Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Silly goings on at work

Whilst I was on holiday, my dear work colleague Malcolm had his penguin office desk toy kidnapped.

The poor peng was put, head down, into a mug of water, and stuffed into the office freezer. Notes were left to lead his owner on a trail to the place his much loved bird had been hidden.

By the time he got there, Penguin was frozen into his watery prison, and Malcolm was rather distressed. In a desperate attempt to free his desk toy, he got hold of penguins lower half and pulled.. and pulled.. hoping that he would slide out of the ice.

Penguin lovers may wish to stop reading now..

The worst imaginable happened.. Penguin snapped in half.. his upper half stayed firmly in the ice.

Poor Malc. When our team leader found out, she told our team off for their tricks, but probably had a bit of a laugh about it too!

Malcolm has a new desk toy now.. a rather manic looking Octopus that he has named affectionately (?) after his Wife, by calling it "Pauline 2".

Pauline 2 can be seen in Malcolm's hand any time he leaves his desk. He is not leaving anything to chance now!!

I made an ID badge for the Octopus today in a spare moment, so in a few days time, I hope my friend on the facilities desk will email the real Pauline and tell her that her new ID badge is ready. I'm sure she will enjoy the joke when she sees what I created!!

Ps We do work hard at work.. I created the ID badge in my break lol :-)

Monday, 16 November 2009

Photos of Wot we did on our holidays

Douglas in the town of his birth - Jedburgh

Melrose School. Douglas spent a year here.

A newly purchased rubber band bouncy ball! (And Dreaded Sister in Laws younger son lol)

DSILs Older son. I think the caption should be "Id rather have a pint of beer"

DBILs lovely youngest, and of course she is my favouite Scottish Neice!
(shhh dont tell her shes my ONLY Scottish Neice lol)

The Firth of Forth from the train window. It was incredibly beautiful!


Special apologies to TDBILs oldest. I dont seem to have uploaded a photo of him from my phone yet!

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Wot we did on our holidays!

We decided it was about time to go "up North" and see Douglases side of the family.

We went up on Thursday the 5th November to a small border town called Jedburgh, where Douglas was born, as its many years since he last went there.

I had booked a most superior B&B for our one night there.. and lovely it was too. Willow Court is a large bungalow set up into a hillside. I think they have about three double rooms that they let out, and according to our host (with the most) they are the oldest B&B in town!

We had a meal in a cafe very close to the B&B called Simply Scottish. Douglas enjoyed Haggis, Neeps and Tatties, and I had a really lovely spicy bean burger. The meals were rather large so with that and the best of a bottle of wine on board we staggered back to our room.


After our one night there (with a lovely breakfast) we had a look round Jedburgh. We drove around and after a while found both of Douglases old schools (primary and secondary) The house he lived in with his family was very close to the B&B, and hadnt changed much.

We went to Melrose, another small town nearby, where Douglas went to private school for a year, and had a wander round the shops and a drink in a little cafe.

We drove a little further North, had lunch in a shopping centre that D's mum used to frequent, then on to Douglases Auntie (TBAITW) who lives in a lovely little village on the Firth of Forth.

D's Auntie had very kindly agreed to put us up for a few nights, so we took all our clobber up to the spare room, with lovely views out over the water.

On Friday, TBAITW and partner cooked a wonderful lump of Roast Beef, Yorkshire Puds, roasts and all the trimmings. Ds sister and gang came. Our Hosts with the mosts kindly made me Yorkshire puds and roast with veggie fat whilst the others enjoyed theirs with goose fat. I was (still am) very grateful for their care and understanding of my diet!!

On Saturday we got the train up to Dundee, where we met up with Ds Sister & Partner, and two kids, and his older Brother and his two kids. All the kids (yes, us included) had a really fun time in the water - the pool there is fab.. it has 3 or 4 flumes, a river rapid and waves!

Douglas did the biggest of all the flumes, and was shot out of the exit a few meters above water. The momentum from the descent and turns in the pipe caused him to shoot out and twist and a strange angle (Douglas says "elegantly" lol) he landed with an almightly splash belly first into the water, giving his poor insides the fright of their lives.

According to Sister, sisters partner and big brother, Douglas displaced an impressive amount of water at that moment (they got a perfect view from the stands) . Newton would have been delighted with the result!

After a while the "adults" got bored of watching us "kids" and slipped out into town to find us a good place to eat. We met up and wandered slowly up a hill to a great burger joint called Ketchup. I had another bean burger, but it didnt quite match up to the one I had in Jedburgh!

For meat eaters, the menu was vast and varied.. various family members had the "Who killed Bambi" burger (Venison) and one nephew, who likes trying new things had a CROCODILE BURGER!! (YIKES!!) He ate it all much to my surprise!

We got back to our base exhausted having done swimming and some shopping (after lunch we took the kids to Waterstones, and let them choose a book each as an early Xmas present)

Our Hosts with the mosts were also exhausted. They and their dogs had been at a shoot (Pheasants and such) being "beaters" and the dogs had been "collectors", so we settled on some dishes from a local chinese takeaway, which was huge and very pleasant.

On Sunday, Douglas and I took charge of the kitchen, and spent a few pleasant hours making a large veggie curry, bombay potatoes and lots of little Sambals (a bit like chutneys) to go with it. Ds sister and clan came down again to help us eat it.

After an impressive firework display which we could watch from the garden, we had a drink to Ds late mum, Elaine (DMIL) who loved watching the fireworks with a glass of Noilly Prat in her hand. We still miss her very much, but it was nice to be with family and raise a glass or two.. or three to her. I'm sure she would have approved totally :-)

Monday was packing up and going home day. We went home via a lovely farm shop that both Elaine and her sister (TBAITW) and then Tebay Services near the lake district.

We had such a lovely time, but it was good to be back home again with our two moggies that were really pleased to see us again.

Photos to follow!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Photos from camp..

Samhain is not just about remembering death .. its also about looking forward to new life. In this photo, one of our friends came dressed as Death and Rebirth - a great reminder of the circle of life.. death and rebirth.

After some rather heated discussions on the Sentry Circle Forum about the differences between Swedes and Turnips, and exactly what was wanted by Chef Dangerous Dave to go in the stew, these two came dressed as.. Swede and Turnip!! lol

Some more lovely costumes.. Including a dead convict! (she looks strangely lively in this photo though lol)

Finally.. Jack the dog came dressed as..... Himself!

Samhain (pronouced Sah-wain)

This weekend we celebrated Samhain.. the end of the Pagan year and beginning of the new one. Its a time to look back on things past, and also to look forward to things yet to come.


Douglas had suggested we go out to our favourite tapas bar in town on Friday evening, so when I heard (via email and facebook) that his younger brother Simon would be back from Ethiopia, and in town that weekend it seemed the perfect time to arrange a little surprise!

I arranged with Simon that he should meet up with us at the restaruant on Friday, but that it would be a nice surprise for Douglas. I booked a table and as we went in, Douglas told the waitress we had booked a table for two, but i made some hand and mouth gestures behind D's back to say "NO! Its a table for three!!! but shhhh!"

Douglas, bless him didnt see this, or comment on why there were three plates laid out instead of two :-) We were a bit early, so I stalled him from ordering food by suggesting that we ordered cocktails first. I ordered one that D had last time thinking I liked it, but it really wasnt a patch on the lovely raspberry one Douglas ordered.. so he had both and I ordered a rasberry one for myself ;-) Yum! My first ever Daquiri!

We ordered some food, and shortly before it arrived Simon did!!!! He looks very well if a little wild.. his hair was very enthusastic and untamed lol. Douglas was totally surprised and delighted to see Simon. We had a really nice meal whilst the two brothers caught up and chatted away.

Its easy to arrange surprises for Douglas - the only thing is if I do something like that, I know I can't even give him a tiny clue because hes very good at guessing what the item/surprise is, so although I was dying to wind him up and give him some clues but managed not to. I told my mum and people at work though, cause they wouldnt let on! :-)


We had been invited up to Sentry Circle near Northallerton for a Samhain party and a friends birthday party combined. The land belongs to a farmer, who has allowed a stone circle to be built on a hill, and many native trees to be planted. The circle has taken many years to build, all the stones being pulled up the hill and put into place by pure person power - no motors involved.

It took about an hour and a half to get up there. We were very happy to meet up with our friends, and spent lovely evening just sitting and chatting. Douglas also helped with baking some mutton in the earth oven, then looking after a huge stew that was created to feed everyone who wanted some.

After the birthday celebrations, and enjoying peoples fancy dress costumes, we reluctantly headed for home, and got back about 11pm.

This was the communal fire that heated the stones for the earth oven.

More photos on next entry