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There be castles…

It is not a surprise that I like castles. Turrets, dungeons, little windows for boiling oil, portcullises

( or is it portculli ?) what’s not to like?

It turns out that the answer is spiral staircases.

That whole wedge shaped step, getting narrower and narrower as one gets higher, is less than practical. Going up is one thing, coming down requires more hanging onto walls than previously anticipated. I’m trying to imagine doing that in a huge skirt, carrying things, and can only assume that I would have been investigating remedies for broken limbs on a regular basis.

I checked 3-4 castles last week just to be sure, and no. Just no.

When I build my castle, the round turrety bits will in fact house lifts.

So far my castle requirements are :

  • Small offshore rocky island, with causeway or bridge.
  • Fibre optic internet connection
  • Portcullis
  • Big doors with those metal studs in
  • Central courtyard
  • Two turrets, each with lift ( one for people, one for furniture & books ) must have cone shaped roof.
  • Vaulted kitchens
  • Huge fireplaces
  • Secret passages in the walls.
  • Vast library

farm shopping.

Drove in long spiral
Following ‘Nearly there’ signs.
to be underwhelmed

There are several farm shops close to me, specialising in fruit & veg, or meat, or both. Today I tracked a little further afield, and went to rothwell, where I keep passing signs for a specific farm shop.

so I followed them. For 3 miles, in a spiral, down increasingly concerning lanes, to the point where the signs now stated “Don’t give up” and “keep going”, and I kind of thought it was going to be a bit of a “This way to the Egress” moment.

but no, pulled into a massive car park, lined with horse trailers, a fire engine. there was a petting zoo, adventure playground, and cafe. and a farm shop.

Which, upon entering contained a wall of fridges containing pop, a freezer half full of frozen sausage rolls, and an empty butchers counter.


somewhat dissappointed, and not int he mood for the petting zoo, I sulked off to yet another farm shop.

This one was the entire other end of the scale. Petting Zoo, Barn, Cafe, Restaurant and Farm shop.

ITs not a good sign where it has its own cash machine inside is it.

Still, the cheese looks good, the lamb is going to be delicious, and the 2.50 slice of cheesecake i bought nephew B was pretty impressive.

But i think I’ll stick local next week.

Vodka Bears

87 sleeps to xmas

And I still haven’t started making things yet. Some of the things I plan to make will take some time, especially if wool is involved.

Last year I decided that rather than inflict Boots smellies on friends and family, who hadn’t made specific requests, that I would force them all to suffer through my home-made gifts.

They were primarily alcohol and crochet related.

  1. Toffee Vodka   ( Werthers originals )
  2. Cranberry Gin ( Craisins & fresh Cranberries )
  3. Red Hots Vodka ( Experimental Cinnamon flavoured. Very Sticky )
  4. Dressing up things for small people ( aprons, shopping bags, fluffy skirts )
  5. Various Crocheted things. fingerless mittens. hats. mug copies
  6. Vodka Bears

    Vodka bears

    Vodka Gummy Bears ( see pic to left )

Out of those things, the cranberry gin, toffee vodka, and Vodka Gummy bears were the most popular.

I am now searching Pinterest with interest to determine whats popular this year, wondering where to get Sloe berries ( for the gin ). Also Ikea have some new baby glass jars and 500ml pop top bottles, so I can make smaller amounts, rather than forcing someone to drink a litre of sticky, sickly toffee vodka out of politeness.

Making the vodka gummy bears is the best part, as they swell to abnormal sizes!

The least fun part is sliding 3-4 bottles of vodka in with the weekly shop for a few weeks in a row. I wonder if i can buy it anonymously, in bulk, off the internet?

I’ve done hats and mittens to death with the Crochet. So. this year its those Scarf things that are like huge big collars that fasten with buttons. Probably.

June and Winter…. actually, just winter.

Yes, i know i’ve used a variation of that quote before. I can still see snow from my hotel in inverness, however, so I think the repeat is justified. There is only one season in Scotland. It’s the reason I can recognise what year it is in all my holiday photo’s as a child by what raincoat I had at the time. ( Reversible yellow and blue mac, I miss you )

Anyhow, this is the Nevis and the Mamore range from the Commando Memorial at Spean Bridge on May 31st 2015. Inviting, isn’t it? Still, it’s not officially summer until the June 21st solstice, and it’s not actually raining right now.

I’m currently 453 miles from home, not as the crow flies, but via a slight detour over Rannoch Moor, Through Glencoe, and up the side of Loch Ness. Sure it takes longer, but I was only on the A9 for 5 miles this way, and thats worth the potential death-by-tourist coach crossing the peat bogs, and the dangers of the assorted Lochs overspilling their banks onto the roads. ( October 2014: St Fillans, Loch Earnhead, Tyndrum to name only three. If driving through a Loch which has gone wandering, and there is no other way, wait for the nice people from BEAR scotland to wade through first and mke sure it’s ‘safe’)

I know some people go on holiday to soak up golden beaches, turquoise seas and to bake until crisp, and I did it once or twice when I was eighteen or nineteen, but I’ve come to realise that for me, the feeling of being exactly where I’m supposed to be in the world is having a mountain at my back, and the sea in front of me, sitting on rocks having the skin abraded off my face by the wind, with drizzle slowly creeping down the back of my neck.

The drizzle is not mandatory, but is rarely optional.

I want loneliness, except I never am, and seas that have selkies, not mermaids, and as my fourth * favourite hobbit once said “I want to see mountains again”.

( * Merry, Pippin, Sam, Bilbo. In order. Sorry, Frodo. )

Tomorrow we’re heading to Skye.

If the gale force winds haven’t closed both the Bridge and the Ferry.


Pile of books


In the interests of adding to my notebook hoard, today I attended “An introduction to bookbinding” at leeds college of art with Nephew A( after much dropping of hints ), and spent several hours learning the basics of making hardbacks and paperback books, different types of folding and stitching paper together. It was a class of 9 with students having varying levels of experience ( me = none ) ( one chap who’d been in professional trade for a long time).

I took the pictures when I got home, because there was glue EVERYWHERE, and I was way too busy to stop and take progress photo’s although I would have liked to. All fingers still present and correct, despite the fact that there were sharp knives!

Nephew B is also planning an etsy business. I’m not sure on the details, but I think I get to be his financial backer, and he gets all the profits. Work still in progress….

Beware the Ides…

I started writing this on sunday, but didn’t hit the publish button, so we’ll keep the title. If i want to stick with the roman theme I only have Nones, Ides and Kalends to pick from, none of which it actually is today.

I kept up with the haiku, every day. Some days are better than others, but the point is to write something every day without excuse. My recent favourites :

  • I, taking notes, am / Intimidating. So? Good! / Now? I’ll underline.
  • Sunday, no lie-in / Armed with book and toast. Reading / In my quiet house

I also took up responding to @writerlytweets #sixwordstory prompts to make myself write on a random subject. I’ve decided that my brain is a little weird, if only because I can rapidly come up with multiple responses to some prompts, which makes me think that these are subjects that I have subconsciously contemplated for a while.

  • Home remodel disaster > “Careful, that’s load bearing paint”/ “Bricked yourself in, you say?”
  • Clowns > Under the paint: No face
  • Bad visit to ex > “So, I’m not dead after all…” / “Conjugal visit? Not on your life!”
  • criminal lover > ” Wouldn’t hide bodies for anyone else…”

Actual writing, writing…eeeeh, not so much. I’ve been doing a lot of deleting editing, and plenty of reading, although most of it was re-reading of old favourites.



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