Sunday, July 31, 2016

Photographers choice - monthly blogging challenge

End of the month and time for the Monthly photo blogging challenge with this month's theme being photographer's choice. What to choose - my first thought was take photos of my favourite things, Ken, Cookie, Muffin, Bramble, and cake, but as they all feature in a lot of my blogs anyway I thought that might be a bit predictable. It took me a while to decide what my choice was until we went past the below place with a Tardis in the backyard and that's when I decided to take pictures of the quirky things people have in their yards.

1. A home in Tayvallich, on the west coast of Scotland, where the doctor seems to have stopped for a visit or to get his home/transport fixed as it looked a bit rough around the edges. Makes me wonder why they have a Tardis there - maybe it was for a birthday party or just as a present for someone. For anyone who isn't a Dr Who fan (I'm not really but I have to admit that I loved it when David Tennant was the doctor as he is adorable) Tardis stand for: Time and relative dimensions in space - that will be useful if it ever comes up in a quiz.

2. This is a yard we go past regularly, just outside Nairn, two old cars slowly being taken over by nature to the point that they almost look beautiful (I'm sure my beloved thinks they are things of beauty just because they are cars). Once all the wild flowers and grass die down come Autumn then they'll just look scrappy again.

3 & 4. These two creatures are in a yard we go past on the way home from work near Culloden battlefield. The whole yard is lovely and I love the quirkiness of these creations that are scattered throughout the garden. The first one is obviously a viking and there are animal skulls scattered around him. The second is just a very happy chappy with his big toothy grin. 

5. The final oddity is in our Landlords yard which means it's in our yard, and it's a modern standing stone circle. Maybe hundreds of years in the future archeologists will find this circle and be able to tell things about us by the stones. Perhaps I should bury something near one of the stones so that they can speak knowledgeably about our way of living.

That's it, my five pictures that show the quirky and odd things that people have in their yards. Why don't you pop over to P J's blog and see what my fellow bloggers have come up with - click HERE to see.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take note of what interesting things people near you have in their yards.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Cheating slightly I know but I have to include at least one of my five favourite things and I've chosen Muffin as she's not been well.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Top Ten Thursdays - 80's songs

I'm slightly crazy as I've joined another blogging challenge, but I couldn't resist this one as I love doing lists of favourite things. This challenge is organised by the lovely Tamara Gerber at Confessions of a part-time working mom (click on the blog title to go to her site and see what others have come up with)

So I found this weeks challenge extremely challenging - limiting my favourite 80's songs to only 10! I was a teenager in the 80's so this is the era that is really the soundtrack of my life - in the 80's I became a teenager, moved out of home, and started nursing.

I started by writing down every song that came to mind easily and that resulted in way too many, but interestingly it also showed that a few of the songs that I thought were 80's actually weren't - examples being Snap's Cult of Snap, Paula Abdul's Rush Rush (memories of slow dances at Bay Rock in Burnie), and Cold Chisel's Khe Sahn.

Slightly cheating but I have to mention a few of the songs that I left out with great difficulty - I ended up having to sit and listen to the songs and think which one's I couldn't live without if they were the only songs I could take to a desert island (my husband's suggestion). Shockingly for an Aussie girl no John Farnham songs made the cut, but if they had it would have been Please Don't Ask me from 1980. I can't believe there are no Wham or George Michael songs in my top ten as I loved them and it would have been A Different Corner from 1986. A song that I used to love listening to when, as a teenager, I thought my heart had been broken was Johnny Logan's Hold Me Now from 1987 - he won Eurovision with it but got chopped from my top ten. Others that missed the cut; Centrefold - J Geils Band (1981), Beds are Burning - Midnight Oil (1987), Separate Lives - Phil Collins (1985), I Love Rock and Roll - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (1981), I was only 19 - Redgum (1983), and the last one to be cut was Missing You - John Waite (1984).

After reading all those fabulous songs you're starting to wonder what I could possibly have put in my list - well wait no longer. The top three were very easy and that is their correct order, but 4 - 10 are in no particular order but are ingrained in my psyche.

Here is my top ten in all it's glory with a selected few videos included:

10. Working Class Man - Jimmy Barnes (1985)

  • Was lucky enough to see the man himself perform this in 2008 at the Toast Festival of all things Australian in London,

9. Through the Barricades - Spandau Ballet (1986)

8. Crazy For You - Madonna (1985)

7. Who Wants To Live Forever - Queen (1986)
  • From the fabulous film Highlander with the gorgeous Christopher Lambert - this album by Queen (A Kind of Magic) had so many great songs that it was difficult to limit to just one.

6. Love is a Battlefield - Pat Benatar (1983)

5. Reckless - Australian Crawl (1983)

4. Every Rose Has it's Thorn - Poison (1988)

3. Wild Boys - Duran Duran ((1984)

  • My favourite group ever and my room used to be covered in posters of the boys, but especially Simon Le Bon as he is gorgeous.

2. Bring Me Some Water - Melissa Etheridge (1988)

  • Finally got to see Melissa in concert last year in London and this was the song everyone was waiting for, even though she has so many great ones. It is definitely the best concert I have ever been to as she has such energy and is an incredible singer and musician.

1. Tainted Love - Soft Cell (1981)

  • Soft Cell weren't the first to record this song and they weren't the last, but they are the only one's for me, and definitely not Marilyn Manson's version.
  • I used to have this turned up in my bedroom whilst trying to drown out my brother's music from the neighbouring bedroom.
That's it, my top ten 80's songs - even now loooking at the lsit I'm wishing I could add others. Do you agree with any of them? What would you include in yours? Why don't you see what my fellow bloggers came up with in their top ten:

1:  Measurements of Merriment
2:  Confessions of a part-time working mom
3:  The Last Rain Girl
4:  The Bergham Chronicles

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and listen to some of your favourite music.

Pamela & Ken

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunshine and ancient history on Scotland's West Coast

Our short break on the West Coast of Scotland continues. Because Thursday was such a glorious day we headed to Tayvallich for lunch as it's a really pretty spot. We had a fabulous lunch at the Tayvallich Coffee Shop which is behind the little local shop - scrummy vegetarian haggis and great view looking out over the boats.

Whilst we were there Bramble was making friends with a sailor dog - note his yellow life jacket with a handle on the back for when he goes overboard. The couple that he was with said they'd had to use the handle that morning. The other good thing about the cafe is that they have showers available to use so is great for boaters and walkers.

Inside the cafe they had these very funky animal heads for sale.

Another toilet shot. This vase is covered with rolled up magazine pages - a great example of recycling.

Me and Bramble enjoying the sun. Ken had a nice chat to an older couple who were sat having a drink further along - lucky them actually own the part of the beach they were sitting on and the woods behind.

On our way back from Tayvallich we stopped at Bellanoch church which is on the hill directly behind Ken's old family home. It's a beautiful little church and Ken's mum used to clean the church so it was fitting that both his parents had their funeral services here.

This black and white picture was hanging in the church and as you can see the walls used to be raw stone - I'm not sure when they were painted white.

Here's Bramble playing in the long grass around the church - she loves it.

Below is a very interesting building at Crinan Ferry. It is an icehouse dated from the 1830's that has been converted into a modern home. It was even featured on the George Clarke series Restoration Man in 2010 - I'd love to have a look inside as the outside is fabulous.

An old winch used for pulling in the boats that's now abandoned beside the water.

The hill you see in the middle of the below picture is Dunadd. This was the site of a very important hill fort between 500 AD and 900 AD where the kings of Scotland were crowned. There's a great page about it on the Undiscovered Scotland website - click HERE to read.

This is a replica of a boar carving that used to be on the summit of Dunadd but unfortunately has now worn away.

The track through the rocks as you climb the hill. Since we last climbed Dunadd, 18 years ago, they've put in information boards and direction signs so it's much better for the visitor now. Lots of interesting history to read about.

This is a well that is quite high up on the hill - it is said that the water level went in and out with the local tides.

Ken and Bramble enjoying the view.

At the summit there are a few things carved into rock including a bowl and a foot - it is thought that the kings would place their foot into the carved shape as part of their crowning ceremony. My foot fitted perfectly so I think I must have royal blood in me.

The view towards Bellanoch and Crinan from Dunadd.

I crown thee King Kenneth of Bellanoch.

Looking down from the fort top to the carpark - if you have good eyesight you might just make out our car Pablo.

Friendly black faced sheep beside the road - I love their sticky out ears, very cute.

Just a warning, that's the end of the sunshine for our break - jokingly I sent a text to Jean saying that we'd managed to arrive for the one day of summer and truer words were never spoken. I'll explain more in the next post.

Until then, be good, stay safe, and do something this week that will help our beautiful world.

Pamela & Ken

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Argyll memories in the sun

More of our short break in Argyll - the reason we had chosen this area is that this is where my beloved grew up and we hadn't visited the area for many years. We woke up on the Thursday morning to glorious sunshine and blue skies which was wonderful for a day of exploring and rediscovering the area.

Our first stop for the morning was to Achnabreac Cemetery to pay our respects to Ken's mum and dad and whilst we were there you know I had to have a wander around to look at the variety of headstones. I can't tell you how much I love this first one with the kangaroo on it - the inscription reads; "beloved wife and great mate and cobber..." How fabulous is that? Donald received his OBE in the 1976 new year's day honors. I also love the fact that someone has left a little rugby ball by the grave.

This is the grave of an unknown sailor of the second world war - as it states on the headstone, known unto God.

In the corner of the cemetery there is a huge monkey puzzle tree. I looked up my good friend google and several websites agreed that the monkey puzzle takes 10 to 15 years to grow above grass height and then it grows very slowly at a rate of about 35cm a year - that means that this tree is very, very, very old.

Our next stop was Crinan which is at the end of the Crinan Canal (funny that). It's a lovely spot especially when the sun is shining.

Ken and Bramble enjoying a cake break in the sun - as usual we had lots of people stop to make a fuss of Bramble Jelly as she's the cutest little puppy in the world, but then I'm biased.

As you can see it really was a glorious day and the sea is incredibly blue - beautiful.

Here are a few more shots from around the harbour and canal.

Another attempt at getting a selfie with Bramble in it - as you can see it's a great shot of her and Ken, but I'm just not quite in the picture. We'll keep trying.

The big building in this picture is the Crinan Hotel where my beloved used to have a job washing dishes when he was a teenager.

We had a lovely chat to the lady that lives in this house after she'd finished fussing over Bramble. She has a great photo of the harbour that was probably taken in the early 1900's which shows that apart from a few small things the area is very similar. Her cottage is so pretty but in the old photo it is only single storey and was a pub.

Part of the canal path leading away from Crinan. Many years ago we walked the canal path from Crinan to Ardrishaig with Jean and Brian (Ken's sister and brother in law), and during the day we had sunshine, rain, sleet, hail, and snow - great weather for walking 9 miles.

Looking back at the cafe where we had our cake stop and showing a few of the sail boats resting before heading out to sea. During the year over two thousand boats go through the canal.

I love this picture and the look on Ken's face - he was posing for me with Bramble when she decided to try and bite his ear.

When we got back to the car park we discovered that Pablo (our car) had decided to clone himself - do you think they parked next to us so that the cars could feel like they had a friend?

Our next stop was Bellanoch which is where the Wright family actually lived - the white house in the middle of this picture is Smithy Cottage which was my beloved's childhood home.

The cottage is now a holiday let and luckily the people currently staying there weren't in otherwise they may have thought it a bit odd with the two of us pearing in the windows and wandering around the back yard.

Looking from the front of the cottage to the pontoons where the boats moor up.

This is out on the pontoons - I'm wrestling Bramble to stop her eating bird poo (sometimes dogs can be so disgusting).

There is more to come in the next posts but I'm going to finish this one with a quote from one of the seats in front of Smithy Cottage which is dedicated to members of a family that lived in Bellanoch.

"O call back yesterday, bid time return".

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and take time to think of at least five things you're grateful for today. 

Pamela & Ken