Wednesday, 31 December 2008


The new camera had come yesterday but since no one was at home it was taken back to the delivery office and we had to collect it today, so much of my time since then has been spent trying to familiarise myself with the dials, knobs and buttons ...................... and, oh, I also read the instruction book! Lucky for me there is an "idiot's" button where you just point and shoot...guess that's what I'll be using...............for a time anyway!
Also, I had been given a digital photo frame for Christmas and bought a thing called a USB thumb connector to plug in to my p.c. to download photographs I had stored. I pushed it into a USB port but the machine would not recognise this device at all. This was really annoying me, not knowing how to work this thing. It was only much later it dawned on me that I might have it inserted upside down.........true! When turned over and re-inserted it worked a dream and in a very short time the photos were stored. All I had to do then was plug it in to the frame and the slide show began.
However, I don't think I'll be applying for a job in PC World!
I'm off now to look out the shortbread and blackbun. The glasses and the whisky are already out.

Happy New Year, everyone!

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Goodbye to Bunty.

It was dark when we left Abernethy in temperatures just above zero but by the time we had reached Dalwhinnie, with day breaking, the temperature dropped to well below zero and we had clear skies for the rest of the day, until we returned to this area on the homeward journey. It was obvious from the amount of frost on the trees, bushes and remaining vegetation, that temperatures had been in this region for several days, but for a car journey it was Christmas card scenery seen from the warmth of the vehicle, and was absolutely beautiful against the clear blue skies.
We reached the crematorium, a small, former church, set in the Banffshire countryside, with
quarter of an hour to spare---well timed for our journey of over 150 miles!
The short service, of the humanist type, was touching, and humorous, as my aunt had always been, with a short speech with several amusing anecdotes by her son and a couple of poems, read by one of her daughters, which seemed to sum up her characteristics. She would have appreciated it all and she would have enjoyed the sausage rolls and sandwiches which followed at her village pub a few miles distant and the noise of conversation among the many people who had turned out for the service.
A rare funeral, indeed!

Frosty Speyside

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frost on the whins(gorses), junipers and silver birches.

frost encrusted wires

frost encrusted trees, Nethybridge to Grantown on Spey road.Posted by Picasa

Spey, Looking south at Boat of Garten

Spey, looking north, Boat of Garten

Boat of Garten to Nethybridge road.Posted by Picasa

Monday, 29 December 2008

A day up north.

A few days before Christmas I received word that my last remaining aunt had died at the age of 88 and her cremation is tomorrow at a converted church near Buckie, on the Moray Firth coast. It will be an early start for us, 6am in fact, as the service is at 10am. My cousin told me it was either that time or some other into the New Year!......the effect a few days holiday has on a dying trade: there will be a backlog!
Most of yesterday and today I spent scouring the internet for a new, better, more sophisticated, but hopefully, not too complicated for an amateur, camera. Finally, on the advice of an expert friend, I selected one of the makes she had named as having a good reputation, took the plunge and pressed the "buy" button. It seemed like a bit of a bargain when I checked the shop prices but we'll wait and see..... I'm desperate to try it out......wish I had it for tomorrow.........not for the actual cremation!...for the scenery on the journey.
Actually, I'm looking forward to meeting some of my cousins that I haven't seen for ages, we only seem to meet up at funerals these days as weddings seem to be out of fashion now in our family. I now know why, when I was a child, I would hear some old people saying they had been to a "rare old funeral".

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Merry Christmas to everyone from Pyatshaw Papillons.

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

The Shetland and the Tower.

Today's little video, (the last for a while, I promise, but it's still a bit of a novelty) shows the frenetic activity that the unleashing produces in my gang. We went down on the flat this afternoon and reached the muddy section just after this was taken.
Instead of taking the usual, back route to the house on our return I came through the old part of the village with its ancient, historical round tower and old market cross. Because the daylight hours are so scarce at the moment, I had to hurry back for the next walk with the remaining dogs, so I had no time to take note of the actual historical data on the plaque on the tower...perhaps another time.
We pass this little fellow, the Shetland pony.
Looking up School Wynd to the Round Tower.
The Pictish Round Tower, one of only 2 in Scotland.
In the middle of the Square, which is, in fact, a triangle(!) is the old Cross, meeting place for the village youth.
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Monday, 22 December 2008

George and Holly--The Movie(s)

We, Swallow, George, Holly and I, climbed a rather soggy Castle Law this afternoon, the shortest day(+1) of the year for us. This side of the hill won't see the sun for a few months yet, but it is shining weakly farther out in the valley.
There follows my first, very short, attempt at making movies. The batteries went flat!
Sun still catching the River Earn joining the River Tay.
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Holly and George sniffing.
Holly (Meerwings Holly Blue at Pyatshaw).
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Sunday, 21 December 2008

Christmas Then and Now.

What does Christmas mean to you now? I suppose it depends on your age. Now it is almost nationwide a holiday in UK but it wasn't always so, at least, not in the Scottish farming community.
My father always had the visiting threshing mill at the farm for Christmas day, which meant extra workers drafted in to help and they also had to be fed by my mother. First of all, we would be up at the crack of dawn, as most children still are, to see what was in our stockings we'd left hanging on the mantelpiece in the kitchen. (In these days of radiators or underfloor heating, where do the stockings go?) Things had to be tidied up quickly as the millmen (who actually travelled around with the machine, as opposed to the local temporary help) came in for a full breakfast at 7am. 10 am was "piece time" when a huge wicker basket of rolls, some spread with a cheesy mixture and some with potted meat and a big urn of tea (no Nescafe then, or indeed, teabags!) were taken down to the yard. Lunch time (or dinner time as we called it) saw about 15 people seated on benches and trestle tables in our big kitchen for soup and probably stew. Tea-time at 5 o'clock saw only the millmen back in to be fed. There was no afternoon teabreak then.
We would have a special dinner, probably during the following weekend, consisting of a goose which father had shot and mother had to pluck, clean and then cook, followed by a big steamed christmas pudding or, my favourite, a clootie dumpling. Turkeys were still a few years away yet, and trifles were not considered filling enough then for "pudding" thoughts of dieting in those days.
I must have caused chaos one particular year as I was born smack, bang in the middle of Christmas Day! Mother still had all her culinary chores to fulfil but I suspect she had a bit of help that day.
Now, even in Scotland on the farms, this day is a holiday, unless you are involved in the feeding of livestock, or dairying.

Friday, 19 December 2008

He made it!

Little Geoff (or Pepe) now weighs 2.7kg and measures 8 1/2 inches. I never imagined he would reach the size required by the standard (and more!). How he has grown from that minute 1 1/2 oz. scrap when he was born in June. Well done to Eunice, who now owns him for having him look so well and happy.
A great Christmas present for me.
Little Geoff ( now known as Pepe).
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Thursday, 18 December 2008

Nancy Goat

Nancy came to us, from a neighbouring crofter, as a tiny kid. She was the most endearing of pets
and would follow me like a ......sheep! Julie, our oldest child was the only one running around at that time and she played with her a lot.
Nancy just had to leap up on to any object that rose above ground level. When I was hanging out the washing she was invariably in the basket.
Eventually as she grew older, she grew little sharp horns and she would butt me, playfully, in the back of my legs. OK to start with, but it became rather painful as her weight and height increased until enough was enough and she was given back to the crofter to help feed his pet(orphan) lambs. Female goats can produce milk without having given birth.
Nancy, Julie and a cousin.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Trail Riding.

Today, my husband has gone with one of my brothers, a prospective purchaser, to see a Clydesdale mare away up in Speyside and it brought back memories of another memorable day I had, involving horses, away back in July 1979. My daughter, Julie, and I, still living up there and both members of the Badenoch Riding Club, joined a few others on a day's ride up into the Cairngorms. The mounts were varied, from Highland ponies to my own thoroughbred mare, Peggy and Julie's pony, Cherry. The weather was beautiful as we followed, for the most part, old tracks through some of the most stunning scenery of the area.
Our horses have long since gone but that remains one of my favourite days.
Starting point at Tontearie Farm, a few miles from Nethybridge .
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Setting out up over the hill towards Glenmore.
A stop at Lochan Uaine (The Green Loch) for a drink and a picnic lunch.
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Pausing at Ryvoan Bothy.
The track from Glenmore Lodge back towards Nethybridge.
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Julie on Cherry (skewbald pony), me on Peggy (2nd. left.) and some other members of the club.
Almost the end of the ride.
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Tuesday, 16 December 2008

My Little CC Winner!

Swallow. BCC at LKA 2008.
this photo, much better than mine, is by Elizabeth Patrick.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

The Xmas Bus.

Many of we Toy dog exhibitors from east Scotland (and some from much farther north) travel to the Championship shows down south by private coach (or bus, as we call it) and, of all the trips, the one to the Ladies Kennel Association Championship Show (LKA) held in the NEC at Birmingham counts as one of the favourites as we always have a Christmas party on board, with heaps of food and drink (mainly soft, and wine) a lucky dip and a raffle and the inside of the coach seasonally decorated to get us in the mood.
This year we had just left the Forth Road Bridge car park, our starting point, when it was evident something was amiss with the vehicle. We were being thrown up out of our seats and it felt as though the wheels were square. There was no way my stomach would have survived many miles, never mind the distance to Birmingham, to say nothing of the discomfort to the dogs aboard. The driver was forced to stop at the first available services and summon a replacement coach. Luckily, we were reasonably close to the depot and after a wait of about 3/4 of an hour we were ready to transfer all belongings to the new coach and resume the journey.
It was raining steadily on arrival at the showground so it was a long trudge through streams and puddles till we reached the warmth of the buildings. Thank goodness we hadn't already changed into our showing gear!
I was showing my own Swallow and her litter sister, Emma, (Meerwings A Butterfly Story), still owned by her breeder and my friend, Carole Paul, and, although both bitches have been very successful in the showring so far, it is never a sure thing they will be placed. Luck was smiling on us as both won their classes and Swallow went on to win her 1st. CC. Emma already has a Reserve ticket from a previous show.
Incidentally, I had left my own drinking water on the bus and went to buy a bottle at the show. "That will be £1.60", said the salesgirl and I said, "Well, you can keep it". That is what I call daylight robbery for something I can buy at home for under 40 pence, and made do with the remains of the water from Carole's dog bottle!
The party started after we were reloaded into the bus, and we were ready for a sleep after consuming vast amounts of sausage rolls, chicken bits, cocktail sausages, crisps, savoury eggs. clootie dumpling, Christmas cake, Stollen, chocolate things and many others along with an appropriate amount of beverage.
We reached the car park at the Bridge just after 12.30am Sunday morning and it was eventually almost 2am by the time I fell into bed.
It had been a great day!
The partially loaded boot of the bus at 10.30pm on Friday about to leave for the show.
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Inside the bus before we leave from The Forth Road Bridge car park.
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Almost into the sleeping position.
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A view of the ring during judging.
The judge, Mr R McKay (Corralyn) at the table.
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Swallow,(Meerwings The Swallow Tale by Pyatshaw), who had won Best Bitch.
The drink and tray of savouries.
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