Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Thanks - a photographic blogging challenge

End of the month and it's time for the photographic blogging challenge that is hosted by PJ at A 'lil Hoohaa blog - make sure you pop over and check what other people have posted this month. So the theme for November was thanks, which was a little tricky as last week I did being thankful for the Top Ten Thursdays Challenge, link here. After much thought I chose more personal things for the photographic challenge.

1. I'm thankful that my beloved buys fresh flowers to put around the home and I get particularly gooey hearted when he buys flowers that were in my wedding bouquet - I'm not sure he always realises that he's doing it but I still love it. My bouquet (nearly 17 years ago) had orange roses and purple irises just like below.

2. I'm very thankful that we have Cookie (aka Princess, Diva, Sneak, and Monster) in our lives. Cats are so good for stress relief and, unlike dogs, you really have to earn a cats love which makes it all the more special when you get it.

3. I've combined these two, my beloved and Bramble. Watching the two of them play soccer together on the beach in freezing temperatures almost brought tears to my eyes as it was such a lovely moment. Unlike the Diva, Bramble loves us unconditionally and is such a softy and just wants to be with us constantly which I hope she never grows out of. I'm a bit like a puppy when it comes to my husband, as I just want to be with him constantly.

4. I give thanks for every sunrise and sunset that we get to see - so many people do not get to see as many as they should due to them being taken from this world much too soon.

5. Christmas is so much more than the commercialism that it often becomes, and it's definitely a time to look at all we have to give thanks for. This year I'm thankful for our first year in the Scottish Highlands and all the adventures we've had and the ones yet to be.

There you are, my five photos that represent the theme of thanks. Remember to visit PJ's blog to see what things my fellow bloggers have come up with - click here to visit.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and remember to give thanks everyday .

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Bonus picture - this is the tree we have at work where people can write what Maggie's (where I work) means to them on a star and hang it on the tree. It's such a lovely feature and it humbles me every day when I read the comments that people have made.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Forres, Fochabers, and Santa in November

This weekend has been spent exploring early Christmas markets (it is still November) and more of the beautiful highlands. Yesterday we went to Forres as there was a Christmas craft fair on and we just wanted to have a bit of a mooch around.

This door was near the carpark and whilst Ken thought it was a bit boring, I really liked the colour of it. It reminds me of the blue that is used a lot in Greece.

First order of business was breakfast/lunch. No prizes for guessing that Ken had the sensible lunch of soup and a sandwich whilst I had pancakes with fruit, yoghurt, and maple syrup - yum.

The craft fair was very sweet and I bought a lovely material heart to hang in the house. In the stairwell there was this very tall chair - what you can't tell because of the angle is that my feet are several inches off the floor. A rare occasion for me not to be able to touch the floor.

One of the shops that we walked past had a lovely Christmas display in their window.

We then went across to St Laurence Parish Church which is a huge building and quite modern for the area being built in the early 1900's. The graveyard shows that there were much older churches on the site as the graves date back to the early 1800's, and a lot have been laid up around the wall - probably because the new church took over part of the graveyard.

Church Door
Ken wondered whether this ladies parents originally wanted a boy as Donaldina is quite an unusual name.

I liked how on this headstone they've made the stone ripple like a real scroll.

Looking across the very crammed together headstones.

This headstone is quite intriguing as it just has the year and then, J - A = S. It's almost like something out of the Da Vinci Code.

Few more shots of the graveyard.

Beautiful flowers in a whiskey barrel at the front of the church.

 Very interesting garden at the rear of a large house which has been made into apartments. Lots of unusual features - tribal masks, shells, stones, headless bodies, and some plants.

Today we headed to Fochabers and the Baxters Factory and shopping village as Santa was arriving today - why he's here in November is even baffling to me. We missed Santa's arrival but we still enjoyed having a look around. This stunning trike below was there for people to have a look at and lots of kids were getting their photos taken on it. We had a chat to the owner as we admired all the really cool little details. For those that are wondering, it is a Rewaco trike, which is a German company.

The gear stick on the trike was a snake, and the eyes were lights that flashed at us.

I loved the paintwork, it's a bit like a ripped skin effect tattoo - the owner is letting everyone know that under everything he's a true Scotsman.

Note the mirrors in the shape of an iron cross, which is a famous Prussian and then German military medal.

The stag in front of the Baxters village had been turned into Rudolph for the event.

Craft stalls in the courtyard and just to annoy Ken they had Christmas songs blasting through speakers so he couldn't escape them.

Almost life size Santa at the entrance to the food hall - he's got such a lovely face and I love his shoes.

There were some great displays in the food hall - these tea tins are gorgeous.

As expected in a Baxters shop there was a lot of soup for sale.

Loved these biscuit tins - so cute.

This tin of fudge is beautiful - love this design with the snow and the moon and stars around a reindeer.

Merchandise displayed around an old fireplace.

Next stop was the whiskey shop. Part of the Christmas festivities was a treasure trail for children which involved finding elves in the various shops - and yes there was one in amongst the whiskey. The names of these two whiskeys really amused me as they don't sound very appetising.

I then wandered into the Christmas shop which was beautiful - I'm a sucker for Christmas decorations, and the more fairy lights there are the better.

The animals below were all moving as this was the entrance to santa's grotto where children were meeting the big man and getting a present from him. I was tempted to buy a ticket and queue to meet Santa but I thought I might get too many strange looks.

 After the fun of Christmas decorations we needed sustenance so we went into Fochabers and stopped at Eats and Treats for a late lunch (I should add here that whilst I was in the Christmas shop my beloved ate four donuts!!).

The shop is absolutely fabulous with very eclectic decorations, second hand books for a donation, and scrummy food.

After refueling we went to Spey Bay so that Bramble Jelly could have a run and the sun was starting to set at 3:30pm.

There was lots of driftwood on the stony beach so a good place to go if any craft projects come up that require wood. It took us ages to get Bramble to pose for this picture - she's not very good at staying and looking at us at the same time.

Some previous visitors to the bay had been very creative and created fish shapes with stones. There were also lots of lovely piles of stones around the grassed area.

So that was our weekend of exploring and getting more into the Christmas spirit. Here's a picture of the two new tree decorations I bought at Baxters - I thought it was quite fitting for us to have a cup of coffee and a cake on the tree.

Until next time, be good, stay safe, and have a fabulous week.

Pamela & Ken

P.S: Final picture is Princess Cookie lounging on my dressing gown - she doesn't get to feature in the blog very often so she told me I had to put her in this post.