Sunday, 5 December 2010

End Of Journey! (Photo Heavy)

 We were so pooped when we reached Inverness, we decided to stay the next day and not move on until the following day. Our first port of call was Leakey's Bookshop and cafe. This is an amazing place, an old church converted into a bookshop, with over 100,000 books in it! You can see the history below. 


This is taken from the cafe in the gallery, looking down on the stacks.
 The sides of the galleries have old maps and Victorian prints for sale. The pulpit is where the owner checks books and does business away from the public.

 The building is heated by and absolutely immense wood burning stove. The flue can be seen in some of the photos, going up through the ceiling.
 The cloth covered pile and the boxes in this picture are books waiting to be sorted and priced.
 The spiral staircase leading to the cafe and galleries. A glimpse of the owner at the cash desk. The service here is so friendly and welcoming (and the cakes are good too!)

We continued our journey the next day. The roads were really good, but we could not get up to the ferry at 1.30pm. We missed it, so we had a break and got the later one at 6.30pm.

Because we missed the lunch time ferry, we had to stay overnight on Orkney Mainland. The Sanday ferry had left at 3.20pm. The roads on OM were really bad. We saw a lorry trapped gong up a hill, and we had one bad skid.We could not go back home on the early ferry. We had one sad task to perform. During our visit away, we got a phonecall from the person who was caring for our animals to say that our cat had broken its leg and had to be sent over to the vet. We spoke to the vet, but she recommended we put the cat down. We saw the vet and paid our bill. 

We got home just after five, after a calm crossing. I can honestly say I was never so glad to get home! We have both been sitting, doing nothing, for the past two days and it has been wonderful! Hope you are all warm and cosy wherever you are!
Till next time.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Snow Upon Snow Upon Snow!! (Photo Heavy!!)

My new granddaughter, Annabelle, was having her dedication service last Sunday, so we left the island on Thursday amidst weather warnings for the whole of the north of Scotland, going right down the east coast to Edinburgh. This was slap bang in the route we would be taking, but we wanted to be at the service and see the little one and the rest of the family, as we had not seen them in person, apart from Skype, since the summer. There was lots of snow at the side of the road, but the roads were black all the way down, thank goodness. 

We went to Glasgow first, to see my father-in-law, who has Alzheimer's. He remembered my name eventually, but could not remember his son at all. It was so sad, as they were really close. We went back over to Penicuik, and despite a bit more snow, we were able to go shopping for party shoes for the girls. The shops were not busy at all, and a lot of them had sales on already. The recession seems to be biting. 

Overnight, there was a huge change. When we looked out the hotel window there was at least ten inches of snow, and we did not know if we could get out of the car park! We were supposed to give a lift to my daughter's friends, but we could not get to my daughter's house, so they had to walk down to us. The main roads were not bad, but the side roads were terrible. Seventy people were supposed to attend the dedication, but only fifteen arrived. We had a lovely service and a nice bowl of hot soup and homemade treats afterwards. You can see Annabelle in our heirloom christening gown with the rest of the family. The gown was handsewn by nuns in Madeira and was bought by my grandmother's first husband, who also bought her another gown and her wedding dress there too (I have the skirt of this). Unfortunately he was lost at sea, before they had any children. I am guessing the gowns are about 100 years old.
 I went in my jeans and wellies (new ones from my daughter), but I changed into a nice outfit for the ceremony. As usual, I forgot to get a picture, so here you see me below, with the rest of the family, all dressed up to face the elements, with boots, layer upon layer of clothes, body warmer and scarf.

We were warned by the congregation not to go north, but it was just as well be did, because a lot of the roads closed after we left, and Edinburgh had a dump of snow, thereafter!

The next part of the journey was HORRENDOUS!!!! We were trying to reach Inverness, which usually takes about 3-3.5 hours. We finally made it eight hours later, but how we did, I'll never know! Some of the photos are taken just holding the camera out of the window, but for the most part I was too scared to do anything but look at the snow, driving at the windscreen. The first two photos below show the M9 motorway, heading towards Perth. On our side, there was only one lane open, and it had a two inch crust of solid ice on it. When you stopped, which was every two minutes, the car just slid sideways. If you look carefully at the other side, you will see the cars are completely stopped. There was a fourteen mile tailback (including the snow plough!) and people had been in the queue for so long that they had built five feet high snowmen at the side of the carriageway and walking their dogs - on the motorway!! 

We waited in the queue for over thirty minutes and decided to take a diversion to Perth. We just got on that road when some cars got stuck. Fortunately, a snow plough came up and we managed to bypass the worst of the traffic.

 The rest of the journey was pretty bad, but Inverness was getting closer. Just as we got to Kingussie, we saw loads of flashing lights, and a fire engine blocking the whole of the fly over we were supposed to take. The police were flashing their torches over the fly over, so we wondered if somebody had skidded. We were told to take another diversion, and actually went past this, on the road below. A lorry had skidded off the fly over and rolled down the embankment to the road below. I copied the picture from the BBC website, but as you are allowed to use it on Twitter, Facebook and email, I think it is alll right to use it here -

We had a hairy drive on the diversion through Aviemore. This road closed soon after. When we got to the hotel in Inverness, we both had a strong drink and collapsed into bed.
I will tell you about us getting home safe and sound tomorrow!
Till then.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Oh My!!!

I can't quite believe this. A HUGE parcel was delivered to my house, all the way from Victoria, Australia. Jenni sent me a parcel of material, and what a parcel!! There are chunkettes and long quarters, chunks and fat quarters, half yards and yards!! I cannot believe my eyes. Jenni must have emptied her stash into the padded envelope. The colours are wonderful. I keep on thinking what I am going to make!! I have been patting the materail and 'oohing and aahing' ever since it arrived. I can hardly write this, as I am so excited!! What it is to have such wonderfully kind, thoughtful people in the world. I know my sister would be tickled pink, to know this is happening, and I am just overwhelmed with such goodness. I can't say this often enough - 'THANK YOU FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART!!'
Till next time.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Thursday, 11 November 2010

More Gales and DJ

Well the weather forecasters were correct. The gales and the torrential rain arrived during the night, and it is a grey, dreich day. My husband went out first thing to feed the animals. I have been helping him the last few days, as he tripped over a box on Sunday and has possibly broken his toe. He has managed to hobble about, but yesterday was feeling a lot better, so he told me to stay warm and dry today. I think it is just as well I did. He said he was nearly bowled over with the wind at one point. He is a BIG man, so I probably would have been taking flying lessons!!

Above is A7 - Dad's Plaids. I notice in the DJ book that Jane made the wedge shapes a lot smaller. I do not like them hitting the seam line, as in the pattern and as above, so I think I will redo this one later. By the time I have finished this quilt I am going to have so many reject blocks, I will be able to supply the island with pot holders for the rest of my life!

Thankful Thoughts

Just look what Rosa sent me! Aren't those laces fantastic? I love colourful (!!!!) socks, so the laces colour co-ordinate beautifully! Thanks Rosa!
Till next time.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Thunder and Lightning, Dyeing and DJ!

Here's me saying I am going to blog regularly, and we had the mother of all storms last week. The lightning was spectacular, with big balls of light hanging in the sky, and the thunder was tremendous. You can tell I like these kind of storms!! I ran in and switched off the computers and watched from the window. Unfortunately some people on the island were not so speedy, and their computers were fried. The broadband was not affected, but a lot of the phones went dead, including the ones at the Post Office and the surgery. The storm affected everybody differently. I could not get into my emails. The broadband speed seemed to be all right, but downloading anything took all night. It gradually restored itself over a number of days, and now seems back to normal, but it was sooo frustrating not being able to read my emails, and I had so many to read, when it was restored. I have just about caught up.

We have had really bad gales and torrential rain on and off since then. Sunday was particularly bad, with the waves being lashed over the road and into the fields. Orkney weather can be really amazing, with every type of weather in the one day!! I managed to get this picture of a seal swimming near our pole one morning last week.

I did some more KoolAid dyeing and sent some to Rosa for fun.

I also have been sewing some DJ blocks, so I will show them over the next few days - This is M12 -Hopscotch.

This is not a very good picture, a bit out of focus and the lighting is off - will try better next time!

Thankful Thoughts
We are going to have gales again tomorrow. The isobars are so close together, it is going to be wild. Today, on the other hand, was calm, with only a couple of showers. I took this picture this morning. No wonder I love living here!

Till next time.

Monday, 1 November 2010

I'm Back Again!!

Sorry I have not been posting lately. Raymond and I got the mother of all colds, three weeks ago, and we have been coughing and spluttering ever since. It does not want to go away, but I am fedup feeling miserable, so today is the day for 'getting going'!

My creative obsession seems to go to sleep, when I am out of tune, but I have managed a few DJ blocks and a few other things, so I will show you them over the next few days.

I got a lovely surprise the other day from one of my Bloggie friends. Mama Pea, sent me a Sunshine Award. You can read all about it here
It was such a lovely surprise and really gave me a boost! Mama Pea is such a nice person, and so talented! She seems to whizz through projects and is a great inspiration to me. Thank you so much for all the kind words. I really appreciate the sentiment. I am going to take my time to think of the people I want to send this onto. I know some people, who could not possibly be missed out, but there are so many blogs I dip in and out of, my list would be endless!! And think of all the people who sent me goodies!

Talking of nice people, Jenni is going through a hard patch in her life just now. Go over to her blog and say 'Hi'. It is nice to feel there are other people out there thinking of you, and often a 'Hi' is enough to give a bit of comfort.

Thankful Thoughts
The weather has cooled down a lot, and we have had high winds and rain, but today is bright and calm, so far. The fire is laid in the wood burner, all ready for lighting tonight when we settle down, the kettle is filled for a cup of tea and a good book awaits. What more could you ask for?
Till next time.