a half south of where we live. Tess was in the back in a brand new cage. She doesn't travel very well... likes to go places but just can't relax in the car. So she did her best to wreck her new cage by biting and bending the metal bars... ended up with a bloody beak and paws. A bit embarrassing showing up with a dog that looks like it's been beaten up. She got cleaned up and we took a few walks around the local area, but mostly just relaxed, got settled in and had dinner there at the country inn and pub. Linda really liked the vegetarian food they had there, particularly one dish which she asked to get the recipe for.

Saturday morning we took a walk towards Grisedale Pike... ended up having a nice walk along Coledale Beck (small river) and then up a trail along the lower slopes of the pike. Weather on Saturday turned out to be probably the best of the three days, but it was a bit drizzly so we only went so far before turning around. We went to the village General Store and looked around a bit before heading back to the inn. We later drove into nearby Keswick, which is the big market town of the area. We bought a few things including a hat for Linda (for the rain), which she quite likes.

Sunday was pretty bad, weather-wise. We went for a walk thru some pretty countryside to the north but avoided going up too many hills. Linda tripped over a rock at one point and fell in a heap, but not too bad. Hurt her wrist a little and got muddy. There were some more nice streams to walk beside for part of the way. We later on decided to drive up to Cockermouth in the late morning / early afternoon. Ended up having tea and scones at the Wordsworth birthplace House cafe. Because the weather was so rainy, we went ahead and took the tour of the house, with audio narration. I had been there several years ago with my father but this was the first visit for Linda. On our trips into Keswick and Cockermouth we left Tess in the hotel room where she was fine... Evenings were spent having dinner and a few beers and wine with Tess with us. We had champagne for our anniversary dinner and the inn gave us a nice dessert as an anniversary gift.

Monday (today) we packed up and headed home. But before leaving the area, we visited Castlerigg stone circle... which we had seen before, but it's a good open space for Tess to run around a bit. Had a hard time getting to it, tho, because I too blindly followed my sat nav to Castlerigg, which brought us to the farm and a campground of that name but with no stone circle in sight. We parked there, tho, because there was a public footpath which said it went to the stone circle. I thought it'd be just over into the next field, but after a lot of walking thru mud and sheep droppings, the circle was no where to be found. We got fed up, finally, and turned around. Drove to the thing instead. It ended up being several muddy fields away from where we had been.

I'll post a few pix.



Linda and I just celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary yesterday. We've been on a short holiday to the Lake District, staying in Braithwaite near Keswick. It's the first holiday we've had in a long while, actually. We don't go away much because of the animals... but this holiday we took Tess with us. It was a rather wet weekend but we got a few walks in and saw a few things... Spent a good amount of time in the pub at the place we were staying, just relaxing, reading and sampling the local beers (and imported Pinot Grigio).

Tess' Holiday


We've taken Tess on a holiday to the Lake District. Here are some pix of us out and about today in the drizzly rain.

Typical Day

Today has been a typical day, so far. When I'm not off on a call for work, this is what a typical day for me looks like:

Wake up at 8ish and call into the office to say I'm at home and I'm "on call" if I am needed to go to a customer (because of a breakdown of their equipment). I cover Scotland and northern England for a company that sells and services automated storage and retrieval systems. There haven't been many breakdowns lately, and there wasn't one today.

8:15am to about 10am is usually spent in bed reading, with Linda. Checking Facebook, etc. Checking my phone every so often to make sure I don't have messages about work.

At 10ish, Linda and I go to the horse, at a farm on the other side of town. Linda takes care of the hay nets (which need to be soaked because of Meggie's dietary requirements) and food, while I put two horses out and then muck out two stables... Meggie's and another horse's stable whose owners help us out on other days. Horse poop goes into a wheelbarrow and then gets dumped in a muck heap on the farm. All the while, as I'm on call for work, I'm checking my phone periodically in case I get a message or missed a call. I often listen to my iPhone music while I'm doing the stables. Sometimes, on nice days, Linda takes Meggie out for a ride while I walk with them.

By 11:30 or noontime, we're usually done with the horse and we drive home, or often stop off to get a few things at a supermarket. I hate shopping, so I usually just wait in the car. If I don't get a call from work by noon, then I know I won't need to go anywhere that day.

When we get home, I normally walk Tess the dog around the neighbourhood. Length of walk depends upon the weather. Today it's nice and sunny so we went for a pretty long one.

I've been taking baths lately, more often than showers, and today I took a nice bath after getting back with the dog. Something about coming in from a chilly walk makes me want to lie in the bath a bit.

Then I turn the news channel on to see what's going on, have some lunch... which brings me up to 2pm right now. Later we're going over to Jenny's for a visit with her, Adam and Ayla.

Cat versus dog


Rosie our new cat really is aggressive towards Tess the dog... They've only met two or three times but each time Rosie has maniacally hissed and really gone full throttle towards Tess to attack her. She'll have to snap out of that behaviour or she'll soon be homeless again.


Happy Birthday, Tess!

We took Tess on a nice long walk today... and bought her a few squeaky toys.  Happy 14th birthday, Tess!


Busy weekend


Wanted to mention we had a busy weekend. Some of the things we did: Climbed up to the Waterloo Monument in New Abbey. First time I had done that. Tess, Linda and I did a fair amount of walking and climbing that day. The next day, we went back down to New Abbey and looked around the museum of costume down there. They were having a '50's day.


Almost walking


Yeah, we babysat Adam this weekend while Andy and Jenny had an overnight trip. He's able to walk a few steps on his own from a piece of furniture over to a person, but that's the extent of it so far.

He seems to know a few words... if you say "where's the light?" , he points up at the light. He likes to point at things, and pointing at lights is probably the most common thing. He also sometimes points at Tess the dog, and he seems to be learning those words "Tess" and "dog". I'm also teaching him "Where's Granny?"



Here are excerpts from a year-end Christmas letter Linda is sending her aunt and uncle in Canada:

"How quickly has this year gone – again!  We really enjoyed having you and Aidan visit. He is such a charming young man and he really fitted in here. I sat chatting to him about all sorts and it reminded me of when Steven and I did exactly that. Really good memories!

Darrin completed his Masters degree in Carbon Management. It was a very intense course and hard work but he really enjoyed it and is now in the process of having interviews for jobs. He has had a couple of interviews so fingers crossed – there aren’t too many jobs in his field in this area. Breaking news - Today he has been offered a job as an instructor in Electrical Engineering and Carbon Management with Dumfries and Galloway College.

As you know, I took early retirement in the summer and I have been so busy since that I now wonder when I found time to work! I had a lovely retiral, with special ex-colleagues also there which made my day , and Andy and my Dept had decorated the hall with pink and purple balloons and flowers. I got so many cards and gifts... ....

I really don’t miss school as much as I expected to – Andy says it is because Adam has given me new focus and I think he is right. He really is the joy of our lives. We look after him 1 or 2 days every week since Jenny went back to work part-time in October. He was one on November 30th and is such a happy and clever little boy – and gorgeous with it!!!  He had his first taste of cake (Jenny spent hours making it then decorating it with his favourite TV programme, Balamory) and he spat it out!!! Not a sugar fan – I remember Aidan eating his first cake! 

Adam is growing so fast! He and our Tess are best of friends already! She is so good and patient with him and she seems to understand that he is just little. He is very active and crawls at great speed and is walking round the furniture and can stand alone a little. He looks very like my Dad, and is the double of Jenny when she was that age, but taller.

Jenny is having big problems with her shoulder – ....  ....  It is worse on the days she is at school. Andy is still working at “my” school and enjoying it.

In the summer my father-in-law, Doug, came to introduce us to his new wife, Darlene – we enjoyed meeting her and they seem very happy. It was strange to see him with someone else but she seems very nice.

In October we all went to Marbella, Spain, to celebrate the wedding of our friends, Nicole and Graham, from Dublin. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed our week out there in the sunshine. It was nice being able to go away at that time of the year. Jenny and Andy came for the weekend as he had to get back to school. Adam stayed with Andy's parents as he was too young to come and it would have been difficult with his routine. Jenny really missed him!

Our animals are mostly doing well – we sadly lost Blanket (gerbil), Jet (rabbit) and Luna (guinea pig) recently and have welcomed two new guinea pigs, Archie and Edie, into or family. Our elderly cat, Tansy, is now 17 but is fairly fit, while our horse, Meggie, is doing well since taking medication for Cushings Disease. Tessie is her usual bouncy self – still doing tricks!

As always we miss my Mum and Dad, Aunt Irene and mother-in-law, Marcia, but we know that they are happy and close by.

We hope this finds you all well and wish you a peaceful Christmas and a healthy 2012. I hope you visit again soon – Uncle Jim too!!! Give him a huge hug from Jenny and I."

5 Years ago.... Feb., Mar. and Apr. 2006

This Chronicle of my Life thing is a little record-keeping project you may have noticed I've been doing...  I've almost done it for five years now, and when I hit the five year point....  I'll have recorded  synopses of what i've been doing in my life for the past 25 years, based on my written journal as well as overlapping onto my on-line journal of the past 5 and 1/2 years or so...  indexed and easily accessible. 

About 5 years ago... here's what was going on:

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